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Even this may not be the full story - there is a possibility that Elliot & Hill may have provided the nucleus of this organ. In addition, there are suggestions that John Loosemore (in one of his rare trips away from the Westcountry) worked on the case and the GO Open Diapason.

 

There were also purported to be certain similarities with the case of this instrument and that built in 1390 at Sion, Switzerland....

 

:)

 

Hi

 

I assume this is meant to be a joke - if it's not. maybe you can quote your sources.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Getting back to the subject for a moment........

 

Llandaff Cathedral organ!

It has just been made public that there is to be a brand new organ built for the cathedral by Nicholsons. A four manual instrument, but not using the Pace case. The old Positive pipework in the Pace case is probably to stay there but will be disconnected. The organ will be entirely new including the Open Woods. It will be of the English Victorian/Edwardian style. ie. ...will have a Tuba!

Adrian Gunning

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Getting back to the subject for a moment........

 

Llandaff Cathedral organ!

It has just been made public that there is to be a brand new organ built for the cathedral by Nicholsons. A four manual instrument, but not using the Pace case. The old Positive pipework in the Pace case is probably to stay there but will be disconnected. The organ will be entirely new including the Open Woods. It will be of the English Victorian/Edwardian style. ie. ...will have a Tuba!

Adrian Gunning

 

 

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

 

 

How eccentric!

 

Maybe it will end up being like some of those new Polish tracker-organs, with about fifty Mixtures and complete baroque-style choruses.....to which they add.....A TUBA.

 

Actually, in that particular building, a good Victorian design is possibly the best option, and it's the sort of thing you really NEED for those miserable Welsh hymns.

 

 

:)

 

MM

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Actually, in that particular building, a good Victorian design is possibly the best option.....

 

I agree - I'll see if I can find out more.

 

 

....and it's the sort of thing you really NEED for those miserable Welsh hymns.

 

Ah, but we Welsh do misery so very well :)

 

 

S

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How eccentric!
I'm probably being thick, but why is it eccentric to build a new organ in the Victorian/Edwardian style? Is it any more odd than building one in the style of Smith or Schnitger? One could legitimately moan (though personally I wouldn't) about aping the past rather than developing contemporary horizons, but that is a different issue.

 

The Positive is not to be part of the new organ so I can only assume the reason for keeping it is purely architectural - though why anyone should want to keep anything by Pace is quite beyond me.

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Just caught up with this chain. I live in Cardiff but had not heard that Llandaff was getting a new organ. I knew it was rumoured but had not had it confirmed. It will be interesting to see what Nicholsons make of a difficult building.

 

Also interested in the comments on Guildford - another building I know well. Always thought the organ was loud but utterly colourless like many R&Ds.

 

Does anybody like the re-build at Hereford? I've heard three recitals now and it just seems fat and bland - disappointing I thought considering its provenance.

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Does anybody like the re-build at Hereford? I've heard three recitals now and it just seems fat and bland - disappointing I thought considering its provenance.

My church choir sang evensong at Hereford this last Saturday. I love the place, its a fabulous organ in a fabulous accoustic. A perfect day out.

 

I don't think the latest rebuild has made any tonal changes. There are a few reliability problems - my organist on Saturday was greeted with a list of stops to avoid. The mixture added to the great by H&H in the previous rebuild does not fully blend, but H&H are by no means unique in this respect. With deferrence to our hosts I believe the same criticism applies at Bristol.

 

I don't think its at all fair to describe this instrument as "fat". Like many Fr. Willis organs its really very bright. I would say its biggest weakness is that the swell organ is actually to "thin", it doesn't pack the punch that we would expect from a Willis swell. The organ does suffer from a rather buried position, this means that the organist at the console hears far more organ than a listener in the nave. We did "Murrill in E" on Saturday complete with the usual (unmarked) fanfares on the tuba. I know there are many non-admirers of tubas on these boards but this stop could not possibly be described as "fat". A brighter sound would be hard to imagine.

 

I think there is also a question of what you mean by "bland". If you mean a seemingly endless variety of beautiful soft colours, absolutely perfect for the pre-service improvisation and for accompanying the psalms then, yes, it is bland. If you mean it doesn't shout your head off like, for example, Bath Abbey then again guilty as charged. If you prefer the quality of the attack on each sound to dominate the quality of the sustained tone then a short trip down the road to Gloucester is the obvious remedy.

 

Nuff said

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If you prefer the quality of the attack on each sound to dominate the quality of the sustained tone then a short trip down the road to Gloucester is the obvious remedy.

 

You had to get it in, didn't you!!!

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You had to get it in, didn't you!!!

Oh dear, I thought I'd been quite restrained (for me on that particular subject). Perhaps we all push our own prejudices a little....

