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Paul Tindall

New Cathedral Organ

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There are plans for a four manual, fifty-five stop 'English Cathedral Organ' in the Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden. [see www.cathedralorgan.nl].

 

Or perhaps it is a particularly elaborate hoax?

 

In any case, I'm sure that one Dean or other would be happy to make a donation.

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If they really MUST build an English Cathedral organ, couldn't they get the nomenclature right (pedal stops at 8' and 4') and what are all those neo-baroque mutations doing on the Solo Organ?

 

It just looks like another 1950s mess up of an older organ (think the old HNB at St John's Cambridge)

 

How ridiculous!

 

Mad, mad, mad...

 

:P

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There's nothing inherently neo-Baroque about a flute-toned Nasard (sic) and Tierce, which these must surely be. Indeed, the majority of Nazards and Tierces in Britain are anything but Baroque - though many organists labour under the misapprehension that they somehow are. I would assume these are going to be Romantic voices. Admittedly you'd normally expect to find them on the Choir Organ, but I can see a lot of sense in putting them on the Solo, especially if the Choir is going to be unenclosed. (Is it? I haven't attempted to translate the leaflet.)

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"How ridiculous!"

 

(Quote)

 

One may think what he/she wants about this project, but it will be build by a british builder, a seldom occasion on the continent.

So to qualify it as "ridiculous" on a premium english forum might seem a bit like to shot in one's own foot, isn't it?

I can assure you nobody here does laugh at it, be the specification "perfect" (whatever this may mean) or not.

Be it the first of a series!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Do we know the builder yet?

 

AJJ

 

PS Apart from the Choir spec. the rest looks on paper like the 'Klais' at Bath Abbey!!

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There's nothing inherently neo-Baroque about a flute-toned Nasard (sic) and Tierce, which these must surely be. Indeed, the majority of Nazards and Tierces in Britain are anything but Baroque - though many organists labour under the misapprehension that they somehow are. I would assume these are going to be Romantic voices. Admittedly you'd normally expect to find them on the Choir Organ, but I can see a lot of sense in putting them on the Solo, especially if the Choir is going to be unenclosed. (Is it? I haven't attempted to translate the leaflet.)

I think you are wrong in what you say about English organs and their Nas/zards and Tierces, unless you are thinking of those very strange narrow scaled flute ones introduced in the 1930s, which seem to serve no musical purpose.

 

Are they in the majority in Britain? I would put money on most mutation stops having been inserted in the 60s 70s and 80s, often on new 'Positive' divisions and more likely to be wide scaled, low mouthed, low wind pressure, unnicked ones - I can think of loads of examples of these in many English cathedrals.

 

Yes, I can see all that you are saying about mutations of the solo organ - at least they would stand a chance of being with bigger flutes and so sound a bit more like they have a purpose.

 

But this sort of mish mash is exactly what is perceived to be wrong with our cathedral organs as they have been altered in recent years.

 

I'm not very keen on resurrecting the traditional English Cathedral organ, whatever that might be, but if you are going to do it then you should get it right, not suddenly muck about with Nasards and Tierces on the Solo, presumably just in case you suddenly want to play some Vierne or perhaps something a bit earlier. It's certainly not much use for Elgar, Whitlock, Howells, etc.

 

So build your Traditional English Cathedral organ - choose a style and possibly a builder and then do it, but acknowledge that it should be warts and all, just as you would with a Cavaille-Coll copy or even one of those Drake/Goetze and Gwynne early English organs.

 

But this organ just looks crass.

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"How ridiculous!"

 

(Quote)

 

One may think what he/she wants about this project, but it will be build by a british builder, a seldom occasion on the continent.

So to qualify it as "ridiculous" on a premium english forum might seem a bit like to shot in one's own foot, isn't it?

I can assure you nobody here does laugh at it, be the specification "perfect" (whatever this may mean) or not.

Be it the first of a series!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Whether an English builder builds it or not it I agree that it looks more like Klais at Bath Abbey.

