Organ matters - Organs matter!

Organs in danger => Organs in danger => Topic started by: barniclecompton on March 28, 2010, 05:24:18 PM

Title: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: barniclecompton on March 28, 2010, 05:24:18 PM
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=R00220 (http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=R00220)

Thats all the information i can find on it. The church closed a few years back and nothing has been heard of it since. As far as i know the organ is still there.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Barrie Davis on April 05, 2010, 06:30:15 PM
What was the organ?
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: barniclecompton on April 05, 2010, 09:42:52 PM
Its a 25 stop Hilsdon, the details are on the NPOR link in the original post above.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: barniclecompton on December 19, 2010, 03:55:32 AM
Word seems to be that the building is coming down, with only the bell tower and the front wall being retained. Nothing about the organ though!
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Pinnegar on December 19, 2010, 10:36:52 PM
Oh dear! Is this going to be another organ lost to a bulldozer and wrecking ball?
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 20, 2010, 12:29:04 AM
Word seems to be that the building is coming down, with only the bell tower and the front wall being retained. Nothing about the organ though!

Why so? Is it derelict? And how did Ayr end up with two Catholic cathedrals anyway? It's hardly the centre of the Universe... or even that part of Scotland.

Problem being, Scotland is short of decent organbuilders - Sandy Edmonstone's wrecking of the big Rothwell in Perth comes to mind, turning a glorious Orchestral Oboe into a horrid honky Krummhorn, amongst other things, plus the shoddiness and unreliability of Lammermuir... but we need to try and see if anyone could take it. It looks like a basically useful organ - a Trombone/Trumpet unit on the Pedal, a Mixture and a Trumpet on the Great, would add a lot of versatility too. It looks from the specification as though it could be a Lewis, or maybe a Binns or Forster & Andrews... just guesswork, I know, and the spec is pretty generic. Still, if the pipework is of sufficient quality, that at least could be really useful.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: revtonynewnham on December 20, 2010, 02:55:43 PM
Hi

There's no reason why it shouldn't be by Hilsdon, as the NPOR survey says.  I have no reason to doubt that - and the surveyor is/was an organ builder (not one of the ones you mention!), so he should know what he's talking about.

As to the "wrecking" of an organ, have you considered that the changes might have been down to the resident organist or the adviser - organ builders can't always do things how they would want to and still get paid!

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 20, 2010, 04:20:51 PM
I did once hear of an organbuilder who told a client to get stuffed when the client laid out their plans for the organ... ;D

As for the organ possibly/possibly not being Hilsdon, may I quote the following from NPOR:
Quote
Builders
Undated    H. Hilsdon   Glasgow
rebuilt; original builder unknown;

It would certainly seem likely that the 32ft and 4ft Pedal stops are later additions (from the Hilsdon rebuild), and possibly one or both of the 8ft stops.

I presume that the "MMcD" given as the surveyor is M. McDonald... the same guy who cleaned http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=R00223 (http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=R00223) in 1987?

Also, 'if' one couldn't find a decent Scottish builder to look at the Hilsdon, I happen to know that Harrisons have work in that area... and not very far away in Paisley too.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Barrie Davis on December 21, 2010, 12:59:28 AM
Your reply is very fine and its all very good to make suggestions but it all boils down to available cash. My church cannot afford to pay its quota let alone consider embarking on an organ scheme. Vat is increasing, inflation will be as well..........
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 21, 2010, 06:11:42 AM
Indeed. The Diocesan Quota has got ridiculous. Maybe it's time we considered closing a few cathedrals and merging dioceses? Reduce Portsmouth back to Parish Church status (with Winchester and Chichester both so close by, they really don't need Portsmouth too), close my local, Guildford Bus Stationsorry Cathedral, with its lousy organ and impossible acoustics/organ placement issues, restore the diocese to Southwark and Winchester... close/restore to PC status Birmingham (again, horrible building, and another cathedral - Coventry - close by)... or close Basil Spence's brutalist brick instead? Do we really need Chelmsford between St Paul's and St Edmundsbury? Does Lancashire really need THREE Anglican cathedrals? Do we need the ex-Parish Churches of Leicester and Derby when we've got Southwell fairly close to both? Does Yorkshire really justify FIVE Anglican cathedrals?

