Author Topic: St. Lawrence Jewry, London  (Read 11760 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

revtonynewnham

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 986
  • Karma: +67/-1
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2012, 10:36:47 AM »
@AOC

It seems to me that you need to think through the prime role of organs such as Christ Church, Oxford, which is to accompany the choir.  Also, organs in academia have an educational function, which is one reason why, in recent years, organs of a variety of historic (and modern) styles have been introduced - and practicality has sometimes meant that older organs have been removed - but then, Willis & Harrison et al were just as much following (and setting) the fashions of their day as the current organ builders - and going back inbto history, the same applies to previous generations.

I have yet to find a pipe organ that has no redeeming features - and I've played a fair few that had major tonal and mechanical problems!  The art of the organist isn't to bemoan what an organ can't do, and what changes they'd like to make, but rather to take what is there and use it to the fullest extent.

An example is small organs - but it's often surprising what can be done with a limited range of stops, given some lateral thinking in terms of registration.

Every Blessing

Tony

Barrie Davis

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
  • Karma: +37/-2
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2012, 01:28:05 PM »
Hi

Tony I agree with you totally, I have never played an organ which has no redeeming factors, I quite often play an organ which has suffered water damage, the Great has been disconnected as has the Pedal leaving only the Swell playable used with care its possible to accompany 150 voices with this instrument.

I enjoy small organs, on the outskirts of Worcester theres a small church with a 1 manual H&H and 3 stops;
Lieblich Gedeckt  8
Gemshorn            4
Fifteenth             2
its surprising the effects these few stops can make.

Best wishes

Barrie



revtonynewnham

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 986
  • Karma: +67/-1
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2012, 05:42:30 PM »
Hi Barry

A well placed small organ can be very effective - perhaps the most remarkable that I've played was http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N13313  I played this for a Christmas Eve Communion when we lived near there - it's a combined benefice, and probably 500 or so there - certainly the church was packed.  I didn't even need full organ all the time!  The instrument here is only 5 stops, but again it's fine - I can drop down to just the Dulciana for quiet verses in some hymns.

Every Blessing

Tony

matt h

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: +7/-0
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2012, 09:02:17 PM »
Hi

I've played a few very small organs over the years, often getting quite a lot of enjoyment from making as much variety as possible within limited resources.

One really sticks in my mind; St Martin-le-Grand in York. 
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N08796
Only 3 speaking stops, but beautifully voiced and a pleasure to play.

Another is the one manual Snetzler in the New Rooms (Wesley's Chapel)
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N03821
A real gem, again well voiced and suited to the space it occupies.

Regards,
Matt.

rh1306

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 21
  • Karma: +4/-0
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2012, 10:30:15 PM »

"Oh, with regard to SLJ, I should perhaps point out that the person responsible for the junking of the old organ (there are those who will know to whom I refer)....."

This 'person' has wreaked havoc and destruction wherever 'they' have been.  Their only redeeming feature is  being an exceedingly fine player..... 

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 254
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2012, 11:42:04 PM »
There's a difference between power and loudness. Without the big reeds, CC Oxford REALLY lacks power. If you sit well up the nave when the cathedral is full, the organ REALLY struggles to carry the congregation in hymnody, despite what you say - let alone accompany the choir! I'm sorry, but an organ like that needs an acoustic ambience to work - Gloucester's organ would be equally miserable in the Oxford building. In an acoustic that dry, a warmer, more rounded sound is required, with MUCH more 16' and 8' tone. I'm not talking about Diapason Phonon type things, or even big leathered diapasons, just a reasonable body of sound, which the Rieger lacks. I wasn't going to mention Walkers of the early 1900s, but now you mention it, the 1920s 4/45 Walker which David helped save from destruction recently would be excellent in CCO. I wasn't going to campaign for Willis or Walker or HN&B reeds either, but I think that the free-tone reeds of a mid-C19 Hill would be good in that building, particularly with the very Classical choruses of the Rieger. The spitty, fiery, thin things it has now in no way balance the fluework, and are also extremely unpleasant in that dry acoustic. I'm sorry that I seem here to have slaughtered another sacred cow, but I honestly cannot think of another organ I hate so much.

Not at all. However, I have played for a fairly full congregation - and did not experience the difficulty to which you alluded. Nor did I find it necessary to use vast quanities of this instrument, in order to keep the singers together.

Whilst I do like the Christ Church Rieger, I would have liked to have heard the old FHW/H&H. (Incidentally, exactly where would Harrisons have put the prepared-for 32ft. reed, if the cathedral authorities had instructed them to complete the organ tonally?)

I would also like to hear a mid-19th century Hill organ in this building. Or a late 19th century Walker.



