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"Alas, the Chapter adopted a negative approach and settled instead for the introduction of a solid-state action and a repair of the wind supply, thereby perpetuating a basically poor instrument for a few more decades""

 

(Quote)

 

This is good news, and means there could be still interesting, historical

bits there; whenever you read something like that, be carefull, and

start a torough pipework inventory!

 

Pierre

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This is good news, and means there could be still interesting, historical

bits there; whenever you read something like that, be carefull, and

start a torough pipework inventory!

 

Pierre

 

hmm.

 

I only had about 5 minutes on this thing once, and that was all I wanted; I thought it was horrid.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
What on earth do you mean?  It's got different colours and everything!

 

 

There are some (few) good stops, but I agree that this is an organ that has needed replacing for quite a while. I wouldn't say this about many instruments.

 

The statement about the intended Llandaff project being the first new UK-built cathedral instrument since Coventry is mistaken. St.Chad's Birmingham certainly qualifies, as does Chelmsford and probably a number of others.

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Certainly St. Chad's and most likely Chelmsford Cathedral organs have very much quality and colour. I can vouch for St. Chad's - I tune it! But that is a red herring.

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The statement about the intended Llandaff project being the first new UK-built cathedral instrument since Coventry is mistaken. St.Chad's Birmingham certainly qualifies, as does Chelmsford and probably a number of others.

 

Well, the race is on regarding this claim. People should have learnt by now never to claim something's unique.

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There are some (few) good stops, but I agree that this is an organ that has needed replacing for quite a while.  I wouldn't say this about many instruments.

 

The statement about the intended Llandaff project being the first new UK-built cathedral instrument since Coventry is mistaken. St.Chad's Birmingham certainly qualifies, as does Chelmsford and probably a number of others.

 

Hi

 

They are indeed way out on it being the most recent - Chemsford was put in around 10 years or so ago (and, in my opinion, the Nave organ suffers from being buried in the tower arch - I understand that the builder's had no choice on this) and Matthew Copley is currently building in the RC Cathedral in Edinburgh (see NPOR E01163) - and I guess Worcester may well beat them as well if they're only just starting fund raising.

 

Every Blessing

Tony

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Hi

 

They are indeed way out on it being the most recent - Chemsford was put in around 10 years or so ago (and, in my opinion, the Nave organ suffers from being buried in the tower arch - I understand that the builder's had no choice on this) and Matthew Copley is currently building in the RC Cathedral in Edinburgh (see NPOR E01163) - and I guess Worcester may well beat them as well if they're only just starting fund raising.

 

Every Blessing

Tony

 

I've a feeling that Edmonsbury is about to do something, too.

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New Cathedral Organ Appeal

 

What are people's thoughts on this?

 

 

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

 

Are they going to retain the Jacob Epstein "case"?

 

I do hope so!

 

A strange organ. I have an old LP of the thing, with the Guilmant 1st Sonata played on it. I think it was one of those organs that H,N & B did their best with, but from rather dubious beginnings.

 

Pierre should be flying to its rescue, because I believe it contains Hope Jones pipework.

 

Much more important to my mind, is the present state of the organ at Bangor Cathedral, which is a Hill/Compton job of considerable merit.

 

Is it still functioning, and have they got any money to do anything with it?

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis

Oh :rolleyes: it's so easy. Firstly what happens is the"hybird" organs, ie those that are not by one builder but which have "evolved", go on the bonfire. This is called progress but is nothing new however. That in time will see off very many of our major organs.

 

Think about it.

 

Then, as there will be only thoughbreds left, such as eg Truro, they will be up for the bin treatment. Some bright spark will come along and say such an organ is not perfect, and either turn it into a hybrid (so giving the next Organist a good excuse to chuck the lot out) or it will be said the organ is out of date, any old excuse will do, provided one can line the pocket of some up and coming Organ Builder, who doesn't have a cathedral to his name. QED. Really, it is a most sorry state of affairs, but even those organs we consider immortal will one day go. Some idiots will see to them all.

 

Think about it.

 

 

As to Llandaff, I expect once it was highly regarded, I have never heard it live, but from recordings should have thought much if not all of it worth something surely? But of course, there ain't much dosh in that is there?

 

R

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Oh :D  it's so easy. Firstly what happens is the"hybird" organs, ie those that are not by one builder but which have "evolved", go on the bonfire. This is called progress but is nothing new however. That in time will see off very many of our major organs.

 

Think about it.

