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Canterbury Cathedral Organ


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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Yes it's very good, isn't it? I have several going back yonks, including a 1949 Willis booklet, but they needed a really decent modern one which of course they now have. It goes with the very many and varied choral CDs, and also Organ CDs, unlike some of our lesser Cathedrals and cheaper Abbeys, who cannot afford them!  :o  :o

 

R

 

 

If you're commenting about the (shall-we-say?) 'limited' range of CDs on sale in many cathedrals, this has been noted before! I believe that I know the reason for this. Put gently and not too specifically (as it were):

One major record label, one known to us all and responsible for several large-scale series of CD around cathedrals, makes it very clear to the places that they supply that they prefer to be (what amounts to) the only CD supplier to cathedral bookshops in exchange for what are made to appear as preferential percentages on sales.

 

Anyone else heard this or am I dreaming again?

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Guest Roffensis
If you're commenting about the (shall-we-say?) 'limited' range of CDs on sale in many cathedrals, this has been noted before! I believe that I know the reason for this.  Put gently and not too specifically (as it were):

One major record label, one known to us all and responsible for several large-scale series of CD around cathedrals, makes it very clear to the places that they supply that they prefer to be (what amounts to) the only CD supplier to cathedral bookshops in exchange for what are made to appear as preferential percentages on sales.

 

Anyone else heard this or am I dreaming again?

 

 

Hmm, don't know about that, and I'm sure I have no idea who you mean.

 

I know of a company who do a lot of recording, in fact one expects a CD to come out of something like like "Gospel Alleluias Volume 1", but I also note the use of inferior CDRs by two companies. Please note that most of the smaller companies, although output may be less, do not seem to stoop to this cheap alternative.

 

Your own CDs have incidently covered excellent and varied material, some of it very obscure. Production is also excellent. :)

 

Personally, I don't dream! :)

 

R

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... the use of inferior CDRs by two companies. Please note that most of the smaller companies, although output may be less, do not seem to stoop to this cheap alternative.

The cheapest CD-Rs are indeed truly dreadful; but decent quality ones are considerably better than pressed CDs. Try looking at the error rates on a few pressed CDs with a program for checking burned CDs, and you could be surprised.

 

Paul

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Guest Roffensis
The cheapest CD-Rs are indeed truly dreadful; but decent quality ones are considerably better than pressed CDs.  Try looking at the error rates on a few pressed CDs with a program for checking burned CDs, and you could be surprised.

 

Paul

 

Mr Data are the most robust CDr-s I have used.

 

While I agree that proper pressed CD's do contain errors at least they don't erase themselves over a period of time when left playside up in natural light. With the exception of the PDO UK pressings from 1988 to 1993 affected by bronzing, which renders them unplayable, I have known many reknowed brands of CD=r to become unplayable or clicky after only a few months. Oh and watch out fot the occasional ones that flake of their own accord.

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  • 6 years later...

Yes it is - the collection has been discussed elsewhere and it is a fabulous set of CD's - I have thoroughly enjoyed dipping in to listen to some interesting music. The styles of playing are a revelation, for example, Sumsion's Elgar Sonata has made me want to re-learn it!

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The Canterbury recording is perhaps not one of the better ones as regards giving a true picture of the sound. Maybe others will not agree, though! I reckoned Allan Wicks made the old organ sound like the new one - if you see what I mean....

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Recordings of the Old Willis organ can be found at

 

http://www.youtube.c...eatagain/videos

 

That was a trip down memory lane! I had that recording on cassette tape when I was a youngster back in the 80s - at the time having no idea that I'd end up living in Canterbury and regularly taking my church choir (St Stephen's, to the north-east of the city) to sing services there.

 

Thanks for posting!

 

Steve

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  • 4 years later...

Disclaimer: I don't know the Canterbury organ well, so do bring me up to speed if I'm misjudging,  But the list in the link does raise quite a few questions to me ...

First, there's really not much in the way of mutations.  That great piccolo would need to be seriously beautiful in order to be more useful than a tierce.  Actually, there's a piccolo on every manual!  

Similar goes for the two mixtures on the swell.  No Swell 15th?

