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The well-known french organist Xavier Darasse recorded many discs, among which Liszt at......St-Maximin du Var !

Here is a short extract that might be interesting because it shows how the true french reeds sound: nearly like spanish ones.

 

To be listened loud:

 

http://www.voiceoflyrics.com/gr/014/014p3_64k.mp3

 

Pierre

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The well-known french organist Xavier Darasse recorded many discs, among which Liszt at......St-Maximin du Var !

Here is a short extract that might be interesting because it shows how the true french reeds sound: nearly like spanish ones.

 

To be listened loud:

 

http://www.voiceoflyrics.com/gr/014/014p3_64k.mp3

 

Pierre

 

That has just brightened up my morning... and the sun has just come out as well!

 

JC

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Coincidentally I have just been listening to a recording of Daniel Roth playing 18th Century and 19th/20th Century music at St-Sulpice. OK the Cavaille-Coll 'caged' Recit and big GO reed sounds are there but so are the Basse de Trompette and 'classical' Cromorne etc. S-S is a bit of a 'special case' having a large ammount of the 1781 Clicquot still around after the 1858 C-C work but all the same the newer and older work sounds (at least to my less than educated ears in the detailed matter of historical voicing voicing etc.) to have come from the same 'sound world' so to speak.

 

AJJ

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The St-Sulpice (organ-) case is a difficult one for the egress of the sound.

Hence Clicquot use of relatively high pressures, like in Poitiers,

and Cavaillé-Coll did of course the same.

Cavaillé-Coll's background as far as the chorus reeds are concerned

was twofold:

 

1)- Dom Bédos (of course) so a late-baroque tradition

 

2)- The spanish late-baroque organ

 

And so it is not surprising the results aren't that different. It is moreover

often said Isnard was a CC precursor -nothing emerges from nowhere, same

as in Britain by the way-.

 

The real departure from the baroque tradition was indeed the Trompette harmonique, with double-lenght resonators.

It is amusing to note the closed toned british reeds were made possible precisely with this technique.

But the results are of course both on one extreme of the tonal palette.

 

Pierre

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A slight digression from the question of reeds however, I once heard a big Bach prelude played at Sacre Coeur on a fairly full flue combination and it sounded ghastly - to me at any rate. All the conrapuntal elements were a blur. It could have been the acoustic or just that it wasn't designed for that sort of music!

 

AJJ

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Of course it is not designed for polyphony, tough it is possible to obviate this with a carefull registration.

The german romantic organ provides more choice, particularly with soft, small-scaled flue stops.

There are more of them, Pedal included.

Now the Sacré-Coeur Montmartre organ -a masterpiece by any standard- does not receive the care it deserves. Its state is not satisfactory so we cannot really judge.

 

Pierre

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The well-known french organist Xavier Darasse recorded many discs, among which Liszt at......St-Maximin du Var !

Here is a short extract that might be interesting because it shows how the true french reeds sound: nearly like spanish ones.

 

To be listened loud:

 

http://www.voiceoflyrics.com/gr/014/014p3_64k.mp3

 

Pierre

Pierre:

 

With great respect, that is the most revolting sound I have ever heard.

 

Never a fan of unit organs, but I'd take H-J any time over that noise.

 

Karl Watson

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Pierre:

 

With great respect, that is the most revolting sound I have ever heard.

 

Never a fan of unit organs, but I'd take H-J any time over that noise.

 

Karl Watson

 

This is interesting.

 

Not so long ago, french reeds were considered crude

in Britain, and would never have been accepted.

Fact is, they are at an extreme, Hope-Jones at the other.

Now it seems they are fashionable.

To me, both are interesting and worthwhile; "good" and "wrong" styles

do not exist.

Now if we look for something just between the two extremes -free tone

one side, closed tone at the other- we have the Willis Trumpet.

Should an organ have but one Trumpet....You can guess which one would

be my own choice.

 

Pierre

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Pierre:

 

With great respect, that is the most revolting sound I have ever heard.

 

Never a fan of unit organs, but I'd take H-J any time over that noise.

 

Karl Watson

 

 

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

 

 

This is actually quite funny, because Hope-Jones bumped into an American family (Wurlitzer) who originated in Germany as violin-makers; the rest being history.

 

Similarly, Cavaille-Coll employed a GERMAN reed-voicer, who created what we think of as French.

 

Of course, Willis reeds were very good, but I wonder if Frank Fowler might agree with me, that the best English reeds were most definitely those voiced by Arthur and Brian Rundle for Hill, Norman & Beard; another company to have brushed shoulders with Robert Hope-Jones.

