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Pierre Lauwers

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Everything posted by Pierre Lauwers

  1. I do not condemn any organ, but the ideologies around them. If I disagree with a Bach-CD on a Gonzalez (but not in a recital of course), I can appreciate it greatly in Messiaen ! (I actually do like many Gonzalez organs, even later ones, like in Beauvais for example, where Jennifer Bate made an excellent series of Messiaen recordings which is among the references). A Bach fugue played Legato with the same tempo from A to Z ? I call that "Campbell's soup". Indeed, the good recordings of Bach are extremely rare.... Here is one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPnVuoqArXo It is played well-detached; the tempo is not rigid. Hence, the music lives, breathes, despite an actually very heavy, rich organ (like all organs Bach played...). All te voices are recognizable, you can hear all the notes. If you play this Legato, it becomes an unintelligible mess, the kind of things people say they like it "because it is Bach", politely, while actually they are bored with it and wait for the Widor Toccata which is due afterwards! I come back to this: "Doesn't this particular instrument actually have mechanical key action (with the keys of all three coupled manuals moving)? Although the music would obviously work just fine on a pneumatic instrument as well, this example perhaps wasn't the best choice (?). " This 1891 organ is indeed pneumatic. (Later addition): I am wrong here ! I checked it, and I am one year wrong: the introduction of the pneumatic action by Sauer dates 1892, not 1891 ! So this organ still has mechanichal Kegelladen. But the point here was the kind of playing, which is the one suited to pneumatic actions. Pierre
  2. Indeed, but this is the reality; things are not simple, and we must deal with complexity and paradoxes. Once we realize that, the chances are better to make less mistakes. Pierre
  3. There are no "good" nor "bad" periods ! Once this is accepted, the personnal bias become less problematic. Pierre
  4. The question to have both worlds in one organ has been answered since the neo-classical organs have been built: as a "play-it-all" instrument, it is a complete failure. The real organ lovers won't ever accept it again -and we are your customers, after all-. If I see a Reger or Bach CD recorded on such an organ, I refuse to buy it, it is as simple as that. (Of course, if it is Messiaen, Duruflé, I WILL listen to it, and buy it if I like it!). So we need both kinds of instruments. Would you imagine for a nanosecond something like this little gem with pipes attacking with chiffs ? This would be like a Bach Fugue played Legato from the first to the last note with the same Tempo... Pierre
  5. Well, I think we know a bit more about historic organs today as we dis 20 years ago.... A demonstration of this would obtain if only our host could be left alone (with his team) at Doncaster for a year of two. I suspect the results would convince anyone.... "In any case, where does one draw the line? (In the sense of a time-line.) To what point in a particular instrument's history should it be restored. Where is the line drawn regarding any subsequent additions or alterations, particularly if they themselves exhibit a high degree of craftsmanship and have formed a pert of the instrument for many years?" (Quote) During the neo-baroque period, the answer was simple: the organs had to be rebuilt back to the state it was in during the "good" period ! (With "improvements" of course: Schnitger or Dom -Bédos-like Mixtures in flemish organs, for example...) Now we reckon the question is slightly more complicated ! A majority of organs are made of several historic layers, and the decision must be made individually for each organ. Often, several layers must be kept togheter in order not to spoil valuable Substanz. Anyway, the times when hundreds ancient pipes were melted down "because they belonged to a bad period" are over.......EUH......*SHOULD* be over.....(even in W..., euh, well...) Pierre
  6. The "response" you expect today (repetition in rapid traits, ornamentation etc) is not the kind of which the organists of the late-romantic period wanted. Indeed, it is documented baroque organs were given pneumatic actions in order to "smoothen" them, to have "rounded" attacks ! (something I won't advocate, of course, as I would have preffered the late-romantics to have left the ancient organs alone, while concentrating with the construction of new organs after their style, so that we would have inherited of both...) The time was one of slow, Legato playing; the aim was dignity, Grandeur and "Churchy roll". Something like this: As opposed to this: We deal with two different worlds, that need to be considered, and respected, on their own. Pierre
  7. "However, for whatever reason, a few years after the restoration, there was a marked decrease in both relaibility and response. " (Quote) Then, there is a specific problem with that organ. Like with whatever system, there can obtain a design weakness, a material weakness, a workmanship weakness, that we here of course do not know, as we are hundred miles away from the place. This problems belongs to the colloque singulier, the private relationship between the builder in charge and the church, not us here in the open space. But what we do know is this: as many differing pneumatic systems can work perfectly, the problem obtains not "because the action is pneumatic" (ideology), but because there is that specific, peculiar problem, and the principle of the pneumatic action isn't to be questionned. Pierre
