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Pierre Lauwers

Worcester Cathedral's Organ

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Guest Barry Oakley
Remove the Marcussen to Sheffield Cathedral, thus solving their need for a new instrument, and replace it with the Christie from the Odeon, Marble Arch (which is still languishing in store somewhere). Being a Christie there should be family compatibility with HNB pipework from the same era of which there must be some knocking around somewhere from redundant churches which could be used to augment the specification.  Now that would be thinking outside the box!

 

=================

Let's see....Town Hall to Bridgewater Hall, Bridgewater Hall to Sheffield, Wurlitzer to Town Hall....leaving...crumbs  :rolleyes:  a spare Willis/Mander for free!  :P

 

MM

 

Don't think the Bridgewater organ would solve Sheffield Cathedral's problems. If it was placed at the west end, which I gather is the plan for a new organ, the congregation in the front pews would not hear it.

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Yes .....then we'd have two good French jobs here at least, along with the gem at Farnborough, and not forgetting the Gern in London, Knightsbrige is it??? Priory recorded it anyhow.

 

===================

 

 

Don't forget the little Cavaille-Coll gem at St.Gabriel's, Blackburn!

 

MM

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[==================

 

For the record :rolleyes: I absolutely adore theatre organs, to the point that I have :o actually played one in concert a few times and given talks about them.

 

I likewise like the Theatre Organ, though having 'fessed up about Howells, I feel less reluctance to admit that the Reg Dixon style is not my favourite approach to the instrument. In some quarters this seems to be a hanging offence but I doubt anyone is going to risk coming to NI to try to find where I live! Its a great pity that embryonic stereo, around before the war, was not developed until after Torch and MacLean had moved on to other things or other places

 

As for contrapuntal music, how about a Bach Trio Sonata, using Kinura 8ft and Flute 4ft for the left hand, Chrysoglot and Viole 8ft for the RH and Pedal Cello 8ft?

 

I think you have been exchanging notes with Carlo Curley. This seems awfully like the registration I have heard him use playing the first movement of No 6

on a Wurlitzer. PCND would clearly not approve!

Clear as .....would you believe...a bell? :o

 

For the record again, a Wurlitzer organ was just about the only thing on which it was possible to play baroque French music with a fair degree of success...all those derived mutations and splashy trumpets. Also, they have lots of higher-pitched derivations, unlike the H-J organs on which the concept was based.

 

Further for the record, the chances of resuing the remains of the Mable Arch Christie, are almost zilch. The thing was stored in a barn, and the owner has never allowed anyone to rescue it and restore it.

 

This is a great pity, and a wicked waste of a unique instrument. I fail to grasp the point of saving something from immediate destruction in order to allow it to rot away slowly.

 

Now to the serious point of what I was writing about.

 

Anyone who has heard or played (as I have) the Marcussen (Flentrop?) organ of "De Doelen" concert hall in Rotterdam, would know that it sounds very thin. It was installed not long after the RFH; the latter being a far better sounding instrument. (It's so long ago, I can't recall who made it!)

 

My only experience of this Flentrop organ is through the recording that Daniel Chorzempa made on it of the Ad Nos. To my ears it sounded superb. But , of course, the recording process along with the camera is a practised liar, and it must sound different to those actually in the room.

 

However, in many respects, the Colston Hall organ is actually a better success story than either of the above two examples, but why?

 

The simple fact is, with modern acoustic-engineering favouring speech, AND musical "bloom," it is the mid-frequencies which get gobbled up quickly, and because the auditoriums contain absorbent soft-furnishings, the interior surfaces tend to be reflective hard-wood panelled or reflective fibre. Thus, you end up with a type of resonance which really is unnatural, but which nevertheless is a good compromise.

 

The Wurlitzer organ, with its' enormous mid-range punch and restrained trebles, was actually designed for a similar type of acoustic.

 

The lesson probably is, that the MODERN concert hall requires a different approach to that of a modern church-organ; perhaps favouring proper English Diapason and reed-tone as at Colston Hall, but without the ponderous qualities of an Arthur Harrison instrument. In other words, as baroque as you like, but essentially English in character, with the sort of mid-range punch we once knew so well.

 

An interesting idea. I would love to know what our host on this site thinks of it, and what approach Mander's would take to constructing a major concert organ in a new venue :o:P

 

I hesitate to get into detail, not being an organ builder, but I wonder if a new type of mixed-scaling isn't appropriate, where the scale-progressions favour mid-frequencies, but tail off above and below more rapidly than they would with an instrument installed in a traditional church.

