Author Topic: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd  (Read 26832 times)

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David Drinkell

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2011, 07:01:12 PM »
I am not sure that I would agree that the old Worcester organ was awkward to handle. I had to play it (near the end of its life) for a long week-end of services for a visiting choir, in 2004. I found it easy and very comfortable to play, Of course one had to be careful not to play too loudly for the choir and congregation in the Quire. The same is true at Salisbury and Winchester (and, in all probabilty, Durham). Interestingly, the Worcester organ was not in the parlous state that I had expected, from reading what had been written about it.

I found that everything (except for the Swell Gedeckt 8ft) worked perfectly. There were no cyphers, no apparent shortage of wind - or any other kind of malfunction. Instead, I discovered a wealth of beautiful quieter registers, in addition to a majestic and powerful tutti - which seemed to me to fit this building like a glove.

With regard to Bury Saint Edmunds; the new organ does indeed look spectacular. However, having played the old organ, I presume the reference to 'old work' refers to the action and/or winding or soundboards. I think , on balance, that I would have preferred the previous stoplist - the present instrument is rather smaller (by around twenty speaking stops) - with, in particular, an odd Pedal reed section - 32, 16, 16 and 16. The instrument has also lost an entire section, the previous organ having contained a Positif in addition to a Choir Organ. There is now, as far as I can see, a shortage of useful, quiet 8ft, registers - particularly on the lowest clavier, which has lost, amongst other ranks, a beautiful, resful Unda Maris, which formed an undulating rank together with the Dulciana.


Yes, you're right about the old stuff at Bury. The old organ, on paper, had more potential, indeed it was a really fine and comprehensive  scheme.  However, in practice the sound just didn't get down into the nave.  The new organ has more space and is planned to be effective in more of the building.  I agree about the odd disposition of Pedal reeds - you'd think an extra octave or two and a couple of drawstops could have been worked in! 

Pierre Lauwers

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2011, 09:55:03 PM »
Just slightly off-topic: I am pleased to learn I am not alone here
to miss the previous Worcester Cathedral organ.
I have had the chance to visit a certain number of organs in Europe, and
that one was certainly one of the most "inspiring" -to quote another thread here-
I ever heard.

Best wishes,

Pierre

David Pinnegar

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2011, 10:20:20 PM »
Dear Pierre and PCND -

Perhaps in view of your commonality on Worcester might either or both of you write up something for a thread on Organ Plaques and Gravestones in memory of dead organs or otherwise on Inspirational instruments.

Organs that were should be remembered as the best of them might inspire some aspect of them that be incorporated into the new inspirations.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Pierre Lauwers

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2011, 07:52:46 PM »
Do we really ought to do that ? There were dozens of pages written elsewhere since 2006, and the results
were only negative; the organ went down and I could not even know were the pipes landed.
In Belgium as well, I did not succeed to avoid the destruction of a good handfull of important historic organs.
What is an organ historian in his deep Ardennes forest worth against the all-mighty fashions reigning
in the comme-il-faut circles in the towns ?
And do we want to annoy the people here ?

Best wishes,

Pierre

David Pinnegar

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2011, 08:48:15 PM »
And do we want to annoy the people here ?

Dear Pierre

Were the whole world to be absent of goats the sheep would go in daft directions.

In conservation one has to be willing to be outspoken. Sometimes wrong ideas can have a momentum, which suddenly becomes right because no-one dare say otherwise, as in 1930s Germany.

Only the wrong will be annoyed because they cannot answer with right. The right, if contradicted, will know that the contradiction cannot sustain.

So if one feels it's important to say something that other's don't like, it's their loss if they don't want to hear what you say . . .

:-)

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

organforumadmin

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2011, 09:06:58 PM »
The mis-spelling of the original post carrying through the thread has sent me mad so I have altered it and hopefully future posts will now carry the proper title.


Apologies


Best wishes


Forum Admin

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« Reply #46 on: December 10, 2011, 02:39:12 AM »
At Bury St. Edmunds...  The new Harrison is a pedigree production, as well as having cases of which Stephen Dykes Bower would have been proud.

