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Ronald Shillingford

Cathedral Or Parish Church Organ ?

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I have just had details from David Well's Organ Builders of the new Specification of the recent rebuild at Arundel R.C Cathedral. To be honest it is not that much different to the exsisting spec. The only extras is a Solo Trumpet which lies horizontially and extra stop in the Pedal and the additon of chorus reeds on the Swell. It just seems to me that the instrument has no real guts to it ! I.E no 16 reed on the swell which has been removed Contra Oboe use to be there ! And the opportunity has been lost to add a 32. Thy could of easily quinted the Bass Bourdon unit for and acoustic 9 notes ! i wonder if any other Organist's are familiar with this instrument ?

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This sounds to be rather a shame.

 

If you look-up the instrument on the NPOR, it was previously a rather nice Hill, on paper. It was subsequently tinkered with, some of the 8p stops being exchanged for mutations and other stops which were out of character with the style of the organ.

 

This would have been a good opportunity to re-evaluate the scheme and restore the Hill specification.

 

Having said that, I can see little point in adding an Acoustic Bass to the Pedal Organ - these stops are generally quite useless, often not being effective for anything other than a few selected notes in full organ, usually towards the lower part of the pedal-board.

 

I would be interested to see the new specification. Could you inform me where I might find a copy, please.

 

Thank you.

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Having said that, I can see little point in adding an Acoustic Bass to the Pedal Organ - these stops are generally quite useless, often not being effective for anything other than a few selected notes in full organ, usually towards the lower part of the pedal-board.
I'm sure it's the way we make them. I've never yet heard a British example that is effective - but I've never yet heard an American example that wasn't.

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I'm sure it's the way we make them. I've never yet heard a British example that is effective - but I've never yet heard an American example that wasn't.

 

The acoustic bass on my instrument (Willis III) is actually rather good. Unfortunately some of the lower notes have been blocked up by dust from construction work a few years ago, but it's surprisingly effective on all the others - regardless of whether you're using soft strings or great chorus.

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Adrian, I had thought that the 32p flue on your own instrument was a downwards extension of the Pedal Bourdon - is this correct? It is listed as such on the NPOR.

 

Are some of the lower notes acoustic, in fact?

 

I would be interested to know - I vaguely remember it sounding like a 'real' stopped 32p, instead of an acoustically-contrived rank.

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I'm sure it's the way we make them. I've never yet heard a British example that is effective - but I've never yet heard an American example that wasn't.

 

Interesting. Do you know what the difference is, VH? How are their methods of construction different? It would be helpful to know - as you agreed, most of the British examples are generally useless.

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Adrian, I had thought that the 32p flue on your own instrument was a downwards extension of the Pedal Bourdon - is this correct? It is listed as such on the NPOR.

 

Are some of the lower notes acoustic, in fact?

 

I would be interested to know - I vaguely remember it sounding like a 'real' stopped 32p, instead of an acoustically-contrived rank.

 

It's a stopped extension of the Open Bass, I believe.

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It's a stopped extension of the Open Bass, I believe.

 

According to Sumner's article in the Organ, 1958 (which someone from this board kindly found for me), it *is* an extension of the Open Bass, scaled 14 3/5" x 12 1/4". If that means anything to you! (As you know, I'm ignorant of these things)

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Thank you, Adrian. In which case, it is greatly superior to an Acoustic Bass (where the fundamental is usually obtained from an Open Wood and the quint from a Bourdon rank).

 

No wonder I liked your stop!

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Thank you, Adrian. In which case, it is greatly superior to an Acoustic Bass (where the fundamental is usually obtained from an Open Wood and the quint from a Bourdon rank).

 

No wonder I liked your stop!

 

 

 

For those of u wanting tro know the new spec of this Organ at Arundel. Contact David Wells Organ Builders or the NPOR site.

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Thank you, Adrian. In which case, it is greatly superior to an Acoustic Bass (where the fundamental is usually obtained from an Open Wood and the quint from a Bourdon rank).

 

No wonder I liked your stop!

 

There was me thinking it was called Acoustic Bass, where it was actually called Sub Bass. My brain has really stopped working...

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For those of u wanting tro know the new spec of this Organ at Arundel. Contact David Wells Organ Builders or the NPOR site.

 

Hi

 

Please take note - tghe NPOR survey is NOT the current specification (survey date is 1998). It will be updated once information is to hand.

 

I had hoped to visit last weekend whilst in Sussex, by I gather that the work is not yet complete.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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For that matter, they have not yet updated the details on their own site - this still gives the previous stop-list.

