Author Topic: The British Choir/Positive Organ  (Read 18547 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Ludus57

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
The British Choir/Positive Organ
« on: January 13, 2015, 10:12:23 AM »
We are planning to rebuild our large 3 manual organ. Its origins lie in an1870s' Hill rebuilt by Norman and Beard in 1902, and then rebuilt and enlarged by Hill, Norman and Beard in the 1960s. The 1902 Choir organ was replaced by a Positif organ which stands tonally apart from the rest of the instrument, which is unmistakeably a Hill sound. In my view,the typical British Choir organ to be a lost cause, that is neither of use nor ornament. The Positif organ was actually a move in the right direction, with its semblance of a chorus (not unrelated to the original Hill Choir, which was complete up to a Fifteenth), making it much more useful than an enclosed collection of soft 8' and 4's, with Clarinet and Orchestral Oboe (aka. fancy, ear-tickling solo stops). The Tuba was retained at the last rebuild, and is jolly good! My vision is to raise the pressures from 2 inches to the 3 and a 1/2 inches of the Great, and have a division based on a complete chorus that can balance the Great. I am aided in this aim by an excellent Swell division that earns wide praise from visiting organists for its effectiveness and range of colours. With only a few well thought out additions totalling three stops, we would have full three-manuality, as required in a flexible accompanimental instrument, capable of coping with the demands of the greater parts of the repertoire. Am I being over-ambitious in what I expect? I do not think so, but I invite other opinions on the subject of the British Choir organ.

Northern Friend

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 05:31:04 PM »
I feel the choir organs being meant to accompany the church choir went largely with the demise of church choirs. The soft flutes, gambas, gemshorns are not really accompanimental any more. A nice clarinet is often good.
If the wind pressures are increased on your proposed scheme - will the existing pipework take it or will they need to be re-voiced. If the current pressure is the original pressure I assume they were voiced to that on an organ builders voicing machine. It's whether the cut-up of the top lip on the flue pipes and the tongues of any reeds will take it, without over-blowing.

Ludus57

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 06:07:36 PM »
A good point. that would be entirely in the hands of the builder. However, the sound of the Positif (I intend to keep the name!) would then be in keeping with the rest of the organ. Although I have grown up with it, if the pipework proves incapable of taking a slightly higher wind-pressure, then its back off to the drawing board! I have to say that if the Positif organ was a single manual instrument on its own, I would preserve it exactly as it is, because HNB did a great job. But....Baroque Positifs on electric action as part of an essentially British organ are, I think, past their time. Incidentally, the greater part of the pipework on the Positif was made by Stinkens in Holland, but the 4' Principal was made mainly from the Choir Dulciana 8', and the Choir Clarinet 8' ended up as the Krummhorn 4' on the enlarged Pedal.  Thank you for making me think! Your observations will receive serious consideration.

David Drinkell

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 340
  • Karma: +26/-1
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 09:11:00 PM »
I bet I can think of a particular old Conacher to which pcnd is not referring - lol

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 09:57:02 PM »
I bet I can think of a particular old Conacher to which pcnd is not referring - lol

Yup - I bet you calne....
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

David Drinkell

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 340
  • Karma: +26/-1
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 10:42:38 PM »
Bingo! lol!

Ludus57

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2015, 12:40:38 AM »
I am glad my original post has started an interesting debate!
Here are the Choir/Positif specifications of our instrument, from Hill in the 1870's to today:

1870s                                         1901                                    1963
Dulciana                          8         Dulciana             8                Rohr Flote      8
Stopped Diapason (Bass)  8         Harmonic Flute    8                Prinzipal        4             
Clarabella                        8         Leiblich Gedackt  8                Flote              4
Harmonic Flute                8         Gamba               8                Nazard            2 2/3
Keraulaphone                  8         Suabe Flute        4                Octav              2
Gamba                           8          Orchestral Oboe  8                Terz                1 3/5
Principal                         4          Clarionet             8               Larigot             1 1/3
Flute                              4          (all enclosed, except)            Sifflote             1
Fifteenth                        2            Tuba (7 ins wind) 8                Rohr Schalmei  8
Piccolo                           2
Orchestral Oboe             8                                                      Tuba                8
Clarionet                       8                                                       Octave Tuba     4

I hope this is of assistance, and shows where I am coming from.
                       

