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Matej Kubes

Albert Keates mixtures composition, literature, and bass pipework

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Our parish church in Slovakia has bought and transferred a 2-manual, 17-stop tracker Albert Keates organ (1908) from a closed church in Derbyshire.  As part of the restoration project of this fine instrument, which will hopefully start sometime this year, we would like to add a Mixture rank for brilliance.

I understand that most Victorian and Edwardian countryside organs in England wouldn't posses a Mixture. Nevertheless, would anyone be familiar with examples of Mixtures built by Keates for two-manual organs and potentially their composition {including the break points and potentially the scaling}?

I would also like to ask whether anyone is familiar with any relevant literature on Keates - thus far, I have come across a Wikipedia article {in English, and the more extensive one in German} as well as a book called "Some Sheffield Organs" by C.G. Andrews. The Ars Organi article on a Keates organ transplant basically paraphrases the information listed in the German Wikipedia article. Disappointingly, neither Thistlethwaite, nor Bicknell mention Keates in their works.

Any pointers would be highly appreciated!

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Maybe a look through here might help as a start if you have not already done so. Put Keates into the ‘builder’ search. 

https://www.npor.org.uk/

Paul Hale the former organist at Southwell Minster and source of much organ knowledge might also be able to help, google and you will find his website. 

A

 

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 I’m not sure I can help you with Keates, but one of the instruments that I play regularly, a John Nicholson instrument of 1873, has an almost identical specification to the instrument that you have obtained. It has a Sesquialtera-like Mixture III on the Swell, and the NPOR page gives its composition, acting as a Tierce mixture as well as with Cornet-like properties. Another stop that I find very useful  dates in fact from 1962, and is a Nazard on the Great. Its presence and name is perhaps a child of its time and historically rather unauthentic, but it has Twelfth-like properties in the bass and is more flute-like in the treble, and certainly adds a very useful extra solo colour, as well as helpful in the Great Chorus, which doesn’t have its own Mixture or reed, useful as either or both would be. 

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I've never encountered a Keates organ, but his largest instrument (by, it appears, a fair margin) was for the Hall of Uppingham School.  He got the job because the instrument was a gift from an ex-pupil of the school who was Master Cutler of Sheffield (the head of the Company of Cutlers, founded in 1624), insisted on a Sheffield builder and had a Keates organ in his house.  The Uppingham organ was remarkable for its date in having some of the Great enclosed, having Nazard and Tierce on the Swell and possessing transfer couplers Great Tromba on Choir, Great Tromba on Pedal and Swell Chorus reeds on Pedal.  NPOR gives the stop-list, including mixture compositions.

https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00217

One or two other Keates organs on NPOR also record mixture compositions, and it looks likely that his norm was 17.19.22 on the Great and 15.19.22 in the Swell.

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As you can well imagine, David, there are a goodly number of examples of Keates’ work in and around the Sheffield area and beyond. I’ve not come across one that matches the size of the Uppingham example but of those I’ve heard, the Upper Chapel in Sheffield’s Norfolk Street (37 stops) contains a lovely piece of his work. It later received work by Henry Willis and is a delight on the ear. Of course, Keates received his initial training from no lesser Sheffield-based firm than Brindley & Foster as did the great John Compton.

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Coincidentally, I also am trying to find out about a mixture which in this case once actually existed on a Victorian English organ but was subsequently removed.  Like Matej, I was (and am) intending to seek the help of forum members.  But I've been pipped to the post!

Regarding the current question, it is at least possible if not probable that the hypothetical mixture in this Keates organ, had there been one, would have contained a tierce rank.  So it might be of interest that there was a very thorough and detailed article on this subject in the BIOS Journal some years ago.  See:

"Thoughts on the inclusion of the Tierce rank in English mixture stops, 1660-1940", William McVicker and David Wickens, JBIOS vol. 32, 2008, pp. 100-162.

This can be obtained via the BIOS website at:

https://www.bios.org.uk/store/products_results.php?pageNum_WADAproducts=1&totalRows_WADAproducts=50 

(although I should point out that I was grateful to obtain a copy from a good friend who is also the titulaire of the instrument mentioned above).

