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Cor Anglais - The Skinny


Westgate Morris
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Note: this is in reference to the FREE REED organ stop, Cor Anglais.

 

Please offer experience you might have had with a (free reed) Cor Anglais.

Tuning issues? Stability? Tips, cautions or accolades for this rarity.

 

The current plan would use an untouched 1920's stop at 16' in a Swell organ, English tonal design.

 

 

WM

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There are free-reed Cor anglais in Schyven organs in Belgium, among which

Antwerp's Cathedral and St-Boniface in Brussels.

This is a problem-less stop, but like all free reeds, it holds its tune too well compared with the others stops, so that free reeds often seem out-of-tune while actually this is the reverse.

For this reason they are normally placed next to an access, behind a panel at the rear or close to a tuning path.

Walcker used frequently this stop so that absolutely all possible information exists in the Walcker's archives; materials, construction, norms, scaling, etc, etc, all is available.

 

Pierre

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Note: this is in reference to the FREE REED organ stop, Cor Anglais.

 

Please offer experience you might have had with a (free reed) Cor Anglais.

Tuning issues? Stability? Tips, cautions or accolades for this rarity.

 

The current plan would use an untouched 1920's stop at 16' in a Swell organ, English tonal design.

WM

 

Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is a free reed?

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Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is a free reed?

 

In a normal reed the tone is produced by the reed beating against the shallot. The voicing is determined by the amount of curvature on the tongue, amongst a great deal else.

 

In a free reed the very end of the tongue is curved more than the rest, so it doesn't fully close against the shallot. I've never seen one in the flesh.

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David - the free reed doesn't strike the shallot, it vibrates within the opening.

 

I seem to remember that the Welte organ at Salomons in Kent has a free reed, a Bassoon, possibly with paper/card resonators varnished with shellac. It's a very long time ago that I saw this. Perhaps JPM can confirm?

 

The organ is being opened Thurs 21 September after restoration by Mander Organs/AC Pilmers. Nigel Ogden will be at the console and perhaps the roll-playing mechanism will see some action, too?

 

 

H

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Note: this is in reference to the FREE REED organ stop, Cor Anglais.

 

Please offer experience you might have had with a (free reed) Cor Anglais.

Tuning issues? Stability? Tips, cautions or accolades for this rarity.

 

The current plan would use an untouched 1920's stop at 16' in a Swell organ, English tonal design.

WM

 

Hi

 

I don't have any experience of free reed pipe organ stops, but plenty with reed organs (both Harmoniums and American Organs) - in these the reeds vibrate through a slot in the mounting plate - red toungues are often shaped/curved as part of the voicing process. They stand in tune for decades - it's very, very rare to need to tune one - a good clean usually deals with the odd rogue note.

 

I suspect the reason for their limited use in pipe organs is this stability - they'd rarely be in tune with the pipes!

 

Hybrid pipe/reed organs have been built (the latest Reed Organ Soicity Journal has descriptions of 3). You might get away with it at 16ft if the environment of the pipes is reasonably constant.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Note: this is in reference to the FREE REED organ stop, Cor Anglais.

 

Please offer experience you might have had with a (free reed) Cor Anglais.

Tuning issues? Stability? Tips, cautions or accolades for this rarity.

 

The current plan would use an untouched 1920's stop at 16' in a Swell organ, English tonal design.

WM

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

 

 

Try the following:-

 

Nice sounds to hear.....all from free reeds.

 

http://www.organstops.org/p/Physharmonika.html

 

http://www.organstops.org/c/FreeReedClarinet1.jpg

 

http://www.organstops.org/c/FreeReedClarinet2.jpg

 

http://www.organstops.org/c/FreeReedClarinet3.jpg

 

http://www.dobsonorgan.com/html/instrument...nstruction.html

 

 

MM

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Is that always the case?  I know it doesn't strike the shallot, I just thought it still stood proud of it rather than within it.  I stand corrected but I'm sure I read this somewhere...

 

Free reeds were produced by the Aeolian Company in their house organs. They provided an instrument for R.Barratt Esq; at Kingsthorpe, Northampton that eventually was transferred to Christ Church, Northampton.