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2015, 06:02:54 PM »
I am glad my original post has started an interesting debate!
Here are the Choir/Positif specifications of our instrument, from Hill in the 1870's to today:

1870s                                         1901                                    1963
Dulciana                          8         Dulciana             8                Rohr Flote      8
Stopped Diapason (Bass)  8         Harmonic Flute    8                Prinzipal        4             
Clarabella                        8         Leiblich Gedackt  8                Flote              4
Harmonic Flute                8         Gamba               8                Nazard            2 2/3
Keraulaphone                  8         Suabe Flute        4                Octav              2
Gamba                           8          Orchestral Oboe  8                Terz                1 3/5
Principal                         4          Clarionet             8               Larigot             1 1/3
Flute                              4          (all enclosed, except)            Sifflote             1
Fifteenth                        2            Tuba (7 ins wind) 8                Rohr Schalmei  8
Piccolo                           2
Orchestral Oboe             8                                                      Tuba                8
Clarionet                       8                                                       Octave Tuba     4

I hope this is of assistance, and shows where I am coming from.
                       

Thank you for this, Ludus57.

In preference, I would choose the 1870's scheme. There is a good variety of tone-colour and, compared to the miserly 1901 scheme, it would be a far more useful department. The Positive (in all but name) is all very well - I would guess that the voicing is fairly spiky - but if you want to accompany a choir, it is not particularly useful. Incidentally, I note that the Tuba speaks on a rather low pressure (175mm/7" w.g.). It would be helpful to know what this sounds like (and how useful it is). Is the 4ft. extension (I presume it is thus) of any real use? I would guess that the top octave of this runs into flue pipes, unless it becomes harmonic at some point. I would also guess that the 1963 scheme is unenclosed - is this correct?

For the record: what about the soundboard to the Choir Organ. The 1870's scheme had eleven ranks, with a stopped bass - presumably to the Dulciana and Clarabella (and possibly the Keraulophone?); however, the 1901 scheme had seven ranks, with a separate higher-pressure chest for the Tuba (presumably). Then, the 1963 scheme has grown to nine ranks, plus the Tubas. (Incidentally, was the Tuba chest extended, to provide the Octave Tuba, or was a top-note machine with twelve flue pipes supplied?) So, does the 1870's soundboard still survive (albeit with new or patched upper-boards, altered rack-boards and two blank slides), or was it renewed or replaced at some point?

A couple of further points: does the 'Positive' chorus form an effective foil to the G.O., or is it too flute-like in intonation? (Sorry, I should really have asked for the full stop-list of the present instrument, as well. Any chance of this, please?)
Perhaps a fairly important point: what do you want the organ to be able to do - or perhaps, what is its primary function? (Leading hymns and accompanying a choir - if so, what type of repertoire do they sing?). Or, is it mostly for congregational hymns and voluntaries? What about recitals? (Any/occasional/none?)

Lots of questions, but it would be helpful to know the answers to all of the above, in order to stand a chance of imparting useful information.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 06:06:59 PM by pcnd5584 »
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

Ludus57

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015, 12:46:21 AM »
I should add that the wooden Pedal Trombone is extended to a Trumpet 8 and a Clarion 4.The top is metal. The former Choir Clarionet was revoiced to also provide a Pedal Krummhorn 4. The Octave Tuba was the suggestion of Francis Jackson, who was consulted by the then organist on the rebuild. FJ's opinion was that a classical Positif organ did not have an octave coupler, so the flue extension was added instead.
The only other extension is the Sub Bass from the Open Wood down to bottom F. I am very keen to ensure that in a rebuild the integrity of each department is maintained. 
The Swell has got to be heard to be believed. The mechanical swell mechanism is very responsive, and the sound of the Full Swell is fantastic.

