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Cor Anglais - The Skinny


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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
================

 

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

 

 

There are a few 'English' Cor Anglais stops around. I seem to remember finding them at Bristol Cathedral, Salisbury, Westminster Abbey etc. If they don't get used/heard much, this is because quite often they are (other than the Vox Humana) the least 'in-tune' stop on the job. There is room for research here...

 

....not least because a good Cor Anglais is often a nicer tone than some (very acidic) traditional Orchestral Oboes. IMHO Organ builders might consider using a larger scale and possibly a higher pressure than has often been done so far - assuming that the stop is under enclosure, there would be no disadvantage to these ranks being voiced pretty loudly. Once again, it is for designers to encourage the builders to extend themselves.

 

They are a delightful colour when fit for use. ....as are seriously full-blooded string stops (also much rarer than they ought to be).

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They are a delightful colour when fit for use.

As far as the American examples I have encountered are concerned (which, as I said, are all I can remember), I quite agree. A most useful alternative to the ubiquitous Clarinet (or Corno di Bassetto) and Orchestral Oboe. If I were designing a large organ these two would always be my fist choice (partly, but not only, because they are often specifically required by composers), but thought might well be given to including a Cor Anglais as one of the extra stops, perhaps at 16' pitch.

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Guest Andrew Butler
As far as the American examples I have encountered are concerned (which, as I said, are all I can remember), I quite agree. A most useful alternative to the ubiquitous Clarinet (or Corno di Bassetto) and Orchestral Oboe. If I were designing a large organ these two would always be my fist choice (partly, but not only, because they are often specifically required by composers), but thought might well be given to including a Cor Anglais as one of the extra stops, perhaps at 16' pitch.

 

 

Views anyone, please, on solo reeds at 16' pitch? Often wondered. Got to dash off to teach now

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Ah, now this is a good question. You'll notice my "perhaps"!

 

It seems to me that if you already have a Clarinet and Orchestral Oboe at 8' pitch then any further reed of that ilk would provide more tonal variety if it were at 16' pitch. You can always use it up an octave when you want it at 8' pitch.

 

I think there are two possible advantages of having a soft 16' reed:

 

1) when of full-compass they can be useful coupled to the pedals for extra definition - a Contra Clarinet under expression could be a very useful pedal stop - and

 

2) for use in chords. Although Clarinets, Orch Oboes and English Horns are primarily solo voices it is sometimes possible to use them as a chorus colour (depending on the voicing of course). I have heard this done very effectively by organists of the pre-war tradition. I'm not sure how widely this is practised this today. With a sub-octave coupler, or even better with a proper 16', the soft Solo reeds can sometimes make a passable secondary "full Swell".

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With a sub-octave coupler, or even better with a proper 16', the soft Solo reeds can sometimes make a passable secondary "full Swell".

 

 

There are several examples of Aeolian-Skinner instruments around here that have a Clarinet at 16' pitch in the Swell - they make a remarkably good chorus reed while still being available as a solo stop.

 

As to the usefulness of the English Horn stop (at least as we know it here in the US); I suppose that those who prefer to hold fast to the literature and the registrations thereof (the color-by-numbers approach :P ) would find them to be not very useful. However, those who find themselves flying by the seat of their pants love a wide variety of Solo reeds to dialogue with, thus making the old "Horn of England" quite useful.

 

The English Horns here make beautiful and musical sounds - two criteria I would hope count for at least something. As for me, I'd take an English Horn over a Mounted Cornet any day!

 

:blink:

 

Best,

 

Nathan

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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.

 

Here's a recording of my Cor Anglais. Apologies for a) bangs and creaks (recorded at the console, player heavier than the stool would like) :blink: poor playing c) choice of piece - it was on the top of the pile for some reason

 

http://rubbra.no-ip.org/solo_reeds.mp3

 

First is Cor Anglais, then Orchestral Oboe, then Corno di Bassetto, then Swell Hautboy.

 

Big bang between Corno and Hautboy is the swell box shutting.

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Ah, now this is a good question. You'll notice my "perhaps"!