 

I have written to David Wells, in the hope that he will be willing to provide me with some details.

 

As soon as I know anything, I shall pass it on (providing, of course, David Wells has no objection).

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I have just had details from David Well's Organ Builders of the new Specification of the recent rebuild at Arundel R.C Cathedral.  To be honest it is not that much different to the exsisting spec. The only extras is a Solo Trumpet which lies horizontially and extra stop in the Pedal and the additon of chorus reeds on the Swell.  It just seems to me that the instrument has no real guts to it ! I.E no 16 reed on the swell which has been removed Contra Oboe use to be there ! And the opportunity has been lost to add a 32.  Thy could  of easily quinted the Bass Bourdon unit for and acoustic 9 notes ! i wonder if any other Organist's are familiar with this instrument ?

oh right. Does an organ need a 16' swell reed and a 32' pedal reed to have some real guts? I had no idea... a horizontal solo trumpet never does it, of course.

 

And of course, if you have a 16' bourdon then you simply must quint it and create a 32' Harmonic bass!!! Why do some people just not bother!?!

 

I must have my organ altered immediately to have these features!

 

I can't remember the 32 flue at Adrian's church. I remember the pile-driver 32' quite vividly and rather liked it. I hope it's in better health now. Fine organ, though.

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oh right. Does an organ need a 16' swell reed and a 32' pedal reed to have some real guts? I had no idea... a horizontal solo trumpet never does it, of course.

 

And of course, if you have a 16' bourdon then you simply must quint it and create a 32' Harmonic bass!!! Why do some people just not bother!?!

 

I must have my organ altered immediately to have these features!

 

I can't remember the 32 flue at Adrian's church. I remember the pile-driver 32' quite vividly and rather liked it. I hope it's in better health now. Fine organ, though.

 

No, you don't need a 32, etc. But, in a building the size of a cathedral, you usually expect some sort of 32, whether a flue or reed, just to provide some extra gravitas.

 

The pile driver is less pile driver like when you shut the box on it - it can be quite subtle, you know B) And yes, it's in better health now - the electrics still need doing, but we've had a few repairs done to leatherwork, e.g. great stop machine, and I've been doing bodge repairs on some of the chests, with duct tape. The cotton ties have split, so the top sides of the chests were leaking like hell. Full-ish organ is now sustainable for a few seconds rather than the nano second we had before.

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For that matter, they have not yet updated the details on their own site - this still gives the previous stop-list.

 

I have written to David Wells, in the hope that he will be willing to provide me with some details.

 

As soon as I know anything, I shall pass it on (providing, of course, David Wells has no objection).

 

Well, I never did hear from David Wells - he is probably very busy, or perhaps my e-mail got lost in the ether. So, today, I decided to visit Arundel for myself. Whilst I was there I purchased a number of items, including an excellent booklet on the organ which was written by Nicholas Plumley. It included details of the recent restoration, a specification and a number of photographs.

 

Here is the present specification:

 

PEDAL ORGAN

 

Open Diapason Wood 16

Open Diapason Metal 16

Bourdon 16

Octave (M) 8

Flute 8

Fifteenth 4

Mixture (17-19-22) III

Trombone 16

Choir to Pedal

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal

 

CHOIR ORGAN

(Enclosed)

 

Gedeckt 8

Dulciana 8

Vox Angelica (II rks) 8

Suabe Flute 4

Harmonc Flute 4

Flageolet 2

Clarionet 8

Tremulant

(Unenclosed)

Solo Trumpet (En chamade) 8

Swell to Choir

 

GREAT ORGAN

 

Double Diapason (1-12 std. w) 16

Open Diapason 8

Cone Gamba 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Octave 4

Wald Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Full Mixture (17-19-22) III

Sharp Mixture (26-29) II

Trumpet 8

Clarion 4

Choir to Great

Swell to Great

 

SWELL ORGAN

 

Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flute 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Viola da Gamba 8

Octave 4

Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (15-19-22) III

Horn 8

Oboe 8

Clarion 4

Sub Octave

Unison Off

Octave

 

COMBINATIONS

 

Great Pistons to Pedal

Generals to Swell Toes

 

There are a number of details which are not readily apparent from the printed specification. The Solo Trumpet (Choir) is not new - it existed on the old Hill organ and was (oddly) placed in the Swell as the 8p chorus reed at the time of the 1931 rebuild and suppressed in 1968 - though I cannot imagine why. It has now been re-instated on the front of the case, en chamade - although this time the entire rank is horizontal. In the old Hill organ, only the lowest eleven pipes were displayed thus.

