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77 note Residence Organ


Niccolo
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I was recently reading about a Mutin-Cavaillé-Coll residence organ that was built for the composer and organist Pierre-Maurice Branstein (1888-1914).

The organ had a console of 4 manuals and pedal, and contained somewhere around 40 ranks of pipes, but what I find interesting about this organ was that all the manuals had a compass of 77 notes starting from CCC. Meaning that the 4' stops were technically 8' stops, while the 8' stops were technically 16' stops. And according to the specification only a small number of stops started from CC.

Obviously a pipe organ with a compass stretching bellow CC is not unheard of, I just think it's a rather unique feature.

Unfortunately I can't find any mention of this organ on the internet, and I've only leaned about it from reading “Pipe Organs of the Rich and Famous” by Rollin Smith. But I am happy to post the specification or any additional information.

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Hi

How can something be "rather unique"!  It's either unique or not.  (Sorry - it's English mis usage that bugs me).

That said, a handful of pipe organs have been built with CC compass (an octave lower than the normal C compass), (although sometimes on stop lists it's not always clear exactly what compass is meant).  Old English organs of course routinely had a manual compass descending to GG or FF.  The (in)famous Midmer-Losh job in Atlantic City has a couple of manuals that descend even lower.  

I've just had a quick look in my copy of the book, and it does indeed look unusual.  Perhaps the compass was chosen because the owner was a pianist?  The additional cost of taking ranks down the additional octave must have been significant.  There are indeed some oddities in the organ world!

Every Blessing

Tony

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6 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:

How can something be "rather unique"!  It's either unique or not.  (Sorry - it's English mis usage that bugs me).

In my dictionary, at least, the primary definition of unique is "being the only one".  Using that definition, something couldn't be "rather unique."  However, a secondary definition of unique is "unusual."  Using that definition, it seems quite reasonable to say "rather unique."

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  • Niccolo changed the title to Just organ stuff
2 hours ago, Andrew Butler said:

I don't understand what this thread is about?

 

It's hard to explain. I haven't been doing that well lately, and I also wasn't happy with what I had posted, so I deleted all the text because I can't delete the whole thread. It was just about a Mutin-Cavaillé-Coll organ, that had a compass of 77 notes on each manual.

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Sorry you may have been put off by others’ (over?)-reactions.  What you wrote made perfectly good sense, at least to me.  I would have been interested to hear more about this unusual organ, and in particular the relationship of the extended manual compass to the pedals.

Fellow Mander-board members:  Niccolo Morandi may not read this.  He appears to have removed his name from all previous threads as well as this one.  In fact he may have left altogether as his profile is also deleted.  Maybe we should be a little more welcoming to someone writing from overseas, but showing interest in English organ matters as well as other topics.

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  • Niccolo changed the title to 77 note Residence Organ
1 hour ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

Sorry you may have been put off by others’ (over?)-reactions.  What you wrote made perfectly good sense, at least to me.  I would have been interested to hear more about this unusual organ, and in particular the relationship of the extended manual compass to the pedals.

Fellow Mander-board members:  Niccolo Morandi may not read this.  He appears to have removed his name from all previous threads as well as this one.  In fact he may have left altogether as his profile is also deleted.  Maybe we should be a little more welcoming to someone writing from overseas, but showing interest in English organ matters as well as other topics.

That's alright, things have just been a little difficult with what's been happening at the moment, and I also just didn't feel that what I posted was that interesting.

I'm still happy to post additional information about Pierre-Maurice Branstein's Mutin-Cavaille-Coll organ, such as the specification.

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1 hour ago, ... said:

and I also just didn't feel that what I posted was that interesting.

Please carry on! 
 

My view and opinion of this forum is that there is a high level of pedantry, blunt opinion and joking. However I also belIeve that contributors are well meaning and supportive and that that might not always come across. As for uninteresting posts, that really depends on what people find interesting, and I’m sure that opinions would be divided on how interesting most topics here are.

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1 hour ago, OwenTurner said:

Please carry on! 
 

