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Doncaster Schulze Organ


Pierre Lauwers
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Guest Barry Oakley

The Doncaster Schulze is a fine 5-manual instrument which has undergone refurbishment and rebuilding within the last 10 years. Strangely it is an organ which little has been written. There is not much I can tell you about the instrument although you could try e-mailing Andrew Carter of Wakefield who looks after its welfare and handled the rebuild. His address is andy@ajcarterorganbuilder.co.uk

 

As a Belgian? are you aware of the wonderful 4-manual Anneesens organ at Bridlington Priory, Yorkshire. A number of eminent builders have added to this instrument over the years including, John Compton, Laycock & Bannister and latterly Nicholsons. It is soon to undergo a £600,000 rebuild.

 

Regards

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Annessens did build at least a thenth Organs in Britain, and more than that in France. He used a modified "Kegellade" windchest, and often exagerrated with the extensions in cheap organs. There is an exceptionally well preserved one in the french town of Clermond-Ferrand(3 manuals), tubular pneumatic, with no extensions. There is a project to restaure it as it deserves -that is, without "betterings" of any kind-.

Anneessens had a typical belgian style, that is, an hybrid one with french and german inflences, but in his case with english influences as well. Halas there are but very very few of this firm's work left in Belgium, where the neo-baroque craze has been terrible (at least we have romantic organs from Van Bever, Schyven and Kerkhoff in a fair number, original or nearly original).

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  • 1 month later...

Two Anneessens specifications I have seen, one being Bridlington Priory, the other from St Patrick's Catholic Church, Sydney, (The last remains of this 3-manual instrument were unfortunately pulled out a couple of years ago.) both contained as their pedal reed, the stop 'Contra Tuba'. The Victorian solo reed instantly springs to mind though I seriously doubt this as the case for Anneessens.

 

Is it essentially a French Bombarde or as was previously mentioned, closer to the German style?

 

Thanks

 

James Goldrick

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This is quite difficult to tell; continental builders could name "Tuba" anything like a strong trumpet-like stop. Often it is just that: a somewhat louder trumpet, nothing in common with an english tuba. This said, Anneessens was somewhat inflenced by the english organ, so it's possible he attended to make a true stop. According to the fact there is close to nothing left from Anneessens in Belgium, I cannot tell more about it.

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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  • 4 months later...
The Doncaster Schulze is a fine 5-manual instrument which has undergone refurbishment and rebuilding within the last 10 years. Strangely it is an organ which little has been written. There is not much I can tell you about the instrument although you could try e-mailing Andrew Carter of Wakefield who looks after its welfare and handled the rebuild. His address is andy@ajcarterorganbuilder.co.uk

 

As a Belgian? are you aware of the wonderful 4-manual Anneesens organ at Bridlington Priory, Yorkshire. A number of eminent builders have added to this instrument over the years including, John Compton, Laycock & Bannister and latterly Nicholsons. It is soon to undergo a £600,000 rebuild.

 

Regards

 

I completely agree with your comments on the Bridlington Priory organ. As my home town I know this instrument well. This organ has attitude and character - a unique sound which I trust will remain following the Nicholson's restoration. The priory is by no means a small church but in relation to its size, the Anneesons organ is a monster coming in at 4200 pipes plus, and the largest sound board in europe, so it is larger than many cathedral organs. Put it this way, if you nodded off during a quite passage of music, you are likely to visit Mars when full organ is applied. This organ has attracted many world class recitalsits in its day, I understand Dupre and Thalben Ball just to mention two.

 

It was suggested to me by a church member that £600,000 to restore the instrument could not justified, rather the historic Anneesons should be scrapped, and replaced by a modern electronic instrument, and if the organ pipes were left in situ the congregation or recital goer would not be none the wiser. Um! Do we have a ritual hanging from the belfry or not?

 

Finally, It is hoped the organ will be on its way back from Malvern later this year and ready for the usual summer recital series next year which traditionally take place on Wednesday evenings at 7PM.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

May I add a couple of comments on the instruments being discussed here?

 

Bridlington: It is amusing to hear the fate of this wonderful instrument being casually threatened again. In the 1960's it was under threat from no less a body than the Council for the Care of Churches whose advisers wrote to the PCC to support the York Diocesan Adviser (better not be named here) who had recommended that the whole instrument should be scrapped and replaced with a smaller modern organ. This is gone into in a little more detail in the notes for a CD which I recorded at Bridlington with Priory in the 80's. Rather ironically, I only found out after recording the programme that I had included an item by the very man (much loved/revered these days) who had exerted himself in attempts to have the instrument removed!

 

In the event, it was left to the dogged determination of Raymond Sunderland (of blessed memory) who fought successfully to have the instrument and all its Anneessens pipework retained.

 

St.George's Doncaster: While I supported the decision of Doncaster's PCC not to go down the route of spending a considerable amount of money having a 19th century blowing plant reconstructed, the recent rebuilding scheme does not have my wholehearted admiration. The pipework has been respected (which I suppose is the main thing) and the people of Doncaster have dipped their hands deep into their pockets in order to get an honest job done, but what about the console?

 

I was alarmed when I last played there to find several couplers that used to be present have disappeared (viz several couplers for the Echo, there is now not even an Echo to Pedal) and octave couplers gone from the Solo - I am told - in order to make the console (made under sub-contract by Nicholsons) more compact. Purists will argue that the Solo did not have octave couplers originally, well it did not have any Norman & Beard pipework at all, and very sensibly this is still present and very useful it is. The new console looks very pretty, but the organ (as a practical musical instrument for solo or service purposes) cannot be used in the same fashion that was possible with the unusual but compact J.W.Walker stop-key version. For instance, nothing will now balance Full Great which used to be possible with the Tuba plus octave coupler. It is also a shame that the ivory keys could not be reused. Who else out there hates plastic key-coverings?

