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Royle Shore


Mark Taylor
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Hello everyone, this is my first post.

 

I recently bought a piece titled “Organ study in the form of Mendelssohn’s 6th Organ Sonata on the tune ‘University’ by Royle Shore”, Op.22. The copy is inscribed “from the composer, 29 March 1934” and inside the back cover is a typewritten note from Royle Shore.

 

I do not know anything about Royle Shore but it seemed to me that this note might be interesting from a historical viewpoint and I thought that someone here might be interested in either Royle Shore, or Mr Baille Hamilton’s Vocalion. Here is the note in full.

 

The tune ‘University’ and the ‘Vocalion’

 

"The employment of the above tune, popularized in the English Hymnal to George Herbert’s Hymn, ‘The God of love my shepherd is’ by my organ study in the form of Mendelsosohn’s 6th Organ Sonata, is connected with the late Mr James Baillle Hamilton’s ‘Vocalion’ with which he toured the country, hoping to secure support for it both as an artistic and a commercial venture. On visiting Birmingham he took a studio at the bottom of the garden of his friend the late Mr Edwin Stephenson, the Cathedral Organist, whom I assisted. Mr Baille Hamilton was evidently very fond of this tune, and it was constantly in evidence when exhibiting the instrument to enquirers. The instrument, it was claimed, was greatly superior to the Harmonium and American Organ. The tone was produced from little square boxes with interior contrivances intended to represent the mechanism from which the human voice was derived. Difficulties appeared to be the voicing in getting one note to match another, and the cost of production. This prevented the invention being taken up, but a specimen ought to be preserved as a record of an ingenious musical endeavour.

 

The tone was rather hollow and slightly nasal, but carried very well, as those in the neighbourhood of the instrument realised. As my home at Egbaston was let for a time, I made my home with Mr Stephenson, when I was in Birmingham. Hearing the tune ‘University’ so often on this curious instrument, it rather got on our nerves. To relieve my feelings I started on the composition there and then in September 1907, and completed it at Eastbourne the following March, on the triumphant conclusion of some long drawn out and very oppressive litigation, happily unique in character, of which I had been the victim.

 

It was originally played by Mr Stephenson as a kind of problem piece, with a mild suggestio falsi that it might be a Mendelssohn no.7 (posthumous), and has caused some amusement in recent times."

 

S Royal Shore

St Michael’s

Hindhead

Surrey

14 March 1934

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Hello everyone, this is my first post.

 

The tune ‘University’ and the ‘Vocalion’

 

"The employment of the above tune, popularized in the English Hymnal to George Herbert’s Hymn, ‘The God of love my shepherd is’ by my organ study in the form of Mendelsosohn’s 6th Organ Sonata, is connected with the late Mr James Baillle Hamilton’s ‘Vocalion’ with which he toured the country, hoping to secure support for it both as an artistic and a commercial venture. On visiting Birmingham he took a studio at the bottom of the garden of his friend the late Mr Edwin Stephenson, the Cathedral Organist, whom I assisted.  Mr Baille Hamilton was evidently very fond of this tune, and it was constantly in evidence when exhibiting the instrument to enquirers.  The instrument, it was claimed, was greatly superior to the Harmonium and American Organ.  The tone was produced from little square boxes with interior contrivances intended to represent the mechanism from which the human voice was derived.  Difficulties appeared to be the voicing in getting one note to match another, and the cost of production.  This prevented the invention being taken up, but a specimen ought to be preserved as a record of an ingenious musical endeavour.

 

The tone was rather hollow and slightly nasal, but carried very well, as those in the neighbourhood of the instrument realised. 

 

Hi

 

A number of reed organs have been built using Baille Hamilton's ideas. Basically, they are a pressure reed organ - but often on a somewhat higher pressure than normal - with wooden resonators for each reed - taking some of the reed-organ "edge" off of the tone. I recently recorded a Gregorian reed organ before it returned from the reed-organ museum at Saltaire to the church that had disposed of it in favour of an electronic some 15 years ago. These instruments were built by Aeolian using the Baille Hamilton patents. They are relatively rare, simply because of the cost of the resonators and the additional size.

 

The Rushworth & Dreaper "Appolo" reed organs used similar principals. There is one of those at Saltaire - I'm not sure if there are any Vocalian's in the collection at present - there are also some in private ownership.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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