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French Reeds


Pierre Lauwers

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And sorry, but I just have to write it, just for the record:

 

Tromba (fem.) (ital.), pl.: Trombe

Tromba, if used as a loanword in English: pl. Trombas.

 

I apologize. Must be traumatized by the ongoing discussion on orthography (-fy?) in my home country.

 

Best

Friedrich

 

First part - you are correct. I had forgotten the genitive.

 

Second part - no. Not unless you eat 'spaghettos', or you play the 'tympanos'.

One cannot simply borrow a word from another language and then subject it to the rules of English grammar.

 

I am sure that we all make errors of syntax, etc, occasionally. However, I am not sure that this board is necessarily the place to make others aware of any perceived failings.

 

(Incidentally, your use of the phrase 'ongoing' is more correctly expressed as 'on-going', since it appears in this context as a noun formed from a verb - or, if you prefer, a gerund.)

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Guest Roffensis

Hmm, Hope Jones, the one at Ambleside (with Diaphones et al) really quite surprised me in a positive way. Hills? yes deffo, but then I'm biased :lol:, and as for H and H, depends what for. Best used carefully as they can get extremely muddy, cloying and tiring to listen to.

R

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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.

About low pressure reeds:

 

I've long thought that the Hill formula of flues at 3 - 3 1/2 and reeds at about 5 inches represents an ideal. Tubas could be 10 inches or more. I like the Southwark set-up w/ the whole job on a moderate pressure plus a couple of HP Solo reeds.

 

Heard that little Trumpet that HWIII put on the Choir Organ at Salisbury. It's a beautiful job of voicing & just the right thing in terms of the whole job.

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Heard that little Trumpet that HWIII put on the Choir Organ at Salisbury.  It's a beautiful job of voicing & just the right thing in terms of the whole job.

 

However, what you are unlikely to hear is this stop used in the context of a service. Due to its location, it is too loud to be used to accompany the choir and too soft to be of much value in accompanying a congregation - the Swell 8p reed is tonally far better.

 

A three-rank mixture would have been more useful, ideally along the lines of the mixture which H&H added to the Willis organ of Lincoln Cathedral in 1960, commencing at 22-26-29. This might have introduced some real brightness to this instrument. At present, the wretched tierce mixtures are useless for Bach - and frankly the reeds do not need their help, since they dominate the whole ensemble and are quite bright enough on their own.

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A three-rank mixture would have been more useful, ideally along the lines of the mixture which H&H added to the Willis organ of Lincoln Cathedral in 1960, commencing at 22-26-29. This might have introduced some real brightness to this instrument. At present, the wretched tierce mixtures are useles for Bach

 

Of course, you may like 1960-1970 organs, and we shall be wise if we

keep at least some of them.

Would you go to France, as you said on another thread, here is one for you:

 

http://www.aumonerie-ecole-militaire.org/orgue/index.htm

 

Pierre

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Of course, you may like 1960-1970 organs, and we shall be wise if we

keep at least some of them.

Would you go to France, as you said on another thread, here is one for you:

 

http://www.aumonerie-ecole-militaire.org/orgue/index.htm

 

Pierre

 

 

Yes - but as I said elsewhere, Pierre, I can also appreciate such masterpieces as Bristol Cathedral, Truro Cathedral, Ripon Cathedral, etc.

 

Insofar as your suggestion for a French organ-playing post was concerned: Thank-you, but I was actually hoping for something like S. Etienne, Caen! *

 

Now this I could live with for ever....

 

:wacko:

 

 

 

* I fully appreciate that the likelihood of this actually happening is commensurate with John Prescott being invited to become the next French Pope.

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A three-rank mixture would have been more useful, ideally along the lines of the mixture which H&H added to the Willis organ of Lincoln Cathedral in 1960, commencing at 22-26-29. This might have introduced some real brightness to this instrument.