I hope this helps put things into perspective.         

londonorganist

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2015, 12:34:49 PM »
The Hill pipe-work will almost certainly be regulated at the feet, whereas the newer HN&B work will probably have open-foot voicing. Any attempt to raise the pressure is likely to result in the need to re-voice entire ranks of pipe-work in the Positive Organ. At best, they will overblow or be off-speech. Raising the pressure even by this amount is a bit of a jump; you would almost certainly end up with the need to revoice several (if not all) of the Positive stops. This will be expensive, since it is a highly skilled job and needs someone really good - not just an organ builder happy to 'have a go' at it.

As someone who used to play this organ on a very regular basis (I was Assistant to Ludus57 before taking up my new post) and still does play it when in the area visiting; I can help you there:
I did alot of research on the organ in question during the beginnings of the rebuild process. The Hill pipework is indeed regulated at the feet, some of the positive has been voiced open-foot, but the 4' Prin, the bass of the 8' Rohrflöte, and all but the top two octaves of the 4' Flöte are regulated at the feet as they originate from older pipework. Under inspection from the organ builders who currently care for the instrument, who is a very skilled and respected builder, I might add!, The pipework can be adapted to a slightly higher pressure. A newer, more immediate location will also help the division project into the building. At the moment it is buried in the corner where the old choir organ was. It should also be noted that the names of the stops will be Anglicised of course! (i.e. Rohrflöte becomes Chimney Flute, etc.)

In preference, I would choose the 1870's scheme. There is a good variety of tone-colour and, compared to the miserly 1901 scheme, it would be a far more useful department. The Positive (in all but name) is all very well - I would guess that the voicing is fairly spiky - but if you want to accompany a choir, it is not particularly useful. Incidentally, I note that the Tuba speaks on a rather low pressure (175mm/7" w.g.). It would be helpful to know what this sounds like (and how useful it is). Is the 4ft. extension (I presume it is thus) of any real use? I would guess that the top octave of this runs into flue pipes, unless it becomes harmonic at some point. I would also guess that the 1963 scheme is unenclosed - is this correct?

For the record: what about the soundboard to the Choir Organ. The 1870's scheme had eleven ranks, with a stopped bass - presumably to the Dulciana and Clarabella (and possibly the Keraulophone?); however, the 1901 scheme had seven ranks, with a separate higher-pressure chest for the Tuba (presumably). Then, the 1963 scheme has grown to nine ranks, plus the Tubas. (Incidentally, was the Tuba chest extended, to provide the Octave Tuba, or was a top-note machine with twelve flue pipes supplied?) So, does the 1870's soundboard still survive (albeit with new or patched upper-boards, altered rack-boards and two blank slides), or was it renewed or replaced at some point?

A couple of further points: does the 'Positive' chorus form an effective foil to the G.O., or is it too flute-like in intonation? (Sorry, I should really have asked for the full stop-list of the present instrument, as well. Any chance of this, please?)
Perhaps a fairly important point: what do you want the organ to be able to do - or perhaps, what is its primary function? (Leading hymns and accompanying a choir - if so, what type of repertoire do they sing?). Or, is it mostly for congregational hymns and voluntaries? What about recitals? (Any/occasional/none?)

Lots of questions, but it would be helpful to know the answers to all of the above, in order to stand a chance of imparting useful information.


