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Mander Organs

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3 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

So, Rowland, did you sing with the adults at the 6.30 service?

No, never!  I was always a member of the congregation.  This would have been in the early to mid 1960s, and probably could be more accurately dated by the work done by Willis on the Grand Organ.

I have that illustration of the old Willis console mentioned by philipmgwright, but don’t seem to be able to reproduce it here - a matter of its size being too large.  I thought the elaborate carvings were of wood.  Isn’t there mention on an earlier thread that they have mysteriously disappeared?  As an aside, Henry Willis III was a remarkable person who expected and got his own way, even over-ruling St Paul’s organist Charles Macpherson about the size of the stop knobs when that console was refurbished.

I also have custody of a rare photograph of the original Father Willis console at Salisbury Cathedral which (like the original at St Paul’s) was concealed inside the case on the north side and, in the 1930s, set the fashion of moving to a detached console on the south side (exactly the same thing was done very shortly afterwards at Winchester and, of course, very much later at St Paul’s).  The Salisbury console was rather splendid for its date - no telephone, of course, but two speaking-tubes with their ‘plug’ stoppers on short chains.  I can’t vouch for this but vaguely recall that they were respectively for sending instructions to the blower(s) and the lay vicars down below.  My informant was a Salisbury chorister under Sir Walter Alcock and sometime Precentor at Peterborough, and was proud of the fact that as Precentor he once played for Evensong in the absence of the organist there!

Once again, apologies to Rouen for evoking all these memories closer to home.

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2 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

Off topic or not, it's been fascinating to read these reminiscences about the great and the good. I love this sort of thing and wish people would be more forthcoming with similar recollections.  I'm sure there must be a few worth posting.

There are very many.  I’m sure MM and others can supply them.  There is still the unsolved mystery of the pipes of the Chaire case at St George’s Windsor being removed for the annual Garter Service, but I’m fairly certain that was what we were told by Sir William Harris, although Roger Judd has no knowledge of this.  He says that the front pipes are non-speaking wooden dummies.  That might account for something in the National Record Office about temporary removal of ‘screens’ in the Quire on grand occasions, but following that up would be a major exercise.  

The intricacies (not to say quirks) of the dual Rothwell consoles*, which Sir William explained, were fascinating.  A genial, and still young, Richard Greening was in the organ loft with him.  But, not forgetting the music, to this teenager the splendour of the service (mostly Stanford) in this awe-inspiring setting, and Sir William’s performance of the Franck Choral in A minor remain unforgettable 60 years later!  Lionel Dakers told me many years afterwards that Sir William’s playing “was full of poetry”, and that was certainly true in the serene middle section of the Choral (ruined, I venture to suggest, by people who take it at a gallop and miss its meaning).  

*   NPOR have generously quoted my recollections of this occasion.

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7 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

I also have custody of a rare photograph of the original Father Willis console at Salisbury Cathedral which (like the original at St Paul’s) was concealed inside the case on the north side and, in the 1930s, set the fashion of moving to a detached console on the south side (exactly the same thing was done very shortly afterwards at Winchester and, of course, very much later at St Paul’s).  

And at Truro in 1963.  The St Paul's work you refer to was undertaken in 1960, I think. 

The latest from Salisbury, gleaned from a tweet by John Challenger, ADoM, is that all the pipes have now been re-inserted. The front pipes are to be tuned and voiced shortly and then the scaffolding will be taken down. Because of the busyness of the cathedral between now and Christmas, the rest of the voicing and tuning will take place inJanuary, which was always the plan.

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On 10/11/2019 at 05:46, Martin Cooke said:

The latest from Salisbury, gleaned from a tweet by John Challenger, ADoM, is that all the pipes have now been re-inserted. The front pipes are to be tuned and voiced shortly and then the scaffolding will be taken down. Because of the busyness of the cathedral between now and Christmas, the rest of the voicing and tuning will take place inJanuary, which was always the plan.

The front pipes were being tuned/voiced/ yesterday when I went to evensong.

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