Gloucester Cathedral West Case

Gloucester Cathedral

In 1089, the building of an abbey church (St Peter’s Abbey) commenced, although a religious house had previously existed on the site since 678-9. Further major building works were carried out in the 13th and 15th centuries to produce the building we know today.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the abbey buildings became Gloucester Cathedral in 1541, the seat of the Bishop of Gloucester.

In 1999 Nicholson & Company were privileged to have been entrusted with the renovation of the historic organ in Gloucester Cathedral.

The work entailed the renewal of the electrical and solid state components, which were replaced like-for-like in order to preserve the unique and responsive key-action designed by John Norman. An enlarged piston combination system has been installed, incorporating a ‘stepper’ to give greater control over the tonal resources of the organ. Further flexibility has been achieved by including a ‘Pedal Divide’ facility, allowing the choice of contrasting registrations between the upper and lower halves of the Pedal clavier.

The tonal scheme of Ralph Downes for the 1971 Hill, Norman & Beard instrument has been preserved and augmented by four new registers. A new 32ft Pedal reed was felt to be in keeping with Ralph Downes’ emphasis on the Werkprinzip, maintaining the octave pitch differential between the Great and Pedal divisions, the Great having a 16ft Posaune. As the 1971 rebuild left the organ without a 32ft stop, three new mutation stops at 102/3, 62/5 and 44/7 ft pitches have been added to complete the harmonic series from the second to the eighth harmonic. Similar mutation stops were considered by Downes for the Royal Festival organ but never implemented. The new stops have added a grandeur and definition to the pedal line that befits a cathedral organ. Vierne once described the effect of a Pedal Septième as adding “the richness of a muster of double basses”.

The Director of Music was David Briggs, whose concept the tonal changes were; the consultant was Ian Bell.

In 2010, a solo Trompette Harmonique was added, operating on 200mm pressure from a booster blower.

Specification

Great (East)
Gedecktpommer
Open Diapason
Bourdon
Octave
Stopped Flute
Flageolet
Mixture IV-VI
Cornet IV

Swell
Chimney Flute
Salicional
Celeste
Principal
Open Flute
Nazard
Gemshorn
Tierce
Mixture IV
Cimbel III
Fagotto
Trumpet
Hautboy
Vox Humana
Tremulant
Swell Suboctave

Pedal
Flute (open wood)
Principal
Subbass
Quint
Octave
Stopped Flute
Tierce
Septième
Choral Bass
Open Flute
Mixture IV
Contra Bombarde
Bombarde
Trumpet
Shawm
Pedal Divide


16
8
8
4
4
2


8
8
8
4
4
22/3
2
13/5


16
8
8
8




16
16
16
102/3
8
8
62/5
44/7
4
2

32
16
8
4

Great (West)
Open Diapason
Spitz Flute
Prestant
Quartane II
Posaune
Trumpet
Clarion
Great Flues Suboctave

Choir
Stopped Diapason
Principal
Chimney Flute
Fifteenth
Nazard
Sesquialtera II
Mixture III
Cremona
Tremulant

West Positive
Gedecktpommer
Spitz Flute
Nazard
Doublette
Tierce
Septième
Cimbel III
Tremulant
Trompette Harmonique
Gt Flues on Manual IV
Gt Reeds on Manual IV

Couplers
West Positive to Great
Swell to Great
Manual IV to Choir
Swell to Choir
Manual IV to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Choir to Great
Great & Pedal Pistons Combined
Generals on Swell Toe Pistons

8
8
4

16
8
4



8
4
4
2
22/3


8
 
 

8
4
22/3
2
13/5
11/7

8

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