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Guest Barry Oakley - voluntarily dereg

Holy Trinity Church, Hull

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Riddle me this, riddle me that ....

 

Answer me this, just how do you play the opening of "God is gone up"? Or how do you play the opening of the Nunc D. in Sumsion in G? Or how do you play any of the trumpet tunes/voluntaries at weddings?

Well, you could always come to London and hear the old Gloucester Tuba in situ at All Saints, Margaret Street. :P

 

Jeremy Jones

London

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Guest Roffensis
I agree wholeheartedly with Brian Childs' comments above re. liturgical use, thats absolutely the point.

 

To reply to pcnd5584 I have always enjoyed playing the organ in Gloucester Cathedral, which I have done on quite a number of occasions for both services and concerts, without liking the organ. Its such a priviledge to play in that building, and to feel the soft sounds drifting in the acoustic (altough the agressive voicing does spoilt this a bit). Like Paul Derrett, I can't imagine how anyone would use the foul choir crumhorn in choral accompaniment. With the old Willis the choir may have been swamped by fundamental tone, although I've never heard that from friends of mine that were associated with the cathedral's music in Sumsion's time, but now any choir is swamped by chiff!

 

Answer me this, just how do you play the opening of "God is gone up"? Or how do you play the opening of the Nunc D. in Sumsion in G? Or how do you play any of the trumpet tunes/voluntaries at weddings?

 

The Gloucester organ can sound quite thrilling (if you don't get too far back in the nave) especially in French Romantic music, but I don't think it can do any of the things I've cited as examples above - and that should be what its there for.

 

I agree, although I have not had the pleasure of playing it. It still is totally unEnglish and pretty bad for such music though, and that has been all too apparent when I have heard it, particularly used for choral work. It's a child of its time, and it is an interesting sound. It can be used for the French school of choral music, and of course that includes the Masses of Vierne, Saint Saens and Widor etc, but poor for Choral Evensong. Even so If it were removed I would miss it. On a opposite note, I have beautiful recording of Elgar played on a French organ, which is really hilarious, the more so as it was a supposed serious rendition. This contrasts with a certain organ in England of Cavaille Coll vintage where there is a regular "suggestion" to play English music, as the punters get bored with French!!! It beats me!! west :P:P

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Riddle me this, riddle me that ....

Well, you could always come to London and hear the old Gloucester Tuba in situ at All Saints, Margaret Street. :P

 

Jeremy Jones

London

 

Now that is a wonderful instrument - I have played it a few times (including once for a Chinese wedding). I did try the Tuba. It is quite loud in the building! But, hey, if you have it... :P

 

(Hope they have removed those two nasty electronic 32p pedal stops, though...)

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Guest Roffensis
Now that is a wonderful instrument - I have played it a few times (including once for a Chinese wedding). I did try the Tuba. It is quite loud in the building! But, hey, if you have it... :P

 

(Hope they have removed those two nasty electronic 32p pedal stops, though...)

I have heard it, lovely job but I did not know it had washing machine stops on it. When I heard it it was still a pipe organ in the ultimate sense. Other bits of organ include a bit of Canterbury at Eton I think (I throw the gauntlet down to John Mander to correct me on that one!), and all the bits of organs that weren't nice to look at and sounded worse ended up at a nice church in Liverpool that shall be nameless, but has already been mentioned, and no I don't mean Liverpool cathedral! :P:P:P

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Guest Roffensis
The Hull organ may have 104 stops, but since it is a Compton, surely the more relevant question to ask is how many ranks does it have?

 

Jeremy Jones

London

 

 

Probably six, namely rank A, rank B, rank C, rank D, rank E, rank F. :P:P

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On the subject of sermons - well I see it from a different angle.

 

I'd love to be a composer. Honestly, I'd give anything, but the creative spark just isn't there. I'd also love to be a great improviser, but the truth is I'm rubbish at it (and I'm not give to false modesty). So why pretend? The best approach is surely not to foist my poor attempts at composition upon my congregation and to limit my poor improvisations to as brief as possible.

 

If only a few more clergy could approach sermons with an equally self-critical view point. Most, and I've heard a great many, are too long and just plain booring. Many ramble with no real structure. I don't think we have a duty to listen if the sermon does not grab our attention. If the sermon's good, and of course some are, it will hold our attention and hopefully we may gain from it. But this is not the norm.

 

A gifted few are good, most are not and need to realise and accept their own limitations.

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Other bits of organ include a bit of Canterbury at Eton I think (I throw the gauntlet down to John Mander to correct me on that one!), and all the bits of organs that weren't nice to look at and sounded worse ended up at a nice church in Liverpool that shall be nameless, but has already been mentioned, and no I don't mean Liverpool cathedral!  :P  :P  :P

 

Hmm....I wondered where that pipework had gone.

