Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Recommended Posts

The other posting regarding alternative forums led me, just now, to the Radio 3 forum for the first time where I was shocked to read under a post about Tickell Organs that the Worcester Cathedral organ has been unplayable for some time. Is that... can that... possibly be true? The contributor says that a digital organ is doing duty there. I always thought that that was just for nave services whilst awaiting the rebuild of the nave/transept organ, but, actually, I saw a recent post from Nicholas Freestone (ADoM) in which he was playing the digital and surely he wouldn't be doing that from choice?!?! Does anyone know what the situation is? Splendid trumpet stop in the video. Would we know this was digital if we couldn't see it...(and were only listening through tiny laptop speakers)?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just listened through the 2nd tier system in my study (NAD 3225PE amp + Wharfedale 505.2 speakers) and thought that the organ sounded pretty damn good. The trumpet is very convincing but, as often  seems to be the case, the bass notes less so due, I suppose to the much smaller volume of air being shifted around than would be in a real organ. I stand to be corrected by those whose technical knowledge outweighs mine. Not difficult...

Perhaps the Tickell needs tuning along with other basic maintenance work that simply could not have been done in recent times.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lack of bass could also be down to the recording. Having started dabbling recently, I've found how my (otherwise decent) Oktava microphones don't pick up as much bass as I would like. I've also found that it's fairly easy to tweak it while editing, which makes me think this hasn't been tweaked.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, handsoff said:

Perhaps the Tickell needs tuning along with other basic maintenance work that simply could not have been done in recent times.

I don’t think I am giving away any State secrets, but at an event I attended in October 2017 Christopher Allsop mentioned that the Tickell organ had received the attentions of Nicholson’s.  I don’t have local knowledge, and so unaware what the present situation might be.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, handsoff said:

Perhaps the Tickell needs tuning along with other basic maintenance work that simply could not have been done in recent times.

I don't think it's that. The Radio 3 post suggested the organ hadn't been working for a number of years, but I simply can't believe it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

The other posting regarding alternative forums led me, just now, to the Radio 3 forum for the first time where I was shocked to read under a post about Tickell Organs that the Worcester Cathedral organ has been unplayable for some time. Is that... can that... possibly be true? The contributor says that a digital organ is doing duty there. I always thought that that was just for nave services whilst awaiting the rebuild of the nave/transept organ, but, actually, I saw a recent post from Nicholas Freestone (ADoM) in which he was playing the digital and surely he wouldn't be doing that from choice?!?! Does anyone know what the situation is? Splendid trumpet stop in the video. Would we know this was digital if we couldn't see it...(and were only listening through tiny laptop speakers)?

This is the sound of the actual cathedral organ, as stated in the description under the video, and Nicholas Freestone is playing the 3-manual remote console (also seen here). The Viscount organ has a completely different look.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm reasonably sure that this is the Rodgers electronic. Why? Because I have a couple of pictures of my wife playing it, as well as the Tickell continuo organ, which is not so small. At that time, the Rodgers was in the choir, the Bradford was still in the nave, although it was getting rather ricketty by then. I remember Donald Hunt giving a recital on the Bradford in 1990-ish, and it sounded quite nice, although a huge acoustic helps. Like any cathedral organ it must have taken a hammering over so many years, so it was bound simply to wear out.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SlowOrg said:

This is the sound of the actual cathedral organ, as stated in the description under the video, and Nicholas Freestone is playing the 3-manual remote console (also seen here). The Viscount organ has a completely different look.

The Tickell quire organ has a four manual console in a loft in the south quire aisle, there is no three manual remote console. The organ Nicholas is playing in the video is the Rodgers digital organ in the nave.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sotto said:

The Tickell quire organ has a four manual console in a loft in the south quire aisle, there is no three manual remote console. The organ Nicholas is playing in the video is the Rodgers digital organ in the nave.

Thanks for the clarification. I'm afraid I was led astray by some internet misinformation and the rather convincing sound ... Didn't think this would happen with an "ordinary" digital organ ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's certainly a very convincing sound! But... forgive me... we haven't yet pinned down whether the 'new' pipe organ is actually working. I realise it might be out of tune, and that services are in the nave, etc etc... but a highly reputable organist has commented on the Radio 3 forum that he thinks the Tickell organ has been out of action for some time. Perhaps nobody here really knows. Sotto... it sounds as if you know more about the Worcester set up than anyone else who has responded so far... do you happen to know how things stand?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

It's certainly a very convincing sound! But... forgive me... we haven't yet pinned down whether the 'new' pipe organ is actually working.

