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I have just caught up with the BBC 1 service from Sheffield Cathedral from Easter morning. You don't need to listen to all of it to appreciate the excellence of the choir. The Jonathan Dove Mass setting is new to me, but it is very exciting indeed and it is given a most convincing performance by the choir and organist of Sheffield. Well worth listening to. Interesting to see the organist wearing headphones to accompany. I can't quite think what the ramifications and effects of this are. Can anyone enlighten me?

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There are headphones by the console in Windsor. I’ve always been too scared to use them but it generally takes me at least one service there to play far enough ahead of what I can hear for the conductor to stop nagging!

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15 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

I have just caught up with the BBC 1 service from Sheffield Cathedral from Easter morning.  ... Interesting to see the organist wearing headphones to accompany. I can't quite think what the ramifications and effects of this are. Can anyone enlighten me?

I once wandered into Sheffield Cathedral and found a pianist practising for a lunch-time concert at the same time as an organist was practising (on the digital instrument) into headphones.

Ian

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It's not uncomon for consoles in loft positions to have a speaker linked to the PA system so they organist can hear what is going on in the service. It may also be linked to a microphone for communications with the conductor during rehearsal. It's possible that some organists may prefer headphones to the speaker.

However in the Sheffield situation where the console is next to the choir I think the above is unlikely. I suspect the headphones may be for the benefit of the outside broadcast director to have some communication with the organist to ensure the broadcast starts and ends on time.

On a side note, I was born and brought up in Sheffield and remember the old Mander organ with its red-painted box of pipes and hoizontal trumpets on top. It's a pity that it wasn't deemed fit for restoration but it was in a horrible location and the quest to get a proper replacement has been going on too long. Is the Parr Hall project officially dead? I haven't heard any news in a long time.

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I don't think that the console at Sheffield is adjacent to choir at all, but sits one bay further east, tucked away behind one of the pillars supporting the tower (the choir seats are at the east end of the Nave). Some of the organ's speakers are quite close to the console and the organ's sound is set up to be very loud in order to project into the building, so I doubt that the organist stands a chance of hearing the choir (and the organ in balance with the choir) without using the headphones.  

Some cathedral (pipe) organs have a sound relay of the choir through speakers to the organ loft. I suppose that it depends on the individual set up whether it would be better or worse using speakers rather than headphones. In these circumstances I think I'd rather hear the 'fresh' and immediate sound of an organ I was playing at close quarters rather than at arms length through a sound system. 

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On 02/04/2018 at 21:41, innate said:

There are headphones by the console in Windsor.

Really? I'm a little surprised by that. In Campbell's day the organists managed perfectly well without. There is a slight time lag from the quire and a bit more from the nave, but these soon became second nature - though I agree it takes a while to adjust. I have played in some situations where speakers have been essential (e.g. west-end organ + east-end choir, or sheer volume of organ), but I always used to feel more comfortable with a "live" sound where practical. Each to his own though.

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I was never aware of a time-lag at Windsor.  I can certainly think of worse - Southwark and Clifton for example.

I may have recounted the following before on some other thread:

I had to use phones in St. Magnus Cathedral when accompanying the St. Magnus Festival Chorus in the Chichester Psalms.  The chorus were under the crossing, far enough away to create an appreciable time-lag.  All was well in rehearsal - choir, harp and organ - but the percussionist, Greg Knowles from The Fires of London, could only get there in time for the performance. As he is so talented, none of us had any worry about that.  However, in the performance, he walloped everything in sight (so it seemed) so hard on the first beat that the ear-phones immediately went on the blink and I had to turn them off and play half a beat ahead all the way through.  Apparently it sounded all right out front, but it was somewhat disconcerting at the time.  I've never cared for ear-phones since then.

I'm surprised no one has yet suggested facetiously that the ear-phones were to disguise the sound of the instrument.   It was said that Osborne Peasgood used to read motoring magazines while playing for services in Westminster Abbey.  Maybe the organist was listening to Radio 3.....

The present instrument at Sheffield has been there for a long time (longer than the Allen was at Chichester?), but according to NPOR its three predecessors only lasted about thirty years each (successive rebuilds due, perhaps, to alterations to the building rather than any implied criticism of the instrument.  I met an old boy at Sheffield who said the Rushworth wasn't much good, but the Brindley before it was).

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Could anyone verify the claim made at the bottom of this survey about this organ's previous location?  http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N00990

It says it came from Sheffield Cathedral, but the spec is a bit smaller than that listed under that location.  http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N02848

I would be curious to know how much of the Brindley sound can still be heard in it.

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On 03/04/2018 at 15:35, Choir Man said:

 

On a side note, I was born and brought up in Sheffield and remember the old Mander organ with its red-painted box of pipes and hoizontal trumpets on top. It's a pity that it wasn't deemed fit for restoration but it was in a horrible location and the quest to get a proper replacement has been going on too long. Is the Parr Hall project officially dead? I haven't heard any news in a long time.

