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Guest Roffensis

Worcester Cathedral

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Guest Roffensis

After pages and pages referring to the old organ at Worcester, I am sure we all wish all involved every success with the new organs. There is no point arguing the case for the old any further, as much as many of us loved it. The fact is that the old organ has gone forever, and things are moving forward now.

 

I personally think it far more appropriate to concentrate on the new and exciting organs planned, which will doubtless enhance the music there. It is rare to have a completely new organ in a Cathedral, and few have been built. I think all of us highly respect such new organs that have been built.

 

I am sure the new organs will be eminently suited and fine for their purpose.

 

Often, we think things in life are forever, including organs. It sometimes takes an informed vision to make us sit up and realise that some organs may not be what we think.

 

I think there is a genuine vision for Worcester that should be seen in a positive light, and think it will make a lot of us sit up and realise what a musical instrument is. I think we all have much to learn. Organ building in England IS changing.

 

Let's all be positive, and discuss the new organs in a positive way, on paper it looks very fine indeed.

 

R

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I personally am pleased Mr. Lucas is staying at Worcester ... Let's all be positive, and discuss the new organ in a positive way, on paper it looks very good indeed.

 

I fear I may be in a minority of one in not knowing what is planned at Worcester. Perhaps - in the positive spirit of this thread - someone (preferably Adrian Lucas if he feels so inclined) could provide some detail. I would be most interested to find out more.

 

Steve

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I fear I may be in a minority of one in not knowing what is planned at Worcester. Perhaps - in the positive spirit of this threat - someone (preferably Adrian Lucas if he feels so inclined) could provide some detail. I would be most interested to find out more.

 

Steve

 

Have a look here for phase 1.

 

http://www.tickell-organs.co.uk/specInfo/Worcesterspec.htm

 

AJJ

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Guest Roffensis
... Perhaps - in the positive spirit of this threat - someone (preferably Adrian Lucas if he feels so inclined) could provide some detail. I would be most interested to find out more.

 

Steve

 

 

Yes, I agree. It would be most interesting to know what exactly of the old is being retained, whether any of the old Hill pipework is salvageable for instance, as also the older work, by Harris I think? I may be wrong. it would be interesting to hear what style of voicing the Choir organ is being built upon, situation, layout, etc.

 

R

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Guest Roffensis
I think maybe a 32' and the Viole d'orchestre.

 

Pierre

 

 

Going by the spec yes, maybe Mr. Lucas can tell us in more detail.

 

R

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Guest Roffensis
By the way, I have edited my original post. The word should have been "thread"....... :o

 

 

LOL!! :o

 

Yes I saw that!!

 

R

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Interestingly also the Choir and smaller Solo reeds seem to have changed since the initial spec. where they were shared.

 

AJJ

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
LOL!! :o

 

Yes I saw that!!

 

R

 

 

We should be glad that there we seem to have been spared the excitement of an angry official from the RCO pouncing on this simple mis-typing and going OTT on the forum with it!

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For my first (and possibly last) post on this forum I have some observations to pass on having attended Evensong at Worcester last Tuesday (Bairstow in D and Grier – God who made the earth and sky).

 

The service was conducted by Christopher Allsop and accompanied by an organ scholar on a digital instrument (Rogers?). There was no sign of Adrian Lucas but perhaps it was his day off so please do not start any fresh speculation!

 

The console and organ cases in the choir have been completely removed providing some interesting views of the area not seen for many years. Scaffolding is across the roof of the choir at triforium level, presumably preparing for the future. A display board included pictures of the old organ cases located in the choir confirmed my memory that they were rather squat and ugly. The display also showed the console was to be located on the opposite (South) side of the choir.

 

I was not impressed with sound produced by the digital, which to my ears was gloopy and unpleasant (aural equivalent of cold grey custard!), although in fairness I was sitting in the east end of the choir directly underneath the speakers which were at triforium level and the mix may have been better further down the choir. From this position in the east end of the choir it made one realise how long and narrow the building is making sound projection from the choir a challenge.

 

Without wishing to open up this discussion again I should add I have never been a great fan of this many times rebuilt instrument, but decisions have been taken and we can now look forward to an exciting development of a new cathedral organ built by a British organ builder.

 

Martin Stanley

Stratford-upon-Avon

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Having followed the http://www.tickell-organs.co.uk/specInfo/Worcesterspec.htm link I notice the idea of putting the organ in the triforium. That is an idea which reminds me of the fantastically loud organ in Cologne Cathedral, Germany (Klais 1998).