 

The GO III rank mixture is new, as are the Swell chorus reeds at 8p and 4p and the treble of the Oboe. However, these have all been constructed in a style closely matching what is known of the Hill organ of 1873.

 

The GO reeds have been re-made and revoiced without the harmonic trebles which they had acquired in 1931.

 

There are also a few ranks which have come from David Wells' own stock of old Hill pipework; for example, the Swell Viola da Gamba is largely from this source, the Choir Dulciana and Flageolet and the Swell 4p Flute.

 

The console has been entirely renewed, although some of the old (1890) Hill drawstop heads have been incorporated, having been re-engraved where necessary.

 

Apparently, the organ is already making a deep (and good) impression - Mark Blatchly spoke very highly of the instrument following its restoration and this summer there is an impressive list of recitalists who are booked to give concerts - including Daniel Roth.

 

The cathedral itself is beautiful and the restored organ case, with its re-instated chamade trumpet and decorated front pipes restored to pristine condition fits the building like a glove.

 

I thoroughly recommend a visit. However, if you do, and castles are also your thing, allow a few hours to visit Arundel Castle - this is also a stunning, huge and very interesting edifice, which was built and rebuilt over several centuries. There are many treasures, superb architectural features and excellent facilities. Do not be deterred by the £12.00 admission charge - in my view it was worth every penny.

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Well, I never did hear from David Wells - he is probably very busy, or perhaps my e-mail got lost in the ether. So, today, I decided to visit Arundel for myself. Whilst I was there I purchased a number of items, including an excellent booklet on the organ which was written by Nicholas Plumley. It included details of the recent restoration, a specification and a number of photographs.

 

Here is the present specification:

 

PEDAL ORGAN

 

Open Diapason Wood 16

Open Diapason Metal 16

Bourdon 16

Octave (M) 8

Flute 8

Fifteenth 4

Mixture (17-19-22) III

Trombone 16

Choir to Pedal

Great to Pedal

Swell to Pedal

 

CHOIR ORGAN

(Enclosed)

 

Gedeckt 8

Dulciana 8

Vox Angelica (II rks) 8

Suabe Flute 4

Harmonc Flute 4

Flageolet 2

Clarionet 8

Tremulant

(Unenclosed)

Solo Trumpet (En chamade) 8

Swell to Choir

 

GREAT ORGAN

 

Double Diapason (1-12 std. w) 16

Open Diapason 8

Cone Gamba 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Octave 4

Wald Flute 4

Twelfth 2 2/3

Fifteenth 2

Full Mixture (17-19-22) III

Sharp Mixture (26-29) II

Trumpet 8

Clarion 4

Choir to Great

Swell to Great

 

SWELL ORGAN

 

Open Diapason 8

Hohl Flute 8

Stopped Diapason 8

Viola da Gamba 8

Octave 4

Flute 4

Fifteenth 2

Mixture (15-19-22) III

Horn 8

Oboe 8

Clarion 4

Sub Octave

Unison Off

Octave

 

COMBINATIONS

 

Great Pistons to Pedal

Generals to Swell Toes

 

There are a number of details which are not readily apparent from the printed specification. The Solo Trumpet (Choir) is not new - it existed on the old Hill organ and was (oddly) placed in the Swell as the 8p chorus reed at the time of the 1931 rebuild and suppressed in 1968 - though I cannot imagine why. It has now been re-instated on the front of the case, en chamade - although this time the entire rank is horizontal. In the old Hill organ, only the lowest eleven pipes were displayed thus.

 

The GO III rank mixture is new, as are the Swell chorus reeds at 8p and 4p and the treble of the Oboe. However, these have all been constructed in a style closely matching what is known of the  Hill organ of 1873.

 

The GO reeds have been re-made and revoiced without the harmonic trebles which they had acquired in 1931.

 

There are also a few ranks which have come from David Wells' own stock of old Hill pipework; for example, the Swell Viola da Gamba is largely from this source, the Choir Dulciana and Flageolet and the Swell 4p Flute.

 

The console has been entirely renewed, although some of the old (1890) Hill drawstop heads have been incorporated, having been re-engraved where necessary.

 

Apparently, the organ is already making a deep (and good) impression - Mark Blatchly spoke very highly of the instrument following its restoration and this summer there is an impressive list of recitalists who are booked to give concerts - including Daniel Roth.

 

The cathedral itself is beautiful and the restored organ case, with its re-instated chamade trumpet and decorated front pipes restored to pristine condition fits the building like a glove.