The Positif at present is very much a separate division, although the flutes work well in accompaniment. The hope is for the rebuilt Positive to be dual purpose, being able to stand as a secondary great when needed, and also retain its solo stops for use when required.
The tuba is N&B, 1901/2, although it currently has a very William/Arthur Hill character, a truly fantastic stop. It is Harmonic from middle C, the extended top octave being fluework. The tuba was placed on a two new chests at that time, but sited in the same location. It is worth mentioning that the swell 8' and 4' reeds are also harmonic in the treble and also have fluework for the top octave.

The fluework voicing on the positive isn't too aggressive, it can easily be retained in the scheme, just slightly re-voiced to accommodate the new pressure and tonally be in keeping with the rest of the organ.

The Positif's current chest is the old choir chest with a clamp added for the 1'. New top-boards were made and the under-actions re-leathered but no other changes were made. The work will include a new 12-slide chest. The other three divisions will simply have their chests restored and new under-actions fitted. The old Electro-Pneumatic drawstop machines will be replaced with Electro-Magnetic Solenoid action.

Hope this answers your questions! let me know if you have any other questions I can help with.

The new Positive specification will be something like this:
* indicates pre-1963 pipework in part or whole rank.

16'      Gedeckt (from redundant Hill pipework, if possible)
8'        Open Diapason (new)
8'       Chimney Flute (revoiced) *
4'        Principal (revoiced) *
4'        Stopped Flute (revoiced) *
2 2/3'  Nasard (revoiced)
2'        Octave (revoiced)
1 3/5'  Tierce (revoiced)
1 1/3'  Larigot (revoiced)
1'       Piccolo (revoiced)
III      Mixture 19.22.26 (new)
8'       Cromorne (new)
         Tremulant
         Positive Chorus on Great
8'       Tuba *
4'       Octave Tuba *

The Chorus on Great transfer will allow the Tuba to be accompanied by both the Great and Positive choruses, which will be beneficial as the Positive will also be acting as a sort of West-Great for those listening in the nave.

« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 01:47:23 PM by londonorganist »

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2015, 10:25:37 PM »
The Hill pipe-work will almost certainly be regulated at the feet, whereas the newer HN&B work will probably have open-foot voicing. Any attempt to raise the pressure is likely to result in the need to re-voice entire ranks of pipe-work in the Positive Organ. At best, they will overblow or be off-speech. Raising the pressure even by this amount is a bit of a jump; you would almost certainly end up with the need to revoice several (if not all) of the Positive stops. This will be expensive, since it is a highly skilled job and needs someone really good - not just an organ builder happy to 'have a go' at it.

As someone who used to play this organ on a very regular basis (I was Assistant to Ludus57 before taking up my new post) and still does play it when in the area visiting; I can help you there:
I did alot of research on the organ in question during the beginnings of the rebuild process. The Hill pipework is indeed regulated at the feet, some of the positive has been voiced open-foot, but the 4' Prin, the bass of the 8' Rohrflöte, and all but the top two octaves of the 4' Flöte are regulated at the feet as they originate from older pipework. Under inspection from the organ builders who currently care for the instrument, who is a very skilled and respected builder, I might add!, The pipework can be adapted to a slightly higher pressure. A newer, more immediate location will also help the division project into the building. At the moment it is buried in the corner where the old choir organ was. It should also be noted that the names of the stops will be Anglicised of course! (i.e. Rohrflöte becomes Chimney Flute, etc.)

In preference, I would choose the 1870's scheme. There is a good variety of tone-colour and, compared to the miserly 1901 scheme, it would be a far more useful department. The Positive (in all but name) is all very well - I would guess that the voicing is fairly spiky - but if you want to accompany a choir, it is not particularly useful. Incidentally, I note that the Tuba speaks on a rather low pressure (175mm/7" w.g.). It would be helpful to know what this sounds like (and how useful it is). Is the 4ft. extension (I presume it is thus) of any real use? I would guess that the top octave of this runs into flue pipes, unless it becomes harmonic at some point. I would also guess that the 1963 scheme is unenclosed - is this correct?