 

What on earth is the point in building another hybrid organ? You've a got a Harmonics on the Great but not all the other stops that go with that - Geigens galore for a start! And you need the Geigens because they build up the stringier side of a Harrison Great chorus, along with strong 4' and 2' ranks and which lead to the Harmonics, all trying to counteract the effect of an enormous Open Diapason and the Trombas.

 

Not a clue ...:huh:

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I think you are wrong in what you say about English organs and their Nas/zards and Tierces, unless you are thinking of those very strange narrow scaled flute ones introduced in the 1930s, which seem to serve no musical purpose.
Hmm. Maybe, I don't know. Obviously your experience is different to mine. That may be because I simply haven't been around enough (I've little experience of organs north of London, for example). All I can say is that I've not too often come across a Positive division that is really a true Positive. I think this is because most of the ones I've heard were created by "Baroquising" an existing Choir Organ without radically changing its basic nature. Back in the neo-Baroque of the late 50s and 60s a lot of organists seemed to think that all you needed to do was to give your Choir some mutations, a Scharff and a Krummhorn (and, even better, if you had the room, a Sifflöte 1' - always a good status symbol! :huh: ) and voilà, a Baroque Positive! I don't think I'm being all that cynical either. Certainly most of the Choir Nazards and Tierces I have come across are almost as remote from a Cliquot Tierce en Taille as, in its different way, a Sesquialtera would be.

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"What on earth is the point in building another hybrid organ? You've a got a Harmonics on the Great but not all the other stops that go with that - Geigens galore for a start! And you need the Geigens because they build up the stringier side of a Harrison Great chorus, along with strong 4' and 2' ranks and which lead to the Harmonics, all trying to counteract the effect of an enormous Open Diapason and the Trombas."

(Quote)

 

This is quite correct indeed.

But "Rome wasn't build in one day"; before Arthur Harrison's style will be

known on the continent, expect *some* more years to pass by.

(Or a strong P.R. campagn led from Britain in order to promote it,

like Schnitger's style was promoted in the 60's and 70's...)

I suppose any british builder will suggest some changes in the specification,

a quite normal practice anyway.

 

The Tierce, Jeu de Tierce, and the Cornets are a huge domain by themselves,

not well known even by the french organists.

This matter could fill more pages than W.....(estern England somewhere) thread.

 

I'll just share some hints about the "Post-romantic" jeu de tierce, the stops Tournemire, for instance, had added, and probably Guy Weitz in England as well.

Tough written "Nasard 2 2/3'" and "Tierce 1 3/5'", these stops had near to nothing in common with their baroque equivalents.

They were done after a kind of Dolce model, often conical, and very softly voiced, to the point the 8' Bourdon still dominates them; there are many examples still existing of these stops, intended for synthetic effects.

So they are rather to be seen like isolated parts of a Dulciana Mixture or a Dolce Cornet than a classical Jeu de Tierce!

So in Leiden it would suffice to gather them on one slide and name the thing Dolce Cornet, and we would have "a more resembling spec"......In words!

 

Pierre

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The Tierce, Jeu de Tierce, and the Cornets are a huge domain by themselves,

not well known even by the french organists.

This matter could fill more pages than W.....(estern England somewhere) thread.

 

I'll just share some hints about the "Post-romantic" jeu de tierce, the stops Tournemire, for instance, had added, and probably Guy Weitz in England as well.

Tough written "Nasard 2 2/3'" and "Tierce 1 3/5'", these stops had near to nothing in common with their baroque equivalents.

They were done after a kind of Dolce model, often conical, and very softly voiced, to the point the 8' Bourdon still dominates them; there are many examples still existing of these stops, intended for synthetic effects.

So they are rather to be seen like isolated parts of a Dulciana Mixture or a Dolce Cornet than a classical Jeu de Tierce!

So in Leiden it would suffice to gather them on one slide and name the thing Dolce Cornet, and we would have "a more resembling spec"......In words!

