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Organ In The Round ?


Westgate Morris
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Guest delvin146
Hello: I am looking for examples where a pipe organ has been effectively split and placed at opposite ends of the room. Say.... the Great at the back of the room and the Choir and the Swell in the front, or the opposite.

Is there a precedent for organ-in-the-round?

WM B)

 

I'd have to ask what on earth would be the point of this? The boxes for the enclosed sections would simply just blot out the sounds of the great trying to speak from behind them? Or do you mean divided divisions across say, a west gallery?

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Hello: I am looking for examples where a pipe organ has been effectively split and placed at opposite ends of the room. Say.... the Great at the back of the room and the Choir and the Swell in the front, or the opposite.

Is there a precedent for organ-in-the-round?

WM B)

 

Try the USA and/or subscribe to 'The American Organist' where you can find monthly page loads of instruments split all points of the compass - 'not quite sure of the repertoire though! B)

 

AJJ

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There used to be this one: Great and Swell in an alcove at one end of the room, Positive on the wall at the other end, console to one side midway between the two. The room wasn't that long though - 20 to30 ft. As mentioned elsewhere on here recently, it's long gone now, much of it having been incorporated in the Kingsteignton rebuild.

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There used to be this one: Great and Swell in an alcove at one end of the room, Positive on the wall at the other end, console to one side midway between the two. The room wasn't that long though - 20 to30 ft. As mentioned elsewhere on here recently, it's long gone now, much of it having been incorporated in the Kingsteignton rebuild.

 

 

...............not forgetting the Chamade!!

 

AJJ

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

Does this organ have to be laid out the way you said, or can it just be different sections widely separated? Just that I have strong feelings that this spatial aspect has not been fully explored yet. On my own (currently dismantled) home organ, I had both an Echo right at the back and an Antiphonal section on the opposite wall to the main organ. This definitely added to the fun.

 

I have relished giving recitals on instruments with divisions in different places - some instances:

All Saints' Maidstone has a rebuilt Lewis in normal position, with an extended couple of ranks on the West chancel wall facing the congregation.

St.Leonard's Hythe has a two manual chancel section to counterpart the three manual H&H at the West End

All Saints' Cheltenham has a Hill Great that faces down the building with the other three-manuals-worth facing across the chancel.

St.John's Ranmoor, Sheffield has what amounts to a Nave organ facing down the church while the rest faces across. etc. etc.

 

With the right repertoire these spatial arrangements of divisions are positively fun to play and entertaining to listen to. They also add a little acoustic where there isn't much*. The 'right' repertoire might be early - Gabrieli or something - or perhaps a Handel Organ Concerto with the nearer section speaking more directly to the audience. An experience not unlike a tennis match. David Sanger has written a work for these conditions too: Sonata pian' e Forte which I think was intended for performance on the instruments at either end of Westminster Cathedral.

 

*I remember enjoying the effect of coupling up a little of the Canterbury Cathedral Nave organ even when playing to an audience in the Choir - it definitely added something.

 

Of course, I realise that I am speaking heresies here - since how could anyone pretending to be a musician ever consider exploiting electric action. For shame!!

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Does this organ have to be laid out the way you said, or can it just be different sections widely separated? Just that I have strong feelings that this spatial aspect has not been fully explored yet.  On my own (currently dismantled) home organ, I had both an Echo right at the back and an Antiphonal section on the opposite wall to the main organ. This definitely added to the fun.

 

I have relished giving recitals on instruments with divisions in different places - some instances:

All Saints' Maidstone has a rebuilt Lewis in normal position, with an extended couple of ranks on the West chancel wall facing the congregation.

St.Leonard's Hythe has a two manual chancel section to counterpart the three manual H&H at the West End

All Saints' Cheltenham has a Hill Great that faces down the building with the other three-manuals-worth facing across the chancel.

St.John's Ranmoor, Sheffield has what amounts to a Nave organ facing down the church while the rest faces across. etc. etc.

 

With the right repertoire these spatial arrangements of divisions are positively fun to play and entertaining to listen to.  They also add a little acoustic where there isn't much*.  The 'right' repertoire might be early - Gabrieli or something - or perhaps a Handel Organ Concerto with the nearer section speaking more directly to the audience. An experience not unlike a tennis match. David Sanger has written a work for these conditions too: Sonata pian' e Forte which I think was intended for performance on the instruments at either end of Westminster Cathedral.