 

I still want to know why Canterbury discarded their 32p open wood rank - was it really beyond repair? :P

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I still want to know why Canterbury discarded their 32p open wood rank - was it really beyond repair? :P

But you don't feel the same about the 32' sawn up and removed from Gloucester?

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On the subject of sermons - well I see it from a different angle.

 

I'd love to be a composer. Honestly, I'd give anything, but the creative spark just isn't there. I'd also love to be a great improviser, but the truth is I'm rubbish at it (and I'm not give to false modesty). So why pretend? The best approach is surely not to foist my poor attempts at composition upon my congregation and to limit my poor improvisations to as brief as possible.

 

If only a few more clergy could approach sermons with an equally self-critical view point. Most, and I've heard a great many, are too long and just plain booring. Many ramble with no real structure. I don't think we have a duty to listen if the sermon does not grab our attention. If the sermon's good, and of course some are, it will hold our attention and hopefully we may gain from it. But this is not the norm.

 

A gifted few are good, most are not and need to realise and accept their own limitations.

 

I certainly agree with you regarding your point on sermons.

 

However, this post seems to be a non sequitur - has it been displaced? :P

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But you don't feel the same about the 32' sawn up and removed from Gloucester?

 

Yes - even more so! But I had already complained about that in a previous post! :P tsk! tsk!

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On the subject of sermons - well I see it from a different angle.

 

I'd love to be a composer. Honestly, I'd give anything, but the creative spark just isn't there. I'd also love to be a great improviser, but the truth is I'm rubbish at it (and I'm not give to false modesty). So why pretend? The best approach is surely not to foist my poor attempts at composition upon my congregation and to limit my poor improvisations to as brief as possible.

 

If only a few more clergy could approach sermons with an equally self-critical view point. Most, and I've heard a great many, are too long and just plain booring. Many ramble with no real structure. I don't think we have a duty to listen if the sermon does not grab our attention. If the sermon's good, and of course some are, it will hold our attention and hopefully we may gain from it. But this is not the norm.

 

A gifted few are good, most are not and need to realise and accept their own limitations.

 

 

I think the last point is fair but a clergyman (and I am not) would be justified in pointing out that the exact same is true of organists. Also, just to play devil's advocate no one thinks it odd if an organist performs music written by somebody else but not a few eyebrows would be raised in the congregation if the incumbent ascended the pulpit and proceeded to read out (however brilliantly and with whatever expression ) a sermon written by somebody else ! Furthermore, one should make some allowance for the difficulty of the task being undertaken. Having spent my working life as a university teacher where at the outset of my career I had the privilege of addressing the intellectual elite of the country [ we will pass by without comment the situation that prevailed when I retired] I know from experience how difficult it is to present complex ideas in an interesting and accurate fashion to an audience. That task pales into insignificance beside that of presenting the complexity of religious ideas to a mixed ability audience in a context which traditionally does not permit those who have not grasped the point to indicate that fact and request further explanation. All of which is not to say that there are not dire sermons - I have sat through a fair few in my time which is why I am so appreciative of our present rector, and so sympathetic to those who have from time to time to stand in his place and who inevitably suffer by comparison. Personally I find it quite easy to listen to the efforts of those who are doing the best they can and are aware of their own limitations : those who hold a more inflated opinion of their own talents I find it harder to take but perhaps I should be more forgiving. It used to be said of lectures (at least in my discipline) that their disadvantage was that they passed from the paper of the lecturer to the paper of the student without having passed through the mind of either ! The congregation are not expected to take notes but perhaps steps one to three apply ?

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Guest Roffensis
Hmm....I wondered where that pipework had gone.

 

I still want to know why Canterbury discarded their 32p open wood rank - was it really beyond repair? :rolleyes:

 

No there was not anything wrong with it, space and accessibilty is supposedly why it went, together with the Choir and Solo mostly. A glance at the before and after specs reveals the full extent of the the work. I played it some years ago and think the swell and great, and bulk of pedal, and odd solo stops remaining(now on the choir, really a positive otherwise) would form an excellent basis for reversal of a lot of what had been done. The Willis work always was, and is glorious. The 32 reed has certainly been toned down, not to its improvement. The fire has gone. As to space being the reason for the 32' and other work going, two bays of the triforium are now all but empty. :D:D:D