It would certainly be good to know.  But if the recording was of the Rodgers, would it not be a bit misleading to say it was of the Cathedral organ?  That, surely, implies the Tickell.  I know there are cathedrals with the luxury of two pipe organs (not counting chamber organs and box organs); Chelmsford and Southwell come to mind.  There may be others, and the plan at Worcester was to have a second one as well but that has not yet come to fruition.  

We know from an earlier thread that there is some Midi connection between the Tickell organ and the Rodgers; it was something which concerned Nigel Allcoat at the time.   But with different stoplists I imagine it could not be used the other way round, and there would be no point in playing from the Rodgers console unless the Tickell console was, for some reason, out of action.

Can someone provide a definite answer to clear up the mystery?

 


 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

think the pipe organ is working.  I had been told the blower had been badly damaged by some mistaken wiring by an electrician but I haven't found any information that backs this up.  The Viscount was placed up in the quire and sounded pretty nice for an emergency installation - no doubt smoothed off by the acoustic.

There were recitals on the 'cathedral organ' advertised in the cathedral later last year and I did notice that the Viscount has now disappeared from the quire.

As for the Rodgers, I noticed that there is a MIDI connection between it and the Tickell but, perhaps, not a sophisticated one.  I visited a while ago whilst someone was rehearsing for a recital.  The Rodgers was switched on with one of its 32' stops drawn and I could hear notes of that pitch.  So I guess the organist simply draws MIDI On and has access to any stops that are drawn on the digital but with no capability of changing any registration.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The blower failure is known, and these things happen.

Snooping around, there is also an "installation report" from a local air conditioning company explaining how they had completely replaced the system which had been installed around the organ, to keep the instrument at the same temperature as the choir. And speaking with the experience of the last few days, when the top floor of my house is uncomfortably warm even at 5AM, I would say it needed it, but probably interrupted things.

I didn't know the Tickell could play the Rodgers, but this is hardly difficult these days, especially as it is an electric action. Coincidently, perhaps, Viscount have an installation in Manchester in which a rather nice pipe organ and one of their digital organs can each play each other, or both. There is a church here in The Hague - I forget its dedication, it's just known as the Elandstraat church - in which a nicely restored 3 manual Franssen, high up on a west gallery of an enormous church, can also be played from the console of the electronic in the choir. There's also a deconsecrated church in Scheveningen where they took the console out, but converted the action to Midi so anyone can plug in whatever they have to get it going.

I was looking for, but could not find, the huge set of photos of the Tickell's installation which Adrian Lucas took. Really fascinating. It showed part of the action installation, looking very similar to the computer network installation of a small company, and using many of the same components. In particular, I was looking for console photos, as the Tickell is prepared for the planned Transept division. I think the plan was to move the current Transept case from the south to the north, and then provide a full 2-manual organ within it. With the rest of the technical part of the installation, actually hooking up the console would literally be "plug 'n play", although it's more sophisticated than midi.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK... so just to try to get back to the topic of whether the cathedral's principal pipe organ is working or not... my Friends of Cathedral Music newsletter arrived today. Page19 reports on a 'Gathering' in Worcester in the first weekend of March 2020. Quote: All services during the weekend were accompanied by the digital nave organ, not an easy feat for services in the quire. Yikes! Then came the recent video of Nicholas Freestone playing the Rogers - we can't tell if he's using Rogers sounds or Tickell pipes!! And, for the nonce before anyone harps back to it again... the organ blower failed in March 2019 which is when the temporary Viscount installation took place. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Recent news is that the wiring causing blower problems is in the process of being sorted. Furthermore a new air conditioning system has been installed in the area of the Swell organ to alleviate previous tuning problems. There is also to be a small two manual ‘hybrid’ organ (pipes and electronic) to be installed temporarily in the Quire by Cotswold Hybrid Organs as a demonstration organ for their customers. They are apparently very close to Worcester and the Dean and Chapter have kindly sanctioned this. This all from cathedral musicians on a recent Facebook post.

A

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...