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riddler67

New Beckerath At Marlborough College

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As the Canterbury debate moves onwards and the well-documented and arguably still present "division" between European and British organ builders comes to the fore again, I thought you all might be interested in some info about our new Beckerath. We invited tenders from many builders, British and European, with a firm belief that it must be possible to get the best of all worlds in one instrument, without it sounding idiotic! I firmly believe that this Beckerath will help to bridge the Euro-divide - it has a warmth and a Britishness to it and a fiercely French swell (which of course means that it's perfect for Anglican tradition accompaniment with three 8' strings, a 4' stringy Fugara a string mixture, stopped and open 8' flutes etc). In the 62 stop instrument 10 ranks (almost all from the orginal Forster & Andrews of 1878 and almost all wood) have been retained. We went for Beckerath purely for their sound and the quality of the mechanical action. No anti-British thing here, simply a case of the best proposal winning: pricing, while an issue, was not relevant in the final choice. As a school we want our pupils to be able to hear North German principal choruses, French classical Cornets and Cromornes, the French symphonic swell, the warmth, sonorities and scale of the great British tradition - and Beckerath have proved (IMHO) that with real attention to scaling and voicing all these apparently diverse sounds can be brought together. This doesn't sound like 4 different organs coupled together: every stop on every division compliments every other stop. Of course others have done this, some more successfully than others.... But please don't think of this instrument as being remotely similar to the only other UK Beckerath at Clare - things have moved on somewhat!

 

Specification follows.

 

GREAT

1. Großprincipal 16’ New

2. Principal 8’ New

3. Principal Céleste 8’ New

4. Viola da Gamba 8’ New

5. Rohrgedeckt 8’ Exist

6. Octave 4’ New

7. Waldflöte 4’ New

8. Quinte 2 2/3’ New

9. Superoctave 2’ New

10. Cornet V 8’ New

11. Mixtur V 1 1/3’ New

12. Cymbel III 2/3’ New

13. Bombarde 16’ New

14. Trompete 8’ New

15. Clarine 4’ New

Tremulant

 

SWELL (ENCLOSED)

16. Flûte allemande 16’ New

17. Bourdon 8’ New

18. Flûte ouvrit 8’ Exist

19. Viole d’Orchestre 8’ Exist

20. Voix Céleste 8’ New

21. Aeoline 8’ New

22. Fugara 4’ New

23. Flûte octaviante 4’ New

24. Nazard 2 2/3’ New

25. Octavin 2’ New

26. Tierce 1 3/5’ New

27. Sifflet 1’ New

28. Harm. Aethera III 2 2/3’ New

29. Plein Jeu V 2’ New

30. Basson 16’ New

31. Hautbois 8’ New

32. Trompette harm. 8’ New

33. Clairon 4’ New

Tremulant

 

PEDAL

34. Untersatz 32’ New

35. Principalbaß 16’ New

36. Offenflöte 16’ Exist

37. Bordun 16’ Exist

38. Octavbaß 8’ New

39. Flutebaß 8’ Exist

40. Choralbaß 4’ Exist

41. Mixtur V 2 2/3’ New

42. Contra Bombarde 32’ New

43. Bombarde 16’ New

44. Fagott 16’ New

45. Posaune 8’ New

 

POSITIV

46. Prestant 8’ New

47. Holzgedeckt 8’ New

48. Prestant 4’ New

49. Spielflöte 4’ New

50. Nasat 2 2/3’ New

51. Gemshorn 2’ New

52. Terz 1 3/5’ New

53. Larigot 1 1/3’ New

54. Scharf IV 1’ New

55. Cromorne 8’ New

Tremulant

 

SOLO (ENCLOSED)

56. Harmonic Flute 8’ New

57. Flute Céleste 8’ New

58. Concert Flute 4’ Exist

59. Trumpet 8’ New

60. Clarinet 8’ New

61. Vox Humana 8’ New

Tremulant

62. Tuba 8’ Exist

 

Hope the above formats OK when displayed, apologies if it doesn't.

 

All are very warmly invited to a Festal Evensong and Organ Dedication by the Bishop of Salisbury at 6.30pm on Sunday 4 Feb, which is followed at 8.00pm with a recital by Simon Preston. Entry to both events is free, but due to space limitations tickets are required. Please email musicsec@marlboroughcollege.org if you're interested.

 

I do hope that some of you might be interested in coming along. I'm an organ nut, read this site regularly (though this is my first post) and do think that we have something very special here. And I want you to know about it! And of course I'm not biased...

 

Tim Ridley

Assistant Organist

Marlborough College

Wiltshire

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

Dear Tom.

thanks for that posting - a very interesting scheme indeed, the selection of fluework at 8' particularly caught my eye, but everything else one would expect is there too.