For the record: what about the soundboard to the Choir Organ. The 1870's scheme had eleven ranks, with a stopped bass - presumably to the Dulciana and Clarabella (and possibly the Keraulophone?); however, the 1901 scheme had seven ranks, with a separate higher-pressure chest for the Tuba (presumably). Then, the 1963 scheme has grown to nine ranks, plus the Tubas. (Incidentally, was the Tuba chest extended, to provide the Octave Tuba, or was a top-note machine with twelve flue pipes supplied?) So, does the 1870's soundboard still survive (albeit with new or patched upper-boards, altered rack-boards and two blank slides), or was it renewed or replaced at some point?

A couple of further points: does the 'Positive' chorus form an effective foil to the G.O., or is it too flute-like in intonation? (Sorry, I should really have asked for the full stop-list of the present instrument, as well. Any chance of this, please?)
Perhaps a fairly important point: what do you want the organ to be able to do - or perhaps, what is its primary function? (Leading hymns and accompanying a choir - if so, what type of repertoire do they sing?). Or, is it mostly for congregational hymns and voluntaries? What about recitals? (Any/occasional/none?)

Lots of questions, but it would be helpful to know the answers to all of the above, in order to stand a chance of imparting useful information.


The Positif at present is very much a separate division, although the flutes work well in accompaniment. The hope is for the rebuilt Positive to be dual purpose, being able to stand as a secondary great when needed, and also retain its solo stops for use when required.
The tuba is N&B, 1901/2, although it currently has a very William/Arthur Hill character, a truly fantastic stop. It is Harmonic from middle C, the extended top octave being fluework. The tuba was placed on a two new chests at that time, but sited in the same location. It is worth mentioning that the swell 8' and 4' reeds are also harmonic in the treble and also have fluework for the top octave.

The fluework voicing on the positive isn't too aggressive, it can easily be retained in the scheme, just slightly re-voiced to accommodate the new pressure and tonally be in keeping with the rest of the organ.

The Positif's current chest is the old choir chest with a clamp added for the 1'. New top-boards were made and the under-actions re-leathered but no other changes were made. The work will include a new 12-slide chest. The other three divisions will simply have their chests restored and new under-actions fitted. The old Electro-Pneumatic drawstop machines will be replaced with Electro-Magnetic Solenoid action.

Hope this answers your questions! let me know if you have any other questions I can help with.

The new Positive specification will be something like this:
* indicates pre-1963 pipework in part or whole rank.

16'      Gedeckt (from redundant Hill pipework, if possible)
8'        Open Diapason (new)
8'       Chimney Flute (revoiced) *
4'        Principal (revoiced) *
4'        Stopped Flute (revoiced) *
2 2/3'  Nasard (revoiced)
2'        Octave (revoiced)
1 3/5'  Tierce (revoiced)
1 1/3'  Larigot (revoiced)
1'       Piccolo (revoiced)
III      Mixture 19.22.26 (new)
8'       Cromorne (new)
         Tremulant
         Positive Chorus on Great
8'       Tuba *
4'       Octave Tuba *

The Chorus on Great transfer will allow the Tuba to be accompanied by both the Great and Positive choruses, which will be beneficial as the Positive will also be acting as a sort of West-Great for those listening in the nave.

Thank you for this, londonorganist.

This does help somewhat. (Although I am wondering why it was necessary to fit the Sifflöte on a clamp, if the original Choir Organ sound-board was still in use; it was larger than both subsequent incarnations of this division - in one case, by four stops and more recently, by two ranks. Even allowing for the Stopped bass being twelve bass pipes only, in order to supply the lowest octaves for the Dulciana and Clarabella - presumably - there still appeared to be eleven slides on the 1870's Choir Organ.)

Two thoughts: firstly, I would suggest keeping the 1ft. as a Sifflöte - Piccolos always seem to be unstable in tuning (even those by FHW, although naturally these never went above 2ft. pitch). A Sifflöte implies a wider scale and more robust voicing - we have one here on the Positive of our own instrument and it is used quite often.