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Sermons and voluntaries, material, originality of: irrelevant. Should not the same preparation be given? Equally, have you ever been in a clergymanist's study and not found shelf after shelf heaving with tomes containing metaphors, themes and worthy anecdotes for inclusion in sermons? Gloucester - given the choice between these two instruments, which would you choose? One is a 1920's rebuild of something that used to be good. There is a mass of 8' tone from which all harmonics have been eliminated, and the 4 and 2 ranks are softened down accordingly. It is topped with shrill mixtures to pierce through the fog, and a battery of loud reeds seem to make the chorus quieter. This is a typical early 20th century instrument - marshmallow and lemon juice, as Dame Gilly puts it. Secondly, there is an instrument on which each rank has been intelligently planned to fufil a purpose within a cohesive chorus, namely to cleave to the 8' fundamental. We may not like the timbre of that chorus, but there is no escaping that it is brilliantly voiced and executed to fulfil a purpose within a building, namely that if one registers with the ears rather than the eyes and a predisposed judgement about what a combination of stops should sound like, you can do masses with it. Better still, it holds together just as well at the back of the building as the console, possibly better because the chiff doesn't carry so far. I know which I'd have - certainly, when held against contemporaneous rebuilds, it would seem to be a fantastic achievement for Mr Prosser. Oh, and also working on the voicing was the exceptionally gifted Stephen Cooke, whose work see, then on his apprenticeship.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Probably six, namely rank A, rank B, rank C, rank D, rank E, rank F.  :rolleyes:  :D

 

 

OK. For Roffensis's benefit - and because HTH is (in theory at least) the subject of this growing file...

 

The HTH organ was a 59-stop four-manual Forster and Andrews instrument before John Compton rebuilt it to the designs of Norman Strafford and G.D.Cunningham in 1937-8.

 

Here is a complete list of the Compton extensions:

Great

1. Posaune

Former F&A Double Trumpet revoiced and used on Great 16 & 8' and Bombarde 16' and 8'

2. Open Diapason no.2

Former F&A Open no.1 with extensions to 5.1/3 Quint, 4' Octave 2' Superoctave and Bombarde Fourniture IV (currently playing at 2.2/3 and 2' only)

3. Dulciana

Borrowed from the Choir unit - appears at 8' and 4'

 

Note: Open Diapason no.1 8' Cymbal II and Bourdon 16' are extended elsewhere but play at one pitch only on the Great

 

Swell

4. Fagotto

Available at 16' and 8' on both Swell and Choir (currently unplayable)

 

Choir

5. Dulciana 16' upward

plays at every pitch imaginable - however, due to wind leakage, (but also because the quint pitch in the Acuta is also drawn from this) the upperwork produced from this is less than satisfactory.

 

Note: Clarinet and Fagotto 16 and 8' are borrowed from other manuals but otherwise the Choir is straight including corrently tuned and independent 2.2/3 Nazard and 1.3/5 Tierce. The 8' and 4' Flutes may well be Snetzler. These are the oldest pipes I have found in the organ and I firmly believe that the legend of some Father Smith pipes somewhere is a myth.

 

Solo

6. Tuba

F&A stop revoiced now plays at 8 and 4'

7. Clarinet

F&A Clarinet revoiced with a 1938 16' octave (superb!) plays at 16' and 8'

 

 

Bombarde

A department consisting of borrowed/extended work only:

16' 8' and 4' from Open no.1 (Gt) with Diaphonic bottom octave (Pedal)

Fourniture IV (from Open no.2)

Cymbal IV (from Great II)

Posaune 16' and 8' (from Great)

Tuba 8' and 4' (from Solo)

 

Pedal

The ranks above appear liberally, as might have been expected, but there are plenty of other ranks and pitches. Not mentioned above is an excellent (but currently unplayable) 32' Polyphone labelled Sub Bass.

 

WARNING: O.T.T. ENTHUSIASM COMING UP!

Sceptics and purists please skip the following paragraph.

 

I have been organist of the above job for seven months or so and am still like a kid with a new toy. Even with about 15 stops currently off, I absolutely love this instrument. I have played several other big Compton jobs and (maybe unsurprisingly) rate this the highest tonally. Downside comes closest for the acoustic experience (though all those extended mixtures are a problem upon prolonged hearing), Derby would probably rate second. Reasons for success here? The building is very helpful of course, and there are lots of unextended ranks and the scheme is very imaginative; in particular: none of the F&A stuff was discarded, what a lesson for the present generation! [How many 19th century (English) II Sesquialteras do you know? This one passes every test.] Just to continue to revel in 'my' toy a bit more to frustrate the rest of you, even the Gambas and 4' Flutes are ravishing (and there are at least one of each on every manual). The Orchestral Reeds are amazing - some of the best work of the legendary Billy Jones - they'll stand up to quite big accompaniments unlike the H&H reeds I was playing on a couple of weeks ago on a very famous five-decker. Don't believe my opinion, well, you could always come and try it!

 

 

To change the subject:

Gloucester - Howells did say this was his favourite organ. No question. He also told me of his next favourite - I will keep this info to myself in case the present organist ever leaves, opening up the possibility of permission to record on it.

And yes, he was certainly biased - but why not? We are all the product of our past.

