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Everything posted by sprondel

  1. Of course, with that organ, people tend to start their exploring elsewhere, in sound as well as in the space. Speaking of WMD. Best Friedrich
  2. Today, I found this. The Video is downloadable complete or just in sound; the downloads sound better than the video on the web. Lecturer and player perform quite brilliantly. To me and my continental ears, all of this is quite illuminating, even with Thistlethwaite’s voluminous book in the background (not to mention Stephen Bicknell’s wonderful “History”). Nice to hear Quinney’s remarks about boomy English basses, which by the way are quite attractive, apparently, to many continental organ lovers. Let me, however, wonder together with John where there is the next recording – all of Mendelssohn, a Bach P&F selection, some more recent pieces … Best, Friedrich
  3. Are there any recordings available of the Hill organ in St Mary-at-Hill, London, that was reconstructed by our hosts? As the church offers itself as a recording venue in the web, I expected to find some, but didn't. The history of that reconstruction reads quite interesting. One wonders how the first attempt could go that far astray. Best regards Friedrich
  4. Well, shouldn't that be an easy one? Do a reasonable, well thought-out rebuild/restoration for 1.5 or even 1.8 million, and set the remainder aside to support maintenance, a decent recital series along with the necessary PR work, an educational programme etc. If you spend it all on the product, and it finally sits there, not a single note has been played yet, let alone found its mark. Best wishes, Friedrich
  5. I think there is some truth in the observation that there are more people exposed to a broader repertoire of classical, or any type of, music than ever before in history. Summer festivals, for example, often sport sold-out recitals and stage performances. A nice setting definitely helps the experience. Subscription concerts and single recitals do not tell the whole story. There are also more young people learning the art, and there are more dedicated teachers, than ever before. Many of the students appreciate the experience that music is a broad experience of interrelated arts, artists, references, and communicative settings, and they seem to enjoy this multi-faceted experience immensely. Almost everyone who are not deprived of the most basic of cultural experience will, at some point in their development, find that good things take their time, and therefore will potentially be able to see what it means to make good music. There is a key phrase: "There is more to it than meets the eye." Any car mechanic or chef or software engineer or home-maker will readily be willing to say this about their professions. With music, and art in general, I believe it helps to make people see that there is indeed, and that entertainment is only one end of the story, and not even the most interesting one. For organists that may mean: Keep an open loft as often as possible, do concert workshops, show how you make your decisions by showing alternatives in registration, articulation, tempo etc. As an afterthought: Spending the last 17 months in the US, I was really frustrated to hear my little son's second grade teacher admit that she never went to a classical concert, and therefore saw no need for her class to go. That really got me thinking. It's not only the children that need exposure to art. The grown-ups often are just as needy! So why not invite the staff of the next-door school one day -- all of them, offering them free lunch-on-the-loft (and including a p.b.a.b. on the invitation)? Best, Friedrich
  6. Dear members, in case you haven’t heard: Things organic are getting in motion in St. Mary’s church, Lübeck. Last weekend, a symposium was held to open a discussion as to the future of the organs that are there now and that have both proven problematic, in different respects, over time. Details can be taken from this brochure that was published in preparation of the symposium. Pictures of the situation, historic and contemporary, appear on pages 11/12. In short: The church possessed a magnificent gothic case in the west and a smaller, part gothic, part renaissance case near the chancel. Both organs (Schulze 1854; Stellwagen and older 1655) were lost in the raid of Palm Sunday, 1942. Both organs (the large one in its pre-Schulze form) were played by, among others, Tunder, Buxtehude and, most probably, young Bach as well. The smaller of the two was reconstructed in 1955 in a modern case that was reminiscent of the historic one. The organ had been documented by the builder before it was lost. This documentation, supposedly including many details of the historic scaling, is apparently lost today. This new organ became increasingly unreliable and was, in 1985, replaced by another new one of considerably larger size and stylistic scope (IV/55). This, however, shows heavy growth of mold, that stubbornly withstood any treatment within the last decade. It is assumed that this is due to a cool and humid micro climate in the church’s north-east part, poor air circulation and tight pipe placement within the, rather elegant, case. In 1968, a large organ was completed high on the west wall. Many of you might have seen pictures of it; it was termed “the world’s largest with mechanical action”. The specification had been drawn up by organist Walter Kraft, who in 1973 was succeeded by Ernst-Erich Stender. Stender displayed both (or, successively, all three) organs with virtually the complete organ repertoire, along with many transcriptions, in an astonishing and incessant concert activity. The large organ was regularly and painstakingly maintained by two organbuilders. Nevertheless, its faults appear more and more irrepairable due to mostly poor material and construction. Musically, the organ is a very strange late child of the Orgelbewegung and suffers from narrow scaling and a repetetive scheme. The new, equally excellent organist, Johannes Unger, now opened up the field for discussion. On the German Pfeifenorgelforum, several vivid discussions were started (see, e. g., here and here) over tonal, architectural and liturgical concept. Recently, a member posted a four-part report of the symposium, richly illustrated (I, II, III, IV) and again followed by an ongoing discussion. Among many, forum member kropf, who faces his own complicated organ situation in Rostock, took part in it. Suggestions, at the symposium as well as on the forum, include reconstruction of the gothic case, of the Schulze instrument, an entirely new and modern organ in the west and a historically oriented one in the chancel or even on a screen (that was lost in 1942 and not reconstructed afterwards), or even more organs for several purposes (symphonic, meantone, choir accompaniment …) in different positions. I am posting this here as, firstly, this is one of the most important and most beautiful churches in northern Europe – and the organ situation is excitingly open right now. Secondly, I love the church and always was fascinated by its organ history. Perhaps some of you will become so as well, and even have opinions on the topic. Best wishes, Friedrich
