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On The Screen Or Not?


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Does the organ position work at Truro? There’s no screen, so the organ should be just as useful in the nave as the quire. Do they move the choir into the nave for large services?

 

The position of the organ at Truro does in my opinion work. Especially after the moving of the console in the 1960s. Having attended many services when the cathedral has been full, the choir still remains in the choirstalls. However, to hear the choir at a well attended service, one must sit at the front. as the further you go down the nave they can hardly be heard.

J.S.

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I imagine Geoffrey Coffin is longing for that 'phone call. Perhaps they might acquire a redundant instrument for the nave (can't help thinking about the ex-Manningham Hill that has been taken) as Southwell did.

 

I can think of a big 3m willisIII that might benefit from rehousing...

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Does the organ position work at Truro? There’s no screen, so the organ should be just as useful in the nave as the quire. Do they move the choir into the nave for large services?

 

:rolleyes:

 

Yes - it is certainly quite capable of leading a full cathedral from its commanding position. Equally, there are a good number of quiet effects available. The Choir Organ is, in particular, very quiet - even from the console. However, care is needed in order to ensure that the singers are not overbalanced by this comparatively small but powerful instrument.

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Lincoln, too, is a classic example of largely one-way sound egress into the quire.

I would have to disagree with you there, Barry. I have only ever been to Lincoln once for an organ recital a couple of years ago, but from my seat in the Nave there was a whole lot of organ coming my way!

 

I also have the Amphion CD live recording of Roger Fisher playing the Whitlock Organ Sonata at Lincoln. This was made from the tapes of two private recordings of Roger's recital (permission had been given), one recorded in the Quire and the other in the Nave. On the CD, the first and last movements are taken from the recording made in the Nave and the central movements from that made in the Quire.

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Guest Andrew Butler
I would have to disagree with you there, Barry. I have only ever been to Lincoln once for an organ recital a couple of years ago, but from my seat in the Nave there was a whole lot of organ coming my way!

 

I also have the Amphion CD live recording of Roger Fisher playing the Whitlock Organ Sonata at Lincoln. This was made from the tapes of two private recordings of Roger's recital (permission had been given), one recorded in the Quire and the other in the Nave. On the CD, the first and last movements are taken from the recording made in the Nave and the central movements from that made in the Quire.

 

It depends where in the nave! The only time I heard it from the nave was at my stepdaughter's graduation ceremony a couple of years ago. we were probably 3/4 way back, and the music beforehand commenced over a lot of talking. My wife asked what was being played - and I hadn't even heard it! I got up and wandered eastwards, and if my memory serves correctly it was Widor VI, so must have been a pretty full registration to start with.

 

Talking of Lincoln, there is a Corno Di Bassetto (on the Choir I think) and a Clarinet on the solo. How do they differ tonally?

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It depends where in the nave! The only time I heard it from the nave was at my stepdaughter's graduation ceremony a couple of years ago. we were probably 3/4 way back, and the music beforehand commenced over a lot of talking. My wife asked what was being played - and I hadn't even heard it! I got up and wandered eastwards, and if my memory serves correctly it was Widor VI, so must have been a pretty full registration to start with.

 

Talking of Lincoln, there is a Corno Di Bassetto (on the Choir I think) and a Clarinet on the solo. How do they differ tonally?

 

I sang there most weekends for some years in the mid 80s - the organ is a fantastic choral support in the Choir but as you say tails off considerably down the Nave. The Great to Solo coupler is of use there where the Tubas can almost be used as super chorus reeds. The best place to hear it for recital work is from the Choir and despite its rather far flung layout I never found balance a problem at the console when I had lessons there. The Orchestral Clarinet on the Solo is quite 'orchestral' whereas the Corno di B. on the Choir is smaller and more 'woody' - for want of a better word. The most amazing playing I ever heard there was Jennifer Bate - Messaien's 'L'Ascension' and with us in the Durufle Requiem all in the same concert. Close your eyes and you could have been in Paris!

 

AJJ

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I can think of a big 3m willisIII that might benefit from rehousing...

 

Hi

 

The Manningham Hill has already gone to (I hope) a good home - but I have heard of a 3m Harrison that is (was) available in Bradford -and there are plenty of redundant organs on the IBO web site.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

The Manningham Hill has already gone to (I hope) a good home - but I have heard of a 3m Harrison that is (was) available in Bradford -and there are plenty of redundant organs on the IBO web site.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

I was thinking of St. Mary's, Southampton...

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I sang there most weekends for some years in the mid 80s - the organ is a fantastic choral support in the Choir but as you say tails off considerably down the Nave. The Great to Solo coupler is of use there where the Tubas can almost be used as super chorus reeds.

