Jonathan Thorne Posted April 9, 2007 Share Posted April 9, 2007 I love a good Clarion - maybe you're the same. Maybe you're not.... we shall see.Even with a bright chorus and a good 8' chorus reed, there's something about the fire and splash that a good Clarion brings, IMHO they're virtually as essential in a 'final and complete' Full Swell as a 16' reed. Now the point of my topic is that I've noticed a distinct trend to leave these stops out of new schemes. As to reasons, how about some of these: 1. Maybe lots of different designers don't like them (unlikely but possible) 2. They're seen as a luxury 3. Builders don't like them, treble reed pipes being pretty difficult to voice really well. I think the first large organ scheme in recent times to leave out the Swell Clarion was the (famous/infamous) Gloucester Cathedral rebuild at the hands of HN&B and Ralph Downes. There, Downes had included (presumably for the same musical purpose) a Tierce Cymbal. Does this cover for the lack of a Clarion ? Like *beep* it does! Frankly that mixture is not a lot of good in the swell chorus either, bear in mind that there is no alternative mixture to top the chorus! The really irritating thing about this Swell is that Downes had the option to retain an existing Father Willis/H&H III Mixture and Clarion but he chose not to. Recently I had a fault here (Holy Trinity Hull) caused by a short between two cotton-covered wires, which resulted in the Great Clarion coming on whenever the Swell to Great was used. Needless to say, with great regret I was forced to cut the wires to the Clarion and managed for several months without it. Now it's back on, I am aware of how much it adds - this is a Great with 16 8 8 4 in chorus reeds. I also have excellent chorus reeds at 8 8 4 currently on the Swell and 16 8 on the Bombarde. Logically, the difference of one little reed rank shouldn't have been that much but it was - particularly in the middle octaves! The splash and fire are back. Would you specify a Clarion in a new Swell (or Great)? Opinions please? The answer to the question for me is yes in my opinion! I would find more use for it on the Swell rather than the Great. The reason being that so much French music does need it. In fact the two most recent 'new' organs in Birmingham have included a Clarion on the Swell and I have also come across one on the Nicholson and Lord organ of St. Luke's church Ironbridge. The Walker at St. Chad's, Birmingham has it's Clarion on the Swell, thus having 16, 8, 8, 4 for the reeds on the Swell in total. The Clarion is made of spotted metal and goes into harmonic trebles around the treble octave. Also around the same place are that the shalots are lined with wax, so to boost up the tone a bit. As it's the only 4ft reed on the organ, naturally it needs to be heard! You can certainly hear it in the bottom octaves on the tutti, so there is not need to have another clarion elsewhere. I can't actually of many organ's being of 2 manual size that would actually suffer without a clarion, only when the organs' get bigger then it becomes more noticeable. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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