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Abbreviated Combinations


Malcolm Farr
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I was just wonder if anyone out there in Discussion Board Land uses an abbreviated combination as I do ...

 

I have a Swell combination setting of just three stops - Double Trumpet, Clarion and Mixture III - that I use most particularly for coupling through to the Great. Of course, every instrument is different, but I wonder if others find something like this minimalist full Swell combination best for coupling?

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Well, I bet AJT does on his, if only from the perspective of wind preservation and having the swell speak within a tone of the rest of it. But then again, he can't set pistons without causing some unexpected electrical malady generally involving billows of smoke and the creation of novel and arresting new couplers, such as Pedal to Swell 4 4/7 with bagpipe drone.

 

I'm not particularly experienced at accompanying on the organ and just really getting used to things. A recent revelation has been that taking my swell reeds (8p and 4p only) and principal down to Great mixtures and metal double is considerably more sociable as a "full swell" in the choir stalls than using the swell alone (way above me in the triforium, and speaking on higher wind). I have to be more conservative also having quite a large-ish instrument with only a handful of generals (which are currently forgetting everything you teach them when you switch off the wind) but a very strong choir with varied repertoire and high demands. As a result I'm starting to be considerably more unorthodox (or at least out of my general crescendo comfort zone) in my approach to registration, to maximise the combinations I can get without a lot of tedious resetting. Makes the cockups harder to spot, too.

 

From tuning and winding perspectives, there's obviously benefits, and though it'll probably upset Pierre L there's an inescapable argument about building suitable choruses for the job with whatever material comes to hand.

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Peter Hurford once wrote or said ('can't remember which) that we need to play with our ears to a large extent and not with pre ordained rules and regulations to the fore. This would seem to be especially necessary on the sort of organ that most of us have to play large chunks of repertoire on and try to enliven psalms and anthems etc. In consequence - if it sounds the way the player wants it to sound, is achievable to a lesser or greater extent then should be valid. I have encountered seemingly weird combination settings on well used liturgical instruments where obviously the resident player knows what he/she wants and is used to the effects set up. Only time spent experimenting can allow familiarity to be achieved.

I remember at Bath Abbey before the Klais work - in the Britten Te Deum (whichever one of the two it is) with the quiet start and pedal quavers the RP flues were always coupled down onto the Pedal. This because the Pedal stops all spoke either slowly or at different times (most of them were in different places!) so in order to get any sort of rhythmic accuracy for the Choir to link up with there had to be something close by playing in time - hence the RP. Necessity being the mother of invention etc.

 

AJJ

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"have a Swell combination setting of just three stops - Double Trumpet, Clarion and Mixture III - that I use most particularly for coupling through to the Great. Of course, every instrument is different, but I wonder if others find something like this minimalist full Swell combination best for coupling"

(Quote)

 

Cavaillé-Coll organs have two pallet-boxes on each windchest, with the foundation stops

feeded by one of them, the other feeding the reeds, Mixtures and usually some upperwork like a Doublette as well.

With your setting you reproduce something like that.

 

As for reed 16-4+ Mixture, again, we are here in the rather vast "Grand-jeu" family of registrations.

This existed from the flemish early baroque at least:

 

-Jeu de Tierce (8-4-2-2 2/3-1 3/5)+ chorus reeds, usually Cornet+reeds

 

-Early french baroque: all the Tierces (that is, independant ranks with Bourdon,

Flute, Nasard, Doublette, Tierce)+ Montre, Prestant, the Cornets and the reeds

 

-Late french baroque (Dom Bédos): only the Prestants, the Cornets and the reeds

(A simplification also)

 

-In England we had: Tierce Mixtures, Sesquialteras, Cornets, all of which were

seemingly often used with the Trumpet.

 

-And then we have the famous english "Full Swell": Fifteenth, Mixture, Reeds (16-8-4)...The Mixture including, of course, a Tierce rank (17-19-22, or Cornet like in St-Paul London)

 

To me there is a continuity in this!

And the tendancy always go towards a simplification; from a "full-blasting I pull all that works togheter" to a: "After all, I only need the reeds, a Mixture and a simple

other rank".