AJJ

I recently visited our Cathedral where there is a Hill organ rebuilt (described as "disastrously") by a well-known firm in Yorkshire. Many of us helped with the fund-raising and "buy a pipe" appeals to get the thing installed, in place of the perfectly respectable (and vastly more successful) 1966 HNB job that was there previously. The "new" organ has a solo box (newly installed) which effectively blocks the sound from getting much further than the chancel arch.

 

I was particularly unlucky that day... as clergy seating was in the chancel immediately opposite the organ. Without a word of a lie there were two sounds in use that day. Full organ+tuba (octave) and full organ without the tuba. It was ear-shattering and I went home with a distinct ringing in my head.

 

Midway through the service a young harpist had to accompany a hymn to "The Ash Grove". She played the introduction very beautifully, and, come the first verse, the organ - full minus tubas came crashing in. The gal and her harp were washed away in a tidal wave of noise....

 

The Cathedral was not full on this occasion.

 

And I was not impressed. :lol:

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Yes - it is certainly quite capable of leading a full cathedral from its commanding position. Equally, there are a good number of quiet effects available. The Choir Organ is, in particular, very quiet - even from the console. However, care is needed in order to ensure that the singers are not overbalanced by this comparatively small but powerful instrument.

 

I’ve not heard a recital at Truro but on the recordings (several) I have, the full organ (I assume its full organ anyway) sounds very impressive and the 16 ft Ophicleide is superb. Not only is the full organ impressive, but the instrument does delicate and subtle as well.

 

:lol:

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Before the Mander rebuild, I can recall Martin Schellenberg at Bristol Cathedral accompanying the "Special Choir" in a nave concert and having to play the pedals a beat ahead to compensate for action + acoustic delay!

Never knew it used to be as bad as that.

 

Was at bristol Cathedral on Sunday 4th Feb for the morning Eucharist and the organ - which is located above one side of the choir in a divided case - sounded as good as ever despite the fact that I wasn't sitting that far from the back.

 

Dave

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The consultant at Brussels Cathedral maintains that the best place is half way down the nave on the north side, and that a west end position is traditional on the continent but a poor place to put it. If you go to Brussels you'll see his point, possible to hear the instrument wherever you are.

Presumably Cologne took that into account when they had their newer organ put up in the nave as well?

 

Mind you, perhaps they can't decide at Cologne: since that newer organ went up the 1949 organ on the nave crossing has been rebuilt and enlarged so who knows....

 

Dave

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Presumably Cologne took that into account when they had their newer organ put up in the nave as well?

 

Mind you, perhaps they can't decide at Cologne: since that newer organ went up the 1949 organ on the nave crossing has been rebuilt and enlarged so who knows....

 

Dave

 

A number of tests were carried-out, in order to ascertain the optimum position for a nave organ at Cologne. The present site was chosen as the best all-round position.

 

The older Klais, which skulks in the semi-darkness of the north choir aisle was rebuilt around 2002-2003. It has acquired (amongst other things) an undulating rank for the first time since it was built.

 

There are at least two interesting recordings available on CD. One is of a recital given by Marcel Dupré and the other is of a recital given by Pierre Cochereau. Both performers chose to improvise on the Veni Créator theme. It is an instructive and fascinating exercise to compare and contrast the two versions.

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Before the Mander rebuild, I can recall Martin Schellenberg at Bristol Cathedral accompanying the "Special Choir" in a nave concert and having to play the pedals a beat ahead to compensate for action + acoustic delay!

 

Do either Exeter or Salisbury suffer form this problem as they both have some of their pedal division situated a short distance from the main organ?

 

:lol:

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Do either Exeter or Salisbury suffer form this problem as they both have some of their pedal division situated a short distance from the main organ?

 

:rolleyes:

 

 

No.

 

Exeter only has the lowest sixteen pipes of the 32p Contra Violone in the South Transept and Salisbury has the lowest octave each of the 32p Diapason and the Contra Posaune in the North Transept eastern aisle.

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Do either Exeter or Salisbury suffer form this problem as they both have some of their pedal division situated a short distance from the main organ?

 

:rolleyes:

 

 

Playing a beat ahead might make things sound better for the player, but would give unpleasant effects elsewhere. I'm convinced that all you can do in such circumstances (Chester is another - pedal reeds and 32' flue are some way away) is grin and bear it!

 

You were asking about screen organs that can serve the whole building properly, I know of only one - Ripon. There the majority of the organ sounds equally fine in either nave or choir. The exception is the manual division (Choir I think) that is located behind cantoris in the choir. Actually, since the shutters were removed, this is a trifle loud.