 

I used to tune it at one time and seem to remember that there was a free reed Clarinet stop on in. This had a single free reed (rather like a mouth organ reed) mounted at the bottom of a cylindrical resonator of about the same scale you would expect to find on a normal Clarinet. The actual reed tongue was never touched, the tuning being done by altering the length of the resonator, which had a sliding top of about 1/3 the resonator length. The tone could be classed as `delicate'.

 

FF

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

 

 

I found a couple of examples of sound-files of free reeds, as follows:-

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Klarinett_Rostock.mp3

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Physharm_Riga.mp3

 

As we discussed earlier in the year, a few organs in England had free reeds; the best examples possibly been those by Aneessens of Belgium, but it should be noted that the 32ft reed at Donaster PC is a free-reed also.

 

I personally love them, but I know they are a wee bit too stable and a pipe organ tends to go out of tune with such reeds (not the other way around).

 

I think the most remarkable instrument I came across is in Poland, which had a whole third-manual which incoporated nothing but free reeds; like an expressive harmonium division attached to an essentially baroque organ.

 

MM

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

I found a couple of examples of sound-files of free reeds, as follows:-

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Klarinett_Rostock.mp3

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Physharm_Riga.mp3

 

 

 

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

 

Of course, "normal" reeds can be just as beautiful, and they just don't come better than the following:-

 

http://www.pipeorgancds.com/thommurplayw1.html

 

MM

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Greetings,

 

    What is a Cor Anglais called in England anyway?  Cor?  (C:

 

    Do you have anything called Cor L'Américain on your side of the puddle?

 

      - Nathan

 

 

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

 

 

Well now, your guess is as good as mine.

 

There are two possible sources for the term "English Horn," one of which is simple grammatical error, and the other one potentially more in keeping with the French way of dealing with anything English.

 

The term "Cor Anglais" is, it seems, a corruption of the words "cor anglé"....literally an "angled horn" (not to be confused with angel's horns on organ cases).

 

However, knowing what the French are like, the term "angle" could be replaced with the word "bent".

 

This would open up all sorts of possibilities for our perpetually ill-mannered neighbours, who would not pass-by the opportuniy of associating the word "bent" with "le maladie anglais".

 

Of course, we have the great satisfaction of knowing, that no matter what the French may say, it will always come from the mouths of peasants!

 

B)

 

MM

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I have it on good authority (namely NPOR) that I once played an organ with a Cor Anglais stop. I'm blowed if I can remember what it sounded like. How similar is a British Cor Anglais (non free reed) to the English Horn so popular in America? The latter is very smooth (at least the examples I have encountered are) - even smoother than the Orchestral Oboe at Exeter Cathedral (which is anything but acidic).

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I have it on good authority (namely NPOR) that I once played an organ with a Cor Anglais stop. I'm blowed if I can remember what it sounded like. How similar is a British Cor Anglais (non free reed) to the English Horn so popular in America? The latter is very smooth (at least the examples I have encountered are) - even smoother than the Orchestral Oboe at Exeter Cathedral (which is anything but acidic).

 

The Orchestral Oboe on the Solo Organ at Exeter Cathedral is a superb example - voiced by Willis II. I doubt that few surpassed his ability in this field - I know of no better example.

 

There is a Cor Anglais 16ft. on the Choir Organ at St. Peter's, Bournemouth. It is also available on the Pedal Organ. It must be admitted that it is somewhat pointless, since in the body of the church it is virtually inaudible. Certainly, when used on the pedals, it can really only be heard if no other stops are sounding. Apparently, at the time of the 1976 rebuild by R&D, the extra octave of pipes in the treble (for use with the Octave and Unison Off couplers) was removed, since it was not thought possible to incorporate this facility in the new electro-pneumatic action. This seems strange, since Harry Harrison had managed it on the original electric action in 1914.

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I have it on good authority (namely NPOR) that I once played an organ with a Cor Anglais stop. I'm blowed if I can remember what it sounded like. How similar is a British Cor Anglais (non free reed) to the English Horn so popular in America? The latter is very smooth (at least the examples I have encountered are) - even smoother than the Orchestral Oboe at Exeter Cathedral (which is anything but acidic).