 

I suppose the question which we need to ask, is whether that is possible without recourse to heavy pressures and deep nicking. The Klais at Birmingham is better than most, and I suspect that the acoustic problem has been addressed. Whether that has been entirely successful remains subjective.

 

Of one thing I am sure....ALL organ-builders need to read about acoustic-engineering and the characteristics of modern building materials, which have a nunmber of very specific characteristics.

 

I am sure this is right, and I am sure most do, but clearly there is some empirical evidence to suggest that there are either some exceptions or that the lessons have not been properly understood :o:P:P

MM

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[]

Don't think the Bridgewater organ would solve Sheffield Cathedral's problems. If it was placed at the west end, which I gather is the plan for a new organ, the congregation in the front pews would not hear it.

 

]

[/i]But would n't the more traditional accoustic give it a bit of a boost and a greater chance of reaching r their ears ? :rolleyes:

 

Brian Childs

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[quote name=Brian Childs' date='Sep 15 2005, 11:38

 

Of one thing I am sure....ALL organ-builders need to read about acoustic-engineering and the characteristics of modern building materials, which have a nunmber of very specific characteristics.

 

I am sure this is right, and I am sure most do, but clearly there is some empirical evidence to suggest that there are either some exceptions or that the lessons have not been properly understood :o:P:rolleyes:

MM

 

==================

 

Well maybe some have Brian, but it is this critical area of mid-range frequency absorption which seems to cause the problem; especially when long-wave sound travels easily, and hard reflective surfaces "project" the higher frequencies like so much shrapnel.

 

I can see that this sort of acoustic totally alters the balances of normal pipe-scale progressions and voicing, and the results (even by extremely respected organ-builders) seem to fall short of the ideal, when it possibly isn't their fault if they have to build an organ before a hall is completely kitted out and furnished.

 

Another thing which I failed to mention. When people file into a hall, the absorption increases enormously, and in combination with soft-frunishings, the normal floor to ceiling resonances are almost killed stone-dead, and any remaining resonance comes from a combination of direct stage-area sound and reflected sound from hard surfaces situated above the stage area and from side-walls.

 

This is EXACTLY the situation at the Festival Hall, and if you care to sit to the right of the auditorium, you hear two organs.....the big one at the front, and the smaller, squeekier one to your right! What you DON'T hear is a fusion of agreeable ambient sound coming from everywhere, as in a cathedral or church.

 

In other words, it's the classic cinema type of acoustic essentially, but with a little more deliberate resonance built in to the final result.

 

So maybe an organ-builder should aim for Schnitger, but keep Wurlitzer firmly in the back of his mind as he does so!! He needs to compensate for what the building is taking away.

 

MM

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So maybe an organ-builder should aim for Schnitger, but keep Wurlitzer firmly in the back of his mind as he does so!! He needs to compensate for what the building is taking away.

 

(Quote)

 

Now we have the real thing indeed: Nouvelle cuisine.

What about a Kinura chorus?

 

I'd go for a Samuel Green.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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So maybe an organ-builder should aim for Schnitger, but keep Wurlitzer firmly in the back of his mind as he does so!! He needs to compensate for what the building is taking away.

 

(Quote)

 

Now we have the real thing indeed: Nouvelle cuisine.

What about a Kinura chorus?

 

I'd go for a Samuel Green.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

====================

 

 

Now Pierre, a Kinura with octave and sub-octave, has its' uses.

 

It is just perfect for "Mosquito Parade."

 

More seriously, the idea of a Samuel Green chorus at Bridgewater Hall would be much the same as a Dulciana chorus elsewhere.....completely ineffective if not quite inaudible.

 

MM

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I mean this: rather reconstitute a Samuel Green organ wherever

it will fit than to try so hasardous a synthesis between a Schnitger

and a Wurlitzer.

Or you may try Ketchup on an Oyster's plate.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I mean this: rather reconstitute a Samuel Green organ wherever

it will fit than to try so hasardous a synthesis between a Schnitger

and a Wurlitzer.

Or you may try Ketchup on an Oyster's plate.

 

=================

 

Not a million miles from me is an organ by Samuel Green. It is in a small room and it makes a very small, sweet sound. Musical though it may be, I have yet to discover music actually written for it.

 

The more serious point about Schnitger/Wurlitzer, is that an English solution possibly already exists to the problem of modern concert-halls, in the organs of

T C Lewis. Robust (almost Schulzian) boldness, with plenty of tonal "body," yet sufficiently "classical" as to serve as a model for anyone who would attempt to maintain both classical integrity and tonal suitability.