Is the choir going to be enclosed?

What's a celestina?

French horn, ophicleide AND tuba on the solo?

Prima Facie, the pedal appears a bit spartan when it comes to quiet stops at 8 and 4 (though it might be fine in practice, I don't know), but I would have thought a little manual borrowing could be useful.  It might be useful to have some of the Swell reeds available on the pedal too.

It seems a shame not to take the opportunity to have a manual double or a reed in the Nave organ - it looks very 1970s on paper (though I do like the case-work).  I much prefer the scheme for the transept organ.   I'd have thought in an heroic nave like Canterbury you'd really benefit from something a fair bit more beefy, maybe:

16    *    Bourdon
8    *    Open Diapason
8    *    Stopped Diapason
5 1/3        Quint
4    *    Principal
4        Flute
2 2/3        Twelfth
2        Fifteenth
1 3/5        Tierce
IV        Mixture
16    *    Trombone
8    *    Trumpet
4    *    Clarion

* Stops also available on Pedals.  Some stops enclosed?  Possibly even extend the trombone down an octave for the pedals?

How well does the nave organ work in practice?

Will there be a nave console?  It sounds like the new console is going to be much less well connected with the nave.

Can anyone comment on why a transept organ is considered necessary?

Thanks for any insights!

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My experience is that the Nave Organ at Canterbury, while not particularly loud in itself, seems to draw the sound of the main organ down into the nave. It is certainly very effective for its purpose, providing a firm but not oppressive accompaniment for congregations in that part of the building.

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3 hours ago, SomeChap said:

French horn, ophicleide AND tuba on the solo?

Hey, why not? :) If the Ophicleide is free-toned, like an Orchestral Trumpet you would have three very different solo reeds. I gather Rushworths used to be noted for their French horns; the  one on the Foghorn is a beautiful stop and very realistic.

The Pedal upperwork looks fine to me. I don't see much point in having anything softer. When you are playing very softly you don't really need supporting 8' and 4' stops because there is no need for an independent pedal in that kind of music. At St George's Windsor there are 16' and 8' Dulcianas because the pedal was designed to be wholly independent of the Great at all dynamic levels. However, even the very similar organ of similar date at Coventry omits the 8' Dulciana.

I think you will find that the three 2' flutes are again going to be quite different. A Blockflute certainly isn't a Piccolo (or shouldn't be). I would guess that the Sw Flageolet will be a hybrid-type stop able to do duty as both a principal and a flute. There are diapason and flute choruses on the Choir. If the Choir is going to be more of a Positive division then these will form secondary choruses to the Great. Is there then any real need for a principal-toned 2' on the Swell?  Romantic French music tends to require an Octavin.

Needless to say, I'm making a shed-load of assumptions above.

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The Flageolet is more of a fifteenth, I'm glad to say.  A Swell which is used for accompaniment needs a 2' of principal (or near-principal) tone, otherwise there is a hiatus at a dynamic level which is needed quite often.  A lot of instruments are let down in this way.  Personally, I rarely care for a 2' flute anywhere except on the Solo (or the Pedal).  Many forumites will remember the 2' flute on the Great at the RCO in Kensington Gore.  To get Great to Fifteenth, you had to couple the Choir! 

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On ‎1‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 19:18, David Drinkell said:

The Flageolet is more of a fifteenth, I'm glad to say.  A Swell which is used for accompaniment needs a 2' of principal (or near-principal) tone, otherwise there is a hiatus at a dynamic level which is needed quite often.  A lot of instruments are let down in this way.  Personally, I rarely care for a 2' flute anywhere except on the Solo (or the Pedal).  Many forumites will remember the 2' flute on the Great at the RCO in Kensington Gore.  To get Great to Fifteenth, you had to couple the Choir! 

The last time I played an Evensong at Canterbury (a good 25 years ago now) I didn't have time to set up a capture memory channel, so I used David Flood's settings.  IIRC one of the Swell pistons had a "mini full swell" effect with something like 16' Bourdon, 8 & 4 Diapasons, Flageolet and Hautbois - which was very effective and useful.

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