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Messages - londonorganist

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1
Organ registration / Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« 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).

2
Organ registration / Re: Minimum specification of small organ
« on: February 05, 2015, 12:43:03 AM »
I see no point, in nearly all cases, in providing a 10 2/3 quint all the way up the board.

It works, especially if voiced well and tuned pure. I play a 1991 Walker (III+P/40) with an independent pure quint rank all the way up and it really works in the acoustic, much better than a derived quint.

3
Organ registration / Re: Minimum specification of small organ
« on: February 02, 2015, 11:38:39 PM »
The Principal - this is a valid point. In which case, perhaps you could allow yourself one stop over the limit, and derive a Quint from the Bourdon.

Derived quints never really work well. I play a 40 stop walker with an independent quint, meaning it can be tuned pure, and the result is fantastic under full swell closed!

4
Organ registration / Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« 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!


5
Organ registration / Re: Minimum specification of small organ
« on: February 01, 2015, 11:26:55 PM »
In my humble opinion, the most important thing in any instrument is a good foundation and good integrity
If I had to use, say 15 stops, I would recommend something like this:

Pedal
16' Bourdon (voiced to support the whole organ while not being to dominating)
8'   Principal
8'   Flute
G/P
S/P
SO/P

Great
8'   Open Diapason
8'   Stopped Diapason
4'   Principal
2'   Fifteenth
II   Mixture (19.22)
S/G
SO/G

Swell
8'       Chimney Flute
8'       Salicional (tuned just sharp enough to beat with the flute, but not too sharp that it can't be used alone for ppp effect)
4'       Principal
2'       Super Octave
1 1/3  Quint
16'     Contra Oboe
8'       Trumpet

Swell Octave
Swell Unison Off

Thoughts?

One or two: my preference (for tone colour) would be to ditch the 1 1/3ft. stop on the Swell Organ and substitute a mild string undulant of some kind (though not too keen); then the Salicional can be re-tuned 'dead'. This is likely to be more satisfactory. A string (even a mild type) would probably not to beat convincingly with a Chimney Flute; I have seen one or two examples where this expedient has been attempted, but did not feel that it worked in practice. Secondly, I should gladly forgo the Contra Oboe and have the stop at unison pitch. This stop is such a useful colourant that its limitation at sub-unison pitch actually makes it less flexible. At the lease, it should be extended to 8ft. pitch - and with a separate stop to control it. (Octave and Unison Off couplers only are no good; as such, the Oboe could then only be used as a solo stop at unison pitch, unless one wished for the whole Swell Organ to be an octave higher.)

Otherwise the scheme looks to be okay. (Although I might prefer a separate stopped Quint 10 2/3ft., to the Pedal Principal.)


On second thoughts I would agree there, a standard "dead" string would be better.
However I wouldn't replace the principal with a Quint. While my new instrument has an independent quint which has tremendous effect, the Principal allows three independent lines for trio playing.

6
Organ registration / Re: Couplers on Pistons
« on: February 01, 2015, 11:25:05 PM »
Interesting - I did not know of the HN&B system - despite playing a number of their instruments.  However, I should still prefer the H&H system, since it is rather more flexible. Pedal Seven as against Swell Eight on a large instrument would still be likely to over-balance the Swell  Organ.

Oh I agree! That is often why I add the reeds by hand as such a problem arises if I use the pistons for full swell. It is simply like that (I assume) because of the age of the system, which was invented back in the electro-mechanical days before H&H introduced their system. Nowadays I prefer the H&H system, as you say, it is much more flexible.

7
Organ registration / Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« 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.

8
The wrinkle presented itself when the orchestra showed up... It was assumed by all that there was enough tuning range in the modern instruments available to the orchestra that they could tune to the organ's pitch which happened to be a semitone flat from ISO 13...

Well, the orchestral instruments available couldn't shift pitch enough to play in tune with the organ,
and so all of the pipework was removed to the Mander Organs factory, trimmed to "concert pitch"
and fitted with tuning sleeves...  To permit retuning the organ to its historical pitch following the recording session.........


Interesting Eric! I assume you mean a semitone sharp, though? Trimming down the pipework would sharpen it not vice versa! I can imagine a nightmare with reed weights in this situation too!

9
Organ registration / Re: Couplers on Pistons
« on: February 01, 2015, 01:32:10 PM »

If one were playing on another clavier than the G.O., then the H&H device of Pedal to Swell Pistons is most useful. This gives a separate Pedal combination to match whatever is drawn (or pressed) on the Swell Organ. Exeter Cathedral is again an example of this.


The H&H system of separate Pedal combinations is, as you say, extremely useful, as it allows you to build the pedal without upperwork, which often can dominate if the swell is closed!
It is worth mentioning though that HNB pioneered this stop, although their system used a more basic function, where it kept the pedal one divisional step behind the swell. (I. E. Swell 5 would draw Pedal 4, etc.)

I use it when accompanying psalms as I tend to use the swell alone quite alot.


10
Organ registration / Re: 32ft on a manual
« on: February 01, 2015, 01:25:07 PM »
Has anyone heard the organ at Paisley Abbey?

That has a very french character (C-Coll heritage of course!) and a great Sub-Octave. I would think that a SO would be more useful than a 32', as the music where such pitches are required (french romantic) were written primarily for organs with such stops.

Interesting nonetheless! I think some organs have stops simply because they look impressive! (this is certainly the case at Liv Anglican! There are some wonderful stops on the Liverpool organ, but several stops don't really seem to have much purpose other than being there for showing off! The Tibia is particularly notable.

11
Organ registration / Re: Minimum specification of small organ
« on: February 01, 2015, 01:03:34 PM »
In my humble opinion, the most important thing in any instrument is a good foundation and good integrity
If I had to use, say 15 stops, I would recommend something like this:

Pedal
16' Bourdon (voiced to support the whole organ while not being to dominating)
8'   Principal
8'   Flute
G/P
S/P
SO/P

Great
8'   Open Diapason
8'   Stopped Diapason
4'   Principal
2'   Fifteenth
II   Mixture (19.22)
S/G
SO/G

Swell
8'       Chimney Flute
8'       Salicional (tuned just sharp enough to beat with the flute, but not too sharp that it can't be used alone for ppp effect)
4'       Principal
2'       Super Octave
1 1/3  Quint
16'     Contra Oboe
8'       Trumpet

Swell Octave
Swell Unison Off

Thoughts?



12
Organ registration / Re: The British Choir/Positive Organ
« 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.


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