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I know nothing about Keates scaling or mixture compositions as such, but dependent on when the Keates organ was built, it may well have been the voicing work of Herr Otto, who had arrived in the UK as a Schulze employee when they were involved with the great Schulze instrument at Doncaster. Otto was one of the Schulze employees who elected to remain in the UK, and become employees of Charles Brindley. Otto became head-voicer at Brindley & Foster, before leaving to take up a similar position with Keates.

The implication may well be, that in searching for clues as to suitable Mixture scales and compositions, one could probably do worse than look at organs from Brindley & Foster, and especially from the 1870's, when Brindley was under the spell of Schulze. The problem is, I know of no Brindley organs with Tierce mixtures!

I am delighted that at least one redundant organ has been saved from the scrap heap, and especialy from an organ-builder of considerable merit.

MM



 

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On 05/05/2019 at 21:36, Aeron Glyn Preston said:

This page may serve as a useful starting point.

http://cdmnet.org/Julian/cf/bldrs.htm

Thank you for this page; it is quite informative. It even features an archive photograph of the Baptist chapel {now demolished} where our Keates organ stood originally.

 What caught my attention was the assertion of the writer of that article that "A visit to some of Keates' surviving organs reveals work of surprisingly variable quality; his instruments are less like each other than those of any other builder in my experience." I understand that Keates' organs have all quite different facades, but would the quality of the craftsmanship and voicing vary greatly, as well?

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43 minutes ago, MusoMusing said:

I know nothing about Keates scaling or mixture compositions as such, but dependent on when the Keates organ was built, it may well have been the voicing work of Herr Otto, who had arrived in the UK as a Schulze employee when they were involved with the great Schulze instrument at Doncaster. Otto was one of the Schulze employees who elected to remain in the UK, and become employees of Charles Brindley. Otto became head-voicer at Brindley & Foster, before leaving to take up a similar position with Keates.

The implication may well be, that in searching for clues as to suitable Mixture scales and compositions, one could probably do worse than look at organs from Brindley & Foster, and especially from the 1870's, when Brindley was under the spell of Schulze. The problem is, I know of no Brindley organs with Tierce mixtures!

I am delighted that at least one redundant organ has been saved from the scrap heap, and especialy from an organ-builder of considerable merit.

MM



 

Thank you for the pointer, I am somewhat confused by the name of Keates' head voicer you mentioned -  "Herr Otto". Would "Otto" be his first name, perhaps? There was a Swiss organ builder named "Johann Andreas Otto" who, however, didn't seem to have left Switzerland. I was under the impression that the connection between Edmund Schulze and Keates was a man named "Karl Schulze" {not related to E. Schulze, only employed by him).  It looks like there must have been more Germans working for Keates then...

Neither the tierce mixture, nor the "Harmonics" mixture are common at all in our neck of the woods (Central Europe, south-German organ building tradition), especially if it is to be the only mixture in the organ. But it seems to me that the English tradition (at least as represented by Keates) seemed to have preferred the Tierce mixtures over quint mixtures - that is if there was to be just one mixture stop in the organ. Would this be true for other English builders of the time as well?

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On 06/05/2019 at 10:08, Colin Pykett said:

Coincidentally, I also am trying to find out about a mixture which in this case once actually existed on a Victorian English organ but was subsequently removed.  Like Matej, I was (and am) intending to seek the help of forum members.  But I've been pipped to the post!

Regarding the current question, it is at least possible if not probable that the hypothetical mixture in this Keates organ, had there been one, would have contained a tierce rank.  So it might be of interest that there was a very thorough and detailed article on this subject in the BIOS Journal some years ago.  See:

"Thoughts on the inclusion of the Tierce rank in English mixture stops, 1660-1940", William McVicker and David Wickens, JBIOS vol. 32, 2008, pp. 100-162.

This can be obtained via the BIOS website at:

https://www.bios.org.uk/store/products_results.php?pageNum_WADAproducts=1&totalRows_WADAproducts=50 

(although I should point out that I was grateful to obtain a copy from a good friend who is also the titulaire of the instrument mentioned above).

Thank you for pointing out this article; I will definitely order it - hopefully, it will shed some light for me on the topic of Tierce mixtures and their popularity in England back then.

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29 minutes ago, Matej Kubes said:

Thank you for the pointer, I am somewhat confused by the name of Keates' head voicer you mentioned -  "Herr Otto". Would "Otto" be his first name, perhaps? There was a Swiss organ builder named "Johann Andreas Otto" who, however, didn't seem to have left Switzerland. I was under the impression that the connection between Edmund Schulze and Keates was a man named "Karl Schulze" {not related to E. Schulze, only employed by him).  It looks like there must have been more Germans working for Keates then...