  7. I thought, eerie but wow. I think that part of the piece is always good for a surprise, and there it was. Best, Friedrich
  8. Just now I am listening to Germani’s 1961 EMI Bach recordings, which were a shock to me as well when first I listened to them. They grew on me, however. First, it is the perfect playing of course, with that seamless and even legato and wonderful control of tempo, phrasing and articulation. The build-up in the passacaglia is really wonderfully done. Then, the bright choruses have that fine quality that conveys the actual pitch, without the reeds drawn, even in the most brittle of combinations. There must be some sophisticated mixture design behind that. The Solo chorus apparently plays a major role in Germani’s registration concepts. Furthermore, there is a balance of chorus reeds and mixturework that is rarely found in concert hall organs of that vintage. The 32-foot reed extension, of course, never sounds properly integrated, which was (if memory serves correctly) one of the major disappointments of the involvement of Rochesson. The De Doelen Flentrop at Rotterdam is, I think, the case of an excellent organ in the wrong venue – at least as concerns its role as an addition to a symphony orchestra. The organ in itself is magnificent in my ears, a Flentrop at the very best they could do. But it is not a concert hall organ. With that imposing reed battery, it will be able to make some effect with an orchestra, but generally, I would expect something with a bit more body and depth than that. Best, Friedrich
  9. It used to be. It appears to have been removed recently, probably due to the same circumstances. It was the most impressive recital, and well captured … pity. Best, Friedrich
  10. I think it would be unfair not to include John Scott in this – I found the Dupré Esquisses and the “Ad nos” fantasia quite daring and dramatic. Maybe it was not quite the feeling of him being totally at ease with the room that came from the other two – but I quite enjoyed John Scott’s impeccable sense of rhythm and timing, as demonstrated wonderfully in the E-flat P & F. To my ears, exactly these three players represent the very topmost choice of organists on the planet today (so congrats to the organizers). Of course, this is always an unfair judgement, as there are at least two generations of younger players some of which are promising at least … But still, it’s what I think. Best, Friedrich
  11. I listened, on i Player, to Thomas Trotter’s Reubke yesterday (the rest I heard the day before that) and am now listening to Latry’s recital, which I was extremely keen to hear. What I found most remarkable in Thomas Trotter’s playing was his Über-Legato that lent quite some (or, some more) drama to the Reubke, as playing that way tends to lead some players to permanent accellerando. I found it extremely exciting how Thomas Trotter controlled the tempo at all times, never allowing for gaps in the dramatic developments – sometimes he reacted so immediately that I was even shocked. One of the most dramatic Reubkes I ever heard! The organ sounded magnificent indeed, if not exactly romantic. A large classical organ, yes; but one with expressive qualities aplenty. The reed ensemble allows for great drama – even if you thought you arrived at full organ, there was still some angry snarl to be added (probably the Solo reeds and the 32-foot Bombarde extension). Quite often there were the sounds of harmonic flutes in different locations (judging from the BBC’s stereo arrangement), but in the stoplist, I found only one such stop on the Great. Are there more, masked under different names (« Fl. harm.-caméo »)? Latry, whom I listen to right now, just sounds fabulous, as ever. Super legato as well, but in such an effortless way. The ending of the first movement of the Messiaen: Can you, in any conceivable way, get a more organic crescendo out of any organ on classical lines? I think not … And shutter movement is only part of that effect, most of it is just articulation and breath. No, I do not miss reverb here. Everything appears so beautifully telling. He is one of the few players that make me forget about the instrument in questions, and enjoy and think of the music only. Can’t wait to hear « transports de joie »! Best, Friedrich
  12. Thanks for that – my non-builder imagination keeps grinding, though. Is this about finding an equilibrium with a trunk admitting enough wind at a sufficient pressure, or is it about the trunk being too narrow in some instances? What’s the difference between a rectangular and a circular cross-section? Thanks in advance, Friedrich
  13. See the series of fascinating construction photos on Dobson's website and decide for yourself. http://www.dobsonorgan.com/html/instruments/op91_merton/installation/op91_installation.html So this is the second substancial organ that came to Europe (which GB still belongs to, BTW, despite all efforts to change this) from an American builder. I am looking forward to read about how it will be received. As to the architecture – it was their choice. I tend to think that, in this area, creative impulses went mostly one-way. Best, Friedrich
  14. To get back to the original topic: A member of the German forum at orgel-information.de has e-mailed titulaire of the Vichy instrument and posted the reply on the forum. The gentleman claims that the first five notes (should be six, according to the addendum « 1er fa# » in the stoplist) of the Principal consist of Bourdon 16' + open 8'; in other words, the classical helper approach. Furthermore, everyone who knows the instrument seems to be quite excited about the effect of the 32-foot harmonics; it appears to work very well. Best, Friedrich