 

He was fairly trenchant in his views about instruments and players, but sometimes preferred (in public and for the sake of a perfomance at all!) to go with the flow. The Partita was first performed on the (then-new HN&B)RCO and Festival Hall organs. He said that he could not have chosen two worse instruments for the purpose. I have an autographed score with several of his comments upon it, not least interesting are his notes to show where Novellos had changed the text against his wishes.

 

Sorry to go on!

I simply must recount the tale of The Organ Club's recent visit (? 4 years ago) to Gloucester Cathedral. We were graced with the presence of the managing director of Nicholsons who was forced (as we all were) to hear that instrument struggle with accompanying choral evensong. In addition to the difficulties outlined earlier on this web-site, on that day it was foully out-of-tune. To top it all, what did we get for a voluntary? (In my opinion, of course,) it was so unwise a choice as to be comic - we were treated to the opening movement of Whitlock's Sonata. The duplexed Great reeds and the Cornet of Manual IV having to do duty for the (missing) Tuba.

 

It was like hearing the 'best bit' of Swan Lake played by a school orchestra with the swan melody given out on massed Kazoos.

 

 

I should note that the organ does 'work' as a solo instrument provided that the music is chosen with care: James Lancelot's (German-biased) programme recently was a triumph, I also applaud the most intelligent choice of repertoire Robert Houssart has recently recorded for a new CD.

 

I'll shut up about Gloucester now.

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Gloucester - Howells did say this was his favourite organ

 

(Quote)

 

It's after having learn that I gave a close attention to this organ's (the previous also) specification.

I was bored with the LPs I had -screaming mixtures- and was very, very interested to see Gloucester had only two mixtures, and with the same composition; a very typical one you'll never see outside UK (plus in commonwealth's countries of course): 17,19,22.

 

The matter of mixtures in romantic and late-romantic music is a whole field that still awaits to be seriously explored.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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It's after having learn that I gave a close attention to this organ's (the previous also) specification.

I was bored with the LPs I had -screaming mixtures- and was very, very interested to see Gloucester had only two mixtures, and with the same composition; a very typical one you'll never see outside UK (plus  in commonwealth's countries of course): 17,19,22.

 

The matter of mixtures in romantic and late-romantic music is a whole field that still awaits to be seriously explored.

 

 

 

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

 

 

I suspect Pierre, that the matter of Mixtures in romantic organs HAS been explored quite thoroughly, but with the exception of the ever pompous Audsley, it has possibly not been published.

 

Oddly enough there is an interesting link between between high-romanticism and the new-baroque, in the shape of John Compton. He started out as an apprentice with Brindley & Foster, who had worked closely with Schulze, and from whom he probably gained his deep knowledge of all things mechanical and pneumatic. Although that particular company eventually went the way of factory organs (which also probably had a profound influence on Compton's production methods), Brindley's were very capable people tonally; especially in the early days.

 

John Compton himself spent a great deal of time studying harmonics, and whilst serving in the armed forces in Italy, he didn't feel it necessary to ask permission of anyone, or show respect for old organs, when he started to experiment with organ-pipes; trying out all manner of voicing experiments.

 

John Compton (and his electronic experts) made good use of this harmonic knowledge in pipe organs (variously church, concert and theatre) and in the production of early electronic instruments. The way in which John Compton designed the unit-extension instruments was extremely clever, and probably proved to be the most effective of their type anywhere in the world at the time.

 

It really doesn't matter that his "Mixtures" are derived for the most part, because they still sound over and above the foundation stops. For anyone who wants to know just how good Compton upperwork can sound, they should go to St.Bride's, Fleet Street....their finest hour! (Sorry Paul, it's the best Compton of all!)

 

Compton men formed the backbone of Grant, Deegens and Bradbeer; arguably the most knowledgeable tonal artists of the 60's and 70's.

 

Making a personal contribution to the Mixture topic, I would suggest that English mixtures with a composition of 17,19,22 are among the brightest voiced such ranks anywhere in the world...certainly that is true of Fr.Willis examples, but they never "reach for the stars" and they fit in with the very Geigeny quality of the hard-blown foundation stops. By way of comparison, the larger Mixtures of Arthur Harrison were much more restrained, and if only those Great choruses were not so very loud, they might have stood the test of time.

 

Interestingly, where the Arthur Harrison mixtures have been discarded and replaced, as at Halifax Parish Church, the end result is really not very musically satisfying, but some people just had it in their heads that "brightness" and assertiveness was required in Mixtures, when in fact, the very best Mixtures just tinkle away quite delicately, as the old Arthur Harrison ones did.

 

Of course, the straight-line Topfer scaling at Armley is something else, where the celebrated 5 rks Mixture is not more than a note or two smaller in scale, is voiced "open foot" and set at the front of the windchest. The effect is like canned lightning, and like no other, but it really was a one-off, and few have had the nerve to repeat the idea elsewhere.

 

MM

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Guest Roffensis
OK. For Roffensis's benefit - and because HTH is (in theory at least) the subject of this growing file...