Secondly, I would urge you strongly to re-consider the Mixture. I dislike a 19-22-26- Mixture, partly because of the un-covered quint rank on the top; in addition, obviously it contains two quint ranks more often than it does unison ranks - unless the breaks are managed artificially (and with odd jumps). I should recommend a good old-fashioned (well, for the 1960s, anyway) Cymbale, commencing at (29-33-36), and breaking back one rank every six notes or so; small pipes, blown fairly hard. With your existing Larigot and 1ft. stop, the Mixture as you propose will not cut that much ice. (Yes, I realise that the mutation and the 1ft. rank are voiced and scaled as flutes, as against the diapason-scale of the mixture, but even so, I think that its substitution with a Cymbale will transform the instrument.) We have such a chorus mixture here, on our Positive Organ and whether used to top this division, or whether added to the choruses of the G.O. and Swell Organ, the result is truly electrifying. When the time comes for the restoration of the instrument, I shall ensure that not one pipe of this wonderful stop is altered.

One further point - the Positive Chorus on Great - will this be really necessary? If the Tuba is voiced on the surprisingly low pressure of 175mm, would it stand up to the combined resources of these divisions, particularly in single notes? There are many examples of Willis (and even Harrisons) voicing ordinary chorus reeds for their G.O. divisions, in quite large buildings, on a similar pressure; in none of the examples which I have played, would the G.O. Trumpet stand up to anything like this combination. Of course all tings are relative - and it depends on the voicing and position of the various ranks. However, I would be surprised if a Tuba on such a low pressure (even Hill rarely, if ever, used less than 250mm for Solo reeds - and 350mm was more normal), was able to exploit such a device.

Your information was helpful - although it would still be both useful and interesting to see a full scheme as it stands today, please. (Including couplers and accessories, if you have the time, please.)

Many thanks.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2015, 11:17:53 PM by pcnd5584 »
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

londonorganist

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2015, 11:20:17 PM »
Interesting. I think the name Piccolo was on the list purely as an english replacement as Sifflote doesn't really translate. Surely unsteadiness is a problem and not a stops intended nature!
The idea of having the mixture at 19.22.26 is in keeping with the rest of the instrument and was actually the suggestion of the organ builder. The current Great mixture is a Hill Quint mixture, at 19.22.26. It's interesting you mention odd breaks, as our one existing quint mixture has no such issues and actually adds an interesting bright quality without shattering glass!
Ludus57 and I both dislike high mixtures unless there is a lower mixture too (as with our current swell organ) as it can be difficult to add without it making a huge sudden difference. It would also not be in keeping with the William/Arthur Hill tonal designs to add such a mixture.
It is possible that the great mixture may be increased to four ranks (added 29th), but this is not certain. Final decisions are a long way away yet!

The tuba is huge despite the relatively low pressure, and it's new position will give it much more presence in the building. The transfer will also allow for dialogue between the full organ and the Tuba, as in the Elgar Sonata etc. Also, remember that you don't need to accompany on full to mixtures with swell reeds, quite often accompanying the tuba on 8 4 2 is pleasant and Cocker even asks for that in his Tuba Tune, this is the main reason for the transfer. Also, the technology already provides the ability, so it wouldn't cost anything to add!

The present specification is here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1su7ee7qyilq1d1/current%20spec.pdf?dl=0


Alex.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 01:16:11 PM by londonorganist »

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2015, 09:26:39 PM »
Interesting. I think the name Piccolo was on the list purely as an english replacement as Sifflote doesn't really translate. Surely unsteadiness is a problem and not a stops intended nature!
The idea of having the mixture at 19.22.26 is in keeping with the rest of the instrument and was actually the suggestion of the organ builder. The current Great mixture is a Hill Quint mixture, at 19.22.26. It's interesting you mention odd breaks, as our one existing quint mixture has no such issues and actually adds an interesting bright quality without shattering glass!
Ludus57 and I both dislike high mixtures unless there is a lower mixture too (as with our current swell organ) as it can be difficult to add without it making a huge sudden difference. It would also not be in keeping with the William/Arthur Hill tonal designs to add such a mixture.
It is possible that the great mixture may be increased to four ranks (added 29th), but this is not certain. Final decisions are a long way away yet!

