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Pierre Lauwers

Worcester Cathedral's Organ

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This initiative in the Netherlands is not going to re-use the Worcester organ (so it is said).

 

The organisation sets out to have an 'English Cathedralorgan' installed in the Hooglandse kerk in Leiden by 2010, which will not only be the largest English organ in the Netherlands, but also on the European mainland.

 

There's a link to a brochure (pdf) which shows the stoplist.

 

Do we know who will build this? My Dutch is not up to trying to find out from the text!

 

AJJ

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Do we know who will build this? My Dutch is not up to trying to find out from the text!

 

AJJ

 

There is nothing about this, but according to the nature of the project, it should

be a british builder;

 

-At least 55 stops on Great, Swell, Choir and Solo

 

-The style after Willis & Harrison & Harrison 1880-1920, with Open Wood 32',

a 32' chorus reed, a heavy-wind Tuba.

 

This organ will be the biggest english organ on the continent, featuring typical

stops not to be find on the continent yet.

 

Such an organ would be warmly welcomed in Belgium as well, while in Toulouse, France,

there is a rescued Hunter still awaiting to be re-erected in a church, an affair about which several members of my french forum are fighting with the utmost commitment.

They simply WANT this organ.

This said, maybe the sense of priorities is wrong in Leiden. Before building a new

néo-late romantic british organs, there are some genuine ones that needs rescue, and not only in Worcester...

 

This one for instance:

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...08#PhotoSection

 

.....A genuine Arthur Harrison!

Maybe we should avoid an error the "Organ-Reform" did before us, that is, preffering

to build new organs than really caring for the old ones.

Could we revoice like Arthur Harrison or Father Willis today?

 

In this rapidly growing interest with british organs, we should avoid another mistake, that is, to forget the baroque one. In some little churches, a reconstituted Samuel Green would be a fantastic asset -or a Snetzler, England, etc-.

 

I myself would have preffered to choose the builder in the first place, and to start from scratch with him. Here we have already a complete project, whose builder will be an executant only.

I doubt Father Willis or Arthur Harrison made their masterpieces that way...

Pierre

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In this rapidly growing interest with british organs, we should avoid another mistake, that is, to forget the baroque one. In some little churches, a reconstituted Samuel Green would be a fantastic asset -or a Snetzler, England, etc-.

 

Have a look at the first part of this :http://www.theorganmag.com/news.html

 

AJJ

 

 

I myself would have preffered to choose the builder in the first place, and to start from scratch with him. Here we have already a complete project, whose builder will be an executant only.

I doubt Father Willis or Arthur Harrison made their masterpieces that way...

Pierre

 

Too True!!

 

AJJ

 

PS Thanks for the other info. Pierre

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That is good news, AJJ,

 

You really need to reconstitute the complete palette, "from Harris to W...and H...j";

they all deserve it.

(The Pedal is obviously a carefully tought compromise!)

Pierre

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It seems there might exist solutions for the W.... Pipework, but that "nobody knows what will be used in the new organs" (The two also).

According to Mr Kenneth Tickell's specification, the Viole d'orchestre will be re-used in his. But for the rest, Terra incognita.

Pierre

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This initiative in the Netherlands is not going to re-use the Worcester organ (so it is said).

 

The organisation sets out to have an 'English Cathedralorgan' installed in the Hooglandse kerk in Leiden by 2010, which will not only be the largest English organ in the Netherlands, but also on the European mainland.

 

There's a link to a brochure (pdf) which shows the stoplist.

 

 

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

 

I am perplexed by this project for Leiden; much as I love the town.

 

I always try to find a MUSICAL reason for things being done this way or that, and for the life of me, I cannot think of one in this instance.

 

Surely, the "British Cathedral Organ" evolved in a rather hotch-potch way; and from no particular point of organ-tradition?

 

One only has to look at the proposed stop-list to recognise that the concept is "Edwardian" in the extreme, with those Trombas, Harmonics and Solo strings registers.

 

I ask myself just what was written for such an instrument, and beyond Bairstow and Healey Willan, there isn't much of outstanding quality. In any event, those particular works could be performed just as readily on a William Hill organ than they could on an Arthur Harrison instrument or a Willis 3.

 

The "cathedral organ" as we understand it, was the result of a particularly finite period in UK organ building taste, when the imitation of the orchestra was as important as the role of choral accompaniment. Also, the very great increases in power and/or wind-pressures, were an attempt to lead often very large congregations in very large buildings; the organ often being buried in out of the way places such as triforiums, transepts and even INSIDE choir-screens.