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I was just wonder if anyone out there in Discussion Board Land uses an abbreviated combination as I do ...

 

I have a Swell combination setting of just three stops - Double Trumpet, Clarion and Mixture III - that I use most particularly for coupling through to the Great.  Of course, every instrument is different, but I wonder if others find something like this minimalist full Swell combination best for coupling?

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

I remember someone asking an eminent recitalist what stops they should use for a certain piece. The reply was "The ones that sound right" - sound advice too!

 

FF

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Well, I bet AJT does on his, if only from the perspective of wind preservation and having the swell speak within a tone of the rest of it.  But then again, he can't set pistons without causing some unexpected electrical malady generally involving billows of smoke and the creation of novel and arresting new couplers, such as Pedal to Swell 4 4/7 with bagpipe drone.

 

 

 

Yeah, something like that. I can now set the divisionals, but not generals. Don't use them anyway...

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This reminds me of the "abbreviated" Full Swell at St Bees Priory in West Cumbria (III/36 1899 Father Willis; 1906/31/49/58 Harrison & Harrison). More details at St Bees Priory organ

 

The organ was designed by Col. George Dixon, who wrote in 1932: "Now we come to the most remarkable feature of the whole organ. The full swell piston draws contra posaune 16ft., cornopean 8ft., clarion 4ft., flageolet 2ft., and mixture 12 19 22: but five speaking stops, and there are no couplers. This wonderful full swell effect has deceived many, yet it scarcely could be improved upon. The oboe, when drawn, cannot be heard unless it be out of tune, and the addition of the open and gemshorn is inappreciable. The thrill is, of course, due to the splendour of the reeds, and the admirable blend of the mixture: a result which the builder knew so well how to obtain."

 

Willis thought that the Swell 16' Contra Posaune was the finest he ever made. It is certainly a remarkable instrument.

 

Andrew Caskie

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The full swell piston draws contra posaune 16ft., cornopean 8ft., clarion 4ft., flageolet 2ft., and mixture 12 19 22: but five speaking stops, and there are no couplers.
This is in line with the advice given by Reginald Whitworth in his book Organ Stops and their Use (1951). To Whitworth, full swell consisted of no more than 16', 8' and 4' chorus reeds plus Mixture (not even, if I recall, the 15th). In fact, Whitworth's thesis generally was one of "purity". You should only use enough stops to produce the tone colour you require; don't use a stop if all it does is thicken the texture (e.g. why thicken the Diapason chorus with flutes?) Single stops can sound wonderful - try them. And so on. It almost sounds like an incipient neo-Baroque outlook. The book has useful explanations of French and German Romantic consoles (ventils; freie Kombination).
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The organ was designed by Col. George Dixon, who wrote in 1932: "Now we come to the most remarkable feature of the whole organ. The full swell piston draws contra posaune 16ft., cornopean 8ft., clarion 4ft., flageolet 2ft., and mixture 12 19 22: but five speaking stops, and there are no couplers. This wonderful full swell effect has deceived many, yet it scarcely could be improved upon. The oboe, when drawn, cannot be heard unless it be out of tune, and the addition of the open and gemshorn is inappreciable. The thrill is, of course, due to the splendour of the reeds, and the admirable blend of the mixture: a result which the builder knew so well how to obtain.

 

 

Is it still in good order? I've heard lots of good things about this instrument, and I seem to recall a reasonable amount of discussion of it in Stephen Bicknell's book.

 

I'm lucky enough to have 2 possibilties for a full swell sound, which, given the much depleted state of many Anglican parish choirs, is quite a blessing.

 

Mini full swell = 4' fugara, 2' flageolet, Dulzian 16' & Hautboy 8'

Proper full swell = 16' Waldorn, 8' Trumpet, 4' Clarion + IV Mixture (12 15 19 22). Plus, if you like, the principal chorus, but it's rather drowned, as would the choir be if I used this...

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I'm lucky enough to have 2 possibilties for a full swell sound, which, given the much depleted state of many Anglican parish choirs, is quite a blessing.

 

Mini full swell = 4' fugara, 2' flageolet, Dulzian 16' & Hautboy 8'

Proper full swell = 16' Waldorn, 8' Trumpet, 4' Clarion + IV Mixture (12 15 19 22). Plus, if you like, the principal chorus, but it's rather drowned, as would the choir be if I used this...