I heard via  a C C group on facebook, that the Warrington council were wanting too much for their organ (over a million  £),  so its a no go, 

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As far as I know, the Brindley organ was, at least to some extent, recycled for the Rushworth instrument, and the stop-list of the latter would seem to confirm this.  An elderly gent I met in the Cathedral when I went to play the Mander organ back in the seventies said that the Brindley was a much better sounding instrument than the Rushworth.  Sheffield Cathedral has been much altered and its present layout is an attempt to pull together the legacies of various unfinished enlargement schemes.  The (extension) Chancel section of the Rushworth went to a church in Stockport. \http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=R01128

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6 hours ago, Peter Allison said:

I heard via  a C C group on facebook, that the Warrington council were wanting too much for their organ (over a million  £),  so its a no go, 

 

6 hours ago, Peter Allison said:

I heard via  a C C group on facebook, that the Warrington council were wanting too much for their organ (over a million  £),  so its a no go, 

Last week, during an organ academy in Paris, I had a brief conversation with Kurt Lueders, Vice-President of the Cavaillé-Coll Association regarding this instrument, which was awarded a Grade 1 Certificate by the British Institute of Organ Studies in 2015. The Association (www.cavaille-coll.fr) devoted its journal “La Flúte Harmonique” No. 99, 2017 (€15) in its entirety to a monograph by Gerald Sumner on the subject of the Parr Hall instrument, whose importance cannot be overestimated. £1 million for a Cavaillé organ described as “of truly international importance” and “one of the very rare French Romantic organs preserved from such modifications as would be in the main irreversible” seems cheap at the price. 

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13 hours ago, Zimbelstern said:

 

Last week, during an organ academy in Paris, I had a brief conversation with Kurt Lueders, Vice-President of the Cavaillé-Coll Association regarding this instrument, which was awarded a Grade 1 Certificate by the British Institute of Organ Studies in 2015. The Association (www.cavaille-coll.fr) devoted its journal “La Flúte Harmonique” No. 99, 2017 (€15) in its entirety to a monograph by Gerald Sumner on the subject of the Parr Hall instrument, whose importance cannot be overestimated. £1 million for a Cavaillé organ described as “of truly international importance” and “one of the very rare French Romantic organs preserved from such modifications as would be in the main irreversible” seems cheap at the price. 

this is good news indeed as its "the" C C in the uk, I think, , but for a church or cathedral wanting to provide a historically important organ, the costs of buying/ removing /renovating and installing said organ, was just a tad too much (imho) I did hear a figure of £3 million plus been bandied around

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How much of that is the cost of the work required, and how much for the transfer of ownership (the "value" of the instrument)?  After all, if the total cost of preserving the instrument makes it not happen, then its value plummets.

Paul

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23 hours ago, Zimbelstern said:

For such an important instrument, £3 million for purchase, renovation and relocation seems reasonable. 

I agree 100% with you, and on that note, why did Sheffield Cathedral, not peruse it, asking for help from various sponsors, Freemasons, lottery... maybe they did. It seems that via the Facebook web page, that Warrington Council just seem to think "its in the way". Enough abought the CC at Warrington, as its been talked at length, on this forum and others, suffice to say, its an ongoing problem 

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On ‎02‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 14:41, Aeron Glyn Preston said:

Could anyone verify the claim made at the bottom of this survey about this organ's previous location?  http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N00990

It says it came from Sheffield Cathedral, but the spec is a bit smaller than that listed under that location.  http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N02848

I would be curious to know how much of the Brindley sound can still be heard in it.

I used to play the organ in St Francis Church Salisbury back in the 80's when I was in the 6th form. The organist of the Church told me it originally came from Sheffield Cathedral. The instrument is divided on the west gallery with a detached stop tab console. It was not in a healthy condition then, and I remember the instrument being very loud and lacking subtilty throughout. There was a huge tromba on the choir which was extended down to 16' on the pedals - this stop was eye-wateringly strident!

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The specification of the Salisbury instrument http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N00990 does bear some relation to the specification to the earlier form of the Sheffield instrument. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N02848 . However we now have three instruments that claim to be (at least in part) from Sheffield Cathedral. I do wonder how many more organs may claim this provenance and whether the accumulated parts my be like fragments of the True Cross...

As regards the current set-up at Sheffield, it's true that the building has a very awkward shape and placement of an organ will be difficult. In many ways I think a continental set-up with a Grand Organ at the west end and a smaller choir organ in the chancel might be the best compromise. £3m to move the C-C from Warrington would be money well spent, however extra money would be needed to build a sympathetically voiced Orgue de Choer to go with it. And then you would want a console that could play both instruments...

So as you can see moving the C-C to Sheffield wouldn't just be a lift and shift and the costs would be a lot more than just the purchase and relocation. The Cathedral has just spent a significant amount of money on building works and may have other priorities at the moment.

On a slightly diverse note, Sheffield used to be the home of another C-C which was in Sheffield's Albert Hall. The 78 stop instrument was a 'sister' of the instrument which was originally built for Castle Ilbarritz but now resides in the Sacre Coer, Paris.

Image result for sheffield albert hall

At one stage there was a plan to relocate it to the newer City Hall being build opposite, but the Albert Hall and instrument within were destryed by fire in 1937.

 

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