 

The HTH organ was a 59-stop four-manual Forster and Andrews instrument before John Compton rebuilt it to the designs of Norman Strafford and G.D.Cunningham in 1937-8.

 

Here is a complete list of the Compton extensions:

Great

1. Posaune

Former F&A Double Trumpet revoiced and used on Great 16 & 8' and Bombarde 16' and 8'

2. Open Diapason no.2

Former F&A Open no.1 with extensions to 5.1/3 Quint, 4' Octave 2' Superoctave and Bombarde Fourniture IV (currently playing at 2.2/3 and 2' only)

3. Dulciana

Borrowed from the Choir unit - appears at 8' and 4'

 

Note: Open Diapason no.1 8' Cymbal II and Bourdon 16' are extended elsewhere but play at one pitch only on the Great

 

Swell

4. Fagotto

Available at 16' and 8' on both Swell and Choir (currently unplayable)

 

Choir

5. Dulciana 16' upward

plays at every pitch imaginable - however, due to wind leakage, (but also because the quint pitch in the Acuta is also drawn from this) the upperwork produced from this is less than satisfactory.

 

Note: Clarinet and Fagotto 16 and 8' are borrowed from other manuals but otherwise the Choir is straight including corrently tuned and independent 2.2/3 Nazard and 1.3/5 Tierce. The 8' and 4' Flutes may well be Snetzler.  These are the oldest pipes I have found in the organ and I firmly believe that the legend of some Father Smith pipes somewhere is a myth.

 

Solo

6. Tuba

F&A stop revoiced now plays at 8 and 4'

7. Clarinet

F&A Clarinet revoiced with a 1938 16' octave (superb!)  plays at 16' and 8'

Bombarde

A department consisting of borrowed/extended work only:

16' 8' and 4' from  Open no.1 (Gt) with Diaphonic bottom octave (Pedal)

Fourniture IV (from Open no.2)

Cymbal IV (from Great II)

Posaune 16' and 8' (from Great)

Tuba 8' and 4' (from Solo)

 

Pedal

The ranks above appear liberally, as might have been expected, but there are plenty of other ranks and pitches. Not mentioned above is an excellent (but currently unplayable) 32' Polyphone labelled Sub Bass.

 

WARNING: O.T.T. ENTHUSIASM COMING UP! 

Sceptics and purists please skip the following paragraph.

 

I have been organist of the above job for seven months or so and am still like a kid with a new toy.  Even with about 15 stops currently off, I absolutely love this instrument. I have played several other big Compton jobs and (maybe unsurprisingly) rate this the highest tonally.  Downside comes closest for the acoustic experience (though all those extended mixtures are a problem upon prolonged hearing), Derby would probably rate second.  Reasons for success here? The building is very helpful of course, and there are lots of unextended ranks and the scheme is very imaginative;  in particular: none of the F&A stuff was discarded, what a lesson for the present generation!  [How many 19th century (English) II Sesquialteras do you know?  This one passes every test.]  Just to continue to revel in 'my' toy a bit more to frustrate the rest of you, even the Gambas and 4' Flutes are ravishing (and there are at least one of each on every manual).  The Orchestral Reeds are amazing - some of the best work of the legendary Billy Jones - they'll stand up to quite big accompaniments unlike the H&H reeds I was playing on a couple of weeks ago on a very famous five-decker.  Don't believe my opinion, well, you could always come and try it!

To change the subject:

Gloucester - Howells did say this was his favourite organ. No question.  He also told me of his next favourite - I will keep this info to myself in case the present organist ever leaves,  opening up the possibility of permission to record on it.

And yes, he was certainly biased - but why not? We are all the product of our past.

 

He was fairly trenchant in his views about instruments and players, but sometimes preferred (in public and for the sake of a perfomance at all!) to go with the flow. The Partita was first performed on the (then-new HN&B)RCO and Festival Hall organs. He said that he could not have chosen two worse instruments for the purpose. I have an autographed score with several of his comments upon it, not least interesting are his notes to show where Novellos had changed the text against his wishes. 

 

Sorry to go on!

I simply must recount the tale of The Organ Club's recent visit (? 4 years ago) to Gloucester Cathedral.  We were graced with the presence of the managing director of Nicholsons who was forced (as we all were) to hear that instrument struggle with accompanying choral evensong.  In addition to the difficulties outlined earlier on this web-site, on that day it was foully out-of-tune.  To top it all, what did we get for a voluntary?  (In my opinion, of course,) it was so unwise a choice as to be comic - we were treated to the opening movement of Whitlock's Sonata. The duplexed Great reeds and the Cornet of Manual IV having to do duty for the (missing) Tuba.

 

It was like hearing the 'best bit' of Swan Lake played by a school orchestra with the swan melody given out on massed Kazoos.