 

I'll try to do you a recording of mine (Willis III) over the next week . It's like a smoothed out, richer Orch. Oboe. Not as smooth as the Hautboy on the swell, but not far off.

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I have it on good authority (namely NPOR) that I once played an organ with a Cor Anglais stop. I'm blowed if I can remember what it sounded like. How similar is a British Cor Anglais (non free reed) to the English Horn so popular in America? The latter is very smooth (at least the examples I have encountered are) - even smoother than the Orchestral Oboe at Exeter Cathedral (which is anything but acidic).

 

The one on the Solo at Bath Abbey is good - Klais have achieved something very effective here.

 

AJJ

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I have it on good authority (namely NPOR) that I once played an organ with a Cor Anglais stop. I'm blowed if I can remember what it sounded like. How similar is a British Cor Anglais (non free reed) to the English Horn so popular in America? The latter is very smooth (at least the examples I have encountered are) - even smoother than the Orchestral Oboe at Exeter Cathedral (which is anything but acidic).

 

 

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

 

One has to be careful about English Horns, because the term is also used on theatre-prgans to indicate a very strident Post Horn.

 

I suppose the nearest thing we have to a Post Horn in England, are the Trompette Militairia at Sheffield TH and St Paul's Cathedral.

 

Incidentally, Skinner was known to use the correct spelling of the quieter orchestral stop on certain organs, namely Cor Angle.

 

There is a Cor Anglais at 16ft pitch on the organ of Halifax PC, should anyone feel drawn towards making a pilgrimage to hear one in the flesh.

 

I have personally never found a use for it; though I feel sure that it is indespensable for the mature master-works of Caleb Simper.

 

This should be our epitaph:-

 

The sound of that single rustic voice, taking us along the remote, leafy country-lanes of rural England, across lush meadow and beside fragrant hedgerow; the gentle buzz of insect on the wing and the distant tintinabulations which mark out the passing hours in the small hamlet below.

 

There, in the corner of a field, a herd of cows graze lazily; oblivious to our presence as they urgently attend the business of mowing the pasture. Nearby, the quiet rustle of a hedgehog seeking out a meal.

 

Yet the tranquility is short-lived, as all heads turn; bovine and human. It is the plaintive moan of an animal in distress, calling out in-vain: head-locked by unyielding fence as, like many a cow, she had sought-out that which was greener on the other side.

 

With abruptly focused intent, we wrestle with bramble and play hop-scotch among the cow pats; a petrified beast, unable to move, rolling its fearful eyes at our approach. The beast struggles, but exhaustion overwhelms her, as with bowed head, she capitulates to her fate.

 

The Cor Angle....the bended horn... gripped by timbers, has become the captive's shackle; yet freedom comes from the same human hands which first confined her. She struggles yet falls back, then with supreme effort, raises herself; trotting heavily away towards the safety of far off pasture.

 

Then, in a brief moment of uncharacteristic melodiousness, she turns, opens her mouth and brings forth a pure tenor-G: a gentle lowing to celebrate her, and our, freedom.

 

The gentle moaning of the Cor Anglais; the voice of England!

 

 

MM

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

 

 

I have personally never found a use for it; though I feel sure that it is indespensable for the mature master-works of Caleb Simper.

 

 

I should have known... more strong opinions that are close to 'snide'.

Well I left an American discussion board for the same, perhaps I will leave this board - I get very little substance and often learn more from a quick ring to a few friends in the biz.

 

WM

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I should have known... more strong opinions that are close to 'snide'.

Well I left an American discussion board for the same, perhaps I will leave this board - I get very little substance and often learn more from a quick ring to a few friends in the biz.

 

WM

 

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

 

Well what do you expect?

 

How can we possibly "talk" about a sound across an ocean?

 

I don't think we have too many Cor Anglais stops in the UK, and of the ones that we have, not many seem to be highly regarded. One suspects that the Skinner versions may well be a lot better, as they often are.

 

As for snide remarks, maybe people across the pond simply do not understand the English delight in denouncing the music of Caleb Simper; though Eric Thiman ran him a close second, it has to be said.

 

MM

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