 

Accoustically the triforium could be a very good position for it: I remember seeing the 1998 Klais ini Cologne Cathedral for the first time but when I was standing right below it I had no idea that someone was about to strike up (ie. start playing). The first note I heard was so loud I almost jumped out of my skin although once I had calmed down a bit I was quite awe-struck by the volume.

 

As a side to this, I gather that Cologne Cathedral have taken a leaf from the book of St. Paul's Cathedral, London and have had two Tuba stops fitted above Cologne's west door. They are named as the "Tuba Episcopalis" (Bischöfliche Tuba / Bishop's Tuba) and "Tuba Capitularis" (Tuba des Domkapitels / Chapter Tuba). Can't wait until I hear those.

 

Anyway, sorry for going off-topic: normal service - ie. on-topic chatter - resumed henceforth, I hope.

 

Dave

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Guest Lee Blick
Meanwhile, for the nostalgic, some last glimses and sounds (notably ailing at the end of the Alain) of the old dear can be found on two video clips here:-

 

http://www.cathedralmusiclinks.org.uk/5586...session*id*val*

 

(See items dated 2nd May 2006 and 18th March 2006)

 

Ugh, the last chord of the Alain sounded horrible. Why did he have to use everything for it?

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Ugh, the last chord of the Alain sounded horrible. Why did he have to use everything for it?

 

I don't think "dolce" exactly describes that part of the score. Good on him! I'd do the same.

 

JC

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I just hope Ken Tickell would get on with it and put the old girl out of her misery, then we can start criticisng the new one.

 

:)

 

MM

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Mostly organrecordings for tv are crap, so why should this differ? and it proves the point that this instrument is in bad shape.

But we've seen worse in Holland.

 

BTW, the french are used to organs out of tune (remember Messiaen's own 1950 recordings?).

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Some out-of-tuneness might be tolerable - in a large gothic edifice, especially if it's in France. But a massive shortage of wind is really distressing - how could somebody aiming to promote interest in the organ broadcast something like that ?

 

My own personal favourite is Louis Thiry playing Dieu Parmi Nous at St Pierre, Geneva (on Calliope label), where the wind disappears catastrophically with the penultimate pedal F naturals. Even so, the recording gained a commendation from Messiaen - but then I think he commended anyone who would record his stuff. Can anyone cite an example of Messiaen overtly criticising recorded performances ?

 

H

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Mostly organrecordings for tv are crap, so why should this differ? and it proves the point that this instrument is in bad shape.

But we've seen worse in Holland.

 

BTW, the french are used to organs out of tune (remember Messiaen's own 1950 recordings?).

 

I do not believe that this was the best that this organ was capable of sounding for one minute. I played the former Worcester organ not that long ago and it was in PERFECT tune - even for the tutti, which I used at the ends of two or three voluntaries. I can affirm that there was positively no foul tuning at any dynamic level and no indication WHATSOEVER of serious - or even minor - wind leaks.

 

It sounds to me as if someone entered the instrument before the recording and partly unscrewed a couple of major wind trunks.

 

After all, they are attempting to justify the provision of two new organs at great expense.

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Well as regular contributers will know I've been fairly outspoken on this topic, but I can say in all honesty that in adding the link to these video/audio samples I was in no way trying to stir things up. I loved the old Worcester console, which I think was as comfortable as any I've ever played, and thought others might enjoy seeing it again perhaps for the last time. Interesting too to see Adrian Lucus in close proximity to the pipe work, which I thought looked pretty serviceable to say the least.

 

I agree with the sentiments of this particular message thread which are that, even for those of us that are not convinced that the old organ was irredeemable, we must accept that the former organ is no more and look forward to the future.

 

I would agree with pcnd that, having played for evensong at Worcester not so very long before the BBC interview was recorded, the severe lack of wind audible at the end of the Alain did not match my own experience. I wouldn't go as far as to say that there were no wind leaks, the tutti was clearly struggling a little - but nothing like the extent recorded by the BBC. I would not wish to imply any deliberate intervention in quite the way that Sean is suggesting though.

 

I believe our general impression, possibly ill-informed, is that very little of the pipework is to be re-used in the new/rebuilt instrument. It would be good to have a clear statement of this, and also interesting to know whether the residue is to be melted down or made available for re-use elsewhere. (I'd be happy to start a scheme to fund new soundboards etc. in my own church if they'd like to donate the pipework, although I am really still very pleased with and excited by our new toaster.)