I should note that the organ does 'work' as a solo instrument provided that the music is chosen with care:  James Lancelot's (German-biased) programme recently was a triumph, I also applaud the most intelligent choice of repertoire Robert Houssart has recently recorded for a new CD.

 

I'll shut up about Gloucester now.

 

 

I like Derby cathedral organ, and for the record there is also a good Compton at St Georges Cathedral in Southwark. At least they sound English in a way good old Gloucester cannot ever hope to now. Its also interesting to see how they mastered extention priciples in a way other builders haven't. I spotted that new CD, also another new one of Blackburn, with storm works on it, and I just cringe at the thought of the electronic thunder.......I've had my moan on that score already!!

 

Richard

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  Oh, and also working on the voicing was the exceptionally gifted Stephen Cooke, whose work see, then on his apprenticeship.

 

And I think on the HN&B Positive at Bath Abbey which seemingly had little done to it when Klais rebuilt.

AJJ

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I like Derby cathedral organ, and for the record there is also a good Compton at St Georges Cathedral in Southwark. At least they sound English in a way good old Gloucester cannot ever hope to now. Its also interesting to see how they mastered extention priciples in a way other builders haven't. I spotted that new CD, also another new one of Blackburn, with storm works on it, and I just cringe at the thought of the electronic thunder.......I've had my moan on that score already!!

 

Richard

 

Downside in the right hands can sound pretty good in it's acoustic too - I once heard Geoffrey Morgan playing there - it was magical.

AJJ

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Let's go back to some points:

 

-Paul, I launched a Howells topic in an attempt to learn a bit more

about this composer, who is one of my preffered.

I'd like to know which were his ideas...

 

-About romantic mixtures. Audsley, even if we consider the lenght

of his sentences as an asset -?- tells very little. There are only some

historical hints to be found there (I mean hints about the period's taste,

period!).

But there are no doubts the whole matter is firmly rooted in the baroque

area, hence it's not surprising we find many links between the romantic

period and the "neo-baroque" one.

A commanding feature of the romantic "tutti" was the presence of tierce

ranks in mixtures. Do anybody know more "baroque" an idea as this one?

Indeed, even a link with the Blockwerk could be advocated.

 

-Willis mixtures. Willis and Walcker organs shared one thing: they were quite

bright, despite their "paper specification". Of course the means to this result

were opposite. Walcker had every stop, even the darkest ones, clear in itself.

Willis had his wonderful reeds and mixtures, quite sharp and crisply voiced,

dominating the rest. We end up with two romantic organs that do not serve

the same music!

 

The whole story of the romantic organ remains to be written. I nurtured the idea for some (tents) of years, but did little else than filling two rooms here with papers I'd need some extra lives to sort out. Too much for a little guy!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Let's go back to some points:

 

 

The whole story of the romantic organ remains to be written. I nurtured the idea for some (tents) of years, but did little else than filling two rooms here with papers I'd need some extra lives to sort out. Too much for a little guy!

 

 

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

 

 

It probably hasn't been written because, as Pierre found out, it is an immense subject.

 

Consider the threads alone:-

 

The German tradition of Rover, Schulze, Reubke, Wagner,Ledergast, Buckholz, Walcker, Sauer, Schlag & Sohn etc etc.

 

That was both regional AND international, with information even shared between Cavaille-Coll and his German contemporaries.

 

The French tradition , which includes the English swell-box, the Spanish reeds, the Cliquot (etc), and which was taken to Hungary by Josef Angster.

 

The English "tradition" derived of Snetzler, and insularly groping toward the romantic in the organs of Ward, Bryceson, Hill etc. Then comes the French input and the Schulze input....resulting in two radically opposing schools of thought, in the form of Willis, later Hill, then Thomas Hill, Walker, Michel & Thynne, Vincent Willis and, totally out on an aristocratic limb, the work of Lewis, and his "German" sound. The Edwardian organs of Harrison & Harrison, again quite unlike things which went before.

 

When the whole thing travels to America, it all changes again, with the development of the orchestral rather than the symphonic organ....unit chests, heavy pressures in the extreme, the far and wide scattering of pipework, detached consoles as the norm, very advanced playing features....perhaps even the influence of the theatre organ.

 

I haven't even begun to think of romantic organs in Holland, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Poland, the Czech region, Australia (etc)

 

No Pierre, I doubt that the story could be written with any degree of accuracy or lucidity....it is just too big to contemplate being written in one lifetime, and no-one would ever publish such an enormous tome in any case.

 

MM

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"Sermons and voluntaries, material, originality of: irrelevant. Should not the same preparation be given? Equally, have you ever been in a clergymanist's study and not found shelf after shelf heaving with tomes containing metaphors, themes and worthy anecdotes for inclusion in sermons?"

