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AJJ
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'Spotted this today - another Downes scheme rebuilt/restored with a few extras added. Interesting (see elsewhere) to see the Swell Cimbel going back albeit with a Mixture as well. I think it looks as if it is going to be good - especially the augmented Great reeds and the C de B available at 8' on the Choir. It is a really splendid organ as it stands but this will add flexibility and grandeur - also the much needed 32' reed. In the past every stop has had to pay its way in the vast nave so the Nave organ will help too.

I've known this organ since I was a child (home diocesan cathedral etc. - visiting choir once a year latterly being allowed to play before/after the service) have heard it in action at the Organ Festival, in services and backing up a full house at the Easter youth pigrimage and it never ceases to amaze - it also plays like a dream!

 

http://www.harrison-organs.co.uk/stalbanspec.html

 

AJJ

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'Spotted this today - another Downes scheme rebuilt/restored with a few extras added. Interesting (see elsewhere) to see the Swell Cimbel going back albeit with a Mixture as well. I think it looks as if it is going to be good - especially the augmented Great reeds and the C de B available at 8' on the Choir. It is a  really splendid organ as it stands but this will add flexibility and grandeur - also the much needed 32' reed. In the past every stop has had to pay its way in the vast nave so the Nave organ will help too.

I've known this organ since I was a child (home diocesan cathedral etc. - visiting choir once a year latterly being allowed to play before/after the service) have heard it in action at the Organ Festival, in services and backing up a full house at the Easter youth pigrimage and it never ceases to amaze - it also plays like a dream!

 

http://www.harrison-organs.co.uk/stalbanspec.html

 

AJJ

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'Spotted this today - another Downes scheme rebuilt/restored with a few extras added. Interesting (see elsewhere) to see the Swell Cimbel going back albeit with a Mixture as well. I think it looks as if it is going to be good - especially the augmented Great reeds and the C de B available at 8' on the Choir. It is a  really splendid organ as it stands but this will add flexibility and grandeur - also the much needed 32' reed. In the past every stop has had to pay its way in the vast nave so the Nave organ will help too.

I've known this organ since I was a child (home diocesan cathedral etc. - visiting choir once a year latterly being allowed to play before/after the service) have heard it in action at the Organ Festival, in services and backing up a full house at the Easter youth pigrimage and it never ceases to amaze - it also plays like a dream!

 

http://www.harrison-organs.co.uk/stalbanspec.html

 

AJJ

Yes I quite agree - the organ plays like a dream, having heard and played it many times. Everyone seemed glad to get rid of the cimbel and replace it with a more conventional mixture - it certainly worked better to my ears - the cimbel used to stick out and never seemed to fit in...but that is imho. time flies, but it only seemed like 15 years since they gave it an overhaul.

What ever, it'll still be a cracking sound, I'm sure

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Guest Paul Isom

Curiously I had the chance to play a little-known Downes/Harrison organ last weekend at St Clement Danes Church in London. I played a recital and a service so got a chance to get a real feel for the organ. It plays like a dream, especially if you adopt the Blatchly 'Gloucester principle' - that of registering horizontally rather than vertically. I expected an organ that spat, shrieked and snarled - and, in reality I encountered an instrument that was warm, colourful and extremely versatile. As a choral accompaniment machine, it was superb. Curiously the choir felt more supported by the organ, due in no small part by the sheer clarity of the instrument. The chaplain at St Clement Danes (a good friend) tells me that they would dearly love an unenclosed Trumpet as the organ tends to pale a little when the building is full. I should state that the pedal has reeds at 16', 8', and 4' pitches but no unenclosed reeds other than a rather fun Cremona on the Choir. This organ seems to lack certain excesses experienced on other Downes-influenced organs. Is it the case that Downes was further influenced by the incumbent organist in the overall design? Certainly the organ pre-dates Coventry, but certainly has some of the traits.

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How much input did Downes have into the Coventry spec? I know the combined wisdom of several musicians went into it, but the predominant influence seems to be that of Sidney Campbell. At any rate, the spec is awfully similar to the organ he designed at Windsor.

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Curiously I had the chance to play a little-known Downes/Harrison organ last weekend at St Clement Danes Church in London.  I played a recital and a service so got a chance to get a real feel for the organ.  It plays like a dream, especially if you adopt the Blatchly 'Gloucester principle' - that of registering horizontally rather than vertically.  I expected an organ that spat, shrieked and snarled - and, in reality I encountered an instrument that was warm, colourful and extremely versatile.  As a choral accompaniment machine, it was superb.  Curiously the choir felt more supported by the organ, due in no small part by the sheer clarity of the instrument.  The chaplain at St Clement Danes (a good friend) tells me that they would dearly love an unenclosed Trumpet as the organ tends to pale a little when the building is full.  I should state that the pedal has reeds at 16', 8', and 4' pitches but no unenclosed reeds other than a rather fun Cremona on the Choir.  This organ seems to lack certain excesses experienced on other Downes-influenced organs. Is it the case that Downes was further influenced by the incumbent organist in the overall design?  Certainly the organ pre-dates Coventry, but certainly has some of the traits.

 

The incumbent organist was Martindale Sidwell. Downes walked off the job after some major disagreements with Martindale.