 

God save us from the spirit of 'improvement'... :huh:

 

'Brightness' - the '60s, 70's, 80's etc. counterpart to Edwardian 'smoothness'... :wacko:

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God save us from the spirit of 'improvement'... :huh:

 

'Brightness' - the '60s, 70's, 80's etc. counterpart to Edwardian 'smoothness'... :wacko:

 

Yet FHW probably thought that he was improving the previous instrument when he rebuilt the organ of Lincoln Cathedral in 1898.

 

Incidentally, FHW at times showed scant respect for the work of previous organ builders. Take the case of Wells Cathedral. Here he either threw out or drastically revoiced the Samuel Green pipe-work, despite being specifically instructed in writing not only to keep the pipes but to respect their style of voicing. Apparently, FHW contrived to 'lose' the letter.

 

One cannot argue effectively that a particular point in the history of the British organ (for example) is to be regarded as 'the golden period' - and that all else is either wrong or 'tonal vandalism'. By what criterior do you judge the work of the twentieth century?

 

The instrument on which I have the privilege of playing on a daily basis, contains a considerable quantity of pipe-work dating from the mid-seventeenth century. Yet in the second half of the twentieth century, it was subject to a radical rebuild and re-design. The result was a stunning, versatile musical instrument - which is unquestionably far more able to do the job required of it than its predecessor; (the history of this instrument is extremely well-documented). The old pipe-work was respected; all was utilised in the rebuild. The new work was voiced by a master craftsman - in fact one of the best of his generation.

 

In any case, the Trumpet at Salisbury (which engendered this exchange of posts) was a new stop in 1934. It could just as easily be regarded as an interloper as a three-rank mixture.

 

In addition, knowing this instrument quite well, I can assure you that it is nothing without its reed choruses - the actual diapason choruses are not particularly thrilling - or even as bright as some other FHW work. The GO chorus at Truro is brighter and more bold. In this, I know that several of my colleagues are in agreement - including a recent organ scholar, who had daily contact with this instrument.

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My interest in St maximin is as a French classical organ - I've just obtained a copy of a fascinating book dating from 1954 about the restoration at the time. I think the Liszt fanfare comes off well, & it sent me hunting for the CD from which it came. Here I was treated to a few bars of Piece Heroique, which sounded distinctly odd! http://www.voiceoflyrics.com/gr/014/014_e.html.

I have 2 further thoughts, An old LP of Robbie Cleaver playing Gilbert & Sullivan at Manchester Town Hall, & treating "A policeman's lot is not a hppy one" as a duet between a Tuba and a big Trompette. Rather more respectably, having been granted a short play at St George's Windsor, my attention was drawn to the Solo Trumpet & Clarion, the trumpet English, the Clarion French. There was no doubt as to which was the more effective stop, La France willing mains en bas.

Peter Godden

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My interest in St maximin is as a French classical organ - I've just obtained a copy of a fascinating book dating from 1954 about the restoration at the time. I think the Liszt fanfare comes off well, & it sent me hunting for the CD from which it came. Here I was treated to a few bars of Piece Heroique, which sounded distinctly odd! http://www.voiceoflyrics.com/gr/014/014_e.html.

I have 2 further thoughts, An old LP of Robbie Cleaver playing Gilbert & Sullivan at Manchester Town Hall, & treating "A policeman's lot is not a hppy one" as a duet between a Tuba and a big Trompette. Rather more respectably, having been granted a short play at St George's Windsor, my attention was drawn to the Solo Trumpet & Clarion, the trumpet English, the Clarion French. There was no doubt as to which was the more effective stop, La France willing mains en bas.