 

For the sake of clarification, I fully agree that originality is not relevant and that the same preparation should be given to both the preparation of the sermon and the practice of the concluding and/or introductory voluntary. But originality was NOT the point of my previous posting. Any preacher whose message was completely novel would seem to be,almost of necessity, likely to be a heretic.

 

My initial motivation was to weigh in on the side of the underdog , as I usually tend to do, and since the majority of comments were about "tedious sermons I have known/had to sit through" I sought to suggest that there may be explanations. To explain is not to excuse, and there can be relatively few

legitimate excuses for a badly prepared or thought out sermon. I also sought to point out that not all organists always practice their music as much as they need to, or could, and there are some who do not bother to provide any recognisable organ music at all. Again there are likely to be explanations and in all likelihood a far greater range of legitimate excuses for this state of affairs .

 

I would need to be convinced that the task of writing a letter (even with the aid of a book of precedents of suitable letters for various occasions, a thesaurus, a dictionary, and a guide to grammar) is the equivalent of reading out a letter written by somebody else . The clergyman who attempted to pass off someone else's sermon as his/her own would be a deceitful plagiarist, but the organist who attempted to improve on a prelude and fugue by JS Bach would be a conceited fool. Are these equivalent in their iniquity ? If not, which is worse ?

 

Two final points. Firstly, it seems to me that this discussion has been carried on on the implicit assumption that , whilst there may be exceptions, the norm is for sermons to be badly thought out and repetitive. In my experience, life is rarely so black and white, and there are likely to be many more gradations on the scale from the inspirational at the top to the completely naff at the bottom than this discussion has heretofore appeared to assume. Secondly, with a sermon the source of the problem may be in the content (or lack thereof) or it may be in the delivery , or of course in both. It is possible that a well thought out sermon may be ruined by woefully bad presentation. This calls for a different remedy than is needed where lack of preparation is the problem. With the organist, on the other hand, if a performance of BWV 532 is perceived by its listeners to be dull and lacklustre it would be unusual to seek for the explanation in the deficiencies of the composer !

 

On a completely different tack, I know that elsewhere people have addressed the issue of aliases. For me the problem is not so much one of anonymity as of experience - after all I have written this under my real name and I would be very surprised if anyone reading this would have a clue who I was if they met me in the street - and experience tends to be, at least in part, a function of age: the older you are the more you tend to have and vice versa. When someone writes, for example, as someone might have done, that stoplists are generally useless is this the product of experience derived from the last 60 years or the last 6 months ? I think that is relevant information to have in deciding on what weight to accord to their opinion. Has anyone any ideas how one might provide guidance on this point apart from asking everyone to provide their date of birth ?

 

Best wishes,

 

BAC

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No Pierre, I doubt that the story could be written with any degree of accuracy or lucidity....it is just too big to contemplate being written in one lifetime, and no-one would ever publish such an enormous tome in any case.

 

That's the conclusion I rapidly ran into!

As to find an editor, this would be even more

difficult. Or we'd better borrow some pictures

from Richard Mc Veigh -one for each page-,

the ones from his studying period with the

nice ladies.

Pierre

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

Re: St.Bride's Fleets Street and St.George's R.C. Cathedral Southwark*

 

Thanks to correspondents who have reminded us of these two good and interesting instruments. Incidentally, I believe that the organ at St.George's Southwark is recently much improved. When I knew it in the 70's it was all enclosed, recent revisions have changed this, greatly to its benefit as regards effectiveness in the building.

 

St.Brides I know pretty well. I regret that I don't rate this is as musical an instrument in the same way as (frankly) several other Comptons. I would grant that it is a most effective and exciting instrument, but I do not believe that one can play on a few stops (let alone a chorus) without tiring of it relatively soon. By the way, this was built after John Compton's death, albeit his right-hand-man (Jimmy Taylor) was still in control of things. Interestingly, it was designed by Gordon Reynolds - a one-time chorister at Holy Trinity Hull, and subsequently a pupil of Norman Strafford (organist of HTH and then Hull City Hall and author of both of those Compton rebuild schemes).

 

*Having considered these and several other large Compton organs, I hold to my claim. I repeat, those who doubt my opinion, are most welcome to come and see!

Tonally what we have in is the same class as St.Michael's Cornhill (only on a larger scale).

 

 

Dear Pierre,

I agree with you about (in particular) Willis 17-19-22 Mixtures.

Some thoughts:

1. The ear notices the top rank most; bearing this in mind it is not accidental when the builder keeps this a quint or a unison. The new(ish) Mander Mixtures on St.Paul's are excellent, but there is an undeniable flavour when the Willis mixtures are on, and appreciably less when they are not.

2. The Willis recipe involved relatively narrow-scaling - certainly narrower than Walker or Hill, their main competitors. The ranks can thus be kept relatively moderate in power without the process of softening starting to make them sound 'fluty'. Fluty upperwork does not bind the principal chorus together nor sparkle above it.

