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Norwich Catherdral Organ Rebuild


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  • 1 year later...
On 23/08/2019 at 12:36, Aeron Glyn Preston said:

What news is there on this project?  Is there a draft specification anywhere?

When I asked David Dunnett in Norwich some time last year what was planned, he replied with a twinkle in his eye “We are going for a three-manual electronic”!  A great organist with a great sense of humour.  As Wolsey says, we must wait and see.  H&H already have a lot of other work in hand.

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David Dunnett made the Norwich organ sound better than I've ever heard it when I was there with the Cathedral Singers of Ontario in 2007.  It's a very fine instrument indeed, but needs care with the heavier voices if they are to work in with the rest.

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  • 1 year later...

     In replying to an ex HNB man, I wouldn't wish to cause offence. I have known the Cathedral for many years, even before the organ was rebuilt in 1970. It used to be a delight to pop in, before the 'visitor attendants' became so conspicuous. It is simply that I have never left the Cathedral wishing to 'phone a friend to enthuse about what I had just heard.

     The organ has much which is good, particularly in the Swell and Choir. There is an interesting variety of stops in the Pedal, which has a good impact in the Nave. The chorus reeds are lovely - a good variety without anything being out of place. I dislike the Positiv and consider it an unmusical carbuncle. I remember taking my young daughter into the city to hear her first Choral Evensong there. We sat in the choir, from where some of the pedal flues have an unbalanced impact, booming away from somewhere just above the stalls. It was unfortunate that the organist changed the registration with monotonous frequency and no musical rationale, as if trying to find something nice. In the choir the defects in the Positiv are very apparent - it is not suitable for accompaniment unless used very carefully.

 

    I hope the rebuild is successful but it will be difficult to overcome the very strange acoustics of the building, particularly if parts of the organ are still spread all over the place.

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1 hour ago, Achilles 3201 said:

It was unfortunate that the organist changed the registration with monotonous frequency and no musical rationale, as if trying to find something nice.

Was this during the Psalm(s)?  Surprising, as Norwich has exceptionally gifted organists, but like anywhere else, they don’t necessarily play at all services.

I have to say that my experience at Norwich has been different with organ-playing which was brilliant, particularly considering that the organist had to ‘work round’ parts of the instrument which were failing.  I gathered from him that the rebuild is necessary and long overdue.  Indeed the Dean said much the same when the restoration project was announced; incidentally that mentioned a period of 75 years since the last major restoration.  That must be something of a record for a major Cathedral organ!

The organ’s layout is very similar to York’s and other cathedrals where it is physically Impossible to contain all of a large instrument in the main case.  That said, surely in a large cathedral where services take place in both the quire and the nave (and at Norwich they are both among the largest) the central position on the pulpitum is best?  Of course, some re-arrangement is possible, and we will have to wait for details of the restoration.

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12 hours ago, Achilles 3201 said:

 It used to be a delight to pop in, before the 'visitor attendants' became so conspicuous. 

In the true tradition of the board, for diverting away from the topic in discussion, can I say that I have always found the 'attendants' at Norwich incredibly helpful. 

I visited there quite a few years ago with a close friend, an African Bishop, in full episcopal dress!! A few days earlier we had been at Coventry where the Bishop was insulted by the 'attendants'. (Them) "He'll have to pay the £8 entry fee!" (Me) "It is customary to waive the fee for visiting clergy". (Them) "He's not one of ours!!!" He was - we left!!! At Norwich they were helpful without being overpowering and we had a lovely experience and a lovely visit!!

Didn't hear the organ though!! 

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