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Lichfield Cathedral


nfortin
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I've just had a very enjoyable day accompanying choral evensong in Lichfield, an instrument I've not had the opportunity to play before. I don' recall it having cropped up much, if at all, in previous discussions of favourite instruments in this country, but it struck me as a very fine and coherent instrument, and a superb instrument on which to accompany a choral service.

 

I'd be interested to hear other peoples views.

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Guest Roffensis
I've just had a very enjoyable day accompanying choral evensong in Lichfield, an instrument I've not had the opportunity to play before. I don' recall it having cropped up much, if at all, in previous discussions of favourite instruments in this country, but it struck me as a very fine and coherent instrument, and a superb instrument on which to accompany a choral service.

 

I'd be interested to hear other peoples views.

 

 

Very good example of Hills work, and relatively little altered. I have not played it, but heard it live and think it's a gem. It also has the old sharp pitch, which was wisely respected......sad to say I would like to say that I prefer Chester, but given the catalogue of alterations to that, one can only hope for a proper restoration of that job, it could be splendid like Lichfield. Lichfield always strikes me as quite brash, and incredibly forward looking in it's tonality.

 

R

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How sharp is it?

 

 

C = 540 at 60° F. (For comparison, 'Concert' C = 523.3, generally, as far as I can remember - unless one is perfoming in a concert on the South Bank....)

 

 

 

I agree with Richard regarding Chester. This seems to be one cathedral organ which has been tinkered with more than virtually any other. In my view it has lost a lot of the Hill character. (Yes, I do remember that it was originally built by Whiteley!)

 

With regard to Lichfield, I do not know what I think of it - but I would very much like to hear it live (and play it!). It looks to be quite sensible on paper, although I would not have lost the Choir Cymbal, particularly since the replacement mixture is entirely new.

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Guest Roffensis
C = 540 at 60° F.  (For comparison, 'Concert' C = 523.3, generally, as far as I can remember - unless one is perfoming in a concert on the South Bank....)

I agree with Richard regarding Chester. This seems to be one cathedral organ which has been tinkered with more than virtually any other. In my view it has lost a lot of the Hill character. (Yes, I do remember that it was originally built by Whiteley!)

 

With regard to Lichfield, I do not know what I think of it - but I would very much like to hear it live (and play it!). It looks to be quite sensible on paper, although I would not have lost the Choir Cymbal, particularly since the replacement mixture is entirely new.

 

 

My own Hill is at 435=A, or 517.3, as built, "French Diapason Normal". And it's staying!!

 

R

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I've just had a very enjoyable day accompanying choral evensong in Lichfield, an instrument I've not had the opportunity to play before. I don' recall it having cropped up much, if at all, in previous discussions of favourite instruments in this country, but it struck me as a very fine and coherent instrument, and a superb instrument on which to accompany a choral service.

 

I'd be interested to hear other peoples views.

 

I've not played it since the rebuild, but I had the priviledge of living 10 feet away from it and using it as a practice instrument, hearing it almost every day for evensong, and occasionally singing to it. Prior to that I had a few lessons on it whilst still at school.

 

I love it. There are a few quirks on it, like some of the solo stuff speaking away from the console/player, which can be slightly mind-bending, but in general it's a delight to play.

 

Unfortunately the only recordings I've got of it are commercial ones (Robert Sharpe & Andrew Lumsden), so I can't post samples...

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Played it twice in th last 12 months.  Once for a nave service, once for evensong.  Utterly glorious.  At the risk of being hunted down as an heretic and apostate,  I'd rate it higher than Salisbury.

 

Well I think there are many that would agree with you - Salisbury is a wonder and delight and so is the building, but that doesn't make it perfect. I have heard distinguished players say that there are far more musical instruments in Salisbury itself - one of which is coincidentally an 1869 Hill.

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I would concur. Having played Salisbury many times, it is a good instrument with many excellent ranks; however, it is also very reliant upon the chorus reeds for effect. In addition, the sound does not really project well down the nave.

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Guest Roffensis
I would concur. Having played Salisbury many times, it is a good instrument with many excellent ranks; however, it is also very reliant upon the chorus reeds for effect. In addition, the sound does not really project well down the nave.