 

I thoroughly recommend a visit. However, if you do, and castles are also your thing, allow a few hours to visit Arundel Castle - this is also a stunning, huge and very interesting edifice, which was built and rebuilt over several centuries. There are many treasures, superb architectural features and excellent facilities. Do not be deterred by the £12.00 admission charge - in my view it was worth every penny.

Thanks for this interesting information - do you have details of the publisher of Plumley's history, please?

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Thanks for this interesting information - do you have details of the publisher of Plumley's history, please?

 

The Organ in Arundel Cathedral by Nicholas M. Plumley; Positif Press, Oxford. £4.95

 

ISBN 0 906894 43 3

 

Positif Press

130 Southfield Road

Oxford

OX4 1PA

 

I cannot see it listed on the current website display:

 

http://www.positifpress.com/books.html

 

Your best bet might be to try the cathedral shop in Arundel:

 

Cathedral House,

Parsons Hill,

Arundel,

West Sussex,

BN18 9AY

 

Telephone: 01903 882297

 

This telephone number is almost certainly that of the Presbytery - or possibly the administrative office; however, they can probably give you the correct address (and telephone number, if there is one) for the shop.

 

The booklet itself has a waxed cover with colour photographs of the case on front and back and with close-up colour photographs of each stop-jamb on the inside front and back of the cover. There are thirty-two pages, eight monochrome plates and one reproduction of a drawing of the outside of the cathedral (complete with two hundred and eighty-foot spire, which was never built).

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Yes, Arundel is well worth a visit. Do bear in mind that the Castle is closed on a Saturday. Apparently, The Red Lion is worth patronising if your thirst needs quenching. Tho best avoided when Goodwood races are on !!

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The Organ in Arundel Cathedral by Nicholas M. Plumley; Positif Press, Oxford. £4.95

 

ISBN 0 906894 43 3

 

Positif Press

130 Southfield Road

Oxford

OX4 1PA

 

I cannot see it listed on the current website display:

 

http://www.positifpress.com/books.html

 

Your best bet might be to try the cathedral shop in Arundel:

 

Cathedral House,

Parsons Hill,

Arundel,

West Sussex,

BN18 9AY   

         

Telephone: 01903 882297

 

This telephone number is almost certainly that of the Presbytery - or possibly the administrative office; however, they can probably give you the correct address (and telephone number, if there is one) for the shop.

 

The booklet itself has a waxed cover with colour photographs of the case on front and back and with close-up colour photographs of each stop-jamb on the inside front and back of the cover. There are thirty-two pages, eight monochrome plates and one reproduction of a drawing of the outside of the cathedral (complete with two hundred and eighty-foot spire, which was never built).

Many thanks - this sounds like an excellent booklet.

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Guest Roffensis
I have just had details from David Well's Organ Builders of the new Specification of the recent rebuild at Arundel R.C Cathedral.  To be honest it is not that much different to the exsisting spec. The only extras is a Solo Trumpet which lies horizontially and extra stop in the Pedal and the additon of chorus reeds on the Swell.  It just seems to me that the instrument has no real guts to it ! I.E no 16 reed on the swell which has been removed Contra Oboe use to be there ! And the opportunity has been lost to add a 32.  Thy could  of easily quinted the Bass Bourdon unit for and acoustic 9 notes ! i wonder if any other Organist's are familiar with this instrument ?

 

Yes I knew it before, and always regarded it as a "old steam engine" sounding job, full of character, and not overblown, and one where every stop counts and adds something. The problem with additions is that of obscuring the original scheme, and really Arundel is perfectly adequate, and to me, does not need a plethora of additions. Why should a organ have to have "guts"? do we mean sheer power? Take Chichester, another Hill that is not going to blast you out of the building, but as a musical instrument is excellent. I think Wells have done a incredibly conservative and respectful rebuild of it, and I for one would have hated to see it enlarged and "improved".

R

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Guest Roffensis
Interesting. Do you know what the difference is, VH? How are their methods of construction different? It would be helpful to know - as you agreed, most of the British examples are generally useless.

 

Well, if it HAS to be done.............About as useless as the organists who insist the quint is accross the same rank, rather than two, with the lower note the louder. Otherwise the fifth is too prominent.....and there are numerous rumbings in parish organs that fail dismally because of this treatment. If there is no adequate 16 ranks to do this, then the organ is too small and should not have such a stop in the first place. I know of one two manual organ that even had a 32' Contra Bombarde quinted off a pedal 16 reed, which sounded hideous. Organists need educating!

R

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