 

Whilst I would be the first to recognise the splendid qualities of, say, an Arthur Harrison instrument for the purposes of accompaniment, unless they plan to introduce daily choral-evensong, mattins and sung masses at Leiden, I just cannot see the point.

 

I have no objection to a Netherlands church or hall containing a fine romantic organ; Doesburg, St.Bavo RC Cathedral Haarlem, Haarlem Concertegebouw being fine examples.

 

If anyone can see any advantage in an organ-proposal such as this, when there is such a magnificent example of a romantic organ at St.Bavo RC, Haarlem, I would be happy to see the light.

 

Now, if these people were proposing a William Hill style instrument, I would understand the proposal.

 

As I've pointed out previously, there are remarkable similarities between THE St.Bavo (Muller orgel) and an organ like Sydney Town Hall; the latter obviously more "romantic" and "expressive", but nevertheless harking back to a pedigree which actually created REAL master organ-works.

 

MM

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I think the reason is quite simple: the dutch have already splendid

instruments of other styles -I think you'll agree on this- and they

want to have something else.

As to what to play thereupon: lots of excellent things, from 19th century

choral music (splendid pages by the tons) and Best's transcriptions up

until someone who happened to begin his career in the Gloucester area...

We in Belgium fully support this project not too far away for us to attend

the recitals that will run there on a rather busy way.

 

This project should be seen as an opportunity for british builders to get their share on the continental market, as it seems clear it won't be a dutch builder who will build it.

As for Hill now, I agree this style should not be forgetted and deserves a place our side of the channel too.

But here again, there are some questions:

 

-Why do I get so little information when I ask about William Hill, who seems to have

built in a romantic style exactly as early as Walcker?

 

See here:

http://s11.invisionfree.com/The_romantic_o...hp?showtopic=92

 

-Why, in the very little information I get, is it so pejorative? "Only a worker that

obeyed Mr the Prince Albert" etc? -This was true for Cavaillé-Coll as well!-.

 

Nobody is a prophet in his own country, I agree. But there are limits to the understatment, maybe.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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As for Hill now, I agree this style should not be forgetted and deserves a place our side of the channel too.

But here again, there are some questions:

 

-Why do I get so little information when I ask about William Hill, who seems to have

  built in a romantic style exactly as early as Walcker?

 

See here:

http://s11.invisionfree.com/The_romantic_o...hp?showtopic=92

 

-Why, in the very little information I get, is it so pejorative? "Only a worker that

obeyed Mr the Prince Albert" etc? -This was true for Cavaillé-Coll as well!-.

 

Nobody is a prophet in his own country, I agree. But there are limits to the understatment, maybe.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

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

 

 

Apparently, William Hill never left England, and so knew nothing first-hand about continental organs at all.

 

It is difficult to imagine this apparent insularity to-day, but considering the nature of British society around 1850-1875 or so, it comes as no surprise.

 

William Hill was, in essence, a typical rural craftsman all his life: thorough, industrious, happy to oblige and quite content to defer to the greater "knowledge" of others. This was not unique to William Hill, for this was how society operated, and the humble craftsman knew his place in the overall scheme of things. (The same is true of the great artists of Europe, who were regarded as "servants" and mere "craftsmen")

 

It is therefore slightly erroneous to begin looking for "genius" or "tonal revolution" from William Hill, when the prime motivation came from higher intellectual authority. Prince Albert is probably irrelevant in many ways, except that he knew the great German organs and invited Schulze to England. More significant were organists like Jeremiah Rogers (the first organist of the new St.George's PC, Doncaster), who had travelled extensively around Europe. When the old church caught fire, the Ward organ was being re-built by William Hill, to new German compass, with a CC pedal, when independent pedal organs were very rare indeed.

 

The collaboration between Rogers and Schulze did, of course, change the path of organ-building in the UK.

 

William Hill was possibly the only English organ-builder with the right pedigree, for in the village and town churches of rural England, there would be many examples of early "Victorian Baroque" instruments, which owed their origins to the style best exemplified by the work of Snetzler.

 

We must ask ourselves a simple question. Was the Ward organ at Doncaster PC all that remarkable?