Peter Godden

 

 

Aha!! I have also that Manchester/Cleaver LP, not that I play it much..... ;) well you know how it is.... :lol: but I would say on the subject of French Reeds that by and large I do not think MT Hall represents truly the French sound. It's there, and having played the job I know there are smatterings of Frenchiness in it, but it has been somewhat tamed, and needs a nice historical rebuild to return it to its roots. I have thought for a very long time that this is possible?, given the attentions of a expert builder in French voicing/tone. More representative is the very underused Parr Hall, (which, if rumour is to be believed, may be going walkies), and it here I think the sadness is. What exactly do me mean by French reeds, tone etc? To those out there who have not heard a true thoroughbred French job, our own organs by such builders are of utmost importance, and should be regarded as national treasures, and given expert treatment so that for our students of the French school as an example, there are "local" organs for hands on instruction how to play French music, and also play, relatively, on English instruments. Recordings of course help, but it's the real wind through real pipes effect that truly instructs. I was actually taken back how modest some French organs are in their buildings, St.Sulpice, "the sleeping giant" as my organ teacher once described it, Madeleine, buzzing away, Notre Dame, surprisingly distant to my ears, just a few examples. The instruments in Manchester Town Hall, and Parr Hall, are legacies, both very important guides to us, so that the question, in this country at least of what French reeds are should not really be a question. The differences in voicing, of the domed shallot eg and the different way the choruses work, build and so on, with eg the mixture taking on a more distinct role as exploited and handed down via Cliqout through the likes of Nicolas de Grigny, are all issues that can make us truly aware.

 

R

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Here is an example of good french chorus reeds (Dom-Bédos-Quoirin, Bordeaux):

 

http://aeolus-music.com/audio/10051.mp3

 

And here is another one:

 

http://aeolus-music.com/audio/10191.mp3

 

Beautiful it is, no doubt. But in french music only save some pittoresque

examples.

These stops are exactly as "extreme" as Trombas. Play big chords in the bass

and you get a kind of Diesel engine, this is not at all made for that, rather for "Basses de Trompette" with a note at a time.

Besides fashion, the normal kind of chorus reeds is the Willis one, should we want french ones, then we need Trombas (is) to compensate like a Stopped Diapason helps a crude Krummhorn.

 

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis
Here is an example of good french chorus reeds (Dom-Bédos-Quoirin, Bordeaux):

 

http://aeolus-music.com/audio/10051.mp3

 

And here is another one:

 

http://aeolus-music.com/audio/10191.mp3

 

Beautiful it is, no doubt. But in french music only save some pittoresque

examples.

These stops are exactly as "extreme" as Trombas. Play big chords in the bass

and you get a kind of Diesel engine, this is not at all made for that, rather for "Basses de Trompette" with a note at a time.

Besides fashion, the normal kind of chorus reeds is the Willis one, should we want french ones, then we need Trombas (is) to compensate like a Stopped Diapason helps a crude Krummhorn.

 

Pierre

 

 

As fine as Willis chorus reeds are, I believe Hill reeds to be more French, and I certainly prefer them anyway, as I do the builder in general. That said, a local 1863 Willis to me has incredibly French sounding reeds. Ideal for that school, but rather poor for much English. At least with Hills one can do both. Cavaille Colls are also poor for English, but...... :lol:..... can we say that English builders cannot "carry" French music!? One thinks of Lincoln and Lichfield, and realises how versatile our English builders were, whether Hill or Willis.

 

R

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As fine as Willis chorus reeds are, I believe Hill reeds to be more French, and I certainly prefer them anyway,  as I do the builder in general.  That said, a local 1863 Willis to me has incredibly French sounding reeds. Ideal for that school, but rather poor for much English. At least with Hills one can do both. Cavaille Colls are also poor for English, but...... :lol:.....  can we say that English builders cannot "carry" French music!? One thinks of Lincoln and Lichfield, and realises how versatile our English builders were, whether Hill or Willis.

 

R

 

Indeed!

Nor french nor too "english", Willis reeds are "middle of the road". So if an organ

must have only one kind of chorus reeds, I'do go for these.

Hill original organs I do not know, so I cannot say anything about them.

 

Pierre

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Indeed!

Nor french nor too "english", Willis reeds are "middle of the road". So if an organ

must have only one kind of chorus reeds, I'do go for these.

