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Mander Organs
John Robinson

York Minster organ rebuild

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4 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I was referring to my own straying rather than yours!  I gather that the RFH organ possibly isn’t a favourite?  It will always be controversial, but I think the 5.55 recitals there introduced the organ repertoire to a whole generation who might otherwise have never encountered it.  Of course, you could argue that this was limited to people who happened to be in London, or who worked there - although London has a huge catchment area.  For these reasons, I think the RFH was a source for good.  Three players at random - Helmut Walcha, Francis Jackson and Noel Rawsthorne all spread the gospel of organ music in their different styles at those recitals.

But if I dare get back to Sheffield, it's the centre of quite a very large conurbation in South Yorkshire that embraces Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster and all stations in between and not too far beyond, such as north-east Derbyshire, (Chesterfield). The very dry acoustic of the city's concert hall has more or less killed off interest in the organ there.

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11 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I was referring to my own straying rather than yours!  I gather that the RFH organ possibly isn’t a favourite?  It will always be controversial, but I think the 5.55 recitals there introduced the organ repertoire to a whole generation who might otherwise have never encountered it.  Of course, you could argue that this was limited to people who happened to be in London, or who worked there - although London has a huge catchment area.  For these reasons, I think the RFH was a source for good.  Three players at random - Helmut Walcha, Francis Jackson and Noel Rawsthorne all spread the gospel of organ music in their different styles at those recitals.

Skilfully dragging this thread back to its original intent(!), I suspect that the advent of the RFH organ may have influenced Francis Jackson (of whom I have the greatest respect) to have the York Minster organ altered (by Walkers in around 1960) to be more akin to the neo-Baroque sound.

This, of course, is presently being restored by Harrisons to revert to the sort of instrument they worked on in around 1917 and 1930.

To misquote Francis Jackson, the York organ changes 'chameleon-like' to suit the differing tastes of the time.

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Well, if I am lucky to live to hear the results of the latest restoration, I will have heard the Minster organ in three of its incarnations.  The first time was about 65 years ago - FJ playing and the introduction of the 32’ Sackbut was like an explosion!  (It wasn’t Widor V Toccata).  It’s a fine organ in its accompanimental role - there are sounds of real beauty - the ‘neo-Baroquery’ didn’t change those.  On that subject, I remember reading an amusing comment by Henry Willis III - talking about mixtures - referring to Francis Jackson as “one of the bright boys”!

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48 minutes ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

Well, if I am lucky to live to hear the results of the latest restoration, I will have heard the Minster organ in three of its incarnations.  The first time was about 65 years ago - FJ playing and the introduction of the 32’ Sackbut was like an explosion!  (It wasn’t Widor V Toccata).  It’s a fine organ in its accompanimental role - there are sounds of real beauty - the ‘neo-Baroquery’ didn’t change those.  On that subject, I remember reading an amusing comment by Henry Willis III - talking about mixtures - referring to Francis Jackson as “one of the bright boys”!

Yes, I found the 32' Sackbut to be an impressive sound.  I understand that Francis Jackson thought it was too loud, so had it moved to the south transept.  Harrisons, I believe, will move it back to behind the 32' Open Wood and will also add a 32' Ophicleide which, I assume, will be even louder!  I look forward to hearing that and, I expect, other impressive sounds!

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