 

The Wurlitzer Tibia owes its origins to Norman & Beard and Robert Hope-Jones combined.

 

It's a small world sometimes!

 

MM

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The well-known french organist Xavier Darasse recorded many discs, among which Liszt at......St-Maximin du Var !

Here is a short extract that might be interesting because it shows how the true french reeds sound: nearly like spanish ones.

 

To be listened loud:

 

http://www.voiceoflyrics.com/gr/014/014p3_64k.mp3

 

Pierre

 

Ah - music to my ears - proper reeds!

 

Thank you for that, Pierre. What a glorious sound, so alive.

 

:)

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Do you mean Rheinburg, MM ?

Several germans worked for Cavaillé-Coll, among which Haerpfer (who met Dalstein there while working at St-Sulpice), Wilhelm Sauer...

 

This whole subject of reed tone is a very interesting one, it shows how little

individuality we have in our tastes.

If you were french-born, you could not stand english reeds, and reversely.

 

Georg Stahlhuth, who lived in the "Dreiländernpunkt", an improbable corner at the border between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, was the only guy who tried to have both english and french reeds in one organ with Anneessens.

 

Pierre

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Coincidentally I have just been listening to a recording of Daniel Roth playing 18th Century and 19th/20th Century music at St-Sulpice. OK the Cavaille-Coll 'caged' Recit and big GO reed sounds are there  but so are the Basse de Trompette and 'classical' Cromorne etc. S-S is a bit of a 'special case' having a large ammount of the 1781 Clicquot still around after the 1858 C-C work but all the same the newer and older work sounds (at least to my less than educated ears in the detailed matter of historical voicing voicing etc.) to have come from the same 'sound world' so to speak.

 

AJJ

 

JS Bach also sounds superb, here. Daniel Roth has recorded a CD of some of the master's works and I am convinced that this organ suits the music like a glove - but with it there is an extra dimension - the end of the Adagio of the Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, in C, with the 32p Bombarde sailing majestically through the chuch imparts to this music something which is not present elsewhere - even the mighty Sint Bavokirk organ does not do this. (However, this organ does do a good impression of a large Hill organ....)

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A slight digression from the question of reeds however, I once heard a big Bach prelude played at Sacre Coeur on a fairly full flue combination and it sounded ghastly - to me at any rate. All the conrapuntal elements were a blur. It could have been the acoustic or just that it wasn't designed for that sort of music!

 

AJJ

 

Largely due to the voicing. A notable point is that Cavaillé-Coll voiced many of his stops so that there was a distinct crescendo from bass to treble; this, naturally, mitigiates against clarity and equality of the parts in polyphonic music. However, at S. Sulpice, C-C respected the older choruses and did not substantially alter their voicing.

 

It must also be remembered that the instrument now standing in the west tribune of the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, was originially made for a castle in Biarritz and, unlike Lord Glentanar's old H&H which was installed in the Temple Church after WWII, it may not have been revoiced or re-balanced to suit its new surroundings.

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Pierre:

 

With great respect, that is the most revolting sound I have ever heard.

 

Never a fan of unit organs, but I'd take H-J any time over that noise.

 

Karl Watson

 

Each to his own!

 

However, having played an untouched H-J, I cannot agree! It sounded like a sick cow moo-ing into a bucket of porridge. Personally I find French reeds so alive and musical. I hate H&H trombi with a passion - harmonically dead, opaque - just sheer noise.

 

Now I do like Hill reeds, particularly around the end of the nineteenth century. But those French reeds are wonderful. However, I quite understand that to each is given his or her own vision of beauty - in whatever form that should take.

 

I would be interested to know what your views regarding English low-pressure chorus reed of the nineteenth century were, Karl. For example, reeds by JWW Walker or William Hill.

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

Of course, Willis reeds were very good, but I wonder if Frank Fowler might agree with me, that the best English reeds were most definitely those voiced by Arthur and Brian Rundle for Hill, Norman & Beard; another company to have brushed shoulders with Robert Hope-Jones.

 

MM

 

Frank might, but I do not, MM!

 

How about Walker reeds, for example at Romsey Abbey - these are some of the most musical reeds I have ever heard on an English organ.

 

The only thing I do not like on this organ is the Tuba (sorry, Mr. Mander). It honks unpleasantly and seems quite out of character with the rest of the organ. But then, I am sure most of you know that I dislike tuba stops anyway. I think that Ralph Downes actually did Gloucester a great favour when he included that stop in the list of things to discard. I have played All Saints', Margaret Street on a number of occasions and, whilst I liked the instrument and found much of great beauty, I only tried the Tuba once and in that small church, it produced a huge noise - a dead sound, quite at variance with the musicality of the rest of the organ (with the possible exception of the GO reeds).