 

I seem to remember the Choir Trompette could also be roped in to help out on occasions too. A bit of fire in the winter when we students diligently trooped down to prepare our pieces before the Collins at the University went in - it used to be perishing down there. The only place worse was the RC church with the horrid little organ at the back - high up and the console at the front. There the whole stoplist was truncated!!

 

AJJ

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I was just wonder if anyone out there in Discussion Board Land uses an abbreviated combination as I do ...

 

I have a Swell combination setting of just three stops - Double Trumpet, Clarion and Mixture III - that I use most particularly for coupling through to the Great.  Of course, every instrument is different, but I wonder if others find something like this minimalist full Swell combination best for coupling?

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

Leeds PC organ full swell piston was simply 16 reed, mixture and octave coupler...I'm not sure whether it still is now that the organ is restored, but I suspect it will be..

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I seem to remember the Choir Trompette could also be roped in to help out on occasions too. A bit of fire in the winter when we students diligently trooped down to prepare our pieces before the Collins at the University went in - it used to be perishing down there. The only place worse was the RC church with the horrid little organ at the back - high up and the console at the front. There the whole stoplist was truncated!!

 

AJJ

 

It's still bloody freezing, which is a source of a lot of leather related problems :D Ihave got 2 heaters installed in the organ loft now, though, so at least *my* toes stay warm. Bugger the congregation - they can bring their own heaters.

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It's still bloody freezing, which is a source of a lot of leather related problems :D Ihave got 2 heaters installed in the organ loft now, though, so at least *my* toes stay warm. Bugger the congregation - they can bring their own heaters.

 

 

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

 

What you need are those long thermal combinations, rather than those skimpy things abbreviated to CK.

 

MM

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Again, it depends on the instrument, its situation and the acoustic properties of the building in question.

 

On my own instrument, it is necessary to use rather more foundation-tone than one might on certain other instruments. Swell reeds (with or without the mixture) is a slightly thin sound - possibly acceptable for some types of music, but in accompaniment, our choir needs more body to the sound of the organ.

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I seem to remember the Choir Trompette could also be roped in to help out on occasions too. A bit of fire in the winter when we students diligently trooped down to prepare our pieces before the Collins at the University went in - it used to be perishing down there. The only place worse was the RC church with the horrid little organ at the back - high up and the console at the front. There the whole stoplist was truncated!!

 

AJJ

 

Was the the church of the immaculate contraception on Portswood Road? when I was there, they heated it 24/7 during the winter. Lovely and cosy in early Feb.

 

I think I've nominiated that organ as one of the worst I've ever played and during my time there suggested they might like to replace it and found them a lovely 3 manual Hill, which I thought would be quite nice for them in the west gallery. But they wanted to spend less than the bare minimum to keep that ghastly thing staggering on and - incredulously - wanted to keep the organist downstairs at the front, too. So, as far as I'm concerned, they deserve that pile of sh... pipes? ... in the west gallery.

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Was the the church of the immaculate contraception on Portswood Road? when I was there, they heated it 24/7 during the winter. Lovely and cosy in early Feb.

 

I think I've nominiated that organ as one of the worst I've ever played and during my time there suggested they might like to replace it and found them a lovely 3 manual Hill, which I thought would be quite nice for them in the west gallery. But they wanted to spend less than the bare minimum to keep that ghastly thing staggering on and - incredulously - wanted to keep the organist downstairs at the front, too. So, as far as I'm concerned, they deserve that pile of  sh... pipes? ... in the west gallery.

 

That was it - you must have been lucky with the heat though - maybe your playing was better than mine so they turned it up specially!

 

AJJ

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Was the the church of the immaculate contraception on Portswood Road? when I was there, they heated it 24/7 during the winter. Lovely and cosy in early Feb.

 

I think I've nominiated that organ as one of the worst I've ever played

That's a shame. The specification looks quite reasonable on paper - not that that necessarily means anything, as we all know.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N11626

 

Until you said, I was guessing you meant this one (if my use of an integer is not too much of an exaggeration):

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D04055

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That's a shame. The specification looks quite reasonable on paper - not that that necessarily means anything, as we all know.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N11626

 

Until you said, I was guessing you meant this one (if my use of an integer is not too much of an exaggeration):

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D04055

No, you've got it right 1st time.