My view and opinion of this forum is that there is a high level of pedantry, blunt opinion and joking. However I also belIeve that contributors are well meaning and supportive and that that might not always come across. As for uninteresting posts, that really depends on what people find interesting, and I’m sure that opinions would be divided on how interesting most topics here are.

I don't know what ells to say other than thankyou.

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Here is the specification of Pierre-Maurice Branstein's organ built by Mutin-Cavaille-Coll. The stops for the manuals are listed with two pitches, as the manuals have a compass of 77 notes. I can't say for sure how accurate this specification is, as I find it hard to believe that most of the stops would each have an additional bass octave.  

 

Compass: Manuals, CCC-e5

Pedal, 32 notes CC-g1

*Stops listed in R. Meyrick-Roberts, “The French Organ,” The Organ, no. 16 (1925): 209.

I. GRAND-ORGUE

  1.     16 Quintaton

  2. 16-8 Diapason

  3. 16-8 Flute*

  4. 16-8 Bourdon

  5. 16-8 Flute d'orchestre

  6. 16-8 Violoncelle

  7. 8-4 Principal

  8. 8-4 Petite Flute*

  9. 16-8 Clarinette

 

II. POSITIF EXPRESSIF

  1. 16-8 Principal

  2. 16-8 Core de nuit

  3. 16-8 Dulciane

  4. 8-4 Salicet

  5. 8-4 Viole d'amour

  6. 5 1/3-2 2/3 Nasard

  7. 4-2 Doublette

  8. 3 1/5-1 3/5 Tierce

  9. 2 2/7-1 1/7 Septieme

  10. 16-8 Contre-basson

  11. 16-8 Musette*

  12. 16-8 Cor d'harmonie

  13. 16-8 Hautbois*

  14. 16-8 Voix humaine

Tremolo

 

III. RECIT EXPRESSIF

  1. 16-8 Flute traversiere

  2. 16-8 Gambe

  3. 16-8 Viole

  4. 16-8 Eoline*

  5. 16-8 Eoline celeste

  6. 8-4 Flute octaviante

  7. 4-2 Fife

  8.          Plein jeu IV

  9.     16 Basson

  10. 16-8 Trompette harmonique

  11. 16-8 Cromorne

  12. 8-4 Clarion harmonique

Tremolo

 

IV. EN CHAMADE

  1. 16-8 Tuba

  2. 8-4 Trompette

  3.     4 Celesta (61 notes)

 

PEDAL (16' Tirasses begin at C°)

  1. 32 Basse acoustique

  2. 16 Grosse flute

  3. 16 Contrebasse

  4. 16 Soubasse (G.-O.)

  5. 8 Flute (ext.)

  6. 4 Flute (ext.)

  7. 16 Tuba magna

  8. 16 Clarinette (G.-O.)

 

COUPLERS

  1. Grand-Orgue [Unison off]

  2. Prolongement treble

  3. Positif au Grand-Orgue

  4. Recit au Grand-Orgue

  5. En Chamade au Grand-Orgue

  6. Positif 16, 4

  7. Prolongement bass

  8. Prolongement treble

  9. Recit 16, 4

  10. Prolongement bass

  11. Prolongement treble

  12. En Chamade au Recit 8

  13. En Chamade 16

  14. Tirasse Grand-Orgue 16, 8

  15. Tirasse Positif 16, 8

  16. Tirasse Recit 16, 8

  17. Tirasse En Chamade 16, 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, mkc1 said:

In my dictionary, at least, the primary definition of unique is "being the only one".  Using that definition, something couldn't be "rather unique."  However, a secondary definition of unique is "unusual."  Using that definition, it seems quite reasonable to say "rather unique."

That secondary definition may be how some use the word but it’s kind of the opposite of its original meaning and its general adoption would render the word ambiguous and therefore useless.

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23 hours ago, Niccolo said:

Here is the specification of Pierre-Maurice Branstein's organ built by Mutin-Cavaille-Coll. [...]