  15. Me too, and still have. What parts may have come from the retail chain figuring so prominently in the picture?
  16. Dear members, is there anyone (Nigel, perhaps?) who knows details about the Aubertin organ at Vichy? The stoplist gives the Pedal Principal, which is the only 16-foot flue in that division, as starting from F#. Nothing is being said there what that means precisely – front pipes, with the first six being inside or behind the towers or the main case? Or a rank that indeed lacks the first six notes? The latter would be rather improbable, considering the 10 2/3' + 6 2/5' and the GO’s being firmly based on a 16-foot flue. I also am under the impression that there is 16-foot tone present here (BWV 563, Vernet at Vichy, notes E, C#-D-E-F#). But the stoplist would not tell. Does anybody know anything about this? Thanks in advance, Friedrich
  17. That should be “God is with us”, as recorded at the inauguration o the then-new Klais in Birmingham Symphony Hall. Best, Friedrich
  18. I was more thinking of a more traditional English four-manual standard layout with Choir, Great, Swell and Solo on I, II, III and IV, and everything else floating (probably some Positiv and a nave division). Should that not do for almost everything that was required at Canterbury? In a special situation as that, even with five manuals you would have some divisions floating, at least the nave organ. As for Vierne, would re-assigning divisions not make it in fact easier to play music that was based on a overall three-manual standard with GO, Pos and Récit on I, II and III? Of course the resources of an English cathedral-style organ a different from that of a French c. 1900 one, but would you really need to re-orchestrate as much as to have five manuals at your disposition all the time? About unreliable steppers, of course that’s most annoying, but perhaps also a bit besides the point – sorry I brought that up. It was just to say that I thought life could be simpler for people with shorter arms, and a console might look less like “I have all that too!”. There are of course plenty of ways how to reliably re-assign divisions in a solid-state console. Best, Friedrich
  19. Good to hear that things seem to move on in Canterbury. Only one question, provocative perhaps: Who needs all those manuals in an organ with electric action, where it should be no problem to assign and re-assign keyboards and divisions by pressing the stepper? Best, Friedrich
  20. Now we know who paid for this organ from one of Europe’s, and probably the world’s, most expensive builders. Hats off! May many follow suit. Best, Friedrich
  21. Remember what you could read in “Organbuilding” after the restoration of the H&H in Ely cathedral? Sir Arthur Wills, when asked what he thought about the sound of the restored organ, replied: “Well, it sounds like a Harrison.” Best, Friedrich P. S. BTW, that’s another cherished Priory GEO volume, also pre-restoration.
  22. Priory’s Volume 1 from the Great European Organs series apparently was recorded in 1986. I always thought that the organ sounded quite spectacularly bright for sporting not more than two four-rank mixtures (20-sec. sample), and I was surprised how much heavier, overall more Edwardian, it sounded in the more recent Priory DVD (20-sec.sample). This exchange explains a lot of that impression. My thanks to all who contributed. BTW, another comparison is interesting. If you listen to Stephen Cleobury’s Elgar CD of 1984 (15-sec. sample) and to the GEO CD, the difference in the technical approach of the recording is quite remarkable. You’d hardly think it was the same instrument. Best, Friedrich
  23. I agree, it’s dreadful. There is a pretty good CD of Leguay improvising in his very special style on which you can hear the effect as recorded from the nave. If you look it up here, listen to the sample from track 6 – it might give you a better impression of the mutations. Best, Friedrich
  24. Reminds me of my playing symphonies by Vaughan Williams, Bax etc. to a friend who immediately responded “Why having the music and not the movie? That makes no sense!” Even if it might not really help: Mutations happened to be there first, then came electronics that used the same effects. The 16' and 32' mutations at Notre-Dame sound just terrific in that space (not: in that video, even if it gives you an idea how well these ranks work conjuring up a fundamental that actually is not there). I like it. I like variety. Foundations are fine, reeds too, but why not having a different colour, smoother than reeds, brighter than foundations, and all colour? Best, Friedrich
  25. Don’t. You might find yourself, as I did, in a respected church where the pastor casually refers to “Christ’s birthday” being 24 December, with you being the only one in the congregation challenging the date. Best, Friedrich
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