Or maybe the CofE could allow a bit of RC-style democracy, make the parish churches the property and responsibility of the parishes, thus relieving itself of the burden... I'm sure that could save some money.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: barniclecompton on December 21, 2010, 08:04:23 AM
If Micheal McDonald done any work on it, it wont be much better, if at all, than it was before.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Barrie Davis on December 21, 2010, 03:17:19 PM


Or maybe the CofE could allow a bit of RC-style democracy, make the parish churches the property and responsibility of the parishes, thus relieving itself of the burden... I'm sure that could save some money.

I really must agree with you there, we are paying in the region of £65k a year to Worcester, this being on top of all the normal expenses of the parish. For a dwindling aging congregation of some 160 spread between 3 churches this amount is impossible. What does it pay for? Surely 2 clergy doesnt equal that amount?

The organ needs the Swell and Positif actions releathered and the action put onto solid state but I'm afraid this is very much a dream. The organ tuners battle with missing notes but it is now reaching a stage where little or no more work can be done.

Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: revtonynewnham on December 21, 2010, 03:23:04 PM
Indeed. The Diocesan Quota has got ridiculous. Maybe it's time we considered closing a few cathedrals and merging dioceses? Reduce Portsmouth back to Parish Church status (with Winchester and Chichester both so close by, they really don't need Portsmouth too), close my local, Guildford Bus Stationsorry Cathedral, with its lousy organ and impossible acoustics/organ placement issues, restore the diocese to Southwark and Winchester... close/restore to PC status Birmingham (again, horrible building, and another cathedral - Coventry - close by)... or close Basil Spence's brutalist brick instead? Do we really need Chelmsford between St Paul's and St Edmundsbury? Does Lancashire really need THREE Anglican cathedrals? Do we need the ex-Parish Churches of Leicester and Derby when we've got Southwell fairly close to both? Does Yorkshire really justify FIVE Anglican cathedrals?

Or maybe the CofE could allow a bit of RC-style democracy, make the parish churches the property and responsibility of the parishes, thus relieving itself of the burden... I'm sure that could save some money.

Hi

The issue is about the area and number of churches involved - for instance, Bradford Diocese isn't limited to our corner of West Yorkshire, but stretches up almost to Carlisle - and that makes it one of the most rural in the country!  There is a scheme afoot to merge the Yorkshire diocese into one, based on Wakefiled, but to retain area Bishops (which would be needed) and the other cathedrals - certainly, if Bradford was closed or reverts to just a Parish Church it would have a negative impact on Christian witness in the city.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Jonathan Lane on December 22, 2010, 03:36:09 AM
Word seems to be that the building is coming down, with only the bell tower and the front wall being retained. Nothing about the organ though!

Why so? Is it derelict? And how did Ayr end up with two Catholic cathedrals anyway? It's hardly the centre of the Universe... or even that part of Scotland.

Problem being, Scotland is short of decent organbuilders - Sandy Edmonstone's wrecking of the big Rothwell in Perth comes to mind, turning a glorious Orchestral Oboe into a horrid honky Krummhorn, amongst other things, plus the shoddiness and unreliability of Lammermuir... but we need to try and see if anyone could take it. It looks like a basically useful organ - a Trombone/Trumpet unit on the Pedal, a Mixture and a Trumpet on the Great, would add a lot of versatility too. It looks from the specification as though it could be a Lewis, or maybe a Binns or Forster & Andrews... just guesswork, I know, and the spec is pretty generic. Still, if the pipework is of sufficient quality, that at least could be really useful.
I really have to disagree about Perth, Sandy did a superb job with the organ and produced a very versatile instrument.  When I played it in 2001, when I interviewed and was offered the DofM post, he apologised for it being a little out of tune, it was damn near immaculate!
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 22, 2010, 04:23:51 AM
Hmm... it would appear that the Krummhorn has gone from Perth! Was it something Edmonstone did and then removed, or did it actually date from Rushworths' rebuild in 1961? My father lived up that neck of the woods and knew the instrument, but whether he ever heard the old Orch. Oboe or not (just picking it up from friends in the local organ community) I don't know!

