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About sprondel

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    Berlin, Germany
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    Friedrich Sprondel. Grew up in a Orgelbewegung environment with organs by Paul Ott and Flentrop. Interested in everything organ-related from an early age, learned to play the violin. Read Musicology, later a freelance musicologist, journalist, musician, and orchestra dramaturg. Worked with the journal "Orgel International".

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  1. Hello Niccolo, someone got back to me and helped clearing matters up a bit. There are several extended ranks or units: Trumpet 32-16-8-4, Double Open Bass 32-Open Diapason 16-Open Diapason II 8, Bourdon 32-16-8. The first 12 of the 32-foot flues are actually wired Quint combinations. The Trumpet 16-8-4 unit went in when the organ was first installled in 2008 in its original case, the 32-foot octave was added with the later enlargement. The Tuba has its own short chest just between the case and the southern wall of the transept. About what fits, or may fit, into a case, opinions
  2. Someone from the German Pfeifenorgelforum commented yesterday on how cute the ears looked on the bottom right pipe. Indeed. Best wishes, Friedrich
  3. Fraser has become a staple in the German online organ community over the last one to two years. What I like about him is how he embraces the many facets of the German organ culture, as you can easily see from his many organ portraits. They cover a huge spectrum, including organ reform instruments, your basic seventies or eighties parish church German organ, organs built specially for contemporary music, the pseudo-French giant at Bonn-Beuel and now Gackenbach. I suspect you won't find many colleagues of German origin with such open enthusiasm and relaxed attitude to diverse concepts and repert
  4. Well, St Stephen’s is a very large and acoustically difficult space, in fact quite cavernous, built from rather porous limestone that tends to swallow up much of the sound energy. kropf knows it intimately, perhaps he could provide some more specific insight. I think it is exactly the kind of space that needs an awful lot of organ, and especially a Great division that can sing out from pole position, if you want to arrive at anything approaching a satisfactory musical experience. I am quite sure that this was the rationale for massaging the huge Great into that very narrow space. I wish I coul
  5. Internally, the organ is laid out quite interestingly. The arch under which the instrument sits has another connection about 5 ft behind the main façade of the organ, a diaphragm arch 5 ft deep and 10 feet high where it connects to the pillars on either side (scroll down on this page to see it during construction of the new organ). This arch, hidden by organ cases for centuries, posed severe acoustical problems for the 1960 organ, as most of the pipework was placed behind it. The arch, needless to say, is indispensable for the statics of the building. Rieger, however, managed to get their
  6. Is it just me, or is there anyone else who also can’t unsee the sleeping monkey king in this curious case? Just wondering. All best wishes, Friedrich
  7. I love this one. A showpiece indeed, if rather an inverted-flamboyant one. https://www.dropbox.com/s/mwu1n68ezbvfb2o/02 Raitio_ Canzonetta.mp3?dl=0 All best wishes, Friedrich
  8. I just found an older comment in another (now defunct) forum in which an organbuilder suggested that the »Terz« approach worked best when applied to the first 24 or 30 notes, from there continuing in pure octaves, so that the beats won’t increase at the former rate. More than one other contributor back then wrote, however, that they tuned individual notes, just by ear, the only condition being that the ranks are positioned sufficiently far apart from each other. All best wishes, Friedrich
  9. In German organbuilding, there is the term “Terzschwebung”, and I understand that this is the most frequent method of celeste tuning. It refers to the tuning process: Both ranks are pulled, and a major third is played; in the sharp rank, the upper pipe is silenced, while in the unison rank the lower one is. Then both remaining pipes are tuned to a pure major third by way of sharpening the celeste pipe. For a flat celeste, the silencing would be done the other way round. That way, the beats per note will increase with the pitch in a pleasant way, and it’s quite easily done. Is this the usu
  10. In an interview in Orgel International, Olivier Latry repeatedly mentioned Messiaen using his own recordings as points of reference. Apparently, when discussing the music, he sometimes turned to his wife, asking her how again he had done it for HMV’s « Messiaen par lui-même ». So, peculiar as they appear to be when compared to the printed music, he considered them to be of prime importance. On the other hand, he seems to have been very pleased when he witnessed dedicated performers such as Jennifer Bate or Almut Rössler playing his works. Rössler recorded them on three instruments that we
  11. In fact, additional to the Guillou recordings (Mussorgsky & Stravinsky, Bach), there are a number of recordings by Ulrich Meldau with orchestral repertoire (Dupré & Demessieux, Bossi, Bartmuß). Gunther Rost recorded one of his Petr Eben CDs there (Job), and there are recordings of light music by Ursula Hauser and of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s organ music by Livia Mazzanti; David Zinman conducted Strauss’s Festival Prelude there. Apart from the Guillou recordings, however, I consider Keith John’s GEO portrait for priory the most spectacular (Mussorgsky & Alain, Trois danses). Thus,
  12. First part of the question: As far as I can say, no, they haven’t. It is still up to the builder, consultant and buyer and their mutual relationship to determine specifics such as the use of space in any case, be it new or existing. At some point, the builder might point out that for many reasons he would rather have more space than still more ranks to fit in, and hopefully the consultant will go along with that. As to secure access, I am not sure if there are regulations, but I suspect there are – here a builder might be able to tell more. Second part of the question: Yes and no. Ches
  13. No. 5 is really grand and dramatic, with lots of fire in the first movement and Scherzo and an enormous and well-orchestrated climax in the finale. The second movement, Adagio con espressione, is quite worthwhile as well. My favourite Guilmant sonata by far. Get Michael Schönheit’s recording from the Leipzig Gewandhaus—surprising choice of instrument as it may be, it is incredibly intense throughout. The Morceau de concert op. 24 is a fine piece which works with two subjects and their combination (as do several movements of the 5th sonata). Best wishes Friedrich
  14. The opening recital by Iveta Apkalna can be listened to here (link expires in four days or so). Between pieces, there are interviews (in German) with Apkalna and Philipp Klais. Another Philipp Klais portrait, quite extensive and in German, can be found here, with three decades or so of Klais recordings’ worth included. He comes across as a nice enough chap, though if you compare contents and key phrases between interviews, you notice that he has his talking points well prepared and apparently repeated over and over again. No wonder considering the media coverage of the new hall, which cove
  15. Plug-and-play would be quite improbable, since there are so many variables – or rather, so many ways in which a second-hand rank, without any adapting, may not fit in. What system was the rank voiced on, and what system will have to accommodate it? On what pressure was it voiced originally? Will its speech and scaling support blend with its new neighbours? Maybe there would be a chance if the second-hand rank and your instrument were made by the same builder at approximately the same time, so that the same pipe-makers and voicers might have been involved, the same chest system was used and
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