Dykes-Bower SHOULD be proud of them - he designed them!  ;D

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
« Reply #47 on: December 10, 2011, 02:45:39 AM »
With regard to Guildford: I was told that Maufe hated organs and insisted that his Cathedral be 'a temple of the spoken word'. Hence the total lack of a suitable location for an organ. Hence also that the vaulting is covered in asbestos and plaster! The whole thing is now crumbling - they're facing a multimillion pound bill to fix all that. The organ might sound better in an improved acoustic - but I think it needs to be voiced up too. It's just not loud enough. It's got a wealth of (VERY) soft sounds and a fairly effective tutti (though I think the big reeds would benefit from Keith Bance's tender ministrations) but, curiously, it seems to have little in between. It's also a nightmare to balance - if you can hear it over an orchestra, for instance, you deafen the orchestra and audience. The Choir organ is likewise useless for accompaniment, as is the Great, simply because they're too far away - that's why the Positive was added.

David Drinkell

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2011, 06:15:22 AM »
At Bury St. Edmunds...  The new Harrison is a pedigree production, as well as having cases of which Stephen Dykes Bower would have been proud.

Dykes-Bower SHOULD be proud of them - he designed them!  ;D

No he didn't!  Dykes Bower made tentative designs for cases when the Nicholson organ was put in the new Quire, but they were never built.  The present cases were inspired by his designs and certainly display a similar mastery of the gothic style, but they are not his - if I could remember where to look, I'd find out who actually did the work!

Regarding Guildford, I've also heard the story about Maufe.  I'm not sure that it's true - after all, he designed a striking and controversial case for Bradford - perhaps he was influenced by clergy at the time.  The Positive was part of the original design, not an afterthought, although I think it was added a little while after the rest of the instrument was brought into use.  Some years ago, a certain amount of tweaking and rebalancing was done.  Afterwards, I was in on a conversation during which Andrew Millington (who was Organist at the time) said he reckoned it was now as good as this particular organ was ever going to be.  I like it, but I've only ever heard it from the quire or the console.  I know it's badly positioned with regard to the nave, and I hope they do something about those acoustic tiles.  As the old boys used to say, "Rushworths' could really do it when they wanted to" (as anyone who has been to Holy Rude, Stirling or St. James, Belfast will know).  I think they tried hard with this one and produced a notable job for the period.

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2012, 04:17:15 AM »
Rushworths certainly could do it at a time: the ex-St Mark North Audley Street organ (now in Holy Trinity, Brompton) is rather fine, St Michael's Cornhill is wonderful, particularly considering what a hotch-potch it is: a good 12 ranks by Renatus Harris, another ten or so by builders including Green, Bryceson and (in one case, imported secondhand by R&D - from Westminster Chapel, Buckingham Gate?) Willis, another 12 or so mostly unaltered Hill ranks and the rest of it by R&D, 1926 (with a handful of later additions). Of course, there is also Malvern Priory, which is justifiedly famous.

(Unflattering and uninformed comments about Guildford Cathedral deleted - Moderator)There can also be only one place for an organ to work properly in that building: on a screen in either East or West crossing arch. Unfortunately, both diocese, Bishop and Maufe were equally insistent that there could be no screens. I would add one, based on the West end and transept galleries, and mount the organ (totally revoiced or replaced), with completely new casework, atop that. A rood group would also have to be added, of course.

I often wonder what would have happened with R&D (along with Compton and HN&B) if they had possessed sufficiently talented management when they needed it. Those three firms were once among our greatest organ-builders. Compton wound up part of R&D, the electrics side being subsumed by Makin, then R&D and HN&B disappeared, the former perhaps more spectacularly than the latter. I recall that 1990s adverts for HN&B said that they were part of a large conglomerate so had the resources to undertake very large projects - were they dragged down by the parent company (which was who?) or were they killed off from above?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 02:41:50 PM by revtonynewnham »

revtonynewnham

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
« Reply #50 on: March 04, 2012, 02:48:30 PM »
Hi

Guildford Cathedral organ is not by R&D originally - It's originally a 3man by Nicholson of Bradford c.1886 for Rosse Street Baptist Church in Shipley (nr. Bradford) (main building now demolished), with a later 4th manual added by H&H.  It's not fair to blame R&D - maybe the organ would have been rather different if they had been able to start from scratch!