On a slightly different tack, reading of what was done down the years to St Ninian's Perth, have a read of this:
Quote
after maintenance was transferred to Nicholson, a number of DIY tonal changes were gradually effected: Septieme changed to 22nd; Swell Bourdon changed to Stopped Diapason to replace the Great Hohl Flute; Nazard and Tierce replaced the Swell strings and a Victorian Piccolo replaced the Vox Humana; a secondhand Oboe made a Swell 16' (TC) reed, and one of two Choir flutes was tuned into a celeste; the Great Diapasons 8,4,2 had their toe holes opened up and the Sesquialtera 17.19.22 was remade into a Mixture 19.22.26

I cannot understand this! On a 43-stop English Romantic organ, strings are essential, a manual Bourdon 16' is pretty useful, a Septième is useful for some French repertoire, a Vox Humana is absolutely essential (and it already had a 2ft stop), an 8ft Oboe is jolly useful too (though I see it's gained one on the Solo... but what's the point of a T.C. 16ft reed?), revoicing diapasons is usually a recipe for disaster, as is mucking about with mixture compositions like that... I note with interest, though, the addition of an "Erzahler" - unique this side of the pond? One is pleased to see, though, that the Swell strings (and 8ft Oboe) are back... and the case does look rather fine! Sort of like Truro... definitely Pearsonesque.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 22, 2010, 04:24:55 AM
If Micheal McDonald done any work on it, it wont be much better, if at all, than it was before.

Why not? What's wrong with him and his workmanship?
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: barniclecompton on December 22, 2010, 08:57:42 AM
If Micheal McDonald done any work on it, it wont be much better, if at all, than it was before.

Why not? What's wrong with him and his workmanship?

You only need to look at the botch over he done at ayr town hall to understand that!
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: revtonynewnham on December 22, 2010, 03:11:45 PM

 I note with interest, though, the addition of an "Erzahler" - unique this side of the pond?
Hi

Not quite unique - although I don't know if the other stop still exists - it's in an early 1900's rather large house organ by Halmshaw & Conacher - see http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N07282

One of the perks of being one of the nPOR editors is that I can still access some of the rarely-used functions that were removed in the most recent software updates - like searching for stop names!)

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Barrie Davis on December 22, 2010, 07:41:35 PM
Showing my ignorance what kind of stop is it? Fog Horns like the old Diaphones at Worcester?

Did Conachers take over Halmshaw?
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 22, 2010, 08:38:26 PM
If Micheal McDonald done any work on it, it wont be much better, if at all, than it was before.

Why not? What's wrong with him and his workmanship?

You only need to look at the botch over he done at ayr town hall to understand that!

I know nothing of this... as I understood it was an untouched Lewis. Sorry, being resident in Surrey, Ayr is a long way away, the furthest North I've ever been is Manchester (my mother was taking her FRCO at the Royal Northern - I was about two, but, when we went into the Cathedral, I was still able to point up from my pushchair under the tower and say "Look, Daddy, look at that wonderful fan-vaulting!". Yes, that one really is true.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 22, 2010, 08:46:27 PM
Showing my ignorance what kind of stop is it? Fog Horns like the old Diaphones at Worcester?

It was invented in 1904 by Ernest M. Skinner, the great American organbuilder. You can tell he was born to that profession - he was born in a town called Clarion!  ;D

http://www.organstops.org/e/Erzahler.html (http://www.organstops.org/e/Erzahler.html) explains it all. The name is German for "Story-teller", which I think is rather lovely. It sounds like a kind of cross between a flute and a string - it's quite compelling, quite delicate.