 

 

I find Salisbury very vertical, it's a unique sound ,and you recognise it immediately. I have always had respect for it, but having said that agree that it does rely perhaps too much on the chorus reeds for power, and the diapason chorus is relatively weak maybe. Still a gem in its own right though.

 

R

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Played it twice in th last 12 months.  Once for a nave service, once for evensong.  Utterly glorious.  At the risk of being hunted down as an heretic and apostate,  I'd rate it higher than Salisbury.

 

 

I don't know about 'finer than Salisbury', this is like saying that a banana is better than a roast potato - depends whether you want sweet or savoury. I do agree that Lichfield is very fine indeed. I thoroughly disliked the HN&B stuff and when I last gave a recital this had gone and H&H's additions/replacements seemed utterly in keeping and splendidly well-managed.

 

It is sharp (but keeping it so must have avoided a lot of revoicing/alteration) and the cathedral's acoustic is really pretty poor (compared to most cathedrals of these proportions) so any qualities of the organ are down to the voicing and not a flattering situation. Drawing some of the new Nave stuff along with the main organ (essentially above the chancel) definitely adds to the effect of an acoustic.

 

In summary, I love it now and congratulate all involved on a supremely successful job.

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Guest Roffensis
I don't know about 'finer than Salisbury', this is like saying that a banana is better than a roast potato - depends whether you want sweet or savoury.  I do agree that Lichfield is very fine indeed.  I thoroughly disliked the HN&B stuff and when I last gave a recital this had gone and H&H's additions/replacements seemed utterly in keeping and splendidly well-managed.

 

It is sharp (but keeping it so must have avoided a lot of revoicing/alteration) and the cathedral's acoustic is really pretty poor (compared to most cathedrals of these proportions) so any qualities of the organ are down to the voicing and not a flattering situation.  Drawing some of the new Nave stuff along with the main organ (essentially above the chancel) definitely adds to the effect of an acoustic.

 

In summary, I love it now and congratulate all involved on a supremely successful job.

 

No real comparison between Lichfield and Salisbury I agree, both fine organs, but as different as any can be, different style of voicing, and different builders.

 

R :D

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I don't know about 'finer than Salisbury', this is like saying that a banana is better than a roast potato - depends whether you want sweet or savoury.  I do agree that Lichfield is very fine indeed.  I thoroughly disliked the HN&B stuff and when I last gave a recital this had gone and H&H's additions/replacements seemed utterly in keeping and splendidly well-managed.

 

It is sharp (but keeping it so must have avoided a lot of revoicing/alteration) and the cathedral's acoustic is really pretty poor (compared to most cathedrals of these proportions) so any qualities of the organ are down to the voicing and not a flattering situation.  Drawing some of the new Nave stuff along with the main organ (essentially above the chancel) definitely adds to the effect of an acoustic.

 

In summary, I love it now and congratulate all involved on a supremely successful job.

 

Thank you for this, Paul.

 

I had also understood that Lichfield was acoustically very dry - is this due to the fact that the building is largely built from sandstone and as such, has very poor sound-reflective properties?

 

I would be interested to know what the Octave Gamba on the GO sounds like - did you use it at any stage?

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I would be interested to know what the Octave Gamba on the GO sounds like - did you use it at any stage?

I used it on Saturday, I used one of the assistant organists divisionals memory channels which has the Octave Gamba 4', Stopped Diapason 8 & Open Diapason 8 on Great 3.

 

To my ears the octave gamba was quite bright and not very stringy, more like a principal really.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I used it on Saturday, I used one of the assistant organists divisionals memory channels which has the Octave Gamba 4', Stopped Diapason 8 & Open Diapason 8 on Great 3.

 

To my ears the octave gamba was quite bright and not very stringy, more like a principal really.

 

 

I think it is a Holdich rank originally. There are several of these, including most of the Pedal. No doubt Hills revoiced them, but there's an unusual (and fine) character in the job generally which I would put down to this mixed parentage. It may be that the pressures used are not typical Hill of the period - possibly a bit lower in the fluework (?) just a thought. Maybe someone knows the answer to this!

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