 

For the record, once again, I'm happy to admit that the Gloucester instrument plays some of the organ repertoire very well. It is particularly effective in late 20thC French repertoire - although it is doubtful that this was what its designers intended. In the context of my previous posting above my point is that I find the Hereford organ to be a superb instrument for the accompaniment of choral evensong, much better for this purpose than Gloucester. Were I in a position to live and work with either of these two instruments on a daily basis for me it would be an easy choice, and something of a love affair, in favour of Hereford. I'm quite happy to acknowledge and accept that for others the choice would go in the opposite direction.

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In the context of my previous posting above my point is that I find the Hereford organ to be a superb instrument for the accompaniment of choral evensong, much better for this purpose than Gloucester. Were I in a position to live and work with either of these two instruments on a daily basis for me it would be an easy choice, and something of a love affair, in favour of Hereford. I'm quite happy to acknowledge and accept that for others the choice would go in the opposite direction.

And, getting back to the point in hand, that would explain why Llandaff have gone for a traditional English organ rather than something more eclectic that might well be a brilliant recital instrument, but not much kop in coping with its daily bread, i.e. the accompaniment of choral evensong. One would hazard a guess that Nicholsons were chosen because they are the 'local' organ builders, rather than because they produce the finest work, or am I being obtuse?

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Guest Cynic
For the record, once again, I'm happy to admit that the Gloucester instrument plays some of the organ repertoire very well. It is particularly effective in late 20thC French repertoire - although it is doubtful that this was what its designers intended. In the context of my previous posting above my point is that I find the Hereford organ to be a superb instrument for the accompaniment of choral evensong, much better for this purpose than Gloucester. Were I in a position to live and work with either of these two instruments on a daily basis for me it would be an easy choice, and something of a love affair, in favour of Hereford. (snipped)

 

 

Yes to the substance of this - yes, quite emphatically.

 

I note the word 'designers' - actually, there was only one designer at Gloucester.

A couple of tales to tell.

 

Tale 1

I retell an account I received from the late Father Charles Watson (one-time organ-building monk of Prinknash Abbey). He was a good buddy of John Sanders - a great deal of mutual respect etc. etc. and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt the veracity of what he said:

 

At the time that the HN&B rebuild was going on, Father Charles lent a one-manual mechanical action organ of five or six stops to the cathedral. HN&B's men tuned it when it got there and some bright spark hung a small microphone inside it to assist dissemination of tone around the huge space. It sounded very well indeed.

 

When the time came to take the 'Watson' organ away, John Sanders confided to Fr.Charles

'Now I've got all these Tierces and things, what on earth am I supposed to do with them?'

 

Tale 2

I have recently (and fortunately) come into complete possession of the former organ from Cheltenham Ladies' College. This was a three-manual of 34 stops built by Rushworth and Dreaper in 1960 to the design of Herbert Sumsion. Nobody will be surprised that H.S. left them with a pretty-well standard romantic spec.

Great: 8 (Diapason I) 8 (II) 8 4 4 2.2/3 2 8 (Tromba HP)

Choir (enclosed): 8 8 8 4 2 8 (Cl.) 8 (Tromba from Gt)

Swell: 8 8 8 8 4 2 III 8 (Oboe) and 16 8 4 (Trumpet rank)

Pedal: 32 (ac.) 16 8 4 (in flutes) 16 8 (Open Woods) 16 reed borrowed from Sw and 8' reed from Great.

 

When the time came for a rebuild in 1990, this was carried out by the Malmesbury wing of J.W.Walker. It was a thorough overhaul including provision of solid state action throughout, new drawstop solenoids and a new piston system with 8 memories. Now you'll be guessing which stops John Sanders would add/replace in his role as Director of Music at The College and with the College having plenty (PLENTY!) of money.

 

Where would he start? Ditch the heavy pressure Great Diapason, perhaps, in favour of a Quint Mixture?

Remove the extensions from the Swell? Substitute something musical for the Open Wood? Give it a Cornet or a Sesquialtera?

 

Actually, he went for none of the above. The Choir gained a Gemshorn and a Larigot, lost a Viole and a Dulciana. The Piccolo was changed for a Fifteenth and the Clarinet was re-regulated more like a Cremona. That's it.

 

If one could conclude anything from those changes, John Sanders (left to his own devices) was not taking the HN&B at Gloucester as any kind of musical ideal!

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And, getting back to the point in hand, that would explain why Llandaff have gone for a traditional English organ rather than something more eclectic that might well be a brilliant recital instrument, but not much kop in coping with its daily bread, i.e. the accompaniment of choral evensong. One would hazard a guess that Nicholsons were chosen because they are the 'local' organ builders, rather than because they produce the finest work, or am I being obtuse?