 

Large certainly, this organ was being further improved and enlarged by Hill, to a largely "German" looking specification, but in essence, was it really very different from the work of Sneztler, save for the details of compass and the provision of a new, independent pedal organ?

 

I tend to think that it followed the accepted "tradition" of Snetzler, and it was only in the ensuing years that a blitz was carried out on that same "tradition", as new organs replaced the older ones.

 

I suspect that Hill was no innovator at all, but he straddled nicely the two very distinct eras in UK organ-building; the one derived essentially from the baroque (Snetzler) and the other, the softer, more expressive instruments which had started to appear as the precursors to the full-blown romantic instruments of the later 19th century.

 

I suspect that the difference was one of social-revolution. Only France could produce the independence of a Cavaille-Coll in matters artistic, and only England could produce a deferrential craftsman such as William Hill; supplying churches which were still dominated by the "Lord of the Manor", a largely aristocratic-clergy and musicians who came from the educated strata of society. In this respect, Cavaille-Coll is utterly unique in the history of organ-building, for as a very young-man, he simply "did his own thing" without regard to convention.

 

What a difference a couple of decades could make, for in Fr.Henry Willis, there was the defiant, independent spirit; matched by the likes of Brunel in bold strokes of engineering genius and the confident industry of the great steam engineers and rail-builders. Nevertheless, Willis was certainly taken to task by the organ-experts and musicians of the day; and not everyone approved of his methods.

 

If one thing impresses me about William Hill, it is the fact that he assimilated, learned, progressed and faithfully gave of his best at all times, but always as the "faithful and obedient servant" of those who "knew best".

 

Of course, it could be argued (rightly or wrongly) that the greatest work of the Hill firm came from Thomas Hill, but there is no disputing the fact that even that superlative instrument at Sydney Town Hall, owes a great deal to the classical traditions of European organ-building, because this is what William Hill inherited from Snetzler and those who followed his example. Perhaps without knowing it, that same "knowledge" was passed on to Thomas Hill, and if there is a perfect amalgam of that, then Beverley Minster is the prime example here in the UK, where Snetzler and Hill blend so majestically, whereas most other instruments have been altered beyond recognition.

 

Perhaps this goes some way to explaining my own view, that the organ at Sydney Town Hall bears an uncanny relationship to the organ at St.Bavo, Haarlem, which was the one continental instrument know best by the English organists who travelled to the continent of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. The tentative link, of course, is to be found in the work of John Snetzler, of whom it is said, that he had worked on the great Muller organ there.

 

I personally find it very sad, that this very great achievement was so cruelly swept away by the pursuit of sheer organ-power and orchestral smoothness of tone, and all within a very few years.

 

William Hill, Thomas Hill, Gauntlett, Jeremiah Rogers (and presumably others) really did eventually get it right, but to appreciate the greatest fruits of their endeavours, it is first necessary to travel half-way around the world.

 

MM

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All this makes sense, MM,

 

But as a not-that-clever historian I like very much to question

things widely accepted as "evidences".

 

Two points:

 

-Was Hill really a provincial good guy that followed others, he then would

have resembled many a belgian organ-builder -who were just that: provincial

builders Fétis called "ignorant people"-; mind you, Van Peteghem still built

baroque organs in 1860....Imagine a Green son still building "music boxes"

in Britain in 1860!!!

But we do not speak of 1860, but rather....1830. Cavaillé-Coll was still

in Toulouse with his family, Schulze was still unknown in Britain, so,

who did William Hill follow?

 

-Johannes Schnetzler, was he really a baroque builder in the sense we

understand it today?

Or rather one of these "decadent" late-baroque builders from central Europe

who where already busy developing something else?

Schnetzler tried to introduce string stops in Britain, and succeeded with only

one, well, that became something else.

And as far as Diapason choruses are concerned, his *may* have been

slightly different from the "classic" one; indeed, I imagine his Mixtures may

have resembled Gabler's or Holzhey's; in this case they should have surprised

quite a bit in Britain -to say the least-.

 

See here a rather significative page about Schnetzler's style:

http://www.ondamar.demon.co.uk/schemes/props/fulneck.htm

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I'm curious when the Dutch 'English Cathedral organ' will be ready to be scrapped/for sale:

as I look at the picture it's round and about the same height as its cousin in W.rc....r.

 

BTW. Leiden claims to become an 'English Cathedral'.

