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Your favorite Harrison and Harrison Organ

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  • Your favorite Harrison and Harrison Organ

    So just bought a large collection of priory CDs from a collector in NYC. Basically a deep dive into British organs. Wow.... It is amazing how tonally different organs by the same builder at the same time period can be. Really like the H&H instruments. Ely, Westminster Abbey, Durham and St Mary Redcliffe might be my favorites though all very different. The Ely organ circa Wills was quite fiery. Anyone have any favorites or preferences..?

  • #2
    My favorite Harrison is the one in Christ Church in my hometown, Savannah, Georgia because when I want to hear it's 61 ranks in person I can. E. Power Biggs played a concert there but now I can't remember if was the Harrison he played or the former organ, a Flentrop.

    Some years ago an organist position at Christ came open. I started to apply but finally I decided the skill level required was probably above my abilties. Besides, we would have had to move and I didin't think the wife would have been happy about that.
    Last edited by Nullifier; 03-20-2012, 06:44 PM.
    Allen T 12B

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    • #3
      My favourite Harrison and Harrison is Coventry Cathedral.

      I'm lucky enough to play a moderately-sized, tonally unaltered H & H from 1917 (http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsear...c_index=N03444)
      I prefer Harrisons from this era to the later "smoother" ones.

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      • #4
        When people talk about H & H organs, they always mention the Festival Hll, London; Coventry Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe. No one ever seems to mention possibly their finest organ...St George's, Windsor, which is quite a stunning concept and a really fantastic sounding instrument.

        Best,

        MM

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        • #5
          I know that I could do to have greater familiarity with the output of Harrison & Harrison, but I'm surprised that there has been no mention of King's Cambridge.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Austin766 View Post
            I know that I could do to have greater familiarity with the output of Harrison & Harrison, but I'm surprised that there has been no mention of King's Cambridge.
            Yes, the Kings organ is one of my favorite Harrisons, along with Westminster Abbey and St Anne's Belfast.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Matt McMahan View Post
              Yes, the Kings organ is one of my favorite Harrisons, along with Westminster Abbey and St Anne's Belfast.
              Sadly St. Anne's Cathedral, Belfast has moved a long way from the original - as has the building - and while it's exciting to play it's not really a successfully-integrated instrument. My favourite Harrisons are those that have been designed by someone else: Coventry and St. George's, Windsor (Sidney Campbell), and St. Alban's and Festival Hall (Ralph Downes).

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              • #8
                It has to be an orginal Arthur Harrison for me. I was lucky enough to play one, a fine 1921 3 manual Arthur Harrison at Crediton Parish Church in Devon. Those organs of his have a lovely, velvety diapason chorus which is unmatched: very aristocratic. Sadly the acoustics of the church were awful and the organ is buried away in the North Apse.

                https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...C_Crediton.jpg

                My favourite Harrison has to be St Mary Redcliffe Bristol though: just a sublime organ with the Temple Church close behind. Coventry Cathedral is very interesting too with those continental reeds. Durham is a runner up too: another terrific instrument and I like Exeter too: not the most powerful organ in the world but one of the best organs for accompanying the liturgy (particularly the Psalms) that I have ever heard, especially when Paul Morgan was at the console.

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                • #9
                  Having been a chorister at Westminster Abbey perhaps I'm biased..... but it was a slightly different instrument then to the one it is now, most noticeably in the Great reeds which have been revoiced from very broad sounding Trombas into lighter Posaunes. Interestingly the present team of organists often use the small Solo Tubas and Orchestral Trumpet instead of the Great reeds! The big Open Diapason I was also removed, mainly because its solid wall of pipes partially blocked the sound of the choruswork from getting out of the south case. The new Choir and Bombarde sections add immensely to the versatility, but somehow that truly noble sound of the 1937 rebuild has suffered very slightly. It was, I believe, the last totally untouched Arthur Harrison in an English Cathedral.....

                  Kings College, Cambridge is a very close runner-up. Ripon Cathedral has the finest Great reeds that ever left the Durham factory, but roll on 30 years and Coventry is simply stunning - how often do you find such warmth, brilliance and clarity all combined? H & H organs are really the Rolls Royce of English organ building!

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                  • #10
                    Curious why no one has mentioned the Royal Albert Hall organ. Although not initially designed by Harrison & Harrison it seems to be more or less considered one. According to the ultimate authority Wikipedia, before the latest rebuild ‘...The organ was by now, in truth, a Harrison, not a Willis, instrument, and it was felt that it should remain essentially as-is.’

                    Anyway, I heard it for the first time last Tuesday. What a powerful instrument! I couldn’t believe how loud it was in the very large Royal Albert Hall, and the floor was shaking at times. I didn’t even mind the overly powerful registration for the Bach Toccata/Fugue D minor because the might of the organ made me giddy. One organist had his own arrangement of Ravel’s mother goose suite and had quite a nice varied and interesting registration. It wasn’t exactly a smooth or particularly pretty sounding organ, but certainly an interesting and powerful one.
                    Viscount C400 3-manual
                    8 channels + 2 reverb channels (w/ Lexicon MX200)
                    Klipsch RSX-3 speakers and Klipsch Ultra 5.1 subwoofers

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