 

I quite liked the idea of the spec of this organ - it is a refreshing change from the typical church organ - but the implementation left a lot to be desired. To be honest, I never found the 4' pedal reed that helpful in a church service and would have given a lot for some well voiced foundation stops. Neither the spec or voicing helped towards playing romantic music and it wasn't really suitable for anything written after 1850, or, for that matter, accompanying a congregation (probably something to do in the spec of a lack of a decent chorus based on an 8' principal - a 4' and 2' based chorus on each manual was pretty useless in practice). But it was nice to have something completly different and quite experiemental in rather dull grey Southampton.

 

In fact, looking at the spec, with its curious mixture of French, German and English (viz. 8' Salicional) nomenclature and heavily detacted E-P action, bit difficult to say what it was really intended to do...

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That's a shame. The specification looks quite reasonable on paper - not that that necessarily means anything, as we all know.

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N11626

 

Until you said, I was guessing you meant this one (if my use of an integer is not too much of an exaggeration):

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D04055

Just had a look at the 2nd spec - 1864 Walker organ, tonally unaltered. I'd have thought this was a quite a gem and no way could be described as a "horrid little organ" as described in Alastair's note. I must be honest, I don't know this instrument but the 1858 Walker in South Stoneham, Southampton is a beautiful little instrument and there are plenty more Walker organs I can wax lyrical about all day....

 

But 1860s Walkers probably weren't that fashionable 30 years ago...

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In fact, looking at the spec, with its curious mixture of French, German and English (viz. 8' Salicional) nomenclature and heavily detacted E-P action, bit difficult to say what it was really intended to do...
On paper it looks like a not untypical neo-Baroque jobby from the 1960s (a Pedal Schalmei being almost de rigueur back then). It looks like a French-biased spec in a Werkprinzip layout - most odd.

 

Just had a look at the 2nd spec - 1864 Walker organ, tonally unaltered. I'd have thought this was a quite a gem and no way could be described as a "horrid little organ" as described in Alastair's note.
Hmm... I take your point. I'm not sure I could live with all those tenor C stops though.
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[quote=Vox Humana,May 11 2006, 06:07 PM]

On paper it looks like a not untypical neo-Baroque jobby from the 1960s (a Pedal Schalmei being almost de rigueur back then). It looks like a French-biased spec in a Werkprinzip layout - most odd.

 

As far as I remember there was no actual Werkprinzip - more like the whole thing chucked up at the back on a shelf. Nothing much fitted 'chorus wise' and the general effect was decidedly thin and top heavy! There was also a bit of a time lag.

But...they let us play there!

 

AJJ

 

I seem also to remember that the Archbishop of Westminster was priest there for a short time in the early 70s - before my time in Southampton though.

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On paper it looks like a not untypical neo-Baroque jobby from the 1960s (a Pedal Schalmei being almost de rigueur back then). It looks like a French-biased spec in a Werkprinzip layout - most odd.

 

As far as I remember there was no actual Werkprinzip - more like the whole thing chucked up at the back on a shelf. Nothing much fitted 'chorus wise' and the general effect was decidedly thin and top heavy! There was also a bit of a time lag.

But...they let us play there!

 

That's as I remember it - it rather looks like a less impressive scaled-down copy of the RFH organ, all on a shelf above the West gallery. The 2 divisions sit side by side on EP (or direct electric) chests. The celebrated pedal schamei was on a separate chromatic chest above the rest of the organ, in pride of place against the bback wall. Absolutely right, VH - it is the archetypal 1960s neo-Baroque jobby.

 

I think Dom Gregory Murray was organist there for some years. My experience was that they would still let us play there if we asked but didn't encourage us to do so too much. They were much more helpful if you helped out with services, etc, which generally I was happy to do. Bach chorales with a cantus firmus pedal were particularly common, just to savour the use of the 4' pedal schamei...

 

VH- hmm - I know what you mean about those TC stops, annoying things....

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