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On The Screen Or Not?


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Don't believe a word of it! Are you quite sure he was talking of this organ? As I have mentioned before I have listened to this organ from relatively near the rear of the nave and heard a fine Full Swell that actually turned out to be full organ. If there were lusty singing at the back of the nave I very much doubt that the organ would be audible at all.

 

 

Well, the assistant in question is known to some on this board. Aside from being formerly an assistant at Westminster Abbey (for about ten years), then working at Yale (U.S.), he subsequently returned to the U.K. to be assistant at Guildford. He is known as one of the best accompanists in the business. He also has a fair amount of organ-building and design experience. He was responsible for the most recent tonal alterations and additions to the Guildford organ. He was definitely talking about this organ!

 

As I wrote, I have also heard this instrument in the building (from various vantage-points).

 

Are you sure that you mean this instrument, Vox?!!

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Canterbury is a similar kettle of fish to Guildford in one sense: it is a once-fine instrument subjected to a somewhat disastrous rebuild. It is situated in the very high-up and rather cramped South Quire triforium: it does not even speak well in the eastern arm of the building, let alone the nave, which, thanks to the crossing arches (narrowed in the 14th century) and the crossing screen, is acoustically a separate building altogether. In my opinion, the best thing to do would be to build two new organs (retaining the Willis and older pipework of the existing instrument), one in either of the Chancel's transepts and another in the Nave, perhaps with some of it on the pulpitum (although here one has the York/Lincoln-like acoustic problem of the big lantern tower). To remove any medieval pulpitum would be an unspeakable crime against both history and aesthetics. However, for a large nave organ, one is yet again faced with where to put it. There is no triforium to speak of, so a Southwell-type job would be impossible. The West window is the main light source in a rather dark nave: a West gallery would, I fear, be impractical. The only acceptable solution would be a Westminster Abbey-type job, with the organ in shallow cases in the nave arcading on both sides (although, obviously, at Westminster, much of the organ is housed in the triforia). Would people agree with this?

 

With regard to some points - yes.

 

For example: The organ does need some serious re-planning. However, I doubt that it would be any better if it were to be placed in either of the eastern transepts - it would then be too far from the choir stalls.

 

The nave aisles at Canterbury have large, tall windows (particularly on the south side). In addition, the clerestory windows are not that small.

 

I have heard rumours of a proposed rebuild of this organ. I agree that the 1978 rebuild was unfortunate - I would never have parted with the Solo or Choir organs. (I know that the tubas and one or two other ranks were kept.) A possible solution would be to rebuild the organ, largely in situ, with the Choir Organ returning to something more useful for choral accompaniment - and to add a new Nave organ. As you observe, finding a site for this would be a challenge. Perhaps it could be suspended from the vaulting, in the same manner as the Klais Nave organ (1998) was at Köln Domkirche.

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Are you sure that you mean this instrument, Vox?!!

Yes - the one in that cathedral that looks like a power station. (Sorry, Stephen!) I suppose I have to take your colleague's word for it since he knows the instrument and I don't (except for the experieinces I mentioned), but I have to say I am surprised.

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Guest Lee Blick
Yes - the one in that cathedral that looks like a power station.

 

Wasn't the exterior of Guildford Cathedral used in the film 'Omen II'?

 

As I remember it, there was a scene where the 'devil child' upon approaching the West End entrance in a limousine started to scream and bawl uncontrollably...

 

...my sentiments entirely.

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Guest Barry Williams

My wife and I were in Exeter Cathedral last week. We were disappointed to see the mitred pipes of the 32' reed projecting above the screen in a most ugly fashion.

 

Surely, in this day and age, something better could have been done.

 

Barry Williams

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Yes - the one in that cathedral that looks like a power station. (Sorry, Stephen!) I suppose I have to take your colleague's word for it since he knows the instrument and I don't (except for the experieinces I mentioned), but I have to say I am surprised.

 

This must be a tricky one. I know both VH and GM (the other gentlemen in question) and equally respect their opinions and knowledge. Making it even more difficult (as I've never been to Guildford - it's only recently that I found out that you don't pronounce the 'd' :huh: ) the only recording I have of the instrument doesn't give the impression of an inspiring instrument at all, yet both the playing (GM again) and the recording (by another good friend whose skills I trust totally) should be excellent, and the disc in question received very good reviews.

 

That said, Vox, you and GM have very different tastes regarding repertoire and instruments - both good, but different...

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