 

The church was refused a faculty for a trumpet a few years ago.

 

Paul's recital was first class.

 

Alan

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How much input did Downes have into the Coventry spec? I know the combined wisdom of several musicians went into it, but the predominant influence seems to be that of Sidney Campbell. At any rate, the spec is awfully similar to the organ he designed at Windsor.

 

Downes? None, as far as I know. The first scheme was not unlike the old Gloucester organ; then someone decided that it just was not sexy enough for a brand-new cathedral, so Sidney Campbell, Cuthbert Harrison and David Lepine got together and re-designed it. After this, it came out almost as it was actually built, although a proposed Larigot on the Choir Organ ended up as a 2p Blockflute. They had to wait until 1988 for the Larigot to be added (presumably on a clamp) - together with (whisper it) some more octave couplers.

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'Spotted this today - another Downes scheme rebuilt/restored with a few extras added. Interesting (see elsewhere) to see the Swell Cimbel going back albeit with a Mixture as well. I think it looks as if it is going to be good - especially the augmented Great reeds and the C de B available at 8' on the Choir. It is a  really splendid organ as it stands but this will add flexibility and grandeur - also the much needed 32' reed. In the past every stop has had to pay its way in the vast nave so the Nave organ will help too.

I've known this organ since I was a child (home diocesan cathedral etc. - visiting choir once a year latterly being allowed to play before/after the service) have heard it in action at the Organ Festival, in services and backing up a full house at the Easter youth pigrimage and it never ceases to amaze - it also plays like a dream!

 

http://www.harrison-organs.co.uk/stalbanspec.html

 

AJJ

The new couplers provided seem interesting - Choir to Great and Great on Choir are being added in addition to the standards (including the Choir Unison Off). I've no experience with an organ having these couplers, and have only heard St Albans live once, and I'm wondering how they'll be used.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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The incumbent organist was Martindale Sidwell. Downes walked off the job after some major disagreements with Martindale.

 

The church was refused a faculty for a trumpet a few years ago.

 

Paul's recital was first class.

 

Alan

 

Interesting - I did not know that Downes washed his hands of it before it was finished!

 

I wonder who was the DOA who refused a faculty for a trumpet. In any case, did the church authorities actually need a faculty? The visual appearance of the instrument would presumably not have been altered and they were not removing anything from the building. Can anyone clarify this point in law, please?

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The new couplers provided seem interesting - Choir to Great and Great on Choir are being added in addition to the standards (including the Choir Unison Off).  I've no experience with an organ having these couplers, and have only heard St Albans live once, and I'm wondering how they'll be used.

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

 

Yes, they do. Presumably the Choir on Great will enable a greater spread of foundation-tone to be used against the Fanfare Trumpet.

 

Actually, Harrisons have missed denoting a new stop - there is not currently a Quintatön 16p on the Choir Organ; neither, for that matter, is there presently a Principal 16p on the GO!

 

I wonder where they are going to put all the extra pipe-work? Also, will the GO have a new chest? I doubt that it would be possible simply to separate the constituent parts of the present Quartane without putting one of the ranks on a clamp or a new chest.

 

In addition, some of the new pipe-work will be quite bulky. Is the new GO Principal going to be duplexed from the Pedal Organ, for example? If so, would this not then weaken its effect as a Pedal stop, when it is also drawn on the GO?

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Actually, Harrisons have missed denoting a new stop - there is not currently a Quintatön 16p on the Choir Organ; neither, for that matter, is there presently a Principal 16p on the GO!

 

 

I'll just chip in at this point with two things:

 

First, the specification on the H&H website took me slightly by surprise - it is the contract specification of some months ago and does not quite accurately represent where we have got to since then in respect of one or two of the details - so please do not take it as the final one. Currently there is not a final agreed specification, though we are very near.

 

Second, pcnd's memory fails him regarding the two 16' manual stops - they have always been there!

 

(see NPOR N14573)

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Second, pcnd's memory fails him regarding the two 16' manual stops - they have always been there!

 

(see NPOR N14573)

 

Weird - I was taking the present specification as published on the cathedral's own website, Andrew! (On the page which deals with notes for visiting choirs - these two stops are definitely not listed on that specification!)

 

I am currently at school, so I was unable to check my copy of The Harrison Story, to make sure. I do not often trust my memory!

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Weird - I was taking the present specification as published on the cathedral's own website, Andrew! (On the page which deals with notes for visiting choirs - these two stops are definitely not listed on that specification!)

 

I am currently at school, so I was unable to check my copy of The Harrison Story, to make sure.  I do not often trust my memory!

 

 

Well there you go! Am I bovvered?

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Interesting - I did not know that Downes washed his hands of it before it was finished!

 

I wonder who was the DOA who refused a faculty for a trumpet. In any case, did the church authorities actually need a faculty? The visual appearance of the instrument would presumably not have been altered and they were not removing anything from the building. Can anyone clarify this point in law, please?

 

Yes, St Clement Danes does need faculty approval for all such works. The RAF has a lease on the building. It is not owned by them.

 

The very elderly DOA was horrified with the idea that anyone would wish to alter, in any way, an organ that St Ralph Downes had once smiled upon.

 

Alan

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