 

It seems to me that if you already have a Clarinet and Orchestral Oboe at 8' pitch then any further reed of that ilk would provide more tonal variety if it were at 16' pitch. You can always use it up an octave when you want it at 8' pitch.

 

I think there are two possible advantages of having a soft 16' reed:

 

1) when of full-compass they can be useful coupled to the pedals for extra definition - a Contra Clarinet under expression could be a very useful pedal stop - and

 

2) for use in chords. Although Clarinets, Orch Oboes and English Horns are primarily solo voices it is sometimes possible to use them as a chorus colour (depending on the voicing of course). I have heard this done very effectively by organists of the pre-war tradition. I'm not sure how widely this is practised this today. With a sub-octave coupler, or even better with a proper 16', the soft Solo reeds can sometimes make a passable secondary "full Swell".

 

Some good points, Vox.

 

H&H often used to include a Clarinet at 16p pitch in the Swell Organ on some of their smaller instruments. They have recently re-instated such a rank in their restoration of the H&H organ in St. Helen's, Abingdon.

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Some good points, Vox.

 

H&H often used to include a Clarinet at 16p pitch in the Swell Organ on some of their smaller instruments. They have recently re-instated such a rank in their restoration of the H&H organ in St. Helen's, Abingdon.

 

Also - Arnold, Williamson & Hyatt used Basset Horns all over the place in many of their organs. I've never played one myself but I seem to remember they were often on the Swell duplexed onto the Pedals. I once heard the organ at Little Walsingham in Norfolk which has this but can't remember much about the sound.

 

AJJ

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Ah, now this is a good question. You'll notice my "perhaps"!

 

It seems to me that if you already have a Clarinet and Orchestral Oboe at 8' pitch then any further reed of that ilk would provide more tonal variety if it were at 16' pitch. You can always use it up an octave when you want it at 8' pitch.

 

I think there are two possible advantages of having a soft 16' reed:

 

1) when of full-compass they can be useful coupled to the pedals for extra definition - a Contra Clarinet under expression could be a very useful pedal stop - and

 

2) for use in chords. Although Clarinets, Orch Oboes and English Horns are primarily solo voices it is sometimes possible to use them as a chorus colour (depending on the voicing of course). I have heard this done very effectively by organists of the pre-war tradition. I'm not sure how widely this is practised this today. With a sub-octave coupler, or even better with a proper 16', the soft Solo reeds can sometimes make a passable secondary "full Swell".

 

 

I think that a good 16' Corno di Bassetto can be very useful as both a solo voice and a chorus reed - it seemsto blend better than other imitative reeds.

 

JJK

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Here's a recording of my Cor Anglais. Apologies for a) bangs and creaks (recorded at the console, player heavier than the stool would like) :blink: poor playing c) choice of piece - it was on the top of the pile for some reason

 

http://rubbra.no-ip.org/solo_reeds.mp3

 

First is Cor Anglais, then Orchestral Oboe, then Corno di Bassetto, then Swell Hautboy.

 

Big bang between Corno and Hautboy is the swell box shutting.

 

 

Thankyou for the demo. Most helpful.

 

A

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Thanks, ajt, this is the kind of material I always

need for my french forum. The people there do not

know what an Orchestral Oboe is, nor a Corno di Bassetto.

 

Pierre

 

No problem - you can also show them what it looks like:

Cor Anglais - http://www.laudachoir.org/organ/gallery/large-23.html

Orch Oboe and Corno - http://www.laudachoir.org/organ/gallery/large-25.html

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Thank you, Adrian. Nice stops all. Unless my memory is playing tricks (which is entirely possible), the English Horns I've encountered in the States are a touch smoother than yours - just a little less similar to the Orchestral Oboe. But essentially the sound is very similar.

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Here's a recording of my Cor Anglais....

 

 

AJT: Thanks ever so much for a great post and for taking the time. Above the call of duty - I'm sure.

 

It is most helpful and I will be playing it to many folks.

 

At present. The Cor Anglais 8 (vintage rank) has passed all current tests and will be singing again in the instrument being built in my church.

 

Thanks AJT,

WM

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