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I would agree with pcnd that, having played for evensong at Worcester not so very long before the BBC interview was recorded, the severe lack of wind audible at the end of the Alain did not match my own experience. I wouldn't go as far as to say that there were no wind leaks, the tutti was clearly struggling a little - but nothing like the extent recorded by the BBC. I would not wish to imply any deliberate intervention in quite the way that Sean is suggesting though.

 

A fair point, Neil. However, the state of the instrument when I played it was so vastly different from the sound on the broadcast (even when allowance is made for the generally poor quality of t.v. sound) that I hope Mr. Lucas will understand why I find it impossible to reconcile - or otherwise to account for - the level of deterioration which had apparently taken place.

 

I will happily state again, for the record, that when I played it, there were no wind leaks as far as I could discern.

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Ok, that final video of the organ struggling on Tutti almost brought me to tears!

 

As I am relatively young and have only heard the organ once in the flesh many years ago, my only reference point for sound is the most recent CD by Adrian Lucas - Vol 1 of the English Cathedral series.

 

In terms of the content of this CD, could anyone point out to me the manifestations of the shortcomings that have been discussed with respect to this organ that are audible on the CD?

 

I am at a loss to fully appreciate the criticisms as the organ sounds quite pleasant to my ears.

 

Many thanks.

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"In terms of the content of this CD, could anyone point out to me the manifestations of the shortcomings that have been discussed with respect to this organ that are audible on the CD?"

 

Hello John and welcome to the board! A very short answer, and that is never judge an organ by a recording - all manner of tinkering can take place before, during and afterwards (not suggesting that this is the case with the recording in question). I am not specifically talking about editing the performances, but more "improving" the sound and the like.

I cannot really go into the whys and wherefores of the decisions that have been made regarding the old organ - if you have a hunt around the 3 diffrent sections of discussions on the Mander board you will see at least two or three threads on Worcester, and just about all that could be said from both sides has been said! Mr Lucas has spared a lot of his time explaining things and even posting photos of the current situation. Have a good read and all that info might answer your questions, at least in part.

Good luck

Richard

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In terms of the content of this CD, could anyone point out to me the manifestations of the shortcomings that have been discussed with respect to this organ that are audible on the CD?

 

I am at a loss to fully appreciate the criticisms as the organ sounds quite pleasant to my ears.

 

John, that CD was recorded nearly 10 years ago (I can't exactly recall which year) at a point when it was still viable to spend on regular small repairs. The organ builders reached a point at which for every note whose leather motor was repaired, another two or three needed further work afterwards, such was the fragility of the 80 year old leather.

 

For other details, may I refer you to my posting on the original debate.

 

Adrian Lucas

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Guest Roffensis
Ok, that final video of the organ struggling on Tutti almost brought me to tears!

 

As I am relatively young and have only heard the organ once in the flesh many years ago, my only reference point for sound is the most recent CD by Adrian Lucas - Vol 1 of the English Cathedral series.

 

In terms of the content of this CD, could anyone point out to me the manifestations of the shortcomings that have been discussed with respect to this organ that are audible on the CD?

 

I am at a loss to fully appreciate the criticisms as the organ sounds quite pleasant to my ears.

 

Many thanks.

 

 

Well there weren't any shortcomings according to at least one informed Organist on here who played it relatively recently as he told me, stating that it did everything he wanted it to, and was excellent with the choir B) . But it's gone, and it wont be the last either I bet. One day someone will say of a highly prized organ, X instrument is not fit for it's task. The rest is history. Without pointing fingers, it has happened a lot in the past. Worcester is nothing new. I heard it in 1978 when reopened and it was glorious then, but it's horses for courses. The recording you refer to shows off the organ very well indeed. I also know that Gary Cole would not be one to "tweak" recordings in the way some companies do. So it does serve as a good indication of what it could have been, if restored. Well, it isn't being restored so there's no point arguing the fact. What does surprise me most about that recording which Mr. Lucas did, is the way he handled the instrument. He really did get around it, and show off some remarkably unique tone colours and a listen to his rendition of Elgar's Chanson de Nuit would bring tears to your eyes, the sound is so Worcester. And it is a very fine and beautiful sound. This, from someone who clearly was unhappy with the organ, yet was clearly at sympathy with it. That's what amazed me the most. If you want to hear other recordings of it, that were "straight" and not tweaked, all of Michael Smythes Vista and Decca recordings show perfectly well what was. Under the direction of Donald Hunt, and with the wonderful choir singing, these recordings are a treasure. And they are accurate.

 

Richard

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