 

To be fair to the organ, I still think that Full Great at Doncaster (with or without the reeds) is the most glorious Plenum I have heard in this country. It is an object lesson in grandeur without mere power. Anyone who has not yet heard this organ in the flesh has missed an education. And yes, I have heard how splendid the Armley Schulze currently sounds.

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  • 1 month later...

 

St.George's Doncaster: ..... The pipework has been respected (which I suppose is the main thing) and the people of Doncaster have dipped their hands deep into their pockets in order to get an honest job done, but what about the console?

 

 

To be fair to the organ, I still think that Full Great at Doncaster (with or without the reeds) is the most glorious Plenum I have heard in this country.

 

 

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

 

Well now, we are into dangerous/erroneous territory here. The tonal changes wrought to the Doncaster Schulze over the years have not exactly been minor it would seem. For a start, the foot-holes of the original Schulze pipes appear to have been coned to some degree, and it is known that Schulze would just normally slice them off square and deposit them on the chest; all voicing and regulation carried out at the mouth.....open-foot voicing in fact.

 

Furthemore, the Swell and Great reeds were completely re-voiced by Norman & Beard on increased (6" wg?) pressure, in addition to the Solo Tubas added at the same time.

 

As regards the "balance" of the Great with other divisions, one has to go to Armley to fully comprehend the reason for this. The Swell organs of German Romantic instruments are not powerful affairs, unlike those of the English organs which developed under Hill and especially Fr.Willis. The other divisions, like the Choir, Echo and Solo, are there merely to add great contrasts of colour and subtle sounding effects. In ANY true German Romantic organ, the Great and Pedal absolutely dominate the instrument, and that is exactly as it should be.

 

Some will be interested to know that Schulze purchased all his metal pipes from outside suppliers, and only made wooden pipes himself; some of which are sometimes of cylindrical section.

 

It is also relevant....perhaps vital....to know that Schulze was assisted by Charles Brindley of Sheffield in the building of the Doncasetr instrument; the two companies sharing workmen when Schulze arrived on these shores.

 

Another curious fact.....there was another Schulze by the name of Karl, who worked for the German firm, but stayed in this country to become the head-voicer of the Sheffield based organ-builder, Albert Keates.

 

An even more curious fact, is that the 32ft "free" reed at Doncaster, is an absolute travesty of scaling, and sounds suitably ridiculous as a result.

 

So Doncaster is far from original in many ways, but perhaps it is actually better for that as an accompaniment instrument rather than as a purist's delight. The chief glory of the instrument rests in the superb plenum and the quality of the fluework generally, and even now, it can inspire like no other, just as it did T C Lewis, who regarded Schulze as the greatest-ever organ-builder, and on whom he based much of his own work.

 

Finally, it was Doncaster rather than Armley which totally dominated British organ-building in the north of England thereafter.

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Some will be interested to know that Schulze purchased all his metal pipes from outside suppliers, and only made wooden pipes himself; some of which are sometimes of cylindrical section.

 

 

The recent H&H restoration at Armley dispelled the long-standing myth that the metal pipes were the work of an English maker, possibly Violette of London.

 

The style of handwriting in these markings shows conclusively that they were of German origin. Whether that points to Schulze himself as the maker, is, of course, another matter.

 

John Sayer

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The distinction between manuals by their loudness, with the great (Manual I) supreme,

then II, III, Fernwerk, each a bit softer, is typical for the german romantic organ.

It was done for the first time at Pauluskirche Frankfurt (Walcker 1829).

 

The other countries were inspired by this, but quite loosely. The french and british swell

could be actually as powerfull as the great.

Hans Gerd Klais explained me this, with a name: "Abschwächungsprinzip" ("Softening principle") as opposed to "Werkprinzip".

 

German romantic organs in Belgium often had their "Swell" enriched with big-sized

Trompettes, which took the place of gentle, free-reed Clarinettes.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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The recent H&H restoration at Armley dispelled the long-standing myth that the metal pipes were the work of an English maker, possibly Violette of London.

 

The style of handwriting in these markings shows conclusively that they were of German origin. Whether that points to Schulze himself as the maker, is, of course, another matter.

 

===========

 

Possibly so, but as I understand it, Schulze did not have a metal shop at the Paulinzella works.

 

The organ arrived in large crates from Germany via the port of Hull, so it is quite possible that the pipes are of German origin.

 

I suppose it is a bit irrelevant really. The point is, they were obviously made to Schulze scales.

 

MM

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The distinction between manuals by their loudness, with the great (Manual I) supreme,

then II, III, Fernwerk, each a bit softer, is typical for the german romantic organ.

It was done for the first time at Pauluskirche Frankfurt (Walcker 1829).

 

The other countries were inspired by this, but quite loosely. The french and british swell

could be actually as powerfull as the great.

Hans Gerd Klais explained me this, with a name: "Abschwächungsprinzip" ("Softening principle") as opposed to "Werkprinzip".

 

German romantic organs in Belgium often had their "Swell" enriched with big-sized

Trompettes, which took the place of gentle, free-reed Clarinettes.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

 

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

 

 

Maybe going off at a slight tangent, it is interesting to note that Charles Brindley, who worked closely with Schulze at Doncaster, built instruments in which the Swell was usually very much softer than the Great, and the Choir organs more in the manner of Echo organs.

 

There was a magnificent example of Brindley's post-Schulze work at Centenary Methodist Church, Dewsbury (W.Yorkshire), which had a similarly wonderful Great plenum to that found at Doncaster.

 

MM

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