Neither the tierce mixture, nor the "Harmonics" mixture are common at all in our neck of the woods (Central Europe, south-German organ building tradition), especially if it is to be the only mixture in the organ. But it seems to me that the English tradition (at least as represented by Keates) seemed to have preferred the Tierce mixtures over quint mixtures - that is if there was to be just one mixture stop in the organ. Would this be true for other English builders of the time as well?

There have been changes to the scholarship in recent years, and some (but certainly not all) of the facts presented by R J KNott, in his history of the Brindley & Foster firm have been disproved. I think that Carl Schulze WAS a relative of Edmund Schulze, but I do not have all my notes at my fingertips at the moment. Carl Otto, I believe, was the voicer who became head-voicer at Bridnley's, and later left to join Keates. I'll check this out when I find a gap in my writings about John Compton, yet another Brindley employee for a short while.

People often underestimate Brindley's involvement with Schulze, because he did some of the voicing at Doncaster. Not only that, he bought out the company known as 'Violette', and therefore supplied all the pipes used by Schulze after the Doncaster Parish Church instrument. I wonder if Keates didn't also buy pipes from Violette?

John Compton had a lot to say about mutations and Mixture compositions, as did the organ enthusiast Boustead, who had a huge 5-manual instrument in his very large, detached house on Winbledon Common.

As for Tierce ranks in Mixtures, it was typically found in the organs of Father Willis (and later), and of course,, the William Hill firm used tierce ranks as a matter of course. I would argue that Tierce Mixtures were part of the English style, and only became unfashionable when Schulze restricted his Mixtures to quints and unisons only.

It's easy to hear why, when you listen to this from the famous Schulze organ at Armley Parish Church:-
 




 

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7 hours ago, MusoMusing said:

It's easy to hear why, when you listen to this from the famous Schulze organ at Armley Parish Church:-
 




 

Not trying to be funny, MM, but as I pointed out several years ago on the YouTube page, that's not Armley Parish Church (as I'm sure you're aware), but St George's next door to the Leeds General Infirmary.

As someone else mentioned on the same page, St George's doesn't even have an organ; it's a 'happy clappy' church!

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On 07/05/2019 at 22:45, John Robinson said:

Not trying to be funny, MM, but as I pointed out several years ago on the YouTube page, that's not Armley Parish Church (as I'm sure you're aware), but St George's next door to the Leeds General Infirmary.

As someone else mentioned on the same page, St George's doesn't even have an organ; it's a 'happy clappy' church!

No offence at all John!  It's what accompanies the track played, which is definitely St Bart's, Armley. I think the church in the photograph is close to the infirmary, and they do a lot for the homeless etc.  I have no idea why the photo is used for the Armley track.

 

MM

 

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On ‎07‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 22:45, John Robinson said:

As someone else mentioned on the same page, St George's doesn't even have an organ; it's a 'happy clappy' church!

Perhaps a better phrase might be 'An Anglican church in the Evangelical tradition'. 

It's not my tradition either - and I wouldn't go - but, rather than single figures sitting listening to Choral Evensong, it seems to be packed every Sunday!!!

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On 07/05/2019 at 16:35, MusoMusing said:

There have been changes to the scholarship in recent years, and some (but certainly not all) of the facts presented by R J KNott, in his history of the Brindley & Foster firm have been disproved. I think that Carl Schulze WAS a relative of Edmund Schulze, but I do not have all my notes at my fingertips at the moment. Carl Otto, I believe, was the voicer who became head-voicer at Bridnley's, and later left to join Keates. I'll check this out when I find a gap in my writings about John Compton, yet another Brindley employee for a short while.

People often underestimate Brindley's involvement with Schulze, because he did some of the voicing at Doncaster. Not only that, he bought out the company known as 'Violette', and therefore supplied all the pipes used by Schulze after the Doncaster Parish Church instrument. I wonder if Keates didn't also buy pipes from Violette..

The NPOR builders' database mentions several builders named "Otto" - Rudolph Otto, (brother-in-law of Carl Schulze/Schulz), his sons Frederick William and Ernest R. Otto, as well as a London-based organ builder born in Hull named Rudolph P. Otto. The first three are listed as employees of Brindley-Foster. I haven't found any information on Carl Otto. Would you know by any chance which one(s) was the one that went on to work for Keates?