Regarding the case - I've seen a number of photographs of the Willis and I agree, it was on the dumpy side. However, Rieger went too far in the opposite direction. Personally, I think the Smith case would have been best removed to the chancel, without the later and rather oversized chair case (these four-tower Smith cases almost never had chair case - I think Durham is the only example) and used to house a choir organ - or, alternatively, removed to another college - with an entirely new case (PERHAPS re-using the chair case) being used for the west end organ (which, ideally, would have re-used much of the Willis pipework).

At least when New College destroyed their 4m Willis, they replaced it with something visually and tonally quite wonderful, though in both respects entirely inappropriate to its surroundings...

Which just serves to illustrate the variety (even disparity) in the tastes of organ-lovers. Now New College is one organ which I do not like. And, for once, I have not played it - only heard it. However, I have some acquaintance with other work by GD&R/GD&B and I must admit to having reservations about the suitability of some aspects of the design and of the style of their voicing. Whilst New College does have a more generous acoustic ambience than that of Christ Church, I am slightly surprised that you like the sound of the New College organ - which I would describe as 'aggressive'.

With regard to its visual appearance, I find it, quite simply, distressing. In the medieval surroundings of this beautiful chapel, I would agree that it is certainly 'inappropriate to its surroundings...' .
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 12:32:07 AM by pcnd5584 »
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 254
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2012, 11:59:38 PM »
Being someone who has regularly attended recitals at St. Lawrence for a period of over 40 years, I think that I am probably more qualified than most to make a reasoned comparison and judgement between the old and new organs.

I have always been under the impression that the organ from St. Paul's, Camden Square was actually a Willis, and that only the pipework was used in the construction of the 1957 organ for St. Lawrence Jewry.  In fact I was told this by no lesser a person than Ivor Davies himself, who apparently had somehow acquired the instrument and subsequently sold it on to Noel Mander.

By the end of the 20th century, the Mander organ was indeed showing signs of age, but could have easily been rebuilt for a fraction of the cost of the new Klais which, to my ears is a loud, raucous and most unmusical of intruments - a unappealing sound indeed. ...

I have often wondered about the increasing number of instruments which have been deemed to be 'unworthy of restoration'. Worcester Cathedral is perhaps the most obvious example.

I must also confess to a preference for the former organ of Bath Abbey - not least because the new instrument has lost an enitre department (and has also gained chorus reeds of rather similar tonality).

On paper, the old organ of Saint Lawrence, Jewry had much to commend it. No doubt, even in 1957, good quality materials were both scarce and at a premium. However, to judge from the written stop-list and contemporary instruments by this firm, I think that all I would wish to change would be an augmentation in the number of ranks of the G.O. compound stop, perhaps a few slightly more colourful stop names (whilst avoiding charges of tonal dishonesty), and the removal of the Tuba - or at least having it confined to the lowest clavier and being non-coupling.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 12:02:59 AM by pcnd5584 »
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 254
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2012, 12:25:35 AM »
@AOC

It seems to me that you need to think through the prime role of organs such as Christ Church, Oxford, which is to accompany the choir.  Also, organs in academia have an educational function, which is one reason why, in recent years, organs of a variety of historic (and modern) styles have been introduced - and practicality has sometimes meant that older organs have been removed - but then, Willis & Harrison et al were just as much following (and setting) the fashions of their day as the current organ builders - and going back inbto history, the same applies to previous generations.

I have yet to find a pipe organ that has no redeeming features - and I've played a fair few that had major tonal and mechanical problems!  The art of the organist isn't to bemoan what an organ can't do, and what changes they'd like to make, but rather to take what is there and use it to the fullest extent.

An example is small organs - but it's often surprising what can be done with a limited range of stops, given some lateral thinking in terms of registration.

Every Blessing

Tony

There is much good sense here.

I have only played two organs which I consdered to possess no redeeming features whatsoever. One was the orgue-de-choeur at Chartres Cathedral and the other was in a church in Dorchester.

However, with the qualification of these two instruments, I would agree that it is the organist's job to use the instrument as it stands to the best of his ability.
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

rh1306

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 21
  • Karma: +4/-0
    • View Profile
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2012, 02:19:58 AM »
Removal of the Tuba???   That was the BEST stop on the old SLJ organ :o

AnOrganCornucopia

  • Guest
Re: St. Lawrence Jewry, London
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2012, 11:40:21 AM »
I like the New College organ because it's honest. It does not pretend to be anything other than what it is, and I actually rather like it tonally. It's much more characterful than CC IMO and still has those wonderful Willis strings. I even like the case, which manages to be modern Gothic and is, to my eyes, very well-proportioned. I would still remove it from its present home to be the second (at least) organ in a larger building, and bring back the old Willis...

 


Locations of visitors to this page

Organ Design


Latroba Holidays