Hill original organs I do not know, so I cannot say anything about them.

 

Pierre

 

Hi

 

There's a recording on "Organs & Organists Online" of me playing a virtually untouched Hill, formerly in St. Mary Magdalene, White Abbey, Bradford - you may have to hunt for it (I did last time I looked) - the piece is the Carpentier "Te Deum Prelude" - solo is the Swell Reed.

 

There's also a stop list on NPOR. The organ has been rescued and will be going into a church near London.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I was actually taken back how modest some French organs are in their buildings, St.Sulpice, "the sleeping giant" as my organ teacher once described it, Madeleine, buzzing away, Notre Dame, surprisingly distant to my ears, just a few examples. R

 

Well, this is definitely not the case in these buildings, particularly when the tutti is employed. Having heard both instruments from the vantage points of downstairs and upstairs, I can personally testify that the sound is awesome - and quite loud enough for anyone!

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Well, this is definitely not the case in these buildings, particularly when the tutti is employed. Having heard both instruments from the vantage points of downstairs and upstairs, I can personally testify that the sound is awesome - and quite loud enough for anyone!

 

St Sulpice was amazing last Sunday - everything from Clerambault & Marchand to Cesar Franck via an improvisation. Impressions - with all the early pipework still around the 18th Century repertoire sounded superb as did the rest with the CC choruses. At the hands of Daniel Roth - a real Rolls Royce of an organ. The overall effect was very mellow, controlled and in the best possible taste. Certainly - full throttle was quite enough for me but again all very tasteful. However - star of the visit was St Louis en L'Ile - that is one really classy instrument!

 

AJJ

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St Sulpice was amazing last Sunday - everything from Clerambault & Marchand to Cesar Franck via an improvisation. Impressions - with all the early pipework still around the 18th Century repertoire sounded superb as did the rest with the CC choruses. At the hands of Daniel Roth - a real Rolls Royce of an organ. The overall effect was very mellow, controlled and in the best possible taste. Certainly - full throttle was quite enough for me but again all very tasteful. However - star of the visit was St Louis en L'Ile - that is one really classy instrument!

 

AJJ

 

You were there last Sunday??!!!

 

Some people have all the fun....

 

:lol:

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Indeed!

Nor french nor too "english", Willis reeds are "middle of the road". So if an organ

must have only one kind of chorus reeds, I'do go for these.

Hill original organs I do not know, so I cannot say anything about them.

 

Pierre

 

I would agree, Pierre - except for your last point. I have been fortunate to have at least some experience of Hill reeds and therefore it is even more difficult for me to make up my mind!

 

I love the Willis reeds at Truro and Salisbury (and Saint Paul's, etc, etc) - but I am also deeply impressed by the Hill reeds which I have heard.

 

How about Sydney Town Hall? This instrument is tonally exactly as Hill left it in 1890, as far as I know. There are CDs available and I think that there are also some sound samples which may be downloaded from the official site. Failing that, do an internet search for 'Thomas Heywood' (organist) and see what is available.

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You were there last Sunday??!!!

 

Some people have all the fun....

 

:lol:

 

.............I nearly managed to get back to ND to hear Latry doing the 4.30 'Audition' but it was pouring with rain and my 6 & 7 year olds were playing up so didn't actually manage to.

 

By the way I now have 2 copies of 'Orgues de Paris' (an opulent coffee table sized book with articles in French, photos and stoplists of ALL the organs) if anyone would like to make an offer via PM for the non up to date (1992) version then first come first served - the new version cost 40 Euro but please do not pass this info. on to my wife!

 

AJJ

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I have Jane Watts's CD of Thalben Ball, Dupré and W T Best. The music's not the greatest, but it suits the instrument, which sounds totally ravishing.

 

Mmmm.... Jane Watts is not bad, either....

 

(Sorry.)

 

VH, do you happen to know if this CD is still available, please - is it on the Priory label?

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