PipeChat Digest #2869 - Friday, May 24, 2002
RE: organbuilders as creative artists
  by <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk>
Re: PipeChat Digest #2866 - 05/22/02
  by "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@mindspring.com>
Non Singen Zinc
  by <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk>
Re: organbuilders as creative artists
  by "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>

(back) Subject: RE: organbuilders as creative artists From: <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk> Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 01:52:39 +0100   Hello,   Wow! What a lot of questions to answer....I'll take them out of order.   Firstly, the superlative Hill/Snetzler organ of Beverley Minster. A = moderately large 4-manual instrument, this organ contains more Snetzler = pipework than any other instrument in the UK. It is said that, when the = organ was enlarged by Thomas Hill (possibly THE outstanding tonal artist = of the dynasty), he very carefully matched the new pipework to the = existing Snetzler pipework. Being familiar with the instrument and = having played it numerous times, I can certainly vouch for the relevance = of that comment....it is quite unlike any other Hill organ I = know....clearer, less forced and a true pedigree "racehorse" in a world = full of "nags". Hill, Norman & Beard re-built the instrument in the 60's = (?) with a sumptious new console (love those square thumb pistons!). = Fortunately, the tonal modifications were kept to an absolute minimum, = and the character of the original was not altered much at all. This = wonderful (by now) tradition has been maintained. Now splendidly = re-built by Woo of Huddersfield, the work has been confined to the = action and windchests; leaving the original organ unscathed. Dr Alan = Spedding, the Organist & Choirmaster is a delightful, modest and gifted = individual. It is typical of him that he should so love the instrument = that he should leave it exactly as it was.   Of course, Beverley also has another huge medieval church with St.Mary's = and a very large 4-manual T C Lewis organ rebuilt by a local company, = Hall & Broadfield. That is also a superb organ in a building which, in = any other town, would be called a cathedral!!   For those who may wish to "see" the spectacular medieval Minster in its = Gothic glory, then I can send pics to anyone who cares to contact me. Dr = Spedding always welcomes groups of Organists with the comment, "Well, = I'm sure you have seen the biggest Minster in Yorkshire (meaning York). = Now welcome to the most beautiful!"....How right he is!   I have mentioned the medieval stone "Minstrel" carvings before, but = these superb examples of the mason's craft are unique. There are two = rows of musicians playing various instruments. In the midst of them is a = Bishop with his fingers in his ears.....wonderful!   I feel slightly ashamed at my lack of knowledge concerning York Minster, = considering that I used to play the organ there quite often. Of course, = the very necessary work was done following the great transept fire, but = tonal modifications were not extensive. A rather nice Tertian was = discarded (pity!) and a new horizontal (internal) Bombarde fitted; = speaking East rather than West like the awesome and very uneven Tuba = Mirabilus.   The organ has always sounded a wee bit "distant" due to the Elliot & = Hill legacy, the removal of many Edwardian Harrison modifications, and a = lot of new upperwork by Walkers in the 1960's. It IS a lovely sound, but = until the big reeds chime in, it just doesn't have a big impact in the = building. Believe it or not, the Tuba Mirabilus is the ONLY stop which = can keep congregations "to heel", so it tends to be heard a lot at big = services.   Unfortunately, I know nothing much about St.Giles, Edinburgh, but = reports seem to be good. It certainly can't be any worse than that = dreadfully dull Willis it replaced.   Blackburn is a tonal masterpiece and one of the smallest Cathedral = Organs in the UK. It's design is brilliant and without a single wasted = register, but it is a little tricky to find the right sounds for = accompaniment purposes due to the sheer lack of stops!!   The specification reads as follows:-   Pedal Organ   Contra Bass 32 Principal 16 Sub Bass 16 Quintaton (Gt) 16 Octave 8 Nachtorn 8 Fifteenth 4 Recorder 4 Spitzflote 2 Mixture IV Serpent 32 Posaune 16 Bombrade 8 Schalmei 4     Great to Pedal Swell to Pedal Positive to Pedal Gt & Ped combs coupled       Swell Organ   (There are two Swell Boxes divided across the chancel with two seperate swell pedals which can be coupled....stops marked with * are in the Transept Box)   Rohrflute 8 Viola da Gamba 8* Celeste 8* Principal 4 Nason Flute 4 Nazard 2 2/3 Gemshorn 2 Octavin 1 Mixture 3 rks Cymbale 3 rks * Fagot 16 * Trompette 8 * Cromhorne 8 Clarion 4 *   Transpet Tremulant Chancel Tremulant   Great Organ   Quintaton 16 Principal 8 Stopped Diapason 8 Octave 4 Rohrflute 4 Nazard 2 2/3 Blockflute 2 Tierce 1 3/5 Fourniture 3 rks Plein Jeu 3 rks Trumpet 8   Swell to Great Positive to Great   Positive Organ   Bourdon 8 Prestant 4 Koppel Flute 4 Principal 2 Sesquialtera 2 rks Larigot 1 1/3 Scharf 3 rks Holzregal 8 Imperial Trumpet 8 (en chamade)   Tremulant Cymbelstern Swell to Positive Transept Swell on Positive   The organ was designed by Dr Francis Jackson (York Minster) and Dr John = Bertalot (Blackburn Cathedral Organist in 1960's). The organ was built = by J W Walker & Sons. Voicing by Denys Thurlow.   The design is particularly economical and the use of a divided Swell = Organ is especially clever; part of it transferable to the Positive.=20   The tonal quality could best be dexribed as "Champagne"; but the cork = goes off with quite a bang when the French reeds spark into life! As I = stated previously, this organ was a landmark in British Organ building, = and combined German chorus work with a French Swell and French = Reeds........boy does it sing! Superb!   Regards from an exhausted Colin Mitchell UK       -----Original Message----- Ross & Lynda Ward asked......   I have not heard the Blackburn Cathedral instrument, but it sounds = really wonderful. Do you have the specification for us?       Not having had a chance to play the Beverley Minster organ, could you = tell me what this sounds like?=20   And is the organ in York Minster better since local builder Coffin rebuilt it in the early 1990s?=20   Too, I saw and touched the organ in St Giles's Edinburgh but the organist was away and the = Minister could not find a key for me. Is it good?        