 

Pierre

 

I'm interested in whether you have ever heard one of these soft cornet/mixture stops? The only ones I have heard I can now no longer remember because they seemed to be so innocuous as to be of no use at all. For example, there's a Dulciana Mixture on the Great (!) of a 3 manual Norman and Beard organ near me, but to be honest it is so soft its barely any use at all. I genuinely cannot imagine what it's for! The Swell Mixture and the Great 2' add the brightness to this organ.

 

I'm not being difficult for the sake of it, I just fid all this bewildering. Those hybrid flutey Willis III mutation things don't sound like these Dulciana or Echo Mixture stops at all, so I can't see how a nasard and tierce on the solo of this organ makes up a Dulciana Cornet. They are two quite different things. Sorry.

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The 17-19-22 Willis Mixture is actually a Sesquialtera, the kind of which existed in England and Flanders in the 18th century. Its aim was to go in the Diapason chorus

so that it was possible to have the 17th in it or not.

We have examples of it in Van Peteghem organs.

Soft mixtures and mutation ranks we still have as well; they were the only ones that could be drawn without reeds.

The german version of the Dulciana Mixture was the Harmonia aetherea, 2 2/3'-2'-1 3/5',

Gamba scale. At Hayange, France (Dalstein&Haerpfer), it still exists, and is made with flute ranks instead of strings.

These stops are invaluable in combination.

So we have two different things, the Willis III ranks, like the later Harmonics (same principle plus flat 21st) being a stop for full combinations with reeds, the soft ones for quiet effects strangely lacking in modern organs.

At Bailleul, France, there is an early Gonzalez whose Tierce on the Positif sounds very close to a british D.M. or a german H.A. The tendancies, the fashions are the same worldwide, with little delays, despite the names.

 

Pierre

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I'm interested in whether you have ever heard one of these soft cornet/mixture stops? The only ones I have heard I can now no longer remember because they seemed to be so innocuous as to be of no use at all. For example, there's a Dulciana Mixture on the Great (!) of a 3 manual Norman and Beard organ near me, but to be honest it is so soft its barely any use at all. I genuinely cannot imagine what it's for! The Swell Mixture and the Great 2' add the brightness to this organ.

 

I'm not being difficult for the sake of it, I just fid all this bewildering. Those hybrid flutey Willis III mutation things don't sound like these Dulciana or Echo Mixture stops at all, so I can't see how a nasard and tierce on the solo of this organ makes up a Dulciana Cornet. They are two quite different things. Sorry.

 

OK - fair points.

 

Now, I am not being difficult, either - just curious.

 

Do you have a favourite organ?

 

What would be your idea of a 55-stop scheme for a building such as this? For the sake of argument, disregard the stipulation that it has to be particularly British - although I believe that the information regarding the services on the website stated that the music was (to be) modelled on the English choral tradition - I did not bother to re-open the link (I am still too tired....), so I hope that I have remembered this correctly.

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So we have two different things, the Willis III ranks, like the later Harmonics (same principle plus flat 21st) being a stop for full combinations with reeds, the soft ones for quiet effects strangely lacking in modern organs.

Pierre

 

Possibly because it was realised that such effects are of limited nusical use. Personally, I have never missed such a stop. I have once or twice encountered an organ with a Dulciana Mixture and found that it was a waste of space - too quiet to add brilliance to the chorus and just not useful in quiet combinations. I cannot immediately think of any music (even by a British composer) which calls for such an effect.

 

But then, Pierre - you know what I think of dulcianas....

 

:huh:

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Our ears have been accustomed to sharp, loud Mixtures and mutations only since too long.

And now we discover the Jeu de Tierce on the Positif de dos in french baroque organ was sweet and mellow. Not like a Dolce Cornet, just between it an a neo-baroque thing!

 

I shall try to have some samples on line.

 

Pierre

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Here is already one, a 1895 Cornet, 3 ranks:

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Orgelstimmen%20C...Cornet3f_HW.mp3

 

Absolutely nothing in common with orgelbewegt stops!

