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Pierre Lauwers

Worcester Cathedral's Organ

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

 

Is it still in use or?? 

 

R

 

As far as I know, the console has been disconnected.

 

The installation of the new organ is due to take place next year. Having written that, a colleague happened to travel to Worcester a few weeks ago and called in at the cathedral. He reported that there was a large quantity of scaffolding being erected in the Quire - however, he was unable to say whether the old organ cases were still in situ. I shall press him further the next time I contact him.

 

If one looks closely at the photograph in the advertisement which Lee Bick mentioned above, it is possible to see that the curtain, formerly hanging between the organ 'loft' and the choir stalls, is missing - I am also fairly certain that, despite the picture being cropped, the console is also missing - I think that at least the corner of it should have been visible in the photograph.

 

Oh well - sic transit gloria.

 

 

 

I cannot believe that we are on page twenty-four, here!

 

:P

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"I cannot believe that we are on page twenty-four, here!"

(Quote)

 

And though......Shoud tell a lot about a mistake that happened

about 10,000 times yet. But to learn from other's mistakes

is beyond the capabilities of 99,99999999% of the human beings.

We are but dust (etc) :D .

 

Pierre

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As far as I know, the console has been disconnected.

 

The installation of the new organ is due to take place next year. Having written that, a colleague happened to travel to Worcester a few weeks ago and called in at the cathedral. He reported that there was a large quantity of scaffolding being erected in the Quire - however, he was unable to say whether the old organ cases were still in situ. I shall press him further the next time I contact him.

 

I happened to visit Nicholson's a couple of weeks back, and they'd just taken delivery of a 16' Pedal Open of very generous scale - apparently by Harrisons (I know nothing of the post Hope-Jones history of Worcester) which they had obtained for a school job that's in hand at the moment. This came from material discarded at Worcester.

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I happened to visit Nicholson's a couple of weeks back, and they'd just taken delivery of a 16' Pedal Open of very generous scale - apparently by Harrisons (I know nothing of the post Hope-Jones history of Worcester) which they had obtained for a school job that's in hand at the moment. This came from material discarded at Worcester.

 

There was a Pedal Open Diapason of wood in the Hope-Jones organ. There was also an Open Wood after the H&H rebuild in 1925. This is probably the same rank, since Nicholsons would be likely to refer to the instrument as a Harrison organ - most of the surviving Hope-Jones ranks have been revoiced at some point in the twentieth century.

 

I find this unsurprising - but very sad news. Personally, I think that the cathedral authorities at Worcester are crazy. However, you all know what I think by now.

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Guest Roffensis
There was a Pedal Open Diapason of wood in the Hope-Jones organ. There was also an Open Wood after the H&H rebuild in 1925. This is probably the same rank, since Nicholsons would be likely to refer to the instrument as a Harrison organ - most of the surviving Hope-Jones ranks have been revoiced at some point in the twentieth century.

 

I find this unsurprising - but very sad news. Personally, I think that the cathedral authorities at Worcester are crazy. However, you all know what I think by now.

 

I agree. No further comment needed, to me, Worcester ceases to be, I shall never visit it again, I find the whole sorry saga a disgrace. There will never be another organ there with such "eclat". Nuff said. Why bother saying more? :D:P:P

 

R

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Guest delvin146
I agree. No further comment needed, to me, Worcester ceases to be, I shall never visit it again, I find the whole sorry saga a disgrace. There will never be another organ there with such "eclat". Nuff said. Why bother saying more?  :D  :P  :P

 

R

 

That organ had a unique sound, but it was certainly tremendous. So far as I can see it did an admirable job in the main. It could have been improved for sure, but there was some very fine stuff on it IMHO.

 

I certainly wouldn't have turned my nose up at it :P

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That organ had a unique sound, but it was certainly tremendous. So far as I can see it did an admirable job in the main. It could have been improved for sure, but there was some very fine stuff on it IMHO.

 

I certainly wouldn't have turned my nose up at it  :D

It had been hacked around a bit though. Half of me thinks it is a shame no pure Hope-Jones now exists, since no one can now experience the sound its creator intended. The other half of me suspects that there is a very good reason for this.

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I too won't go there any more -anyway, the good times I could travel are gone-. I shall miss that one to a point few people can imagine.

But again, now a new organ will be built, by a firm who is not responsible for that

disaster; we must avoid judging this future instrument on a past basis.

I am pretty sure it will be excellent, different but worthwhile, exactly like in Brussel's Cathedral, where the organ I preffered was discarded to make room for the new one.

