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Malcolm Farr

Cavaille-coll And The Sydney Town Hall

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I've just been reading Robert Ampt's book about the Sydney Town Hall organ, which provides in Appendix 1 the Sydney organ committee's proposed specification and in Appendix 2 brief descriptions of the tenders received.

 

Mr Ampt states that Cavaille-Coll submitted a tender, coming in 2nd highest at 16,380 pounds, but that no changes to the specification were suggested. Bearing in mind CC's well documented propensity for making changes during the course of construction, who knows what might have resulted? Would the front and back divisions of the Great Organ have ended up as Grand-Orgue and Grand Choeur? Would the Tubas of the Solo Organ have been installed en chamade? (It's rather fun to indulge in "what ifs"!)

 

I'd like to find out if CC left any records in his archives as to what he might really have done, if he was given the chance? Does anyone know if he mentioned the STH in his archived records?

 

Regards

Malcolm F

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Mr Ampt (who has been the Sydney City Organist since 1978) has his information from the council archives, and even reproduces the first page of CC's tender as an illustration in his book. But of course the archives can't give any information about CC's background thinking (assuming, of course, that he set down anything at all in this regard).

 

Regards

Malcolm F

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I took the opportunity to ask Robert Ampt about this and he replied:

 

" Everything that I know about CC and the tendering process for the STHO is in my book. CC merely named the price, and indicated that he could build the whole instrument in just 18 months."

 

John Pike Mander

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Thanks, John. I rather expected that Robert had probably included in his book everything of which he was aware through the Sydney Council's archives. My next port of call will be the Association Cavaillé-Coll, and I just hope that my French is up to it!

 

Regards

Malcolm F

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