Would anyone know of some good read on Brindley and Foster (other than R J Knott?). I am also wondering if there is any literature on Violette... When disassembling the Keates organ, we thoroughly documented everything, including photos of the pipework - would there be a way to tell a pipe comes from the Violette workshop?

On another note - the builder we are working with had transferred and restored another 1894 Keates organ from Stockbridge Methodist church in Sheffield that was being reorganized in 2008 . This organ didn't have the builder's plate but was later identified as a Keates instrument - thanks to an inscription found in the wind chest that read "Schulz". I could not find this organ in the NPOR database {I wonder why}, I am therefore attaching its description in English and Slovak from an organ festival bulletin. If anyone would be interested, I can share a picture folder with some shots before/during/after the restoration (as well as higher-quality scans of the bulletin) of this neat little Keates with pipe stenciling in the facade.

 

Skalica_Keates_1894.jpg

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Edward Violette ,regarded as the finest pipemaker in London , died in 1867 at tragically early age of 45

He operated from Camden I understand   He knew Henry Willis and was a contemporary age wise

This snippets I have gleaned from the British Newspaper Archive

His business was bought by Brindley and moved to Sheffield

No doubt the long awaited book on Brindley by Bryan Hughes will expand on this.

I understand it is being sent out to subscribers this month.

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6 hours ago, philipmgwright said:

Edward Violette ,regarded as the finest pipemaker in London , died in 1867 at tragically early age of 45

He operated from Camden I understand   He knew Henry Willis and was a contemporary age wise

This snippets I have gleaned from the British Newspaper Archive

His business was bought by Brindley and moved to Sheffield

No doubt the long awaited book on Brindley by Bryan Hughes will expand on this.

I understand it is being sent out to subscribers this month.

How interesting!     I didn't know that Violette had been moved to Sheffield, but often wondered if that wasn't the case. Brindley was quite the entrepreneur, and I find it remarkable that by the age of 21 or so, he had established his own business. Apparently, he never went to Germany and the Schulze company, yet Schulze was obviously impressed by his abilities, and asked him to get involved with the Doncaster behemoth and even help with the voicing of the instrument.  

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Not a mixture, just a single Keates stop encountered by chance today after seeing the announcement of a recital by that remarkable organist David Price (originally from Stockport and now a priest in Thailand).  The venue is the chapel of Faversham Almshouses in Kent, a handsome building with an apsidal stone chapel.  It contains a restored Father Willis organ of 1869 - one of those 10-stops marvels - but the swell was only prepared-for (NPOR D03020).  Now added by Martin Renshaw in 2002, MM will be pleased to see that it has three stops by Wordsworth of Leeds and a trumpet 8’ by Keates of Sheffield.  The 1892 Wordsworth stops came from an organ at Chawton in Hampshire, the home of Jane Austen.

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A fine instrument - my sister lives at Faversham so I know some of the organs in the area (gave a concert on the HN&B Chester Organ in the RC church a couple of years back).

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On 10/05/2019 at 19:22, philipmgwright said:

No doubt the long awaited book on Brindley by Bryan Hughes will expand on this.

I understand it is being sent out to subscribers this month.

I was wondering if anyone could point me to a place where I can subsribe to/order this book. I have found this email address theorgan@hotmail.co.uk in another thread on Mander Forums. I have not received any reply thus far. Anyone knows if this is the valid email?

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Quote

On another note - the builder we are working with had transferred and restored another 1894 Keates organ from Stockbridge Methodist church in Sheffield that was being reorganized in 2008...

 ...I could not find this organ in the NPOR database

The organ is in NPOR (its originally from Stocksbridge) - see https://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=K00759

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3 hours ago, Matej Kubes said:

I was wondering if anyone could point me to a place where I can subsribe to/order this book. I have found this email address theorgan@hotmail.co.uk in another thread on Mander Forums. I have not received any reply thus far. Anyone knows if this is the valid email?

 
The title is 'The House of Brindley'.
Musical Opinion Ltd [and The Organ]

Shirley Hawke  musicalopinion@btinternet.com

Subscriptions / Accounts

Tel: +44 (0)1424-855544
Fax: +44 (0)1424-863686
 

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