3. The House of Willis (at least up to the 1980s) did not move over entirely to equal temperament. I have a document giving this in Willis IV's own annotation: (he drew up a tuning manual for a mutual friend and drinking buddy) the Willis plan always favours the C major scale and especially 'bends' the E to fit properly. This may explain why recordings of Willis organs (then) still in Willis hands sound oddly different from those same organs when 'handed over'. It would obviously make Tierce mixtures sound better in certain keys.

 

Dear John Hosking and Truro fans,

I'm probably on the wrong part of this site, but how about this for a real cat among the pidgeons?! In an early issue of The Organ (my copy is currently in store so I can't give you a number) there is an advertisement from Heles of Plymouth who claimed in that advert that their voicers had recently worked right through the Truro organ when it was overhauled by them and revoiced all the reeds. If anyone nowadays says that Truro does not sound exactly like a Father Willis I venture to suggest that this is the reason.

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Guest Roffensis
Re: St.Bride's Fleets Street and St.George's R.C. Cathedral Southwark*

 

Thanks to correspondents who have reminded us of these two good and interesting instruments.  Incidentally, I believe that the organ at St.George's Southwark is recently much improved.  When I knew it in the 70's it was all enclosed, recent revisions have changed this, greatly to its benefit as regards effectiveness in the building.

 

St.Brides I know pretty well.  I regret that I don't rate this is as musical an instrument in the same way as (frankly) several other Comptons.  I would grant that it is a most effective and exciting instrument, but I do not believe that one can play on  a few stops (let alone a chorus) without tiring of it relatively soon.  By the way, this was built after John Compton's death, albeit his right-hand-man (Jimmy Taylor) was still in control of things.  Interestingly, it was designed by Gordon Reynolds - a one-time chorister at Holy Trinity Hull, and subsequently a pupil of Norman Strafford (organist of HTH and then Hull City Hall and author of both of those Compton rebuild schemes).

 

*Having considered these and several other large Compton organs, I hold to my claim. I repeat, those who doubt my opinion, are most welcome to come and see! 

Tonally what we have in is the same class as St.Michael's Cornhill (only on a larger scale).

Dear Pierre,

I agree with you about (in particular) Willis 17-19-22 Mixtures. 

Some thoughts:

1. The ear notices the top rank most; bearing this in mind it is not accidental when the builder keeps this a quint or a unison.  The new(ish) Mander Mixtures on St.Paul's are excellent, but there is an undeniable flavour when the Willis mixtures are on, and appreciably less when they are not.

2. The Willis recipe involved relatively narrow-scaling - certainly narrower than Walker or Hill, their main competitors. The ranks can thus be kept relatively moderate in power without the process of softening starting to make them sound 'fluty'.  Fluty upperwork does not bind the principal chorus together nor sparkle above it.

3. The House of Willis (at least up to the 1980s) did not move over entirely to equal temperament.  I have a document giving this in Willis IV's own annotation: (he drew up a tuning manual for a mutual friend and drinking buddy) the Willis plan always favours the C major scale and especially 'bends' the E to fit properly.  This may explain why recordings of Willis organs (then) still in Willis hands sound oddly different from those same organs when 'handed over'.  It would obviously make Tierce mixtures sound better in certain keys.

 

Dear John Hosking and Truro fans,

I'm probably on the wrong part of this site, but how about this for a real cat among the pidgeons?!  In an early issue of The Organ (my copy is currently in store so I can't give you a number) there is an advertisement from Heles of Plymouth who claimed in that advert that their voicers had recently worked right through the Truro organ when it was overhauled by them and revoiced all the reeds.  If anyone nowadays says that Truro does not sound exactly like a Father Willis I venture to suggest that this is the reason.

 

That comes as no surprise to me, and another exalted job from the so called "House Of Willis" :D:lol: is Salisbury, which was really quite butchered by the same firm under Alcock. So much for not letting a single pipe leave the place etc etc, it was butchered on site, the choir organ in particular being well and truly hacked at. The other Willis that is supposed to be vintage in all but is Lincoln, with its nice Harrison double length resonators. Thats the organ that Willis himself was not happy with. Hereford is hardly vintage, and of St Pauls I think it was Downes who said the war was the end of old Willis as known. Work that one out! Meanwhile later Willis's, Liverpool amongst them have been fiddled about with, and had bits sawn off, and particularly wind pressures messed around. Liverpool does not sound how it did in the 1970s when I heard it first. The mixtures are far different. Where then does one go to hear a true Willis? in a cathedral, basically nowhere. Truro is far from unique, but it is probably the most original of any, and i honestly believe manders will have returned it as much as possible to its original stae despite any tinkering to those precious pipes! At this late stage, and with so little to go on, who is to say? :blink: And what of the father, Henry? George Willis did so much voicing, the plot just gets very opaque. Best not even go there!!!

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