 

(By the way, it had very very much in common with W...)

 

Silly: I have plenty of information demands about leathered Diapasons, Tromba,

and even....Diaphones. So the rehabilitation of this kind of organ might well

be next door.

 

If one day one wishes to reconstitute that silly sound, I have some data I noted on site.

I apologize I shall ask *some* money for that. I have sufficently warned...

 

Pierre

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I'd wager that Worcester's fate will be re-visited upon Gloucester in the not too distant future. As at Worcester, I predict the historic organ case will be retained but much else discarded. Unlike Worcester, however, I will not lament its passing, its spirit having been exorcised in 1971.

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The real problem is, the disasters continue one after the other!

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Re...rgans/M0081.pdf

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Re...rgans/M0085.pdf

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Re...rgans/M0086.pdf

 

I am conscious I'm playing the funny lad here, "more british than the bristish themselves", but when, where will all this find an end?

 

Pierre

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The real problem is, the disasters continue one after the other!

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Re...rgans/M0081.pdf

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Re...rgans/M0085.pdf

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/Re...rgans/M0086.pdf

 

I am conscious I'm playing the funny lad here, "more british than the bristish themselves", but when, where will all this find an end?

 

Pierre

 

So, all these "worthy of preservation" instruments. What about the instruments these replaced?

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Guest Roffensis
I'd wager that Worcester's fate will be re-visited upon Gloucester in the not too distant future. As at Worcester, I predict the historic organ case will be retained but much else discarded. Unlike Worcester, however, I will not lament its passing, its spirit having been exorcised in 1971.

 

 

Yes, a nice enough job in its own right, but not entirely sure of its value in terms of the English Cathedral Liturgy!!! I would never have wished the 1971 fate on the old job......

 

R

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" What about the instruments these replaced?"

(Quote)

 

I do not know of course. Maybe an England (Pike), a Green and a Smith....

One day, it's good to stop!

 

Pierre

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" What about the instruments these replaced?"

(Quote)

 

I do not know of course. Maybe an England (Pike), a Green and a Smith....

One day, it's good to stop!

 

Pierre

 

I think stopping would be an absolute disaster. Music goes on evolving and so must the instruments. Bach and Beethoven both wrote notes that were off the compass of their keyboards, knowing that the instruments would develop too.

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I think stopping would be an absolute disaster.  Music goes on evolving and so must the instruments.  Bach and Beethoven both wrote notes that were off the compass of their keyboards, knowing that the instruments would develop too.

 

I mean: to stop destroying, not to build new instruments.

Why did we build "neo", "Orgelbewegt", "reform" organs since 60 years,

and virtually nothing really new?

Had we still the originals, we could concentrate on something else.

Not to build them everywhere, some would be enough.

Does anyone know the situation in Toulouse? There Xavier Darasse

did a great preservation job in the 70's, with the result today Toulouse

is a paradise for us....You can find absolutely all styles there, even

the british romantic (Hunter) as well as a splendid Ahrend.

 

Pierre

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I think stopping would be an absolute disaster.  Music goes on evolving and so must the instruments.  Bach and Beethoven both wrote notes that were off the compass of their keyboards, knowing that the instruments would develop too.

 

<random thoughts alert> I don't think anyone has built an organ with a low B specifically for Bach's Pièce d'Orgue; certainly it didn't prompt a general development of the organ in that direction. And have we any evidence that Bach was composing for any time other than his own? Did Beethoven write any notes off the range of the flute or the trumpet or the viola? I'd imagine that most musicians of Beethoven's time expected the piano, still a relative newcomer, to continue its development. Now, the piano is fully-formed and will, I imagine, see no substantial development of either its range or tonal possibilities. Richard Strauss, the great orchestrator, wrote an impractical low F for the violins in one of his operas; no redesign of the violin has resulted...

 

Michael

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<random thoughts alert> I don't think anyone has built an organ with a low B specifically for Bach's Pièce d'Orgue; certainly it  didn't prompt a general development of the organ in that direction. And have we any evidence that Bach was composing for any time other than his own? Did Beethoven write any notes off the range of the flute or the trumpet or the viola? I'd imagine that most musicians of Beethoven's time expected the piano, still a relative newcomer, to continue its development. Now, the piano is fully-formed and will, I imagine, see no substantial development of either its range or tonal possibilities. Richard Strauss, the great orchestrator, wrote an impractical low F for the violins in one of his operas; no redesign of the violin has resulted...

 

Michael

 

Violins are easy enough to retune to obtain a low F.