Obviously the pipework will have been revoiced - but the site of the old Shipley Baptist building is still visible (the current church meet in the former church halls) and is significantly smaller than Guildford Cathedral.  I guess economy was at the root of the decisions, and shows the problems inherent with taking an organ from one building and putting it in the other.  At Guildford, the Positive organ is R&D, other than that there are only 13 new stops and a few from elsewhere (presumably R&D stock) using secondhand pipes - the rest is Nicholson of Bradford or Harrisons.

Every Blessing

Tony

pcnd5584

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
« Reply #51 on: March 04, 2012, 05:27:02 PM »
Hi

Guildford Cathedral organ is not by R&D originally - It's originally a 3man by Nicholson of Bradford c.1886 for Rosse Street Baptist Church in Shipley (nr. Bradford) (main building now demolished), with a later 4th manual added by H&H.  It's not fair to blame R&D - maybe the organ would have been rather different if they had been able to start from scratch!

Obviously the pipework will have been revoiced - but the site of the old Shipley Baptist building is still visible (the current church meet in the former church halls) and is significantly smaller than Guildford Cathedral.  I guess economy was at the root of the decisions, and shows the problems inherent with taking an organ from one building and putting it in the other.  At Guildford, the Positive organ is R&D, other than that there are only 13 new stops and a few from elsewhere (presumably R&D stock) using secondhand pipes - the rest is Nicholson of Bradford or Harrisons.

Every Blessing

Tony

I would agree with Tony's comments above.

This is an interesting example of how each person perceives the aural effect of an instrument in a given building differently. Having played this organ on several occasions and also listened to it from several different places in the building (both at services and when it was being played in a largely empty building), I would offer the following observations:

1) Admittedly, the siting of the instrument is not ideal; however, given the other factors already mentioned, it was really the only possible location. This said, balance is difficult to get right. Even at the hands of one who knew this organ well and is one of the best and most sensitive accompanists I have ever heard, it did give the excellent choir a run for its money.

2) Whilst it is loud in the North Transept*, the organist to whom I have already alluded (AOC - please refrain from guessing or naming his identity), once told me that he was able to keep a full Nave in time during a hymn with the Swell Cornopean and both octave couplers (and precious little else).

3) I would disagree that it has a lack of tone-colours. Certainly the psalm accompaniments which I heard were superb, with a good deal of tasteful and entirely appropriate word-painting, which displayed a good variety of soft, beautiful effects.





* I heard a visiting organist play Franck's Troisième Choral after Evensong one Saturday and the G.O. and Pedal big reeds almost flattened me against the wall. It was all very exciting - and saved me a great deal of money on haircuts for about six months afterwards.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 05:32:00 PM by pcnd5584 »
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

AnOrganCornucopia

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Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
« Reply #52 on: March 04, 2012, 09:25:36 PM »
I should have clarified that I was already familiar with the organ's history. However, everything is so revoiced that I doubt very much that it would sound anything like it did if reinstalled in its magically-reconstructed former home. The Positive organ is actually by Stinkens - all Rustwork and Creeper did was to physically install it. I do wonder what the organ would sound like if the roof vault was the proper plaster-on-brick with Doulting limestone like the walls below - instead of which they're made of the most acoustically-deadening plaster available at the time and lagged with about two hundred tons of asbestos. The vaulting is now cracking up - the whole building is a ticking time-bomb. Oh, and can ANYONE understand why the console was put in that tiny loft (originally accessed only by a less-than-sturdy ladder)?

Lastly, while Guildford was once famous for its choir, both under Barry Rose and the Peter Wright/Andrew Millington era, the choir is sadly now a faint shadow of its former self. I recall being amazed that their music list circa 2004 wasn't half as ambitious as that of the medium-sized parish church in Guildford diocese with which I was then involved. Things haven't improved since then, either. I am sure, though, that the blame is not (or at least not entirely) to be placed upon the choir's directors of recent times: finding good singers can be quite difficult and it may be that their budget is not what it once was (which would explain why their repertoire seemed so mundane and repetitive to me the last time I looked).

Can anyone tell me where to go to find an Anglican cathedral which is chorally right at the top of its game?

 


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