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Another Organ Ready For A Rebuild:


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Interesting. Here's the 1970 stop-list of the Swell, according to NPOR:

 

16 Double Diapason

8 Open Diapason

8 Gamba

8 Lieblich Gedackt

4 Principal

2 Fifteenth

1 1/3 Larigot

III Mixture

16 Conra Oboe

8 Cornopean

 

… And that's one stop bigger than now. So there ought to be room on the soundboard to reinstate the 16 bourdon as well as another 8ft.

 

In common with everyone else, I've never heard this organ, but I think I agree that the long-term best thing to do is to maximise what's there already and that means moving it.

 

If the west end is viable then that's an interesting solution: move the choir down there too (or just maybe buy another second-hand little organ for them up at the east end. Something like 8.8.4.2 / 8.4.8 / 16?)

 

If the west end isn't viable, then what about moving the organ westwards into the north nave aisle, and bringing it forward so it almost protrudes into the Nave. That would vastly improve projection, and the higher ceiling would give it more room to speak.. If that causes problems for the choir then they could join the organ in the aisle.

 

Improve the church acoustics as much as possible; any carpets or banners must go. Maybe even consult an acoustician (one who's a musician ideally!)

 

In terms of the internals of the organ, the most important thing is a mechanical overhaul and a proper console. Tonally, most of the suggestions here are very sensible. In descending order of priority:

 

Great:

--That clarionet would have to be really good to be more useful than a trumpet in an underpowered organ (Denys Thurlow or not). Replace I think.

--Are the mutations working musically? If not then they might need revoicing. I'm even tempted to suggest a 4' flute may be more useful than a tierce, but of course it's not clear without playing the organ

Swell:

--Another 8ft instead of the Larigot (personally I would suggest a mild Diapason rather than a Celeste, but that's because Celestes seem to be addictive and I'm sick of organists who use nothing else /rant).

--16' Bourdon reinstated. Transpose the 16 reed up to 8ft.

--Possibly rebalance the Mixture to start at 15.19.22 - this would help mitigate any harshness or excessive brightness, especially important if the organ is to be moved nearer the congregation.

Pedal:

--New 16' reed (in a perfect world). But pedal reeds are bulky and this one mustn't be an acoustic obstacle. There's an organ near me in a similar position where the new pedal reed is just behind the west facing casework and it muffles the rest of the organ terribly.

 

Most of this could easily be done with second-hand or stock pipework in sympathy with the current style of the organ. It would give the following:

 

Pedal

16 Open Diapason

16 Bourdon

8 Prinicpal

8 Flute

4 Fifteenth

16 Bassoon

 

Great

8 Open Diapason

8 Stopped Diapason

4 Principal

2 2/3 Nazard

2 Fifteenth

1 3/5 Tierce

III Mixture 19.22.26

8 Trumpet

 

Swell

16 Double Diapason

8 Open Diapason

8 Lieblich Gedackt

8 Gamba

4 Principal

4 Flute

2 Fifteenth

III Mixture 15.19.22

8 Oboe

8 Cornopean

 

From what I can see, there's real potential here. With better performance 'in the building', this could be an excellent instrument for parish services, for teaching and studying, for recitals and concerts.

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Interesting. Here's the 1970 stop-list of the Swell, according to NPOR:

 

16 Double Diapason

8 Open Diapason

8 Gamba

8 Lieblich Gedackt

4 Principal

2 Fifteenth

1 1/3 Larigot

III Mixture

16 Conra Oboe

8 Cornopean

 

… And that's one stop bigger than now. So there ought to be room on the soundboard to reinstate the 16 bourdon as well as another 8ft.

 

I am fairly certain that this is incorrect. The box is not particularly large and I suspect that the Contra Oboe was moved to the former Bourdon slide, in order to give room for the bass octave.

 

In common with everyone else, I've never heard this organ, but I think I agree that the long-term best thing to do is to maximise what's there already and that means moving it.

 

If the west end is viable then that's an interesting solution: move the choir down there too (or just maybe buy another second-hand little organ for them up at the east end. Something like 8.8.4.2 / 8.4.8 / 16?)

 

If the west end isn't viable, then what about moving the organ westwards into the north nave aisle, and bringing it forward so it almost protrudes into the Nave. That would vastly improve projection, and the higher ceiling would give it more room to speak.. If that causes problems for the choir then they could join the organ in the aisle.

 

Improve the church acoustics as much as possible; any carpets or banners must go. Maybe even consult an acoustician (one who's a musician ideally!)

 

Moving it further west is not easy. As I mentioned previously, the church authorities have suggested the idea of putting it at the west end. However, moving it and the choir further west into the north aisle is unlikely to work.

 

As it happened, I had to play another full Choral Evensong (for a visiting choir) on Sunday 11th June. The action is even heavier than I remember it being last year. Playing on full organ, it was difficult to hold large chords down - my hands ached a little afterwards. (I was brought up on an old three-clavier tracker with a notoriously heavy action, so I do not consider my hands to be particularly weak.)