 

Thank you for the recipe, but I don't have oysters I'm afraid.

 

Would prawns be a suitable alternative, or do I have to open a tin of sardines in tomato sauce?

 

MM

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Fine, we are going towards a solution that will

suit everyone.

You add the Green into the truck -what music to play

unto this thing we shall find within the flemish baroque repertoire,

or even be content with extemporisations- on the way between W...

and Dover. In exchange you'll get sardines in tomato sauce to

enjoy as breaks between Dietrich Domino's music performance

upon that Schnitger-Wurlitzer hybrid.

Deal done?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Fine, we are going towards a solution that will

suit everyone.

You add the Green into the truck -what music to play

unto this thing we shall find within the flemish baroque repertoire,

or even be content with extemporisations- on the way between W...

and Dover. In exchange you'll get sardines in tomato sauce to

enjoy as breaks between Dietrich Domino's music performance

upon that Schnitger-Wurlitzer hybrid.

Deal done?

 

===================

 

 

Unfortunately, I am not in a position to do any deals, though I would always be willing to arrange transport on a sub-contract basis.

 

I feel sure that the fusion of Samuel Green choruswork and Hope-Jones Pedal Diaphones will produce interesting and maybe even memorable results; almost certainly carving a niche in the history of Flemish (World?) organ-building and making the final destination a place of pilgrimage.

 

If the said hybrid is to be located at a seaside venue, it may be possible to get EU funding from a variety of sources, including early warning defence procurement funds and the Belgian equivalent of Trinity House.

 

Unfortunately, with the current cost of diesel oil, mere sardines would be inadequate recompense for the work involved. I feel sure that "Pate de poisson aux asperges et fine herbes" or "Marguerite de saumon et turbot sauce champagne" would be appreciated by myself and my faithful manservant "Greasy spoon" Bob, and make a welcome relief from the usual diet of "Big Macs."

 

MM

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I feel sure that the fusion of Samuel Green choruswork and Hope-Jones Pedal Diaphones will produce interesting and maybe even memorable results; almost certainly carving a niche in the history of Flemish (World?) organ-building and making the final destination a place of pilgrimage.

 

(Quote)

 

Don't worry, we won't mix the bits!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Guys, there's some really interesting seat of the pants thinking going on here. But since most people gave up on the Worcester dimension aeons ago, as the discussion had well and truly run its course, most people like me had been ignoring this discussion, thinking a dead horse was being flogged. There's some great stuff here, but open it in a new topic so the rest can join in the fun. or merely observe from a safe distance.

 

Many thanks.

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Guest Barry Oakley
Guys, there's some really interesting seat of the pants thinking going on here. But since most people gave up on the Worcester dimension aeons ago, as the discussion had well and truly run its course, most people like me had been ignoring this discussion, thinking a dead horse was being flogged. There's some great stuff here, but open it in a new topic so the rest can join in the fun. or merely observe from a safe distance.

 

Many thanks.

 

I agree, Jeremy. I wish the website controller would now censor all future submissions to this topic. It has become a complete and utter bore!

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Guys, there's some really interesting seat of the pants thinking going on here. But since most people gave up on the Worcester dimension aeons ago, as the discussion had well and truly run its course, most people like me had been ignoring this discussion, thinking a dead horse was being flogged. There's some great stuff here, but open it in a new topic so the rest can join in the fun. or merely observe from a safe distance.

 

=================

 

How can anyone be bored, they play cricket at Worcester!

 

Seriously, to swing the acoustic thing back towards the original topic of Worcester, and by implication, the great cathedral churches, we actually have the exact opposite of that to which I referred; namely an acoustic which quite naturally favours middle to low frequencies. For the life of me, I cannot understand the English fashion for opaque heaviness and thundering basses, which merely over emphasised what the buildings were doing already.

 

It may actually be true, and maybe even obvious, but an organ like that in the Bridgewater Hall or the Festival Hall, would probably sound superb in an English cathedral, and a English cathedral organ would probably sound better in either of the two venues mentioned above.

 

It just seems curious that the same mistakes are made to-day as were made yesterday, but in completely opposite circumstances and by completely opposite means.

 

I seem to recall Dennis Thurlow telling me that the first thing he did when deciding what an organ should be like, was to sit quietly in the building and listen to what it was telling him.