 

I would be particularly interested to know how the site question has been solved. The old HN&B job was stuffed in at the East End, where is the Von B.?

 

Any photo site for us to visit?

 

Thanks again,

P.

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Dear Tom.

thanks for that posting - a very interesting scheme indeed, the selection of fluework at 8' particularly caught my eye, but everything else one would expect is there too.

 

I would be particularly interested to know how the site question has been solved. The old HN&B job was stuffed in at the East End, where is the Von B.?

 

Any photo site for us to visit?

 

Thanks again,

P.

 

 

The organ is still in a chamber on the north wall - suggestions that we move to the West End gallery were greeted with derision by the governing body (additional cost of a new case adding almost a third to the overall price). But of course the new instrument has been designed properly to speak out from its intended space. The HN&B was a revamp and enlargement of the orginal F&A which was at the West End and was indeed stuffed rather unceremoniously into the new space through necessity. The clarity with which the new instrument speaks around the Chapel is extraordinary (and a relief!).

 

Loads of photos at http://www.iancrabbe.co.uk/organ.

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Very interesting set of photos. The console looks incredibly dark and heavy.. I guess in real life it's not as forboding.. Not sure I'm that keen on the choice of font for the stop labels either.... Still, if it does the job it was designed for....

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Very interesting set of photos. The console looks incredibly dark and heavy.. I guess in real life it's not as forboding.. Not sure I'm that keen on the choice of font for the stop labels either.... Still, if it does the job it was designed for....

 

I'm sure you'll be unsurprised to learn that the console was obliged to be in dark oak to blend in with the existing panelling around it - grade 1 listing and all that, we were given an unequivocal lack of choice in the matter by the local council! Although it does indeed like lighter in real life the overall look is darker than expected due to Beckerath's one and only error - ommitting to tell Heuss, the console manufacture, to reverse the keys from their usual expectation to white naturals/black sharps. However it so happens that none of the organists here could care less so we were happy to leave them as they are rather than put the project behind schedule. The stop font is I suppose a matter of taste - we like it but I'm sure that not everyone will! The feeling was that with every rank of pipes an absolutely beautiful handcrafted gem it would be inappropriate to identify the associated stop with a mere printed label. We feel that the older script style is more individual.

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I'm sure you'll be unsurprised to learn that the console was obliged to be in dark oak to blend in with the existing panelling around it - grade 1 listing and all that, we were given an unequivocal lack of choice in the matter by the local council! Although it does indeed like lighter in real life the overall look is darker than expected due to Beckerath's one and only error - ommitting to tell Heuss, the console manufacture, to reverse the keys from their usual expectation to white naturals/black sharps. However it so happens that none of the organists here could care less so we were happy to leave them as they are rather than put the project behind schedule. The stop font is I suppose a matter of taste - we like it but I'm sure that not everyone will! The feeling was that with every rank of pipes an absolutely beautiful handcrafted gem it would be inappropriate to identify the associated stop with a mere printed label. We feel that the older script style is more individual.

 

The thing that I noticed immediately becauseI've just had the same fight with Heuss is that they've used their standard crappy stop-switch units with the really horrible white Teflon stop shafts. They cannot simply replace them with wood either, because the wooden ones have a wider bore, so you have to change the entire units. 113 of them, in our case, at a cost of nearly 20 000 euros. All that plastic does not harmonise well with wood or porcelain or even with gothic buildings. I asked the man at Heuss's if he had no aesthetic sense, but he said, no, that was not his job, he jaust delivered what his customers ordered. If they don't say exactly what they want, they get bog-standard. And I hate those tiny Heuss pistons.

 

Still, nice to hear of a new sizeable Beckerath. They are unfortunately no longer quite flavour of the month.

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Guest Roffensis
The organ is still in a chamber on the north wall - suggestions that we move to the West End gallery were greeted with derision by the governing body (additional cost of a new case adding almost a third to the overall price). But of course the new instrument has been designed properly to speak out from its intended space. The HN&B was a revamp and enlargement of the orginal F&A which was at the West End and was indeed stuffed rather unceremoniously into the new space through necessity. The clarity with which the new instrument speaks around the Chapel is extraordinary (and a relief!).

 

Loads of photos at http://www.iancrabbe.co.uk/organ.

 

 

Speechless, for once!

 

R

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This certainly looks exciting.

 

I only knew the previous organ from the Collegiate Singers' CDs of Howells's canticles, but, for all Richard Moorhouse's superb accompanying, I thought it sounded distastefully leaden. But then, I've never liked Trombas.

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The stop font is I suppose a matter of taste - we like it but I'm sure that not everyone will! The feeling was that with every rank of pipes an absolutely beautiful handcrafted gem it would be inappropriate to identify the associated stop with a mere printed label. We feel that the older script style is more individual.