The tuba is huge despite the relatively low pressure, and it's new position will give it much more presence in the building. The transfer will also allow for dialogue between the full organ and the Tuba, as in the Elgar Sonata etc. Also, remember that you don't need to accompany on full to mixtures with swell reeds, quite often accompanying the tuba on 8 4 2 is pleasant and Cocker even asks for that in his Tuba Tune, this is the main reason for the transfer. Also, the technology already provides the ability, so it wouldn't cost anything to add!

The present specification is here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1su7ee7qyilq1d1/current%20spec.pdf?dl=0


Alex.

Alex - thank you for this. Now that I have seen the scheme, a number of things are clearer.

In fact, the Cymbale should still be practicable, particularly if you do add the twenty-ninth rank to the G.O. Mixture. In fact, my own church organ has a similar mixture scheme:

Pedal:  (19-22-26-29)
Positive: (29-33-36)
[G.O.: (12-17) Sesquialtera]
G.O.: (19-22-26-29)
Swell: (22-26-29)

The 'pyramid' effect works perfectly (although we did have Dennis Thurlow as the voicer and finisher): the G.O. Mixture is the first to be added, then the Swell Mixture (in which the breaks are arranged to fall at a higher pitch, so it does not simply duplicate the top three ranks of the G.O. Mixture); then the Positive Cymbal is added - and (aside from the rather arid acoustic), it really could be an seventeenth century Dutch west end organ to which one is listening. I must admit, I do not see the point of duplicating the present G.O. three-rank mixture. In any case, the present Positive Organ is also not in keeping with the William/Arthur Hill tonal design. If you are largely to retain the Positive, I think that a convincing case could be made for the inclusion of a Cymbale. For the record, there is not even a hint of 'broken glass' here, when I draw this stop - just a glorious brightness and astounding clarity. It is probably the best example of its kind which I have ever played.

However, I would consider replacing the G.O. Blockflute with a second-hand (Hill, if possible) Harmonic Flute - even if the Blockflute is pleasantly voiced). The Blockflute is also not something which I should expect to find on a Hill G.O. I made a similar change here a few years ago, dispensing with a particularly nasty Koppel Flute, and substituting a second-hand Harmonic Flute. I have not regretted the change for one second.

I am interested yo hear about the Tuba - presumably position has a lot to do with its 'presence'. Fair enough, in this case, the transfer coupler would be useful. I would like a 'Claviers I and II Exchange' on our organ - and (after yesterday morning) a stop engraved 'Pulpit Trapdoor' (And I want it connected, too....)

Sean
« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 10:48:04 AM by pcnd5584 »
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

Ludus57

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2015, 10:53:55 PM »
I am glad that seeing the full spec has made things clearer for you. I would answer your remarks on the 4 foot Block Flute, with the fact that it is an Harmonic Flute - we might rename it as such. Played an octave lower, it does the job perfectly - the end of the Adagio from Vierne 3 is a prime example of how I use it.

londonorganist

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2015, 11:37:32 PM »
No worries Sean,

of course things are yet to be decided and 19.22.26 may end up as 22.26.29

I agree that for french music a manuals I and II exchange is good and that is also on the new scheme list, as the solid state logic has the provision, we may as well use it!


londonorganist

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2015, 12:48:14 AM »
However, I would consider replacing the G.O. Blockflute with a second-hand (Hill, if possible) Harmonic Flute - even if the Blockflute is pleasantly voiced). The Blockflute is also not something which I should expect to find on a Hill G.O. I made a similar change here a few years ago, dispensing with a particularly nasty Koppel Flute, and substituting a second-hand Harmonic Flute. I have not regretted the change for one second.[/font]

