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Everything posted by MusingMuso

  1. This is precisely why I am concerned about such experimentations! Sorry, this is not true. A german romantic organ is still, while of course orchestral, a polyphonic organ. If the basses are too strong, the fault lies with the registration. ==================== Is Pierre suggesting that we should never play any music on any instrument not of the exact period and country? But Bach to Reger! Is Pierre suggesting that all Walcker organs were the same, right across the history of the company, or that they were never different from the earlier romantic organs of Germany save for the introduction of the Rollschweller? The organ at Doesburg Cathedral in the Netherlands, dates from circa.1914, and whilst the huge resonance of the building may contribute something to it, the lower registers are certainly not balanced by the brightness of the trebles at almost any dynamic level. Even using the metal basses and full pleno for the music of Bach, the effect is still bass heavy and indistinct. Lest we forget, Walcker experimented with draughts in chimmney-flues in his attempt to get the gravity he was looking for, and furthermore, the Pedal reeds are absolutely overwhelming at Doesburg. Make no mistake, it is a fine organ and makes many fine sounds, but Reger sounds a lot better elsewhere!! The trouble is, Reger was never much of an organist and he relied on Straube a great deal. Straube himself was keen to move away from the heavy romantic German organ, and the organ at Passau Cathedral had much to do with him. What we have to decide, as musicians, is whether we follow the ignorance of Reger as an organist (certainly not as a composer!) or the more enlightened understanding of Straube as a supreme organist and champion of Reger's music. I am not a great musicologist, but I believe that Reger revised certain works on the advice of Straube, so we have to understand that Reger's wonderful music for the organ was something of a team effort between the two men. So if Reger listened to the input from Straube enough to re-write certain things, and Straube wanted the sort of sound associated with Passau rather than an organ like Doesburg, who am I to challenge that? MM
  2. ================= Maybe going off at a slight tangent, it is interesting to note that Charles Brindley, who worked closely with Schulze at Doncaster, built instruments in which the Swell was usually very much softer than the Great, and the Choir organs more in the manner of Echo organs. There was a magnificent example of Brindley's post-Schulze work at Centenary Methodist Church, Dewsbury (W.Yorkshire), which had a similarly wonderful Great plenum to that found at Doncaster. MM
  3. This thing about British reed styles is quite interesting, because the original question was about the use of "French" and "Close toned" reeds on the same instrument. Well, maybe the answer is most obviously to be found on the organs of Arthur Harrison, where the flambouyant Swell reeds have real devil and splash, not far removed from French reeds or those of Fr.Willis, and yet, on the same instrument, those fairly close-toned Trombas, over-powerful Tubas and Pedal Ophicleides. The point about the Harmonics resgister (a type of Cornet with an added Septieme at 1.1/7th pitch.... is interesting, for it did limit the brightness of the Great choruses; reducing the effect of the higher pitches to almost a gentle tinkle, and in no way offending the blend of the Trombas. Arthur Harrison got away with this simply because he regulated his pipework to the n-th degree, and thus avoided a clash of tonal personalities....but was it ever ideal? I know that great discussions and experiments took place at the Norman & Beard works when close-toned reeds first became fashionable. The voicers were very aware of the problem of blend bwteeen them and the flue registers. All's well that ends well........we got cinema organs and endless hours of fun! (Marcel Dupre played one in Paris for a little while!) Who else could blend keen strings, mild Diapasons, heavy Tibias, thin Vox Humana sounds, spikey sounding Kinuras, Oboes, Clarinets,gentle Flutes, Dulcianas, Celestes, cloying Tubas and brash, flared Post Horns? It just had to be Hope-Jones and Wurlitzer! And who took over the Hope-Jones interests? Norman & Beard of course, who went on to make "Christie" theatre-organs when the company became Hill, Norman & Beard. MM
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