 

Another Cornet (Sauer 1903):

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Ronsd_MP3/Cornett3f_I.mp3

 

 

A Progressiv harmonica 2-3 ranks:

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Ronsd_MP3/Progress3f_II.mp3

 

A Rauschquint 2 2/3'-2':

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Ronsd_MP3/Rauschquint2f_I.mp3

 

Another world!

 

Here is a link that might be interesting about the Mixtures in romantic organs:

 

http://s11.invisionfree.com/The_romantic_o...p?showtopic=124

 

Pierre

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The 17-19-22 Willis Mixture is actually a Sesquialtera, the kind of which existed in England and Flanders in the 18th century. Its aim was to go in the Diapason chorus

so that it was possible to have the 17th in it or not.

We have examples of it in Van Peteghem organs.

Soft mixtures and mutation ranks we still have as well; they were the only ones that could be drawn without reeds.

The german version of the Dulciana Mixture was the Harmonia aetherea, 2 2/3'-2'-1 3/5',

Gamba scale. At Hayange, France (Dalstein&Haerpfer), it still exists, and is made with flute ranks instead of strings.

These stops are invaluable in combination.

So we have two different things, the Willis III ranks, like the later Harmonics (same principle plus flat 21st) being a stop for full combinations with reeds, the soft ones for quiet effects strangely lacking in modern organs.

At Bailleul, France, there is an early Gonzalez whose Tierce on the Positif sounds very close to a british D.M. or a german H.A. The tendancies, the fashions are the same worldwide, with little delays, despite the names.

 

Pierre

 

A Fr Willis Mixture/Sequialtera (17 19 22) and a Harrison Harmonics are very different in tone and pitch. The Harmonics usually doesn't break until c4 (treble c) whereas Willis usually breaks at c3 - and the voicing and scaling is totally different.

 

You have a very odd idea about organs - you seem to impose one idea upon another without much basis in fact. How can a single Tierce rank sound like a 3rank Dulciana Mixture? And WHICH Dulciana Mixture? (Harrison? Hill? Norman and Beard? ...).

 

I get the impression you hold theoretical notions that are an amalgam of lots of bits and pieces of different organs which tend to suit your fancy, one of which is the Dulciana (there are so many different types of Dulciana) including a Dulciana chorus.

 

Please tell me of one you know well and tell me what repertoire it is for.

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OK - fair points.

 

Now, I am not being difficult, either - just curious.

 

Do you have a favourite organ?

 

What would be your idea of a 55-stop scheme for a building such as this? For the sake of argument, disregard the stipulation that it has to be particularly British - although I believe that the information regarding the services on the website stated that the music was (to be) modelled on the English choral tradition - I did not bother to re-open the link (I am still too tired....), so I hope that I have remembered this correctly.

 

Favourite organ - I assume of English type - not really, though I would always feel more attracted to a Thomas Hill kind of organ (say of the 1880s) than most others.

 

You see, I like the organ at Chester with all modern the additions. It is elegant, musical, balanced, colourful, versatile and exciting.

 

And most of all it plays music really well. Is that a bad thing?

 

If we are talking favourite organs in the whole world - has to be St Bavo Haarlem.

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"what repertoire it is for."

(Quote)

 

As I said, this notion is an immortality dream. If we design an organ

today, we do not know what will be played upon it in 10 years...

 

Pierre

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"How can a single Tierce rank sound like a 3rank Dulciana Mixture? And WHICH Dulciana Mixture? (Harrison? Hill? Norman and Beard? ...)."

 

(Quote)

 

Well, I shall try to explain moire clearly.

 

I mean:

Would you take out a 17th rank from a Dulciana Mixture, I mean of course a DM which contains one, because there are which does not (and yes I encountered, listened to and took the scales from both), you could use it as a Tierce in a 1948 Gonzalez organ, nobody would hear the difference.

This does not mean it would sound like a complete DM.

But this DOES mean there is an organic relationship, common points to be find in all these soft mutation stops, be them a post-romantic french tierce, a british DM, or a german Harmonia aetherea.