 

I would have thought that a new Nicholson was likely to be highly eclectic. That is almost the last word I would apply to Gloucester, an instrument with strong identity which has coped perfectly well with choral evensong for the last 35 years, drawing nothing but the highest praise from those who have to live with it. I feel slightly sad that we are probably going to have another "beige organ" in our midst.

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If one could conclude anything from those changes, John Sanders (left to his own devices) was not taking the HN&B at Gloucester as any kind of musical ideal!

 

Please don't forget that the HN&B at Gloucester had Ralph Downs as its architect and supervisor.

 

FF

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If one could conclude anything from those changes, John Sanders (left to his own devices) was not taking the HN&B at Gloucester as any kind of musical ideal!

 

In any case, it was 20 years later, times & fashions changed, experimentation and boldness gave way to a more commonsense approach; and there was no Mr Downes in the frame. Only a fool doesn't change his mind.

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Guest Cynic
Please don't forget that the HN&B at Gloucester had Ralph Downs as its architect and supervisor.

 

FF

 

 

I was aware of that!

Downes was one of my lecturers at the RCM at the time.

I could tell you several more tales......a nice man, a great theorist but always totally oblivious to organ-builders' advice and/or (genuine) working knowledge.

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I was aware of that!

Downes was one of my lecturers at the RCM at the time.

I could tell you several more tales......a nice man, a great theorist but always totally oblivious to organ-builders' advice and/or (genuine) working knowledge.

 

Apologies about the missing `e'. Mr Downes, I never called him anything else but Mr Downes, lived close to me in Ealing. He had a pedal attachment on his piano that could occasionally need attention. Usually it was a five minute job readjusting the linkage.

 

He always insted that he paid me otherwise he reckoned it could be said by some (and I bet they would too) that if I did the work for nothing he could be accused of accepting `bribes'. He was not a wealthy man, the job was so trivial and I lived so close we compromised and I always charged him 10p. which satisfied his ethics.

 

I also took him one night, at his request, to see the Gallopers and the Fairground Organ that were at a fair on Ealing common. I also got him to have a ride, but he insisted in paying for both of us. He could be a very human person on occasions but this was often hidden.

 

FF

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I remember once Downes returning his fee after a recital that he didn't feel did him justice. He was also incredibly generous with advice when I was doing some research.

 

AJJ

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Apologies about the missing `e'. Mr Downes, I never called him anything else but Mr Downes, lived close to me in Ealing. He had a pedal attachment on his piano that could occasionally need attention. Usually it was a five minute job readjusting the linkage.

 

He always insted that he paid me otherwise he reckoned it could be said by some (and I bet they would too) that if I did the work for nothing he could be accused of accepting `bribes'. He was not a wealthy man, the job was so trivial and I lived so close we compromised and I always charged him 10p. which satisfied his ethics.

 

I also took him one night, at his request, to see the Gallopers and the Fairground Organ that were at a fair on Ealing common. I also got him to have a ride, but he insisted in paying for both of us. He could be a very human person on occasions but this was often hidden.

 

FF

 

 

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

 

 

I think Frank should write his memories; it is moments like this which are priceless, and which give such an insight into the people behind the masks. I know that Frank has known, and does know, quite a number of very interesting people, and I feel sure that there is a fine story there.

 

Organ-builders, rather like Royal Butlers, move in and out of the world of the great and the good with impunity, collecting treasures (and perhaps a few emotional scars) on the way.

 

I know that when I wrote to Frank once about the Rundle family of reed-voicers, what I got back was far more than I expected.....again, a fascinating insight into the trials and tribulations of working practices from a previous generation, and which I believe are a very important part of our history.

 

In fact, a compendium book of "best and worst moments" in organ-building, would make a wonderful read if retired organ-builders (and perhaps working organ-builders) contributed accordingly.

 

"The Dish" is almost unique in being a revealing narrative about the life and music of Virgil Fox, and I recall reading a very poingnant moment, when someone described a gathering of American Organists, where Ernest Skinner....."sat alone, largely ignored and forgotten by those who regarded him as old-fashioned and irrelevant."

 

In the internet age, with on-line publishing, such a venture doesn't have to be a commercial risk; unlike printed books, which invariably are unless they strike a popular nerve and do well.

 

I'm perfectly serious about this.

 

MM

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

I think Frank should write his memories; it is moments like this which are priceless, and which give such an insight into the people behind the masks. I know that Frank has known, and does know, quite a number of very interesting people, and I feel sure that there is a fine story there.

 

Organ-builders, rather like Royal Butlers, move in and out of the world of the great and the good with impunity, collecting treasures (and perhaps a few emotional scars) on the way.