Also, don't be rude about Hope-Jones or the old Worcester organ! It remains one of this country's great tragedies that such a brilliantly original organ-builder as RHJ is still so despised... his Clarinets and strings, particularly, are gorgeous. His organs were fantastically inventive. The old Worcester organ, incorporating Hill, RHJ and, by the time of its replacement, a lot of Harrison, was a magnificent beast: its destruction was nothing short of cultural vandalism and should never have been allowed.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: barniclecompton on December 23, 2010, 12:36:53 AM
The voicing is untouched, the action is original. Alot of the leatherwork they done was leaking a year after they done the work, the action is leaking, theres stops that stopped working altogether too!
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Jonathan Lane on December 23, 2010, 05:16:54 AM


Also, don't be rude about Hope-Jones or the old Worcester organ! It remains one of this country's great tragedies that such a brilliantly original organ-builder as RHJ is still so despised... his Clarinets and strings, particularly, are gorgeous. His organs were fantastically inventive.

Its a bit like having a line such as 'To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer, The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.' in a Catherine Cookson novel.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 23, 2010, 05:34:29 AM
Sorry, Jonathan, being ill and having not slept properly for four days, I'm being rather thick. What on earth are you on about?  :)
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Jonathan Lane on December 23, 2010, 01:41:15 PM
Sorry, Jonathan, being ill and having not slept properly for four days, I'm being rather thick. What on earth are you on about?  :)
A few good stops, and there were a few in the old Worcester organ does not make an instrument.  The old organ was one of the hardest organs I ever had to play, and was almost impossible to get anything musical from it, the new one is a fine instrument and looks far better too!
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: revtonynewnham on December 23, 2010, 02:55:56 PM
Hi

I doubt that anyone still alive played the Worcester organ as Hope-Jones left it!  Everything since has been a compromise, due to cost factors, until the recent Tickell job.

It seems to me that H-J organs need a totally different approach to registration than the one we learned and are used to on typical British organs.  A couple of years ago I had opportunity to play Colin Pykett's digital reconstruction of a small HJ organ - very interesting - and capable of some nice effects, both quiet and loud.  I guess that HJ suffered the same sort of antagonism that the ne0-classical builders faced here in the UK over the past 40-50 years.  It's too easy to condemn something that's "different" to the norm.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: barniclecompton on December 23, 2010, 07:17:14 PM
If Micheal McDonald done any work on it, it wont be much better, if at all, than it was before.

Why not? What's wrong with him and his workmanship?

You only need to look at the botch over he done at ayr town hall to understand that!

I know nothing of this... as I understood it was an untouched Lewis. Sorry, being resident in Surrey, Ayr is a long way away, the furthest North I've ever been is Manchester (my mother was taking her FRCO at the Royal Northern - I was about two, but, when we went into the Cathedral, I was still able to point up from my pushchair under the tower and say "Look, Daddy, look at that wonderful fan-vaulting!". Yes, that one really is true.

It is an untouched Lewis with regards to the voicing and action. Within a year of Micheal Macdonald doing the restoration on Ayr town Hall, the leatherwork was leaking in some places, theres stops that dont work, theres cyphers all over the place, the action is leaking......
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 23, 2010, 10:35:07 PM
Sorry, Jonathan, being ill and having not slept properly for four days, I'm being rather thick. What on earth are you on about?  :)
A few good stops, and there were a few in the old Worcester organ does not make an instrument.  The old organ was one of the hardest organs I ever had to play, and was almost impossible to get anything musical from it, the new one is a fine instrument and looks far better too!

There were a hang sight more than a few good stops. No, it was not without its flaws - those concrete swellboxes didn't help, for a start - but it was a fine instrument, and, in case you've forgotten, casework by George Gilbert Scott (also now wantonly destroyed). Yes, the Tickell looks good - but it could have used a lot more of the existing instrument's pipework.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Pinnegar on December 23, 2010, 10:37:03 PM
It seems to me that H-J organs need a totally different approach to registration than the one we learned and are used to on typical British organs.  A couple of years ago I had opportunity to play Colin Pykett's digital reconstruction of a small HJ organ - very interesting - and capable of some nice effects, both quiet and loud.  I guess that HJ suffered the same sort of antagonism that the ne0-classical builders faced here in the UK over the past 40-50 years.  It's too easy to condemn something that's "different" to the norm