Anybody knows in which diocese? :huh:

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I'm curious when the Dutch 'English Cathedral organ' will be ready to be scrapped/for sale:

as I look at the picture it's round and about the same height as its cousin in W.rc....r.

 

BTW. Leiden claims to become an 'English Cathedral'.

Anybody knows in which diocese?  :lol:

 

My two cents: "Backuptown"?

(Do you ever scrap anything there? I never heard any interest with something

else does imply discarding any Bätz or Müller Masterpiece. And maybe that

ist the true Graal...)

Pierre

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Guest Lee Blick

Just seen a whole page of the new Rodgers organ installation in Worcester Cathedral. I'm sure it will serve them well!

 

I was interested that it said, "...during extensive reconstruction of their historic 1896 Hope Jones pipe organ." So I am assuming the pipework will be incorporated into the new instrument. Is this the case?

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Just seen a whole page of the new Rodgers organ installation in Worcester Cathedral.  I'm sure it will serve them well!

 

I was interested that it said, "...during extensive reconstruction of their historic 1896 Hope Jones pipe organ."  So I am assuming the pipework will be incorporated into the new instrument.  Is this the case?

 

Have you got a link to it (taken its on the web)?

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", "...during extensive reconstruction of their historic 1896 Hope Jones pipe organ.""

 

(Quote)

 

Well, I suppose we have here a splendid case of british humor.

Or a miracle would have happened?

 

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis
Just seen a whole page of the new Rodgers organ installation in Worcester Cathedral.  I'm sure it will serve them well!

 

I was interested that it said, "...during extensive reconstruction of their historic 1896 Hope Jones pipe organ."  So I am assuming the pipework will be incorporated into the new instrument.  Is this the case?

 

 

I wish, in any case it's basically 1925/1972 H&H (revoiced by them with a lot of new pipework), but that won't stop them throwing the lot out if they are of that mind. It's more likely to be a technical term, regardless how misleading it actually is in reality. The most scary thing about of all of this is that basicvally any organ can suddenly be deemed as unfit for it's purpose. I have scores of old "Organ" mags from yonks ago, and very many of the cathedral ojbs are mentioned, and it is amazing to see how disatified organists were with their respective instruments. Nothing has changed, only fashion. It is intriguing to read of Wllis and Hill organs and even Cavaille Colls as poor. I would never agree Worcetser is faultless, there is no doubt in my mind the job needs tonally revising in part, such as the Solo dept, and a bit of rebalancing. What I find equally sad is that even old Hill stops are simply being outed, aqnd Harrison work, not to mention the Great reeds which were considered very fine....in 1978!

 

Richard

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Well, we shall not re-write the whole story-the Solo division is rather a nave-filling Bombarde manual-.

 

In case the thing would have been relocated, the layout and specification of this division would unavoidably have been changed.

But is there any willingness to relocate the thing?

 

Pierre

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Guest delvin146
Well, we shall not re-write the whole story-the Solo division is rather a nave-filling Bombarde manual-.

 

In case the thing would have been relocated, the layout and specification of this division would unavoidably have been changed.

But is there any willingness to relocate the thing?

 

Pierre

 

I'd happily have it in my church if they don't want it any more. I can hear in my head, its glorious sound reverberating round the nave, with that beautiful Solo diapason.

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I'd happily have it in my church if they don't want it any more. I can hear in my head, its glorious sound reverberating round the nave, with that beautiful Solo diapason.

 

You can hear it even better here, in its full glory, in the music it's best

suited for:

 

http://plenum.free.fr/worcester/

 

Full story here:

 

http://s11.invisionfree.com/The_romantic_o...p?showtopic=104

 

I learned quite a lot as a young guy in this organ!

 

Pierre

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Sorry, Pierre, but I'll never understand the people who love this organ. To me it sounds absolutely hideous.

 

As always with characterfull works, some will like and others not; a matter

of taste.

I myself happen to dislike organs others like; and as I already often said,

we must protect what we do not like, should we wish to stop that balance

movement which invariably results in the destruction of our father's works,

and, and, and.

 

Pierre

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Guest Lee Blick
Sorry, Pierre, but I'll never understand the people who love this organ. To me it sounds absolutely hideous

 

Yes, listening to that reminds me why I think this organ is overhyped.

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Guest Roffensis
Yes, listening to that reminds me why I think this organ is overhyped.

 

 

So, has the poor thing been thrown out yet? :D

 

Is it still in use or??

 

R

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