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Mander Organs
MusoMusing

Early examples of British neo-classical organs

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In 'An Organ Builder Looks Back', John Budgen tells the story of how H&H released All Saints, Clifton (Bristol) from the contract to build their new organ as the organist wanted a modern tracker instrument.  The replacement for the Harrison destroyed in the Blitz was built by Walker in 1967.  I guess it didn't make 'The Classical Organ in Britain' because it has EP action to the Pedal.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=N03822

 

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The stop-list in NPOR contains some inaccuracies - refer to the photographs to reveal all.   I remember this organ well from my student days (when it was quite new!) but I haven't heard it since it Nicholsons' work on it. 

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On 12/03/2019 at 17:21, David Drinkell said:

The stop-list in NPOR contains some inaccuracies - refer to the photographs to reveal all.   I remember this organ well from my student days (when it was quite new!) but I haven't heard it since it Nicholsons' work on it. 

IMHO it sounds much more ‘rounded’ since the recent work. The ‘fonds’ are much warmer and  although very much in the style in which they were built the reeds are bettr regulated and again have more warmth. The new Positif reed is nice as are the new 16’ reed and Open Diapason on the Swell. It is still the same instrument but (maybe in a similar way to the last work at St Albans Abbey for instance) it sounds more comfortable and less edgy. I am starting to sound like one of those write-ups from ‘The Organ’ journal in the 50s and 60s but the above seems to convey things nicely. The mechanical action is also much better to play on. Well used for recitals etc. and worth a visit.

A

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6 hours ago, AJJ said:

IMHO it sounds much more ‘rounded’ since the recent work.

That's good to know.  I must have been in Bristol around the same time as David and always thought that the music in this church was compromised by the very odd acoustics. From a conductor's perspective, the organ sounded to my ears distinctly like a harmonium and even a (perfectly decent) unaccompanied choir sounded as if their voices were coming out of loudspeakers.

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On 13/03/2019 at 16:20, Aeron Glyn Preston said:

How are Rushworth and Dreaper's efforts in neo-classical style regarded nowadays?

I think I was about 15 when I went to the R & D works in Liverpool, during the IAO Congress there. They were just climbing on the neo-classical  bandwagon at that point.  I'm not sure if we didn't all rush off to hear a new job at a catholic church, and right at the start, the arguments broke out.  I must have been underwhelmed, because I can't recall who played the organ for us, but I do recall Dr.Caleb Jarvis, Henry the 4ft (Willis) and Dr Dixon (Lancaster RC cathedral) having a heated argument about it.

Possibly ahead of his time,  Dr Diixon turned to me and said, "Why do they NEED a second chorus in Bach? Bach didn't write anything which requires one!"

I hadn't a clue, so I just smiled and agreed!

Some years later (possibly as part of the Chester Congress) we all piled off to Mold PC, and   although it wasn't offensive in any way, it just didn't seem right in the acoustic.  I think it confirmed to me, that the "continental" sound needs the right sort of building and acoustic to work properly, and at that time, I was lucky to be able to regularly play a superb neo-classical job in the perfect  acoustic.

MM

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On 12/03/2019 at 17:45, AJJ said:

IMHO it sounds much more ‘rounded’ since the recent work. The ‘fonds’ are much warmer and  although very much in the style in which they were built the reeds are bettr regulated and again have more warmth. The new Positif reed is nice as are the new 16’ reed and Open Diapason on the Swell. It is still the same instrument but (maybe in a similar way to tye last work at St Albans Abbey for instance) it sounds more comfortable and less edgy. I am starting to sound like one of those write-ups from ‘The Organ’ journal in the 50s and 60s but the above seems to convey things nicely. The mechanical action is also much better to play on. Well used for recitals etc. and worth a visit.

A

I've never heard this organ,  but I do recall Dennis Thurlow telling me that he regarded it as one of his best voicing jobs.

MM

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7 hours ago, MusoMusing said:

Some years later (possibly as part of the Chester Congress) we all piled off to Mold PC, and   although it wasn't offensive in any way, it just didn't seem right in the acoustic.  I think it confirmed to me, that the "continental" sound needs the right sort of building and acoustic to work properly, and at that time, I was lucky to be able to regularly play a superb neo-classical job in the perfect  acoustic.

MM

I remember the Mold instrument being on the cover of Organists’ Review and there being a quite detailed write-up inside. It made a huge impression on the teenage me. I still haven’t seen it in the flesh.

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On 12/03/2019 at 14:45, AJJ said:

IMHO it sounds much more ‘rounded’ since the recent work. The ‘fonds’ are much warmer and  although very much in the style in which they were built the reeds are bettr regulated and again have more warmth. The new Positif reed is nice as are the new 16’ reed and Open Diapason on the Swell. It is still the same instrument but (maybe in a similar way to the last work at St Albans Abbey for instance) it sounds more comfortable and less edgy. I am starting to sound like one of those write-ups from ‘The Organ’ journal in the 50s and 60s but the above seems to convey things nicely. The mechanical action is also much better to play on. Well used for recitals etc. and worth a visit.

A

Thank you - I think I can visualize (auralize?) what you mean.  It was always, I thought, a fine job but I can imagine it being warmed up a bit without losing its character.  Last time I heard the Rieger in Clifton Cathedral (about twenty years ago now, I suppose), I thought it sounded more accommodating and less edgy than when I first experienced it in 1975.  I think E.A. Cawston adjusted the voicing at a cleaning and Wood has more recently done the same.  Conversely, the first attempt at perking up the mixtures at Redcliffe was not entirely successful, but a subsequent revision brought a great improvement, and I daresay the latest restoration will have made it even better. 

Dear old Bristol - I must get down there again sometime soon.......

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