 

*I remember enjoying the effect of coupling up a little of the Canterbury Cathedral Nave organ even when playing to an audience in the Choir - it definitely added something. 

 

Of course, I realise that I am speaking heresies here - since how could anyone pretending to be a musician ever consider exploiting electric action. For shame!!

 

 

Paul: Thanks for the post. I appreciate you giving this serious consideration and offering helpful feed back.

I will look into the insturments you mention.

WM B)

I

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There are actually several ways for an organ design to use the space.

The strict Werkprinzip, with all the pipes just behind the front and attacking

all at the same time, is just one of them; in romantic music this is not

ideal at all, since some degree of "offset" is desirable.

In the late-romantic german organ the "Fernwerk" had nearly established

as a standard: it is an echo division at a distance, intended for aethereal effects

"coming from nowhere". Roosevelt in the U.S. had adopted it.

So in this matter as with many others there are no "good" and "bad" ideas, they

may work or not according to the circumstances, the style of the organ and the music.

Pierre

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Hello: I am looking for examples where a pipe organ has been effectively split and placed at opposite ends of the room. Say.... the Great at the back of the room and the Choir and the Swell in the chancel, or the opposite.

Is there a precedent for organ-in-the-round?

WM B)

 

Hi

 

There are a few around - I've dealt with some on NPOR. One example I can think of is (was?) Rye Methodist Church in Sussex, that has gt, sw & ped at the front of the building and the choir dept at the rear - not sure if there are any pedal stops at the back.

 

St. Paul's Cathedral has bits of organ in several places and a number of other cathedrals have a choir department away from the rest of the instrument (e.g. Guildford).

 

Then there#s the seperate Nave organs in some places - plenty of precedent.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Isn’t the reason for Guildford having a separate Choir (organ) because the building was designed without a proper chamber for an organ? It was placed in the only space large enough to house an instrument. This lead to problems accompanying the choir and so a choir division was placed in the quire to ease the problem. B)

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A couple more obvious examples:-

 

Sherborne Abbey - the new Nave section is on the west wall, the rest of the organ is in the north transept.

 

The organ being dismantled in the place we don't mention - the so-called solo organ was really a nave great and a reasonable distance from the rest of the organ in the quire. (The best place to sit for recitals being under the tower.)

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The organ being dismantled in the place we don't mention - the so-called solo organ was really a nave great and a reasonable distance from the rest of the organ in the quire. (The best place to sit for recitals being under the tower.)

 

Indeed - am I correct in believing that most of the organ has been dismantled and removed by now?

 

:(

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A few more examples:

 

Atlanta Cathedral has a four-manual Aeolian-Skinner against the east wall (the choir also sitting here behind a screen, to the west of which is the high altar). The organ also has two small floating divisions (Celestial Organ I and II) located in the roof at the eastern end of the nave. They are not particularly ethereal, but don't seem designed for congregational accompaniment. I'm not altogether sure what they are for, but I assume they are meant to be heard antiphonally with the main organ.

 

At All Saint's, Peterborough, New Hampshire (a tiny, English village church type building) a French spec three-manual has the Grande Orgue over the west door and the Positif, Récit and remainder of the Pedal at the east end.

 

At St Andrew's, Plymouth, the organ is divided on either side of the rather wide church - the Great and Swell on the north side, Choir and Solo on the south; I'm not sure whether the Pedal is divided or all on the south side. The whole gels well together in ensemble, but when the two sides are used antiphonally the stereo effect is clearly audible most of the way down the church.

 

At Kingsteignton the (currently two-manual) organ is a west end instrument. The prepared for Positive division, however will be on the north side of the chancel. Again the church is on the small size and this placement can be seen as an extension (or exaggeration) of the normal spatial separation inherent in a Werkprinzip Rückpositiv.

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Sherborne is one where fun can be had bouncing between nave organ and main. At Romsey they are slightly closer together, and it's possible (assuming there's nobody sat further than halfway back the building) to play a trio sonata, one hand on the Nave, rest on the main. Also useful in various bits of Karg Elert, Hurford Dialogues, echo sections of T and F in Dminor etc to flit from one to t'other - the choirboys love it.