Thanks for this.  It is quite an interesting specification.  Interesting that the manuals descend an octave below the pedals and there are suboctave tirasses to pull down the bottom octave of the manuals.  The "prolongements" are interesting as well.  A sort of sustain perhaps?

I'm sorry you haven't been doing well lately.  I hope things improve soon.

Michael

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Weren’t sustainers a feature of HW III’s organs? - which is not to say other builders did not provide them.  I can only speculate that the manual stop labels indicate that the higher pitch is the ‘unison’ throughout the manual compass, and the lower pitch indicates what is transferred to the pedal by means of the tirasses - but this is just a theory.  How would people use the Grand-Orgue unison off, I wonder?  We need Nigel Allcoat or one of our other French specialists to explain what is happening in this particular organ.

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Must say I'd never heard of Braunstein (correct spelling) and imslp does not list him. It appears he died aged 26 fighting in the First World War. The following link provides a little information about this monster organ, compass CC (or should that be written CCC?) to e(4?).

Considering his apparent lack of recognition now, I wonder how he managed to afford a four manual organ of this scale (and a house to go with it!)

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21 hours ago, Rowland Wateridge said:

Weren’t sustainers a feature of HW III’s organs? - which is not to say other builders did not provide them.  I can only speculate that the manual stop labels indicate that the higher pitch is the ‘unison’ throughout the manual compass, and the lower pitch indicates what is transferred to the pedal by means of the tirasses - but this is just a theory.  How would people use the Grand-Orgue unison off, I wonder?  We need Nigel Allcoat or one of our other French specialists to explain what is happening in this particular organ.

Compton certainly provided them on his larger instruments - Hull Minster.

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On 29/08/2021 at 15:02, Niccolo said:

I don't know what ells to say other than thankyou.

Niccolo, I read some of your recent posts with some dismay, and although computer problems prevented me responding at the time, I'd still like to say what I had in mind.

In my view, internet forums can be compared to a bunch of like-minded people sitting comfortably together in a room and having a chat.  In all probability drinks will be on offer, just as they are, no doubt, to the individuals who sometimes post here (!).  So in this sort of setting people will sound off at random about the subject under discussion, with some agreeing and others disagreeing with what is said.  Sometimes one person might raise a subject which gets no response at all, perhaps because somebody else interjects with something completely irrelevant yet which attracts interest.  So the conversation veers all over the place, and (not to put too fine a point on it) some of what is said will be utter nonsense to be taken with a large pinch of salt.   However, it might also be entertaining at the same time.  If there are disagreements, they will mostly be fleeting and forgotten within a minute or two even if they were expressed forcibly or even rudely.   It is much easier to to forget the spoken word than when the remarks are written down, as they are here.  People will tend to laugh when together in a room rather than get too hot under the collar, and it is also possible to read their body language whereas on a forum this is impossible.

So for what it's worth, my advice to anyone who posts on a chat forum is that they should not take it too seriously.  Being more specific, Niccolo, I have always followed what you have said with great interest, and although it's some time ago now, I found your posts on house organs particularly stimulating.

Having said all this, there are a few people here who do post offensively.  In these cases I apply the dictum that "we are what we write".  In other words, their posts say more about them than anything else.  The worst thing one can do is to take their remarks to heart.

Best wishes

Colin Pykett

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On 28/08/2021 at 13:49, Rowland Wateridge said:

 I recall Ralph Downes advocating that certain manual stops should be extended down to the pedal organ.  Wasn’t this done at the RFH?

In very much the way which Colin Pykett describes, an answer to this turned up today quite fortuitously on, of all places, the YouTube thread about the failed première of Ligeti’s ‘Volumina’ at the RFH in 1971.  A BBC article is linked there with a close up photograph of the left stop-jamb which does, indeed, reveal a label directly under the pedal reed stops “Manual Basses”.  From memory (to be checked) there is no reference to this on the NPOR specification other than the relevant stops being individually shown as derived.  Having said this, I’m not sure that this is the same thing as Niccolo has described on the Mutin/ Cavaillé-Coll organ being discussed here.

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