 

The stop font rather reminded me of another sort of Marlboro[ugh]!

 

I would be thrilled to see this thing, having been among the last to play the old instrument - I came up with Geoffrey Morgan to purchase some ranks of the old pipes.

 

Do you fancy putting on a Board Open Day? I have access to other instruments in the area - we could make quite a good day of it.

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I only knew the previous organ from the Collegiate Singers' CDs of Howells's canticles, but, for all Richard Moorhouse's superb accompanying, I thought it sounded distastefully leaden. But then, I've never liked Trombas.

 

 

I agree - I was always rather surprised that Priory chose to record this series at Marlborough. Of course the acoustic is ideal, but the old organ sound was indeed leaden, particularly lacking sweetness, clarity and delicacy on the great and swell and decent chorus reeds on the great and pedal. But you're onto a bit of a loser when your great reeds are enclosed in the solo box in a separate part of the organ from the rest of the division!

 

I think that a Board Open Day would be an excellent idea and will discuss this further with Ian Crabbe, our College Organist.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I agree - I was always rather surprised that Priory chose to record this series at Marlborough.

 

[discussing Priory's series of Howells CDs]

Or, which is more to the point, why they chose for this project an all-adult ensemble who do not regularly perform these pieces in a liturguical context. It would have ben nice to see that series performed by some of the choirs for whom the music was written, but then so many projects these days are cost-driven.

 

I have one volume from the series and I have enjoyed it a few times. Truth to tell, it would have been played far more often if this wonderful music had been performed by the sort of choir (and for the sort of tone-quality) for which all these works were written.

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The thing that I noticed immediately becauseI've just had the same fight with Heuss is that they've used their standard crappy stop-switch units with the really horrible white Teflon stop shafts. They cannot simply replace them with wood either, because the wooden ones have a wider bore, so you have to change the entire units. 113 of them, in our case, at a cost of nearly 20 000 euros. All that plastic does not harmonise well with wood or porcelain or even with gothic buildings. I asked the man at Heuss's if he had no aesthetic sense, but he said, no, that was not his job, he jaust delivered what his customers ordered. If they don't say exactly what they want, they get bog-standard. And I hate those tiny Heuss pistons.

 

Still, nice to hear of a new sizeable Beckerath. They are unfortunately no longer quite flavour of the month.

 

Was surprised to read this as our stop shafts are very definitely wood, a very light beech I think. The console may not be to everybody's taste (and isn't the world a better place for difference of opinion!) but it definitely blends well into our pseudo late Gothic building and oozes quality. The Heuss pistons will no doubt cause further debate - no doubt about it they're small. But I've been practising on the organ for a few days now and haven't yet missed a piston: not what I was expecting I have to be honest.

 

We're fortunate in that Beckerath are using us as a showcase instrument and cutting no corners at all. Unsuprisingly they are desperate to build a big modern instrument in Europe which means that they are actually making a loss on this project. We discovered today that the 32' reed is not an extension of the 16' Bombarde - naturally we'd taken it as read that this would be the case, but yesterday a full set of 32 pipes for each stop arrived from Hamburg. We'd also assumed it would be half length, but no. And no borrowing anywhere other than the Gt 16' principal doubling as the Pedal 16' principal. From our experience with Beckerath they certainly deserve to become flavour of the month again.

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[discussing Priory's series of Howells CDs]

Or, which is more to the point, why they chose for this project an all-adult ensemble who do not regularly perform these pieces in a liturguical context.

 

I can assure you that most of the pieces recorded on the five priory discs have been sung by the Collegiate Singers at Westminster Abbey - some of them more than once. I know - I was there, singing!

 

JJK

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The Beckerath firm is not so out of fashion as one

could believe it; see here their last works:

 

http://www.beckerath.com/de/aktuell/aktuell.htm

 

....Without forgetting to click on "Projekte", the link in blue at

the top of the page. The organ we are talking about here

has its picture there.

 

Pierre

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Was surprised to read this as our stop shafts are very definitely wood, a very light beech I think.

 

Sorry about that. It's my eyes.........

 

Just to put the record straight, I'm actually a big Beckerath fan, the last instrument in which the old man himself had a hand went into the concert Hall at the University of Cape Town and has influenced me lastingly. Of course there's no one there any more from those days, but there are certain sounds which have remained with them (and may they never die), like those absolutely characteristic Rohrflöten.

 

Just in case anyone might think I was bashing them....as you'll see from their pages though, they haven't built a large new organ in Germany for a long time, and even lost the contract for a rebuild of the landmark Beckerath organ in the Petrikirche Hamburg to Schuke. I wish them well.

 

Cheers

Barry

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[discussing Priory's series of Howells CDs]

Or, which is more to the point, why they chose for this project an all-adult ensemble who do not regularly perform these pieces in a liturguical context. It would have ben nice to see that series performed by some of the choirs for whom the music was written, but then so many projects these days are cost-driven.