 

I know that when I wrote to Frank once about the Rundle family of reed-voicers, what I got back was far more than I expected.....again, a fascinating insight into the trials and tribulations of working practices from a previous generation, and which I believe are a very important part of our history.

 

In fact, a compendium book of "best and worst moments" in organ-building, would make a wonderful read if retired organ-builders (and perhaps working organ-builders) contributed accordingly.

 

"The Dish" is almost unique in being a revealing narrative about the life and music of Virgil Fox, and I recall reading a very poingnant moment, when someone described a gathering of American Organists, where Ernest Skinner....."sat alone, largely ignored and forgotten by those who regarded him as old-fashioned and irrelevant."

 

In the internet age, with on-line publishing, such a venture doesn't have to be a commercial risk; unlike printed books, which invariably are unless they strike a popular nerve and do well.

 

I'm perfectly serious about this.

 

MM

 

I have seriously thought about doing this and during my retirement have kept a record of my various mumerings. I have been fortunate in knowing many fine and honourable musicians and it has been a pleasure to work with these prople. I have also know some of the other kind, but because one tries not to speak too unkindly of the dead and there are libel laws protecting those who are living I content myself by putting in the odd piece of interest in the Forum when appropriate.

 

FF

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I do not think I have ever heard of one Jayne Mansfield.

 

One wonders if she reads the evening news?

 

;):o

 

R

 

Richard, you know, you really should try to keep abreast of developments in the organ world.... :rolleyes:

 

To return to Llandaff....

 

Does anyone happen to know further details of the specification and console, etc, yet, please? (Other than what has already been mentioned here.)

 

I would have thought that a new Nicholson was likely to be highly eclectic. That is almost the last word I would apply to Gloucester, an instrument with strong identity which has coped perfectly well with choral evensong for the last 35 years, drawing nothing but the highest praise from those who have to live with it. I feel slightly sad that we are probably going to have another "beige organ" in our midst.

 

I must agree with the sentiments expressed by David, here.

 

Neil - we obviously disagree about thr Gloucester organ (save that I freely acknowledge that there are other cathedral organs on which it is easier to accompany serivces in a certain manner). However, it does have an artistic and stylistic unity - and I happen to like it immensely. It actually gets down the building far better than Exeter, Salisbury or Winchester (yes, I know that this has the longest medieval nave in Europe).

 

Anyway, I am now teaching again, so I will continue this later.

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Neil - we obviously disagree about thr Gloucester organ (save that I freely acknowledge that there are other cathedral organs on which it is easier to accompany serivces in a certain manner).

I really didn't want to stir this up again. My point was attempting to defend Hereford from the charge of being bland - I would prefer to use the adjective subtle. I wouldn't call Gloucester subtle, I consider it to be aggressive. I fully understand that many organists like aggressive organs, I just happen to prefer subtle ones.

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I really didn't want to stir this up again. My point was attempting to defend Hereford from the charge of being bland - I would prefer to use the adjective subtle. I wouldn't call Gloucester subtle, I consider it to be aggressive. I fully understand that many organists like aggressive organs, I just happen to prefer subtle ones.

 

Neil, please do not worry! I agree with you regarding Hereford; I would not have described it as bland, either.

 

I was also puzzled by the comment by waed - hardly a rebuild! The only tonal alteration was the revoicing (apparently) of the Pedal Schalmei* as a chorus Clarion. I should have thought that this would have entailed new pipe-work. My own instrument has a 2p Schalmei on the Pedal Organ. Aside from the fact that the pipes bear virtually no resemblance to the pipes of the 4p Pedal Clarion, it also sounds quite different. Personally I am at a loss to comprehend how even H&H can manage to make pipes which resemble 'a cocoa tin perched atop a length of gas-pipe' (loosely to quote John Norman) sound like pipes which are hooded inverted cones - and somewhat larger in scale.

 

However, the point is that no other tonal alterations whatsoever have been made to this grand instrument.

 

 

 

* Added by H&H in 1978. The website states that the stop was 'remade' - this is certainly more believable.

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I really didn't want to stir this up again. My point was attempting to defend Hereford from the charge of being bland - I would prefer to use the adjective subtle. I wouldn't call Gloucester subtle, I consider it to be aggressive. I fully understand that many organists like aggressive organs, I just happen to prefer subtle ones.

 

Sorry to be on a tangent on the Llandaff thread. I'm not sure I would agree the description of Gloucester as aggressive. I would prefer to call it very exciting.

 

PJW

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Sorry to be on a tangent on the Llandaff thread. I'm not sure I would agree the description of Gloucester as aggressive. I would prefer to call it very exciting.

 

PJW

 

An excellent description.

 

It is also a superb instrument on which to improvise in a variety of styles. I always found it to be most inspirational.

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