 

Then, as there will be only thoughbreds left, such as eg Truro, they will be up for the bin treatment. Some bright spark will come along and say such an organ is not perfect, and either turn it into a hybrid (so giving the next Organist a good excuse to chuck the lot out) or it will be said the organ is out of date, any old excuse will do, provided one can line the pocket of some up and coming Organ Builder, who doesn't have a cathedral to his name. QED. Really, it is a most sorry state of affairs, but even those organs we consider immortal will one day go. Some idiots will see to them all.

 

Think about it.

As to Llandaff, I expect once it was highly regarded, I have never heard it live, but from recordings should have thought much if not all of it worth something surely? But of course, there ain't much dosh in that is there?

 

R

 

 

If what you said wasn’t so true, it would almost be funny. All you’ve got to do is look at any (well most) cathedral organ booklets and you’ll see a list of organs that have been scrapped. Willis (amongst others) seldom kept what was already there in favour of his own pipe work. I suppose the up side is that there are a few parish churches with some cracking (former cathedral) organs.

 

:rolleyes:

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I trust their fund-raising/contract management will be more professional than their website authoring skills....

Yes, I would rather have a go at that site myself.

 

Dave

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What I think needs to be done about the organ is that a new four-manual needs to be built, and instead of trying to incorporate a choir organ into the concrete case, to build a 'nave' organ. If that was done the concrete case could be used for its oroginal purpose.

 

The only other course of action would be to restore it back to its original condition, and that would leave us with a Hope Jones, which may not be to everyone's taste.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
What I think needs to be done about the organ is that a new four-manual needs to be built, and instead of trying to incorporate a choir organ into the concrete case, to build a 'nave' organ. If that was done the concrete case could be used for its oroginal purpose.

 

The only other course of action would be to restore it back to its original condition, and that would leave us with a Hope Jones, which may not be to everyone's taste.

 

 

I think I'm right in saying that the Hope-Jones organ took a more-or-less direct hit from a parachute mine during WW2, so you'll not find much of it left now!!

 

Rude to say it, I know, but:

Anyone who suggests that the Llandaff Cathedral job is a valuable bit of organ heritage that should be left alone has clearly never heard it in the flesh! People have, frankly, already tried their best with it (several times/several firms). The Cathedral musicians have been despairing about it for many years. At last, someone appears to be listening. Good luck to them.

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Guest Roffensis

The Cathedral musicians have been despairing about it for many years. At last, someone appears to be listening. Good luck to them.

 

That sounds vaguely familiar.....

 

It certainly sounds good on the old recording with the Guilmant on. :rolleyes:

 

R

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The Cathedral musicians have been despairing about it for many years. At last, someone appears to be listening. Good luck to them.

 

That sounds vaguely familiar.....

 

It certainly sounds good on the old recording with the Guilmant on. :rolleyes:

 

R

I am, of course much more familiar with the (late lamented) Worcester organ, but would suggest there's little comparison betweeen the two cases. I took my church choir to sing in Llandaff a year or two ago and tried out the organ (which was played for the service by Darren Hogg) and found it to be both undestinguished and unexciting. Few of the Worcester organ's detractors could argue that it did not have personality or the capacity to excite.

 

I hope sensible use can be found for the Epstein case which is visually stunning. The cathedral as a whole is visually pleasing and deserves to be better known and regarded, although the acoustic is most unhelpful to choirs.

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What I think needs to be done about the organ is that a new four-manual needs to be built, and instead of trying to incorporate a choir organ into the concrete case, to build a 'nave' organ. If that was done the concrete case could be used for its oroginal purpose.

 

The only other course of action would be to restore it back to its original condition, and that would leave us with a Hope Jones, which may not be to everyone's taste.

 

The 'original purpose' of George Pace's concrete cylinder was primarily as an organ case. It was put there to provide a division of the organ to lead a congregation, and used as an architectural device to break up the tunnel-like vista from the west door right through the the lady chapel, as there is no central crossing and no pulpitum/rood screen. Had there been a Choir division or Nave organ this might have worked, but the Positive is of little use for any purpose!

 

I have a feeling - though I'm not absolutely sure - that Epstein's 'Christ in Majesty' was then commissioned as a feature for the front of the case - rather than the case being built as a home for the sculpture. The gilded angels around the remainder of the case are surviors of the pre-War choir stalls.

 

It would be quite impossible to restore it back to its Hope-Jones spec (even if such a thing was considered desirable on either historic or musical grounds) as there isn't much H-J left. What is there has mostly been revoiced, although there's a nice Clarinet which is his, and a couple of strings.