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Lively, they certainly are. Interesting as well, and worthwhile.

Musical? This could be somewhat discussed.

French reeds engulf whatever else, suffice for that to draw a single

Trompette. From there on, forget about sophisticated music.

 

In the baroque french organ, the "Grand jeu" allowed polyphonic music.

The bass was reed-dominated, while in the treble the reeds were weak;so you heard the lowest voices on the reeds, the highest on the Cornet, which

compensated.

 

If you had a Trompette and a Tromba on the same manual, which one

do you think would dominate if played togheter?

 

Pierre

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Lively, they certainly are. Interesting as well, and worthwhile.

 

If you had a Trompette and a Tromba on the same manual, which one

do you think would dominate if played togheter?

 

Pierre

 

The Tromba - it would engulf the Trompette in a thick sound.

 

However, this is a little like expecting oil and water to mix. The Trompette would probably make the Tromba slightly fuzzy around the edges....

 

:)

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Lively, they certainly are. Interesting as well, and worthwhile.

Musical? This could be somewhat discussed.

French reeds engulf whatever else, suffice for that to draw a single

Trompette. From there on, forget about sophisticated music.

 

Pierre

 

I would agree that they dominate - but not engulf!

 

For that matter, consider the H&H trombi at Crediton - these are as powerful as 8p and 4p tuba stops and one cannot hear anything else (except, of course, for the enormous Tuba on the Choir Organ). Even the fearfully edgy Harmonics cuts little ice against these howlers.

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Frank might, but I do not, MM!

 

How about Walker reeds, for example at Romsey Abbey - these are some of the most musical reeds I have ever heard on an English organ.

 

The only thing I do not like on this organ is the Tuba (sorry, Mr. Mander). It honks unpleasantly and seems quite out of character with the rest of the organ. But then, I am sure most of you know that I dislike tuba stops anyway. I think that Ralph Downes actually did Gloucester a great favour when he included that stop in the list of things to discard. I have played All Saints', Margaret Street on a number of occasions and, whilst I liked the instrument and found much of great beauty, I only tried the Tuba once and in that small church, it produced a huge noise - a dead sound, quite at variance with the musicality of the rest of the organ (with the possible exception of the GO reeds).

 

Forgetting your personal preferences and that tastes change over the years, the Rundle family were superb craftsmen who produced the reeds that were required at that time. If they had been required to produce Spanish, French or any other reeds I am sure they would have been superb.

 

I would also like to add Billy Jones to the list, another great reed voicer of past years.

 

FF

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Forgetting your personal preferences and that tastes change over the years, the Rundle family were superb craftsmen who produced the reeds that were required at that time. If they had been required to produce Spanish, French or any other reeds I am sure they would have been superb.

 

I would also like to add Billy Jones to the list, another great reed voicer of past years.

 

FF

 

I do not doubt their craftsmanship, although I am not sure that it is possible to say that they would have produced successful Spanish or French reeds - surely this would be so alien to what they were used that it would be difficult to achieve sucess. It seems to me that an important part of being a good (reed) voicer is to have a superb 'ear' for the type of sound to be produced. I am not sure that they would have 'heard' such a sound when voicing, it being quite outside the normal style to which they were accustomed.

 

I cite but one example - the the en chamade rank at Wimborne Minster. This was constructed comparatively recently and at a time when it could successfully be argued that organists and organ builders had been exposed to a greater variety of tonal influences than of yore. This stop is supposedly Spanish in style. However, whilst I freely admit that my knowledge of Spanish reeds is limited to good-quality recordings, this rank does not sound like any Spanish stop which I have ever heard.

 

Surely, as with the Rieger at Christ Church, Oxford (excellent though it is), the H&H/Downes/Rochesson reeds at the RFH and the JL van den Heuvel at the RAM, it is only that builder's (or consultant's) perception of the tonal characteristics of a particular national trait. This, I think, is an important difference. (Incidentally, for me, only the JWW Walker at Exeter College, Oxford comes close - and even I will admit that it is too loud for the building.)

 

For all the fact that I think that the Gloucester organ is a superb, wholly musical creation, the reeds do not sound 'completely' French to me - not in the sense of S. Georges, Sarre-Union (Delorme/Koenig); Coutances Cathedral (Deslandes/Rohrer/Kern); S. Etienne, Caen; S. Sulpice or even l'Abbaye de Mondaye (Manche, Normandy).

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"The Tromba - it would engulf the Trompette in a thick sound."

(Quote)

 

This is the reverse -tried and tested-. The french Trompette dominates

the Tromba completely.

