Specification of the rebuilt organ, with changes noted
Updated 30 Nov 2018 following signature of Variation of Contract
Existing pipework mostly by J.W. Walker (various, 1850-1953)
PPO = Principal Pipe Organs (1995)
Manual compass 61 notes, pedal 32 notes
|Double Open Diap||16||New|
|Open Diapason I||8||New, to replace existing|
|Open Diapason II||8||New, to replace existing|
|Principal||4||New, to replace existing|
|Ffteenth||2||New, to replace existing|
|Mixture||IV||New, to replace Mixture III (PPO)|
|Trumpet||8||PPO to be re-voiced|
||In new expression box|
|Bourdon||16||Existing Gt Contra Gedackt, returning to original function|
|Viola da Gamba||8|
|Voix Celeste Ten C||8|
|Mixture||IV||New, to replace Mixture III & Sharp Mixture II (both PPO)|
|Choir enclosed||In new expression box|
|Dulciana||8||Pipes from existing unit 16 & 8, now on slider soundboard|
|Vox Angelica Ten C||8|
|Flute||4||Chimney flute from orig 1840 Walker org, Exeter Hall, London|
|Nazard||2 2/3||New, to replace existing (PPO)|
|Piccolo||2||New, to replace Flageolet (PPO)|
|Tierce||1 3/5||New, to replace existing (PPO)|
|Acoustic Bass||32||Ext of Open Wood, lowest 12 quinted. Quint 10 2/3 (?PPO) to be discarded|
|Violone||16||New, transmission from Gt Double Open|
|Echo Bourdon||16||Transmission from Sw Bourdon|
|Dulciana||16||1-12 of existing Ch unit + 13-32 new, replacing 16 & 8 trans from Ch|
|Principal||8||PPO to be re-voiced|
|Octave Wood||8||Ext of Open Wood, to be reconnected|
|Bass Flute||8||Ext of Bourdon|
|Fifteenth||4||Ext of Principal|
|Octave Flute||4||Ext of Bourdon/Bass Flute|
} Transmission and extension from Ch Tromba
} with new 32’ extension
|Swell reeds on pedal||Swell Contra Fagotto transmission removed|
Couplers & accessories
Octave, Sub-octave, Unison Off to Swell and Choir
Tremulants to Swell and Choir
Eight thumb pistons to each manual division
Eight toe pistons each to Pedal and Swell
Eight General thumb pistons
Reversers to couplers and Pedal Contra Trombone
Great & Pedal combinations coupled, Generals on Swell toe pistons
Multiple memory levels
Stepper to General pistons
Director of Music’s thoughts
Our priority in all aspects of the rebuilding of the organ is to make it function well and dependably in the long term. New 61-note slider soundboards with inbuilt actions will replace both the failing electro-pneumatic manual soundboards and the expeditious assortment of off-note chests by which the manual compass has been extended and some Choir upperwork added. New expression boxes for Swell and Choir will accommodate the larger soundboards and will contribute, along with new and modern and compact wind and electrical systems, to an orderly and efficient new layout with improved maintenance access. Apart from the majority of the pipework, only the console, the blower and a number of Pedal chests are being retained and refurbished.
Tonally, the existing set-up is large and comprehensive with some splendid colours, but much of it lacks beauty, clarity and coherence. The most significant and exciting development is an all-new Great principal chorus, including a 16-foot Double Open Diapason which not only befits the organ and the building, but will be playable as a very welcome metal 16’ Pedal flue stop, and enables the current Great 16ft rank to be restored to its original and rather useful function of Swell Bourdon. Five ranks of Swell mixture-work over two stops will be replaced with a single stop of four new ranks, and the Choir upperwork will also be replaced with new. The Choir Dulciana rank, though useful in its current configuration as a 16’ and 8’ unit on Choir and Pedal, is to be rationalised for reasons of Choir box space and consistency of wind supply; the bulk of it becomes a ‘straight’ 8’ stop on the Choir main soundboard, while the ‘Haskelled’ 16’ octave forms the basis of an otherwise new, independent Pedal stop.
In a splendid and unexpected development during the design process, space has been found and funding approved to add an extension of the Choir/Pedal Tromba unit down to 32′ pitch. We learned after agreeing to this that our new reed will be the only 32′ stop in the County of Essex or Diocese of Chelmsford that is neither quinted nor electronic. Just one sonority is being deleted altogether, to free up precious space, namely the independent but ineffectual Pedal Quint; in its stead an Acoustic Bass of nominal 32’ pitch will be derived from the Open Wood with a quinted bottom octave. At the same time an 8’ extension of the Open Wood, disconnected when the 8’ Principal arrived but never physically removed, is being re-instated for the sake of a few occasions when that timbre is the optimal one. The gentle but clear stop which is to become the Swell Bourdon will continue to be available as a Pedal stop in its new home. To save a little money and space, the transmission to Pedal of the well-mannered and not especially colourful Swell Contra Fagotto has been dispensed with, in lieu of which the Swell reed chorus which sits on its own soundboard in any case will be transferable to the Pedal keyboard.
A further and most pleasing benefit derives from the new Great chorus. The plethora of new pipes and the grandeur of the 16-foot Diapason are being exploited by the designers to replace the “temporary” 1953 façade with one that is aesthetically enhancing and fully conceals the innards of the organ. This will consist simply of the largest Great pipes, cast in tin-rich alloy, polished, and arranged artistically, with variable lengths in the pipe ‘feet’ giving interest to the line of pipe mouths. No pipe decoration or casework was considered necessary. The opportunity will be taken for some once-in-a-generation maintenance to the gallery, and for the removal of a decidedly unaesthetic scaffolding bridge currently giving access from north clerestory to south, to be replaced with ladders fixed to the organ structure on the south side (the north being accessible via the tower staircase).
A Cymbelstern, which will be audible rather than visible, will be created from six handbells acquired by our East London-based organ builder upon the closure in 2017 of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
Last but not least, the feet-operated half of the detached console will be rebuilt for ergonomic reasons, and an adjustable bench and a smart brass strip-light fitting will be provided. The console also gains a new combination system, increasing the number of pistons on each division to eight and providing a large number of memory levels and a stepper.
Some details determined since this page was first written…
Conversations have taken place between builders, consultant and Director of Music, some of them at Manders’ workshop and in the light of a most instructive visit to Manders’ excellent, recent work at King’s College, London.
The mixture compositions have been determined.
· Great 19-22-26-29 at bottom C, with break-back on each C
· Swell 19-22-26 at bottom C, with break-back on bottom G#, a fourth rank coming in below the others at tenor F#, and further break-backs at middle A# and top C.
Note that at no point in the compass is the Swell mixture higher than that of the Great.
Scaling of the Great chorus is such that the larger Open Diapason which is the foundation principal is slightly larger than that of the Swell (though on a lighter wind pressure). The Principal 4’ is one note smaller than that, and the 16ft Double 3 notes smaller than the Principal. The smaller Open Diapason is a most interesting and promising stop, which needed to be of diapason scale in the bass for the sake of its contribution to the case design, but which was also desired to be more like a broad-scaled viola as a foil to the ‘fatness’ of the other diapasons and Great flute. The solution was a rank of the ‘slotted’ type, with diapason scale and tone in the bass, developing into a singing viola tone in the treble. Thus the treble will ‘sing out’ above the lower registers.