 

In terms of the internals of the organ, the most important thing is a mechanical overhaul and a proper console. Tonally, most of the suggestions here are very sensible. In descending order of priority:

 

Great:

--That clarionet would have to be really good to be more useful than a trumpet in an underpowered organ (Denys Thurlow or not). Replace I think.

--Are the mutations working musically? If not then they might need revoicing. I'm even tempted to suggest a 4' flute may be more useful than a tierce, but of course it's not clear without playing the organ

Swell:

--Another 8ft instead of the Larigot (personally I would suggest a mild Diapason rather than a Celeste, but that's because Celestes seem to be addictive and I'm sick of organists who use nothing else /rant).

--16' Bourdon reinstated. Transpose the 16 reed up to 8ft.

--Possibly rebalance the Mixture to start at 15.19.22 - this would help mitigate any harshness or excessive brightness, especially important if the organ is to be moved nearer the congregation.

Pedal:

--New 16' reed (in a perfect world). But pedal reeds are bulky and this one mustn't be an acoustic obstacle. There's an organ near me in a similar position where the new pedal reed is just behind the west facing casework and it muffles the rest of the organ terribly.

 

Most of this could easily be done with second-hand or stock pipework in sympathy with the current style of the organ. It would give the following:

 

Pedal

16 Open Diapason

16 Bourdon

8 Prinicpal

8 Flute

4 Fifteenth

16 Bassoon

 

Great

8 Open Diapason

8 Stopped Diapason

4 Principal

2 2/3 Nazard

2 Fifteenth

1 3/5 Tierce

III Mixture 19.22.26

8 Trumpet

 

Swell

16 Double Diapason

8 Open Diapason

8 Lieblich Gedackt

8 Gamba

4 Principal

4 Flute

2 Fifteenth

III Mixture 15.19.22

8 Oboe

8 Cornopean

 

From what I can see, there's real potential here. With better performance 'in the building', this could be an excellent instrument for parish services, for teaching and studying, for recitals and concerts.

 

Some interesting points.

 

I would agree about the Clarionet - but would go even further regarding the three mutations. Once again, I did not find a use for any of them and would remove them without hesitation. The other point on which the NPOR is incorrect is that there is no Open Diapason on the Swell Organ. At least, if there is, it has no draw-stop. The Mixture is at present 22-26-29 at CC - if I remember correctly. It is a little bright for the character of the instrument - even when the other tonal alterations are taken into account. Although I do not like them, I might actually consider re-casting it as a 17-19-22 Mixture.

 

I take your point regarding a Céleste - although I think that there was one before 1970. Used with discretion, this can be a beautiful effect. Simply because some organists choose to over-use a certain sound is not necessarily a good argument for excluding such a rank. However, I would find an Open Diapason even more use. In addition, a good Bourdon would also be useful.

 

I further agree regarding the re-transposition of the Oboe to 8p pitch. It is far more use at this register in liturgical accompaniment. In any case, a skilfully-voiced Bourdon will provide a better sense of gravitas.

 

Another point worth mentioning is that the Pedal Open Diapason may well be metal (which it is) - but it has a Haskelled bass - and not a particularly effective one at that. There is a distinct lack of weight. I would prefer to replace it with a second-hand wood rank; however, in the event of a suitable full-length metal rank becoming available, this would be my first choice.

 

Since the case is not particularly meritorious and is an odd shape on plan, I would replace it with a dignified pipe frontage (a proper case would cost far too much money). This would have the advantage of providing more space inside what is a comparatively small case.

 

The resulting specification would be as follows:

 

PEDAL ORGAN

 

Open Diapason (W or M) 16*

Sub Bass 16

Quint (from Sub Bass) 10 2/3 (*)

Octave (M; ext.) 8

Flute (Ext.) 8

Fifteenth (Ext.) 4

Flute (Ext.) 4*

Bass Trumpet (Ext. G.O.) 16*

Trumpet (G.O.) 8

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal

 

GREAT ORGAN

 

Open Diapason 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Viola da Gamba (From Swell) 8

Principal 4

Harmonic Flute (From Swell) 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (19-22-26) III

Trumpet 8*

Swell to Great

 

SWELL ORGAN

 

Bourdon 16*

Oen Diapason 8*

Lieblich Gedeckt 8

Unda Maris (Flute Céleste: CC) 8*

Principal 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (17-19-22) III*

Cornopean 8

Hautboy 8*

Tremulant

 

* New, or partly new stops.

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I just suggested a try with this time-honored design

for somewhere in Southern France.

After all, we had many 17-19-22 in baroque flemish organs,

named "Sesquialter", exactly like in Britain. And oh, yes,

don't forget the (Principal) independant Twelfth with it.

 

Pierre

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I just suggested a try with this time-honored design

for somewhere in Southern France.

After all, we had many 17-19-22 in baroque flemish organs,

named "Sesquialter", exactly like in Britain. And oh, yes,

don't forget the (Principal) independant Twelfth with it.

 

Pierre

 

There would not be room for this non-essential rank, Pierre. I would agree that it has some uses - but not in precedence over a flue double or an Open Diapason.

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