 

IMHO, the reason that the Ripon screen organ works so well (other than Lewis's voicing, which is superb) is that the chests run west-east. i.e. not parallel with the case. This may not sound much of a difference, but it means (for instance) that the Swellbox does not block the Great in either direction. With the attached console sited on the south side of the case, it also means that the player hears the whole compass in proper balance unlike Gloucester Cathedral where the player gets approximately 90% of the C side of the Swell and only c. 45% of the C sharp side. [Humble apologies for stating this fact in the presence of Gloucester Cathedral organ supporters.]

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No.

 

Exeter only has the lowest sixteen pipes of the 32p Contra Violone in the South Transept and Salisbury has the lowest octave each of the 32p Diapason and the Contra Posaune in the North Transept eastern aisle.

 

I did a diocesan (hope it’s spelt right) sing at Exeter when I was down in Plymouth. We entered the cathedral via the south transept and the first sight that greeted me (and surprised me) was the Contra Violone.

 

:rolleyes:

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Playing a beat ahead might make things sound better for the player, but would give unpleasant effects elsewhere. I'm convinced that all you can do in such circumstances (Chester is another - pedal reeds and 32' flue are some way away) is grin and bear it!

 

You were asking about screen organs that can serve the whole building properly, I know of only one - Ripon. There the majority of the organ sounds equally fine in either nave or choir. The exception is the manual division (Choir I think) that is located behind cantoris in the choir. Actually, since the shutters were removed, this is a trifle loud.

 

IMHO, the reason that the Ripon screen organ works so well (other than Lewis's voicing, which is superb) is that the chests run west-east. i.e. not parallel with the case. This may not sound much of a difference, but it means (for instance) that the Swellbox does not block the Great in either direction. With the attached console sited on the south side of the case, it also means that the player hears the whole compass in proper balance unlike Gloucester Cathedral where the player gets approximately 90% of the C side of the Swell and only c. 45% of the C sharp side. [Humble apologies for stating this fact in the presence of Gloucester Cathedral organ supporters.]

 

I agree with you regarding Ripon - I think that it is a superb instrument. However, it should be remembered that the screen console is situated in the case, with the Solo box immediately above, so it is not the best place from which to judge the balance between the organ and the choir - or the various departments of the instrument. There are often compromises with several of our cathedral organs - not just Gloucester.

 

I also agree with your point about the Choir swell shutters - again, a slight loss in flexibility. The only other part of the instrument which is too loud in the Choir, is the Pedal 32p Bombardon - this is fairly unpleasant if one is sitting in the stalls on Decani.

 

However, I do wish that someone would have the courage to ditch the two slightly daft stop changes made in 1972 on the GO, and re-instate the Hohl Flöte 8p and the Harmonic Flute 4p, instead of the nasty Coppel Flute 4p and the slightly pointless Larigot at 1 1/3p.

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I agree with you regarding Ripon - I think that it is a superb instrument. However, it should be remembered that the screen console is situated in the case, with the Solo box immediately above, so it is not the best place from which to judge the balance between the organ and the choir - or the various departments of the instrument. There are often compromises with several of our cathedral organs - not just Gloucester.

 

I also agree with your point about the Choir swell shutters - again, a slight loss in flexibility. The only other part of the instrument which is too loud in the Choir, is the Pedal 32p Bombardon - this is fairly unpleasant if one is sitting in the stalls on Decani.

 

Ripon is a fantastic instrument - 'twas my first. The console position is good for visibility in both directions (nave and choir) and hearing the choir in the Choir, but, as you say, an absolute bugger for knowing what the balance is like, particularly if using Gt or Solo. The general rule of thumb is to use swell & choir with only light stuff on the great, and if you can just about hear the choir then the balance is probably ok. The 32' reed, whilst being an oblitatron in the choir stalls, was always a favourite of the boys - we used to relish its use, as it came out so rarely at evensong, being so dominant. Of course, the Choir itself is a nice tight box of stone and wood, which only magnifies the effect.

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You were asking about screen organs that can serve the whole building properly, I know of only one - Ripon. There the majority of the organ sounds equally fine in either nave or choir. The exception is the manual division (Choir I think) that is located behind cantoris in the choir. Actually, since the shutters were removed, this is a trifle loud.

 

IMHO, the reason that the Ripon screen organ works so well (other than Lewis's voicing, which is superb) is that the chests run west-east.

 

 

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

 

 

I think the main reason Ripon works so well, is the fact that it is quite a small cathedral, as cathedrals go.

 

I always think Beverley works quite well on the screen; as does St.George's, Windsor Castle.

 

When you think about it, if the acoustic were a just a tad less generous, Liverpool Metropolitan is possibly the perfect musical layout.

 

MM

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

I think the main reason Ripon works so well, is the fact that it is quite a small cathedral, as cathedrals go.