Dear Tony

I think that this is the raison d'etre for the cause of preservation and for exercising good conservation principles. You're making a very valid point here.
Best wsihes

David P
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: barniclecompton on December 23, 2010, 10:57:31 PM
I dont get how this is now gone from a pipe organ in possible need of "rescuing" to being about hope jones.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on December 23, 2010, 11:11:35 PM
Sorry, we were talking about Scottish organbuilders, I mentioned Edmonstone's work in Perth, got onto the subject of the (very rare outside N. America) Erzahler stop at St Ninian's, then Barrie Davis asked what an Erzahler is, saying "Fog Horns like the old Diaphones at Worcester?", and I decided to stick up for poor old RHJ... now, I know there's nowt subtle about the Diaphone - I seem to recall that they actually really did use them as foghorns for H. M. Coastguard - but they're bloody effective at underpinning full organ in a full building... another of my favourite organs is another huge, much-maligned beast, the Compton at Downside Abbey. It's a magnificent beast, really needs a damn good restoration though... and a Vox Humana stop. In fact, as it's an extension organ, a whole 16/8/4 Vox Humana rank would be ideal!  ;D
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: drawstop on February 07, 2011, 01:31:17 PM
How about one cathedral in each county?
And it is time parish churches were stopped from being milked by the local cathedral.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Michael Macdonald on November 15, 2011, 05:02:26 PM
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=R00220

Thats all the information i can find on it. The church closed a few years back and nothing has been heard of it since. As far as i know the organ is still there.

From memory the instrument was originally constructed by Ingram & Co, installed second hand at the Good Shepherd by Hilsdon in the 1950s with a new stop tab console detached downstairs. The organ was on the West gallery behind a timber screen. The building was supposed to be unsafe and was closed.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Michael Macdonald on November 15, 2011, 05:07:04 PM
http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=R00220

Thats all the information i can find on it. The church closed a few years back and nothing has been heard of it since. As far as i know the organ is still there.

When the Good Shepherd Cathedral closed the Church of St Margarets was elevated to Cathedral status. The organ (Hardy & Sons circa 1900) was overhauled by Paul Miller about ten years. Unfortuately this has been jettisoned in favour of an electronic substitute
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Michael Macdonald on November 15, 2011, 05:11:09 PM
If Micheal McDonald done any work on it, it wont be much better, if at all, than it was before.
[ No I did not work on the instrument, it was maintained by Messrs Harrison & Harrison who took over the Hilsdon Tuning Round when the business closed.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Drinkell on December 03, 2011, 10:43:51 PM
I feel there is a certain amount of confusion on this thread.

Diocesan Quotas pay primarily for running the diocese, not the cathedral, although the cathedral may get a cut in view of its role as the mother church.  Cathedrals are often strapped for cash too, although they may attract the occasional large donation.  At Bury St. Edmunds, for example, the wonderful new central tower came about because the architect Stephen Dykes Bower bequeathed a large sum on the condition it was spent on building.  The Lottery chipped in a larger sum and the parishes were not asked for huge wads of cash. 

IMHO, the well-worn description of Guildford Cathedral as a bus station or a garage is unfair.  I find it a fine example of its period, impressive externally and inspiring within.  I could live with the organ, too, although it's certainly bady placed (like Chester), the acoustics are poor and I think it's a shame the opportunity to provide a striking case was missed.

Chelmsford Cathedral serves the most populous diocese, apart from London, in the Church of England.  There would be little point subsuming Essex into other dioceses.  Chelmsford has also made great efforts to raise the profile and standard of its music (as have most parish church cathedrals in the last twenty or thirty years).

The Worcester Cathedral organ was a sad hotch-potch by the end and did not contain much original Hope-Jones pipework.  It was, as had been pointed out, an awkward beast to drive, the Gilbert Scott cases were arguably not his best examples and a lot of the pipework (including the Large Open) was situated too close to the singers and quire congregation for comfort.  A start from scratch was surely a better proposition than yet another revamp, or even a compromise in order to use existing, altered pipes.  Similarly, at Bury St. Edmunds the previously Nicholson organ was a fine conception but contained a fair amount of old work which shortened its reliable life.  The new Harrison is a pedigree production, as well as having cases of which Stephen Dykes Bower would have been proud.