  8. I suggest you print this thread and show it to the people in charge. Pierre
  9. Cynic's comment reflect fully the state of the thinking here today, and I fully support them. Pierre
  10. "Could you enlarge on why it was considered a mistake to electrify pneumatic actions, please? (Are we talking about electrifying the primaries, incidentally?)" (Quote) It was customarily in Belgium to "electrocute" pneumatic organs for decades (about since WWII up to the la te 1980s). We had indeed excellent electro-pneumatic actions, built after the example from Klais in the Kristuskoning kerk in Antwerpen, built already in 1930. And then.... We realized 1)- We still had pneumatic organs that were "forgetted" during that time. Some, especially the ones built by Kerkhoff of Brussels, still worked after 50 years of complete neglect, not even a tuning, and under tens of centimeters of dust. A little basic maintenance job sufficed to have them in a pristine state back ! We knew then of no other system that could cope with that that way. The germans did the same discovering, as there too, there were builders that had excellent systems (Walcker, Sauer, Röver, Schlimbach, Gebrüder Link, of whom we also have such organs in Belgium that are now cherized and protected to the point they have their Facebook pages, and others...) And as some of these excellent pneumatic organs, especially the ones that were in "fashionnable" places, have, though, been condemnen and changed, sometimes for *things* that did not present a tenth of the actual value of the pneumatic jobs they replaced, we had to come to the conclusion the condemnation of the pneumatic action was a fully ideological one. 2)- The touch of a pneumatic organ still gives a dedicate contact with the pipes. It is of course a delayed one, which was considered as a fault. But we know today it is not a fault. Even in tracker organs, the couplers never have all the manuals working at the same time; there is always a little temps perdu, this a mechanical necessity. In pneumatic organs this comes as a slight "offset" between divisions, whose effect can be particularly interesting in certain kinds of music -among which the british choral music !!!- as "waves of sound" as opposed to the Kalachnikov's attacks of neo-baroque organs. So the pneumatic action has its sense, value and place musically. "Of course there are builders who can rebuild pneumatic actions - our own hosts did a superb job at Bristol Cathedral. However, the action needed very regular maintenance and adjustment." (Quote) Like all up-to-date, Premium organ-builders of today, Mr Mander of course restore pneumatic actions. And you can be sure that if he does so, it is not to deliver jobs who requires fine-adjustements the every next month, but something that works. Pierre
  11. As you say: it does not work since some years. And what did it do before ? Pierre
  12. Indeed, Contrabombarde, I know the things aren't that simple. My point is, it is not wise to equal "historic" with "unreasonable-expansive". There have been countless "reasonable" rebuilds that only led to more expansive corrections later. In our areas here the other side of the Chunnel, it has been recognized since some time that electrifying pneumatic organs is a mistake; so why go on ? There are organ-builders nowadays who can rebuild pneumatic actions from A to Z; if the design in that organ is flawed, it can be bettered, without changing the pressures, the voicing, and the action feel. And that is what counts, as we know today the touch and the voicing of pneumatic organs are peculiar, and cannot be preserved if going electric. Pierre
  13. Well, I really think you should wait a bit more before restoring that organ. And yes, the financial "crisis" (let me laugh out loudly, there is no "crisis", only cleverer guys going away with the money) should limit the choices. And the less expansive solution is of course not to change the action. As for the organ being elevated, preventing any flooding to reach it, this won't empeach the moisture in the building to cause damages, as any organ-builder will tell you. Pierre
  14. As Mr Kropf demonstrated it, to build new pneumatic actions is no more something extraordinary today; besides this, in a place subjected to floodings, it is not sure an electric action were a good idea.... Pierre
  15. "what would one use it for?" (Quote) With a baroque as well with any other organ, one register from the bottom; first, the 8', last, the Mixture. Not even a neo-baroque player would draw the mixture first, and the 8' as a climax..... And where lies the Sesquialter ? Right between the foundation stops and the mixture. So draw the conclusions for yourself. (Added later): Pierre
  16. Mind you, MM, Even that one we on the other side of the Chunnel are busy to take over: (It was loooooong due !) Pierre