 

Organs routinely went to GG. I was thinking specifically of the "missing" Eb in the pedal in movt 3 of the first trio sonata.

 

I recently played a piano with a longer than usual compass, at Swindon's Wyvern Theatre, which had some extra notes in the bass beneath a cover (so you don't lose your bearings when heading for the bottom), so would suggest strongly that development IS still with us. Developments in piano action and construction are just as intensely debated as organs.

 

The argument was, basically, that working on the assumption that all instruments are representative of their age and must be kept for that reason, then we would replace none at all, and there would therefore be no development of ideas. The fact that we still have surviving instruments from many hundreds of years ago would seem to suggest that total obliteration of the past is unlikely to happen. What would make that more likely would be expensive things like Pitman chests and complex primitive electric and pneumatic actions; what would make it less likely is the fact that we are so very conservation-conscious now.

 

By far our biggest threat comes from the daily loss of even mediocre small instruments to electronics. That is something we should be getting far more worked up about than this.

 

My personal attitude is less than fashionable, and it is basically that unless one is faced with an extremely fine, substantially original instrument OR a rare survivor from an uncommon builder, keep the best of it and make sure you leave a decent musical instrument behind.

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I recently played a piano with a longer than usual compass, at Swindon's Wyvern Theatre, which had some extra notes in the bass beneath a cover (so you don't lose your bearings when heading for the bottom) ...

 

Aha! Would it have been a Bösendorfer? This is the only make I can recall which includes this compass extension - although I think that it only goes down to G - or possibly F.

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Violins are easy enough to retune to obtain a low F.

 

In the Strauss example there is no time for retuning.

Organs routinely went to GG.  I was thinking specifically of the "missing" Eb in the pedal in movt 3 of the first trio sonata.

 

Were the Trio Sonatas published? Was Bach's Eb really the reason for a change in organ design?

I recently played a piano with a longer than usual compass, at Swindon's Wyvern Theatre, which had some extra notes in the bass beneath a cover (so you don't lose your bearings when heading for the bottom), so would suggest strongly that development IS still with us.  Developments in piano action and construction are just as intensely debated as organs.

 

I am aware of the extended basses available on some Concert Grand pianos, chiefly Bosendorfers, I think. The fact that they have not become more common tells its own story. I'd guess that heated debate over piano construction is much rarer amongst pianists than the equivalent organ situation, although pianists can have very strong opinions about different manufacturers.

The argument was, basically, that working on the assumption that all instruments are representative of their age and must be kept for that reason, then we would replace none at all, and there would therefore be no development of ideas.  The fact that we still have surviving instruments from many hundreds of years ago would seem to suggest that total obliteration of the past is unlikely to happen.  What would make that more likely would be expensive things like Pitman chests and complex primitive electric and pneumatic actions; what would make it less likely is the fact that we are so very conservation-conscious now.

 

Is there a single original-state church organ in the UK from more than 150 years ago? I mean original pitch, temperament, swell mechanism, range, winding, no revoicing; just repairs for wear and tear?

By far our biggest threat comes from the daily loss of even mediocre small instruments to electronics.  That is something we should be getting far more worked up about than this.

 

I don't really regret the loss of most mediocre instruments on an artistic level per se. I really worry about the effect of the electronic substitutes on the musical life of a congregation. I guess that means I agree with you!

My personal attitude is less than fashionable, and it is basically that unless one is faced with an extremely fine, substantially original instrument OR a rare survivor from an uncommon builder, keep the best of it and make sure you leave a decent musical instrument behind.

 

I'd disagree with you there but it's probable difficult to set out one's personal parameters very clearly in this area.

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They can, but I think you'll find that string players dislike tuning up or down because it alters the tone.

 

Surely, in the case of viola players there is a more fundamental reason....

 

:lol:

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I assume that she does not read this board....?

 

(Or are you currently holding a piece of steak, fresh from the fridge, over one eye?)

 

:lol:

 

Now this is interesting (& possibly another line of discussion)........my wife is a string player too!

 

AJJ

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Aha! Would it have been a Bösendorfer? This is the only make I can recall which includes this compass extension - although I think that it only goes down to G - or possibly F.

No, the Imperial goes quite a lot lower than that. The only piece I have ever come across that uses the extended range is Bartok's Piano Sonata, which has just two isolated very low chords in the slow movement.

 

And Bach could be practical; when he transposed the Magnificat from Eb to D, he changed a couple of notes in the violin part to prevent them going too low.

 

Paul

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