I am glad that seeing the full spec has made things clearer for you. I would answer your remarks on the 4 foot Block Flute, with the fact that it is an Harmonic Flute - we might rename it as such. Played an octave lower, it does the job perfectly - the end of the Adagio from Vierne 3 is a prime example of how I use it.
It isn't actually harmonic, Ludus57! It uses pipework from the old Harmonic flute, but the holes were filled in and it is currently just an open metal flute! (photo here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4r0nhgmy0n2h892/DSC_1834.JPG?dl=0 , 4' flute is visible as the 3rd slide from the left, the largest set of pipes next to the trumpet. (the mixture sits between the two.

The Block flute doesn't contain the characteristics normally found in stops by the name, and I think it's name is simply from the 60's trend! The plan is to re-name it "Open Flute" in the rebuild. It did actually replace the old harmonic flute in the 60's scheme!
We may also add a Lieblich Gedeckt (stopped metal, in hill style) to the great to give the option for a quieter 8' flute. The Hohl flute is lovely but can be a little big when you can't use the swell. (if you're soloing on the oboe for example).
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 12:56:46 AM by londonorganist »

pcnd5584

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 251
  • Karma: +23/-3
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2015, 10:22:45 PM »
However, I would consider replacing the G.O. Blockflute with a second-hand (Hill, if possible) Harmonic Flute - even if the Blockflute is pleasantly voiced). The Blockflute is also not something which I should expect to find on a Hill G.O. I made a similar change here a few years ago, dispensing with a particularly nasty Koppel Flute, and substituting a second-hand Harmonic Flute. I have not regretted the change for one second.[/font]

I am glad that seeing the full spec has made things clearer for you. I would answer your remarks on the 4 foot Block Flute, with the fact that it is an Harmonic Flute - we might rename it as such. Played an octave lower, it does the job perfectly - the end of the Adagio from Vierne 3 is a prime example of how I use it.
It isn't actually harmonic, Ludus57! It uses pipework from the old Harmonic flute, but the holes were filled in and it is currently just an open metal flute! (photo here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4r0nhgmy0n2h892/DSC_1834.JPG?dl=0 , 4' flute is visible as the 3rd slide from the left, the largest set of pipes next to the trumpet. (the mixture sits between the two.

The Block flute doesn't contain the characteristics normally found in stops by the name, and I think it's name is simply from the 60's trend! The plan is to re-name it "Open Flute" in the rebuild. It did actually replace the old harmonic flute in the 60's scheme!
We may also add a Lieblich Gedeckt (stopped metal, in hill style) to the great to give the option for a quieter 8' flute. The Hohl flute is lovely but can be a little big when you can't use the swell. (if you're soloing on the oboe for example).

Thank you for this.

A nice, tidy sound-board (although I am glad to see that yours is dusty, too....)

This makes sense - although you could always go the whole way, and restore the Harmonic Flute by re-opening the holes.

At least Hohl Flutes by Hill were useable - the Harrison examples which I know are all huge; and an instrument in a church near here (where I was formerly organist) had one on the Swell, prior to rebuilding. It was so enormous (with a fat 'oily' sound), that our organ builder used it to keep his family warm over the Christmas period. There is now a beautiful Lieblich Gedeckt residing on the slide.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 12:34:19 AM by pcnd5584 »
Pierre Cochereau rocked, man

Gwas_Bach

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
  • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2015, 01:26:53 PM »
On this theme, but on a very slight tangent...

The specification of the organ in St Giles' Church, Camberwell, reminds us how much more important the Choir division was in British organs, though even here the Swell is gaining importance.

http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00723

 


Locations of visitors to this page

Organ Design


Latroba Holidays