I wouldn't call Downside 'much-maligned', except insofar as some people tend to carp at any extension organ.  If all such instruments incorporated the standards of voicing and workmanship one is accustomed to find in Compton's work, the breed would doubtless have a better reputation.  In the specific case of Downside, it's rather off the beaten track and is very little known.  Those who have taken the trouble to experience it in person are generally impressed. 

References to Perth appear to confuse the organs of the Episcopal Cathedral and the Kirk of St. John.  St. John had the Rothwell, the Cathedral a thorough-going mongrel.  The sixties Rushworth rebuild at the Cathedral was not highly regarded, although with careful handling it could sound better than it deserved.  It had been somewhat tweaked during Alastair Pow's time as organist and Sandy Edmonstone's rebuild, complete with Willis console from St. Giles, Edinburgh, seems to have pulled it together in a remarkable way.  Speaking as a one-time organist of a Scottish cathedral, my impression of Sandy Edmonstone and Michael McDonald is that both are honest, conscientious and skilful, and do the best they can with the resources available.

Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Pinnegar on December 04, 2011, 12:54:36 AM
Dear Michael and David

Thank you so much for your clarifications on this thread and, Michael, apologies are certainly due for our Admin teams including myself for having overlooked an inappropriately targeted derogatory comment regarding you. If you would like it to be removed then of course it can be done . . . However, as misconceptions can  be commonplace, sometimes it can be better for them to be brought into the open and corrected as you have done . . .

(With regard to Guildford, I have not been there in decades but chatting with an organist with a sense of humour the other day, the comment was made that clearly "Maufe did not like organs" . . . . )

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Drinkell on December 04, 2011, 04:43:10 AM
I know not everyone will agree, but I admired Maufe's Nave Organ case at Bradford (now, sadly, gone).  I thought his extension of the building was admirable, too.

In Belfast, the short-lived Church of St. Barnabas, Duncairn Gardens (demolished in 1995) was obviously inspired by Guildford, although I don't think it was actually by Maufe.  It was a fine building and had excellent acoustics.  The Evans & Barr organ (http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=C00301) sounded really grand.  Possibly a coat of paint with a hard finish on the ceiling would improve the acoustic at Guildford.  Some buildings in North America (including St. John the Divine, New York City) have been treated to alleviate the effect of previous acoustic treatments.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: pcnd5584 on December 04, 2011, 12:35:51 PM
... The Worcester Cathedral organ was a sad hotch-potch by the end and did not contain much original Hope-Jones pipework.  It was, as had been pointed out, an awkward beast to drive, the Gilbert Scott cases were arguably not his best examples and a lot of the pipework (including the Large Open) was situated too close to the singers and quire congregation for comfort.  A start from scratch was surely a better proposition than yet another revamp, or even a compromise in order to use existing, altered pipes.  Similarly, at Bury St. Edmunds the previously Nicholson organ was a fine conception but contained a fair amount of old work which shortened its reliable life.  The new Harrison is a pedigree production, as well as having cases of which Stephen Dykes Bower would have been proud. ...

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 Seell 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.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: revtonynewnham on December 04, 2011, 01:48:22 PM
Hi

Interestingly, in view of the comments about starting anew in various cathedrals, it's perhaps worth remembering that, except for the Positive dept, the organ at Guildford was distinctly second-hand, having come from Shipley Baptist Church here in Yorkshire when they closed and demolished the large Victorian edifice at around the time Guildford was being built.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Drinkell 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! 
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Pierre Lauwers 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
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: Pierre Lauwers 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
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: organforumadmin 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
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: AnOrganCornucopia 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
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: AnOrganCornucopia 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.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Sheperd
Post by: David Drinkell 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.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: AnOrganCornucopia 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?
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: pcnd5584 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.
Title: Re: Ayr-Cathedral of the Good Shepherd
Post by: AnOrganCornucopia 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?