 

Didn't Schulze say, "I can gif dem my scales, but I cannot gif dem dis!"

 

He pointed to his ear.

 

 

MM

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There's not a whole lot to argue about really is there? It's a case of removing a tonally excellent organ for another. Regardless of what the merits of a new organ might be, the old organ has a wonderful sound and "eclat", and is steeped in history. The arguments must surely come down to personal taste, not least of the cathedral authorities. I think most would agree that the retention of the current two choir cases, and general layout, with existing pipework, but new action, soundboards etc, would be the logical (and cheaper) solution. This is basically what Manders did at St Pauls during their excellent rebuild, with another similar approach at Rochester in particular. I say this as both organs at Rochester and Worcester are "hybrids", but lovely ones, and Rochester (as Worcester also) sounds truly amazing, when some might well have opted for a wholly new organ on the screen with tracker action. More recently the RAH is another example, we could have ended up with a continental job, but.... the old was respected warts and all, proving it can be done very successfully. We really need a regulating body in this country. How many times have I heard that "Upminster" Cathedral organ is being "restored" or rebuilt, and I think "Oh, what are they are going to do to that?". Recent ones have been Ely, Bristol, Peterborough, and in all cases my fears have been unfounded, and we seem now to generally respect even that which personally we may dislike. A look at some 70s rebuilds will make my point clearer, not least when you see certain organs now being put back more as they were, in the light of experience(!). This will not apply to Worcester if the planned work ever gets off the ground, as the organ will be gone forever. I do urge anyone with concerns to write to the Dean and Chapter, and just let them know how you feel. Local papers and nationals also can be approached. This is a good thing to do, and will prove  that people do value to organ at Worcester. In any case, a new organ, with new pipework, new casework etc is going to cost very much more than a restoration of the current, which the poor thing has simply never had fully.

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Oh my God - we are now on page 18!!!!

 

By now, we could have restored the Worcester organ ourselves...

 

Even those

 

Diaphones....

 

Hmmmm....

 

:):P

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I'm very impressed with the look and feel of the new Tickells web site, but there's a distinct lack of information about what's planned for Worcester. A stop list would tell us something more.

 

By coincidence, I played my first Tickell organ on Saturday - or at least a Tickell rebuild - in Sherborne Abbey. The workmanship of the console was very fine and it was a comfortable instrument to play. I have no idea what the organ sounded like before and hence can not judge the extent to which the sound of the instrument is "Tickell" or predecessors. The canticles for evensong were Howells Coll. Reg., which with some difficulty it was possible to register, but I ruled out playing a Howells voluntary as the sounds available were to my ears completely unsuitable. I do hope the new Worcester organ is more suitable for realising the core english repertoire than this!

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I'm very impressed with the look and feel of the new Tickells web site, but there's a distinct lack of information about what's planned for Worcester. A stop list would tell us something more.

 

 

=======================

 

Will no-one rid us of this infernal subject?

 

I have paraffin, old newspapers and matches at the ready. Anyone got a key?

 

MM

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I'm very impressed with the look and feel of the new Tickells web site, but there's a distinct lack of information about what's planned for Worcester. A stop list would tell us something more.

 

As far as I know, there's no secret about the proposed stoplist which is publicised at the Cathedral in a display in the north transept and in an appeal leaflet.

It seems to be a comprehensive 4-manual scheme with all the sorts of sounds you would expect from a cathedral instrument, and incorporating one or two HJ solo stops.

 

Whilst on the same subject, although not a fan of 'electroniums' (as BIOS call them), I must say I found the new temporary Rogers instrument in the Choir at Worcester surprisingly effective, disconcertingly so, in fact. I can imagine many members of the congregation being deceived - only a hint of boom in the pedal above mf and slight mushiness of the Swell reeds gave it away.

 

JS

 

JS

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"Will no-one rid us of this infernal subject?"

 

(Quote)

 

There is an excellent solution: not to read this thread.

In Democracy, any point of view may be expressed, but

it is not mandatory to read all the medias, you may care

only with the ones that express your own opinion. This

is what 99% of the people do.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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"Will no-one rid us of this infernal subject?"

 

(Quote)

 

There is an excellent solution: not to read this thread.

In Democracy, any point of view may be expressed, but

it is not mandatory to read all the medias, you may care

only with the ones that express your own opinion. This

is what 99% of the people do.

 

=====================

 

Be careful Pierre!

 

Captain Webb swam the channel, and they named a brand of matches after him.

 

:)

 

MM

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