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Couplers In Whitlock's Fantasie Choral No. 1?


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A friend of mine is just preparing a recital and came across an interesting question concerning registration in Whitlock's Fantasie Choral No. 1.

 

Apparently, the piece starts with the following stops:

III: Vox angelica 8 + Sub octave

I: 8-foot Stopped Diapason + III/I

 

When Whitlock wrote the Fantasie Choral No. 1, he had just been appointed organist at St. Stephen, Bournemouth, with an 1898 Hill, and appears to have chosen the registrations with this instrument in mind. Now, in a Hill of this vintage, probably tubular pneumatic: Would the combination of couplers (III + sub octave, III/I) mean that the sub octave of the third manual would also sound while you play on the first manual?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance,

Friedrich

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Would the combination of couplers (III + sub octave, III/I) mean that the sub octave of the third manual would also sound while you play on the first manual?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance,

Friedrich

 

Yes, you would be very safe to assume that would be the case on a Hill organ of this period. That's the normal way English organ couplers work unless there are also intermanual octave couplers e.g. Swell Sub-octave to Great on, say, organs by Willis in the mid 20th century.

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A friend of mine is just preparing a recital and came across an interesting question concerning registration in Whitlock's Fantasie Choral No. 1.

 

Apparently, the piece starts with the following stops:

III: Vox angelica 8 + Sub octave

I: 8-foot Stopped Diapason + III/I

 

When Whitlock wrote the Fantasie Choral No. 1, he had just been appointed organist at St. Stephen, Bournemouth, with an 1898 Hill, and appears to have chosen the registrations with this instrument in mind. Now, in a Hill of this vintage, probably tubular pneumatic: Would the combination of couplers (III + sub octave, III/I) mean that the sub octave of the third manual would also sound while you play on the first manual?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance,

Friedrich

 

 

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

 

 

What a very, very tricky question!!

 

It's a bit like the old TV programme "Mastermind," since most pneumatic-actions from this period have since been replaced by something else.

 

However, I "think" the usual Hill arrangement had the touch-boxes AFTER the coupling stage, which means that an octave or sub-octave coupler would transfer through to another manual when drawn.

 

I suspect therefore, that the combination called for on 'I', would include anything drawn on the Sw, including the Sub-Octave, and in my experience of Whitlock's style, he would often have a melodic solo tenor, which then turn into a crescendo as both hands moved to the keyboard on which the solo melody had been heard.

 

That's a very English romantic trick in accompaniment; producing an almost seamless crescendo.

 

Trouble is, I don't have the music, so I can't shed further light on it.

 

I don't think Hill, as a company, ever went for the super-sophisticated exhaust-pneumatic actions until such time as they amalgamated with Norman & Beard Ltd. Many of these later actions had separate Swell Sub Octave to Great or Swell Octave to Great couplers, which meant that they would not act through the unison couplers.

 

I'm sure someone will know the definitive answer.

 

MM

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

I had the privilege of recording this piece on an old HN&B from the same period (St.Eanswythe's Folkestone). Everything worked out exactly as on the score and sounded just right as far as I was concerned.

 

I'm confident, you can assume that octave couplers play through*.

 

*I think it is fair to say that this would go for any octave couplers actually specified in British music. Generally, composers put far too little down - I wish they weren't so restrained. A hint of the tone they're after is well worth having.

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Yes - they certainly do on the present instrument in St. Stephen's and, like Paul, I am confident that this was the case for the Hill organ.

The Hill organ at Shrewsbury Abbey (largely 1908, I believe), had tubular pneumatic action and sub octave and octave couplers to the Swell Organ - these definitely 'read' through the inter-manual and pedal couplers - although I have a vague recollection that, in the case of the Swell Sub Octave, some arrangement had been fitted in order to prevent this working through the Swell to Pedal coupler.. Contrabombarde may know if this was in fact the case.

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Many thanks to all contributors. Your answers to my question helped a lot.

 

My friend's recital is going to take place next Sunday, in St. Joseph, Bonn-Beuel, Germany. There is quite an interesting (and big, see http://tinyurl.com/rauew) organ there, and the organist, Hans Peter Reiners, keeps running an extensive recital programme. The late Pierre Cochereau used to play there a lot, and now the big names of the younger French school do, among others.

 

My friend, Michael Gassmann, has named his programme "Entente cordiale", and is going to play works by Whitlock, Franck etc.

 

See http://tinyurl.com/jwval

 

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the recital next sunday.

 

Thanks again,

Friedrich

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  • 7 years later...

A friend of mine is just preparing a recital and came across an interesting question concerning registration in Whitlock's Fantasie Choral No. 1.

 

Apparently, the piece starts with the following stops:

III: Vox angelica 8 + Sub octave

I: 8-foot Stopped Diapason + III/I

 

When Whitlock wrote the Fantasie Choral No. 1, he had just been appointed organist at St. Stephen, Bournemouth, with an 1898 Hill, and appears to have chosen the registrations with this instrument in mind. Now, in a Hill of this vintage, probably tubular pneumatic: Would the combination of couplers (III + sub octave, III/I) mean that the sub octave of the third manual would also sound while you play on the first manual?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance,

Friedrich

Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but I've just come across it having recently learned this fine piece. Although the respondents are correct to say that the octave couplers would typically read through (unless there were separate octave/sub octave inter-manual couplers, in which case they wouldn't), the question is academic, as it's a misreading of the score were this to occur. The opening section is antiphonal between the Swell strings (with sub octave) and Choir diap/dulciana (no Sw to Ch). One is primed at the start to prepare an 8' flute on the Great, with Sw to Great drawn, but when one eventually plays on the Great for the first time (bottom of p.2) the Swell registration is changed to retire the sub octave coupler and strings, replacing them with a Geigen.

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