 

Portsmouth Cathedral is another one - the West Great on the back of the main organ sounds incredibly distant from the choir (which generally seems to seat the congregation too) and at least here you get to enjoy the full effect from the console, unlike Romsey, which is a bit more interesting - but at least the noise of the Barker Lever machine enables you to play in time with the clunks...

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There are some German cathedrals with "organ in the round". In most cases, however, there are several independent instruments in several places and with their own consoles, that can be played together from a main console. It depends on how the player uses the respective constellation: As antiphonal organs, or as divisions of one whole instrument.

 

Examples:

 

Passau

http://www.eberhard-geier.de/padomdispall.htm

 

Freiburg

http://tinyurl.com/q2emh

 

Cologne

http://www.koelner-dom.de/16955.html

http://www.koelner-dom.de/index.php?id=16977

http://www.koelner-dommusik.de/index.php?id=8 [stoplists for download]

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Isn’t the reason for Guildford having a separate Choir (organ) because the building was designed without a proper chamber for an organ?  It was placed in the only space large enough to house an instrument.  This lead to problems accompanying the choir and so a choir division was placed in the quire to ease the problem.   :(

I heard once that it was intended that an electronic instrument be installed...hence there not being a place for the pipe organ. I don't know how true that is, but I suppose it may be a feasable reason?

 

Wrekin College - great and swell speak on opposite sides of the chancel with the great trumpet speaking through a grill straight into the nave.

 

Holy Trinity Margate - Browne 3 man divided either side of the chancel

Can't think of any others at moment.

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When I played it in the 1960s, Southwark Cathedral had the choir (HWIII, I think) next to the console on the opposite side of the crossing from the main Lewis organ. But it's been rebuilt since then and I don't know if it's been retained.

 

Paul

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When I played it in the 1960s, Southwark Cathedral had the choir (HWIII, I think) next to the console on the opposite side of the crossing from the main Lewis organ.  But it's been rebuilt since then and I don't know if it's been retained.

 

Paul

 

It is.

 

AJJ

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Llandaff Cathedral has a Positive section enshrined inside the 'orbiting dustbin', a concrete mausoleum on legs. A good distance away from the remainder of the H-J/HN&B organ.

 

Great Hall of Nottingham University had a Willis III rebuild with Sw Gt & Ped on the rear gallery and the enclosed Choir in a tribune further 'east', liturgically speaking, detached console downstairs. Still there ?

 

The old St Peter's Eaton Square Walker had a Solo organ in the Nave Triforium, well away from the Chancel chamber. The Tuba was inside the Solo box, and there was a couple of octaves of a Principal rank provided on the chest as a tuning reference.

 

Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, Ca. is probably the last word in divided jobs !

 

Morriston Tabernacle in Swansea has a 1926 HN&B organ in three cases on the gallery, Swell Great and Choir in the central case and pedal divided in C & C# sides.

 

H

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At St Andrew's, Plymouth, the organ is divided on either side of the rather wide church - the Great and Swell on the north side, Choir and Solo on the south; I'm not sure whether the Pedal is divided or all on the south side. The whole gels well together in ensemble, but when the two sides are used antiphonally the stereo effect is clearly audible most of the way down the church.

 

I’d forgotten all about this organ. I went to a concert (recital) there in the early nineties just after it was rebuilt. Peter Hurford played, it was mainly Bach as I recall. They placed the console in the middle of the aisle so all could see him as he played. :(

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No one has mentioned the 72 stop 3 manual organ Harrison & Harrison built in 1955 for the Speech Room at Harrow School which they recently restored. NPOR indicates this instrument is in 2 chambers at either side of the stage, with the Swell, Great and part of the Pedal on the right and the Choir, Solo, and rest of the Pedal on the left. The 32ft Pedal Bombardon is sited separately behind panelling at the back of the stage. The console is built into the centre of the stage but can also become mobile. NPOR: http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N15719

 

The photo of the Speech Room here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:HarrowSpeechRoom.JPG helpfully demonstrates just how far apart the LH and RH chambers are. It would be interesting to hear whether the sound manages to come together as a convincing whole in the building. Nonetheless, I think it is wonderful that Harrisons were still producing such gloriously anachronistic organs as this at the same time as being involved in producing such forward-looking instruments as those at the RFH, St Albans, Windsor, Coventry etc.

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