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I think I'm right in saying that the Hope-Jones organ took a more-or-less direct hit from a parachute mine during WW2, so you'll not find much of it left now!!

 

Rude to say it, I know, but:

Anyone who suggests that the Llandaff Cathedral job is a valuable bit of organ heritage that should be left alone has clearly never heard it in the flesh!  People have, frankly, already tried their best with it (several times/several firms). The Cathedral musicians have been despairing about it for many years. At last, someone appears to be listening. Good luck to them.

 

The mine landed to the South of the Nave and took the whole south side of the roof off, the top of the South-West spire, demolished the Chapter house, blew all the windows out, and did quite a bit of damage to the organ, but perhaps not as much as people think.

 

Most of the Great would have been mangled, and the console (new in 1938) certainly destroyed, but the contents of the swell boxes didn't fare too badly and the roof over the organ remained in place. Dr. Michael Smith once intimated to me that there was more Hope-Jones in the organ as it stands than anyone cared to admit, but in truth not much of it is recogniseable.

 

One of the big problems with it is that it's hemmed into a case with little chance of tonal egress. Sound crosses to the console OK, but doesn't travel down the Nave. The case is incredibly congested, and in truth it's a wonder anything gets out at all.

 

It has also suffered with half-hearted maintenance for many years. Rushworths rebuilt the console in 1980 and dealt with some of the action, and since then a capture system has been installed which is failing very badly. A friend did a wedding there a few weeks ago, and on using one Great piston all the pedal stops flew in and remained under charge so couldn't be pulled out. Apparently it's a known fault, and forcibly drawing the Quint will release it! Couldn't help thinking they'd have been better off to have kept the setter board - which was conveniently sited in a cabinet next to the console - since the capture system only has one memory! Nothing much happened on tuning visits, apart from the then tuner always turning up when he knew there was a busy service schedule, and spending much time outside the west door having a smoke. Faults reported in the tuning book were met with "Can't fix - have reported to Liverpool" and, of course, nothing further happened. The organ's currently in the hands of Patrick Burns who does his best with what he's got, but in truth I think everyone gave up on it so long ago that all he can do is a certain amount of fire-fighting.

 

When Harrisons inspected it a few years ago, they proposed keeping just the Open Wood and the blower, everything else to be binned.

 

All that said, I did have one of my musical 'road to Damascus' experiences there, when about 7 years old, listening to Robert Joyce rehearsing for a recital. For that I remain thankful.

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The mine landed to the South of the Nave and took the whole south side of the roof off, the top of the South-West spire, demolished the Chapter house, blew all the windows out, and did quite a bit of damage to the organ, but perhaps not as much as people think.

 

Most of the Great would have been mangled, and the console (new in 1938) certainly destroyed, but the contents of the swell boxes didn't fare too badly and the roof over the organ remained in place. Dr. Michael Smith once intimated to me that there was more Hope-Jones in the organ as it stands than anyone cared to admit, but in truth not much of it is recogniseable.

 

One of the big problems with it is that it's hemmed into a case with little chance of tonal egress. Sound crosses to the console OK, but doesn't travel down the Nave. The case is incredibly congested, and in truth it's a wonder anything gets out at all.

 

It has also suffered with half-hearted maintenance for many years. Rushworths rebuilt the console in 1980 and dealt with some of the action, and since then a capture system has been installed which is failing very badly. A friend did a wedding there a few weeks ago, and on using one Great piston all the pedal stops flew in and remained under charge so couldn't be pulled out. Apparently it's a known fault, and forcibly drawing the Quint will release it! Couldn't help thinking they'd have been better off to have kept the setter board - which was conveniently sited in a cabinet next to the console - since the capture system only has one memory! Nothing much happened on tuning visits, apart from the then tuner always turning up when he knew there was a busy service schedule, and spending much time outside the west door having a smoke. Faults reported in the tuning book were met with "Can't fix - have reported to Liverpool" and, of course, nothing further happened. The organ's currently in the hands of Patrick Burns who does his best with what he's got, but in truth I think everyone gave up on it so long ago that all he can do is a certain amount of fire-fighting.

 

When Harrisons inspected it a few years ago, they proposed keeping just the Open Wood and the blower, everything else to be binned.

 

All that said, I did have one of my musical 'road to Damascus' experiences there, when about 7 years old, listening to Robert Joyce rehearsing for a recital. For that I remain thankful.

 

What a fascinating and informative post, cheers!

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