 

I always think Beverley works quite well on the screen; as does St.George's, Windsor Castle.

 

When you think about it, if the acoustic were a just a tad less generous, Liverpool Metropolitan is possibly the perfect musical layout.

 

MM

 

Except for the fact that a fair proportion of the sound from the organ disappears straight up the corona (or whatever the central lantern-thingy is called)....

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Except for the fact that a fair proportion of the sound from the organ disappears straight up the corona (or whatever the central lantern-thingy is called)....

 

 

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

 

 

Actually, it doesn't go up the corona much at all, due to the fact that the conical shape of the building re-directs sound downwards. Similarly, sounds from floor-level tend go up, bounce across, and then bounce down again.

 

What you probably have is a focusing of the sound from a type of reflector shape; a dome shape being another type.

 

The "Met Pot" is quite a hefty-sized building, and the organ is not exactly forceful; save for something which just about passes as a Tuba, and of course, the horizontal party-horns.

 

A very resonant acoustic, the "Met Pot" is possibly just a bit over-lively in ALL directions; both circular and conical.

 

Perhaps it would have been better designed like a lab-flask, but then it would have looked like a mosque wouldn't it?

 

I have a piece of Maltese glassware which would probably make the ideal modern cathedral-shape. Sort of squarish, roundish and conical-ish, but not in any sort of mathematically regular way.

 

I'm just a glutton for Le Courboisier!

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
=================================

I think the main reason Ripon works so well, is the fact that it is quite a small cathedral, as cathedrals go.

 

I always think Beverley works quite well on the screen; as does St.George's, Windsor Castle.

 

When you think about it, if the acoustic were a just a tad less generous, Liverpool Metropolitan is possibly the perfect musical layout.

 

MM

 

After a Sunday lunch with some spirituality to make up for my 10.30 in my village this morning, I am delighted to read about these instruments, especially Ripon where I play on Bank Holiday in May. As for St George's, this is the most marvelous instrument for the player. Sensational to hear everything at the console. Trust Dr Sydney to get the most for himself! Therefore, not even the Queen will hear it in all its fabulous Technicolor. The organist is the best placed - dead centre between the cases. The extraordinary Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool is a nightmare as the angels hear it in a far better way than mortals on the ground. From what I can remember, it was a voicer's nightmare to push the sound downwards. Therefore, best to be trapeze artist in the big top to hear this one. But what one does hear, is rather lovely and has some rewarding timbres of the softer nature.

But, I am still unmoved about the putting in of more Romantic organs (plus Triforium/Aisle/Transept 'spread' or coffined into the screen eg. K. C. Cambridge) into more ancient screen organs. The most inspiring is in Windsor, but only mostly for the organist. Alas, so few ever will have the opportunity of experiencing such an organ.

All best wishes,

Nigel

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Guest Roffensis
===========================

Actually, it doesn't go up the corona much at all, due to the fact that the conical shape of the building re-directs sound downwards. Similarly, sounds from floor-level tend go up, bounce across, and then bounce down again.

 

What you probably have is a focusing of the sound from a type of reflector shape; a dome shape being another type.

 

The "Met Pot" is quite a hefty-sized building, and the organ is not exactly forceful; save for something which just about passes as a Tuba, and of course, the horizontal party-horns.

 

A very resonant acoustic, the "Met Pot" is possibly just a bit over-lively in ALL directions; both circular and conical.

 

Perhaps it would have been better designed like a lab-flask, but then it would have looked like a mosque wouldn't it?

 

I have a piece of Maltese glassware which would probably make the ideal modern cathedral-shape. Sort of squarish, roundish and conical-ish, but not in any sort of mathematically regular way.

 

I'm just a glutton for Le Courboisier!

 

MM

 

A lot of sound does go up the funnel, and at the console the organ cannot be heard at all well. It goes right over your head. Interestingly, the job is voiced almost to screaming pitch, and has baffles to try to deflect sound downwards.

 

On a different note, Canterbury and the ongoing debate? with a nave organ. I was reading Professor Willis's old account of the building, and he refers to the several strainer arches at the crossing, and the lack of one on the north, causing a pillar to bulge outward. That's nice! Despite knowing both organ and building very well indeed, I had never spotted this. I must go and look. A bit like Salisbury one wonders......!! I wonder if it rings......like Salisbury. This also contrasts with the south nave wall, apparently pulled out during the war by a nice bomb!......meanwhile filled in with cement that one gathers has to be removed. All very interesting stuff you might well say. But the question is, would you put a 4 decker in there? at least anywhere near the crossing!! And on the screen to spoil the architecture? methinks this is going to be a very intriguing case to watch.

 

R

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