There are one of my silly fancies -I do have even more fancies- like absolutely all the "soft stops" that are badly lacking in modern organs.

(No, I won't pile more bits today :D )

 

Pierre

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"How can a single Tierce rank sound like a 3rank Dulciana Mixture? And WHICH Dulciana Mixture? (Harrison? Hill? Norman and Beard? ...)."

 

(Quote)

 

Well, I shall try to explain moire clearly.

 

I mean:

Would you take out a 17th rank from a Dulciana Mixture, I mean of course a DM which contains one, because there are which does not (and yes I encountered, listened to and took the scales from both), you could use it as a Tierce in a 1948 Gonzalez organ, nobody would hear the difference.

This does not mean it would sound like a complete DM.

But this DOES mean there is an organic relationship, common points to be find in all these soft mutation stops, be them a post-romantic french tierce, a british DM, or a german Harmonia aetherea.

There are one of my silly fancies -I do have even more fancies- like absolutely all the "soft stops" that are badly lacking in modern organs.

(No, I won't pile more bits today :D )

 

Pierre

Pierre - I have to ask - why build an English 'cathedral' instrument when it is not going to be used for its fundamental purpose - accompaniment? The need for accompanimental colour (psalms!) is the driving force behind many of the sonorities on these organs. That Solo organ is like no traditional cathedral solo I've ever seen in the UK - what is its function?

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Well, I am not the author of this particular project! You can see mines on my own forum and see for yourself the differencies.

But it is quite certain the people at Leiden will perform lots of choral music with theirs!

 

More fundamentally, it might be interesting to question the idea to reconstitute a Schnitger or a Cavaillé-Coll would be "better" than absolutely whatever other style, even if it would commit the awful error of taste of being british....

 

Pierre

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Well, I am not the author of this particular project! You can see mines on my own forum and see for yourself the differencies.

But it is quite certain the people at Leiden will perform lots of choral music with theirs!

 

More fundamentally, it might be interesting to question the idea to reconstitute a Schnitger or a Cavaillé-Coll would be "better" than absolutely whatever other style, even if it would commit the awful error of taste of being british....

 

Pierre

 

 

The trouble is, Pierre, I don't think that you really 'listen' to other people's arguments. You hear them but you don't listen.

 

Being British isn't an error of taste - saying that is just rude. Nor do I wonder WHY you want to build an 'English' organ (just as I have no doubts as to why some here want to build the copycat type of organs you mention, for example).

 

However to make sense of the English Cathedral organ you also need to know what it is there to do, which is accompany Church of England choral offices of a particular genre and in a restricted time period (approx. 1890 - 1970).

 

My argument, and also sjf's, is that what is proposed only looks like the sort of organ that is not based on any kind of true English organ, but is harking back to the period when many cathedral and other organs were modified and 'improved' to contain an odd collection of different styles from several different countries and periods. So I say again, if you must build an English Cathedral Organ (whatever you think that might be) then base it on real, unaltered examples and don't mess about adding a little Tierce here and an Harmonics there without the other stops that belong with those ranks.

 

After all that, if you still want a crap English Cathedral organ which is a mish mash of styles then you can always buy the old one from Worcester!

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Really? I tough it was available for free (save the huge costs to be expected for moving and restoring it of course).

And again, I am not for adding Tierces and the like in a romantic organ. I already linked

to a text I placed on my forum about Mixtures in romantic-based organs.

(By the way, I received *some* support after having posted it from people

less fancifull than myself)

I also explained I do not design hotch-potches, but contemporary synthesis organs (that is, made from elements of compatible periods), a long belgian tradition since absolutely all organs built here from the Renaissance up to 1930 are precisely that.

 

So, while fully supporting the Leiden project, I could have written it differently -The main difference would be this one: I would have chosen the builder first, and then have layed the spec down with him-.

 

Further, do we need to see the styles as closed boxes? To build an english-inspired organ in Europe isn't the same thing as to reconstitute an historic organ in Britain,

for which accuracy would be the first goal indeed.

 

Pierre

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