This may be compared with a strong stopped flue pipe and a Gamba; even if

softer voiced, the Gamba stands out.

 

This said, this kind of registration is a classic, successfull one....

 

Pierre

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It seems to me that when newer organs set out to be 'out and out French' in style (Exeter College for example - which I also agree could be said to be too loud - though it works wonderfully on a recording of the Durufle Requiem that I have) and there has been some research into their genesis then reeds, flues etc. do work and sound as they are intended to within their context. It is when (as maybe at Wimborne - I have never heard the Spanish 'section' there!) instruments try and do too much that the troubles start. Crediton reeds at least sound as one would expect them to as do those at Redcliffe as another example. One of the nicest newer organs I have heard is the Tickell at Dulwich where again much thought and consideration went into style, scaling and voicing and the whole sounds at one with itself - the reeds there have a 19th Century middle of the road feel to them. My problem comes with so called French reeds grafted onto mid 19th/20th (or whatever!) Brit. pipework that sound not only out of place but many not even French. Likewise some of the less-new Riegers etc. with thin so called Trompettes that are seemingly from no tradition let alone a French one. Gloucester's reeds used to be Willis but they work well in their newer context because Downes (whether one likes the result or not) had an overall 'unity' in mind for the organ and consequently the reeds were considered along with all the rest. This may not have always been the case with his instruments but I think Gloucester works as does St Albans - Windsor and Coventry likewise albeit without Downes' immediate influence.

 

'Not sure if I've made this clear - sorry if not!

 

AJJ

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"The Tromba - it would engulf the Trompette in a thick sound."

(Quote)

 

This is the reverse -tried and tested-. The french Trompette dominates

the Tromba completely.

This may be compared with a strong stopped flue pipe and a Gamba; even if

softer voiced, the Gamba stands out.

 

This said, this kind of registration is a classic, successfull one....

 

Pierre

 

It is not that I do not believe you, Pierre, but I would be interested to know the location (and builder) of the organ which possesses a Tromba (in the WCJones/Arthur Harrison form) and a Trompette (in the Cavaillé-Coll sense), for that is, I assume, what we are implying here.

 

Whilst I have never encountered an organ possessed of these two sounds, I remain un-convinced that the Tromba would not obliterate the Trompette, leaving the latter stop simply to add an 'edge' to the tones of the Tromba; particularly when, as you have stated yourself, it is well known that C-C reeds (and eariler French examples by a host of builders) tended to lose power as they ascended the compass. Cavaillé-Coll only partly overcame this by the use of elevated wind pressures and harmonic pipes. However, the H&H trombi at Crediton (for example) exhibit no such deficiency and successfully drown out just about everything else. This is interesting, particularly when one remembers that (as at Crediton) Arthur Harrison's Swell reed chorus was often considerably more 'free' in tone and to it, he (and WC Jones) generally imparted considerable 'devil' and 'fire' - call it what you will. Whilst I accept that such reeds were still loaded with felt (or brass) weights and did not have open shallots, nevertheless they have considerable freedom of tone and contrast greatly with the opaque powerful trombi of his Great Organs - yet are virtually eclipsed when the trombi are drawn.

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It seems to me that when newer organs set out to be 'out and out French' in style (Exeter College for example - which I also agree could be said to be too loud - though it works wonderfully on a recording of the Durufle Requiem that I have) and there has been some research into their genesis then reeds, flues etc. do work and sound as they are intended to within their context. It is when (as maybe at Wimborne - I have never heard the Spanish 'section' there!) instruments try and do too much that the troubles start. Crediton reeds at least sound as one would expect them to as do those at Redcliffe as another example. One of the nicest newer organs I have heard is the Tickell at Dulwich where again much thought and consideration went into style, scaling and voicing and the whole sounds at one with itself - the reeds there have a 19th Century middle of the road feel to them.  My problem comes with so called French reeds grafted onto mid 19th/20th (or whatever!) Brit. pipework that sound not only out of place but many not even French. Likewise some of the less-new Riegers etc. with thin so called Trompettes that are seemingly from no tradition let alone a French one. Gloucester's reeds used to be Willis but they work well in their newer context because Downes (whether one likes the result or not) had an overall 'unity' in mind for the organ and consequently the reeds were considered along with all the rest.  This may not have always been the case with his instruments but I think Gloucester works as does St Albans - Windsor and Coventry likewise albeit without Downes' immediate influence.

 

'Not sure if I've made this clear - sorry if not!

 

AJJ

 

Absolutely, Alastair!

 

I agree with your points - these instruments all 'work', yet may not have the exact identity which their creators hoped to imbue to them.

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