Couldn't agree with you more there, Paul. In my opinion, the decision to record the series with a mixed adult choir was one of the great missed opportunities in recent years. Just think what we could have had if they (Priory) had made the recordings with some of our finest cathedral choirs? This is not to cast aspersions on the Collegiate Singers, who are a fine choir and do a decent job.

 

Of course, the new Beckerath at Marlborough is in many ways an organists' paradise, with full length 32ft flue and reed, fiery chorus reeds, translucent flutes, a bit of this, a bit of that, plus the old Tuba and some of the F&A pipework being retained. Stylistically, however, it leaves a lot to be desired (dog's breakfast, anyone?). Give me the integrity and honesty of the Beckerath organ at Clare College, Cambridge, any day.

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Do you fancy putting on a Board Open Day? I have access to other instruments in the area - we could make quite a good day of it.

 

I also think that this is a good idea. So, where else are we to visit, David?

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...

SWELL (ENCLOSED)

16. Flûte allemande 16’ New

...

What kind of stop is this?

 

I found it in several more recent Beckerath stoplists. Some new clever manual 16-foot sound? An alternative to Quintadenas, Pommers, Bourdons, Gambas? I felt reminded of our "Portunal" thread earlier this year.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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What kind of stop is this?

 

I found it in several more recent Beckerath stoplists. Some new clever manual 16-foot sound? An alternative to Quintadenas, Pommers, Bourdons, Gambas? I felt reminded of our "Portunal" thread earlier this year.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

Hi Friedrich.

 

The Flute Allemande - don't know if it's an invention of Rolf Miehl's from Beckerath, I certainly wouldn't claim to be an expert on stop/rank history. We heard it on his instrument in Wichita and thought it delightful - the original idea was to have a 16' bourdon on the swell but we were trying to avoid having duplicate versions of the same stop at different octaves and Rolf suggested this. I asked him to define this stop for you, so here goes:

 

The bottom octave is stopped wood, a bit like a bourdon but with a higher cut-up, from tenor C upwards it's metal, more like a rohrflote, but scaled and tapered in the French style. Very definitely a French stop.

 

Maybe it's Allemande because it's MADE by a German??! No, I presume it's because of the rohrflote orgins. I'm using it in the RH for Messiaen's Les Mages at present and it sounds perfect.

 

Best wishes,

 

Tim

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Hi Friedrich.

 

The Flute Allemande - don't know if it's an invention of Rolf Miehl's from Beckerath, I certainly wouldn't claim to be an expert on stop/rank history. We heard it on his instrument in Wichita and thought it delightful - the original idea was to have a 16' bourdon on the swell but we were trying to avoid having duplicate versions of the same stop at different octaves and Rolf suggested this. I asked him to define this stop for you, so here goes:

 

The bottom octave is stopped wood, a bit like a bourdon but with a higher cut-up, from tenor C upwards it's metal, more like a rohrflote, but scaled and tapered in the French style. Very definitely a French stop.

 

Maybe it's Allemande because it's MADE by a German??! No, I presume it's because of the rohrflote orgins. I'm using it in the RH for Messiaen's Les Mages at present and it sounds perfect.

 

Best wishes,

 

Tim

 

Ingenious - a bit like the 16 Bourdon on the Swell at Bath Abbey which from somewhere not too far up from the bass becomes a Quintaton in disguise. Early on we couldn't work out where the distinctive sounds where coming from till Peter King let on. It works well.

 

AJJ

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I think I may have read somewhere that the Flute Allemande (at least its incarnation at Passau Cathedral) was a harmonic conical flute - but at 16'?

 

John

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

There is a Flûte Allemande 8' on the instrument in my village in France. It is the 2nd 8' on the Positif and quite delicious. It is like a little Montre but can sound so like a flute depending on how you play it - another reason to use ears when playing the organ, I suggest. Also it is such a sound that needs mechanical action as the control of speech with this sort of stop I believe needs the control that only 'touch' can provide. There will be a Flûte Allemande 8' on the Positive new organ for St John's Oxford. The 4' Flûte Allemande on the Rückpositif of St Louis en l'Ile in Paris is one of the most distictive voices on the whole organ and has a character unlike any other I have come across. At this pitch its impact is amazing in the church - as I am sure others can testify. Don't just take my word for it!

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

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The 4' Flûte Allemande on the Rückpositif of St Louis en l'Ile in Paris is one of the most distictive voices on the whole organ and has a character unlike any other I have come across. At this pitch its impact is amazing in the church - as I am sure others can testify. Don't just take my word for it!

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

 

'Can vouch for this - the Paris organ as a whole is a veritable sonic treasure chest!

 

AJJ

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