(back) Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #2866 - 05/22/02 From: "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@mindspring.com> Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 19:54:09 -0500   Most large English organs do indeed incorporate much work by previous builders, although most organbuilders invariably do a lot of revoicing and rescaling and the result is often to all intents and purposes a new instrument. This is not, however, true of the Colston Hall, Bristol, instrument, which is entirely Harrison, the previous instrument having = been totally destroyed by fire.   John Speller   ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ken_Earl01" <ken_earl01@hotmail.com> To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 3:08 PM Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #2866 - 05/22/02     > Someone wrote>>The Harrison > instruments at St. Alban's Cathedral and St. George's Chapel, Windsor = are > also among the outstanding instruments from the early 1960's, as also is the > slightly earlier instrument in the Colston Hall, Bristol. All of = these<< > > Get it right - these instruments were:- > > St Alban's Cathedral - 1835 Bevington, 1861,1871, 1877, and 1881 Wm > Hill,1885 Abbott, 1906/8 Abbott & Smith, 1921 Tunks & Son, > 1929 Henry Willis & Sons completely rebuilt and remodelled. > > St George's Chapel - 1885 Gray & Davidson, rebuilt J W Walker 1930. > > Colston Hall - HNB completely rebuilt and remodelled by Willis in 1936      
(back) Subject: Non Singen Zinc From: <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk> Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 02:03:29 +0100     Hello again.   John Speller contributes a gem of information there....thank you. =20   My brother is a world class metalurgist....he says that they have at = least solved ONE problem. The purer tin pipes may fall over, but at = least they will not crumble into dust in very cold climates!!   He says, "If they wanted BAD Zinc and BAD Tin, they should have said = so!"   :)   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK   PS: Should my brother and myself start smelting Zinc? I feel sure that we could throw in a lot of impurities!! =20  
(back) Subject: Re: organbuilders as creative artists From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 14:58:47 +1200   Thanks for that, John, but that wasn't the problem. Those basses just = plain had not been voiced at all, hence their complete lack of speech. If it was only a question of a sagging languid a local voicer could have fixed them. Ross -----Original Message----- From: John L. Speller <jlspeller@mindspring.com> To: PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org> Date: Friday, May 24, 2002 12:35 PM Subject: Re: organbuilders as creative artists     > >----- Original Message ----- >From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> >To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 6:01 AM >Subject: Re: organbuilders as creative artists > > >>the organ in Auckland Cathedral here. <snip> Some >> years after it was completed, I had to spend time convincing the = organist >of >> the time (Tony Jennings) that some dozen or more of the big pipes from the >> 32ft Salicional and 16ft Pedal Principal weren't speaking at all. > >This sounds like the usual "electrolytic zinc" problem that afflicted = many >of the organs built by just about every organbuilder of the 1960's and still >afflicts the instruments of some builders today. The problem is that as >technology progressed, zinc got to be purer and purer, with the result = that >it got too soft to use in large pipes. The premature sagging of languids is >a common result of this, and often renders the large pipes speechless in the >sort of way you describe what happened in New Zealand. Once = organbuilders >got wise to this problem they took more care over their sources of zinc, but >finding good zinc is becoming more and more difficult with every passing >year, and short of opening their own zinc smelting plants there isn't a = lot >organbuilders can do about this. The same problem has also made other >metals like tin and lead softer too. > >John Speller > > >"Pipe Up and Be Heard!" >PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics >HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org >List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org >Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org >Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org >