  17. 1)- The flemish Renaissance organ did not have a Larigot, but a quint 1 1/3'; 2)- The 1630 Marseille organ belongs to the italian Orgellandschaft, and, there too, this 1 1/3' is not a Larigot, but belongs to a Ripieno (The italian organ style was dominant in that area up to the 18th century) (Later added): What is interesting with that matter is the distinction between Flute and Principal mutation stops. The ancients always made clear distinction between the two, and they never gave the same name to stops which belonged to one family or another: A 2 2/3' Quint was not a Nasard, or a Nassat A 1 1/3' Quint was not a Larigot A three-rank Sesquialtera ( 2 2/3'-2'- 1 3/5') was named Cornet if it were flutey The Flute mutation stops were a specialty of the flemish ancient builders, who invented the Cornet 5r as we know it. But they were actually limited in number; besides the Cornet, the Nasard and the Tierce, and the Larigot a bit later, that was it. The others mutation stops we know (distinct from the Mixtures also) are the Sesquialter(a), the Terzian, plus the same under some others fancy names, not to mention the single-rank stops (Quint, Tierce-Terz, Ripieno ranks named after their place in the chorus): all those stops belonged to the Principal chorus, and I guess that "Bottleneck effects" ("buzzle in a bottle") like 8'- 1 1/3' registrations, though they are documented to have been known and used in the baroque period, have been but few used. It is also interesting to note that the german late-baroque builders, when they received the french Cornet and Jeu de tierce ( 8-4-2 2/3-2- 1 3/5 in seperate stops) through G. Silbermann, very quickly built them with narrower scales as their french models, so that they were both usable as solo stops AND parts of the Principal chorus; this is a distinctive trait of the Joachim Wagner organ of Angermünde, for example. And here the neo-baroque period erred completely, hence an huge confusion afterwards; we have countless modern "Sesquialter" that are actually Nasard+ Tierce on the same slide. The neo-baroques could not imagine something like a tierce in the Principal chorus, so the Sesquialter had to be a Solo stop ! (Dupré having said: "no tierce in the chorus, the only good tierce is a Flute one", and so on, imagining that the french rules from the 18th century applied to all baroque organ styles). A funny, really entertaining experience was to see those 1970 experts presented with a flemish baroque organ with a Sesquialter stop; indeed, the pipes were narrow-scale, obviously principals. Moreover, there was a break towards the middle of the compass, from 1 1/3'- 4/5' to 2 2/3'- 1 3/5'.....And when you asked them "what was intended with that stop? Chorus or Solo use ?" their only answer was "We do not know, there is nothing documented" !!!! (note: 4 ! today) Pierre
  18. ....Not in France indeed !!! Pierre
  19. The Terzian is also made of Principal pipes, and belongs to the Principal chorus. Pierre
  20. "to convert the instrument to electropneumatic or direct electric action. " (Quote) Please !!!!! Either wait 10 years more, so that the ideas might evolve somewhat, either forget that idea at once. This would equal to kill that organ, as we now know it nowadays. Pierre
  21. It is a tipical british late romantic stop made of small scale pipes, treated after the Dulciana manner. The most cases I have met with did not have a tierce rank, contrarily to the german equivalent (Harmonia aetherea, though I have seen such stops without tierce as well). The pitches are relatively low, you can have for example 2 2/3'-2'- 1 1/3' on C. The effect is an "echo" one, that is, this Mixture, combined with soft 8' and 4' ( not always Dulcianas, though there is normally at least one at 8'), provides the effect of a complete Diapason chorus coming from a next room. Really great, and badly needed in modern organs. Pierre
  22. I'd first have the Clarinet back on that Positive, and, if the room permits, a Dulciana mixture instead of the 5,999.999th nasard and tierce on earth. (Alternatively; Harmonia aetherea, 2 2/3'- 2'- 1 3/5', Dulciana scales, very soft and sweet) Pierre
  23. Indeed ! And perhaps the most spectacular of those choruses is this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8A07eFGB-c (among the baroque organs) Pierre
  24. The tierce in the Principal chorus -either in the mixtures themselves, either in others stops, Sesquialtera, Terzian, independant 1 3/5'- is to be find nearly everywhere, save in french, castillan (central Spain) and italian organs (with exceptions there!), so that it can be held for the "normal" case. The french Plein-jeu is not suited to the polyphony, it is only to be played in chords. And here is the reason for the presence of the tierce rank in the chorus in a majority of organ styles: quint mixtures are bright, yes, but do nothing for the lisibility. With italian organs, the Ripieno design allows the organist to avoid the higher-pitched ranks, and this is what they do with polyphonic music. When you hear Bach on a thuringian organ (or a J. Wagner in Brandenburg), you soon realise how the tierce ranks help you to distinguish the voices even in loud registrations. Pierre
  25. The Larigot was a little flûte. Yes there were "Largo" and the like in Bach organs, which were synthese organs from about all european areas ! And exactly like in modern synthese organs, those stops differed sometimes much from the original ones. Pierre
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