Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by sprondel

  1. [erroneously cloned from previous post, deleted]
  2. It is not, but is in keeping with many organs of the time and area. Immediately after Arnstadt, Bach came to Mühlhausen, where he played a luxurious 16, 16, 8, 4, 1, IV, 16, 8, 2, and still desired a 32 flue; and after that, in Weimar, where he was court organist and apparently wrote most of his organ music, it was something like 32, 16, 8, 16, 8, 4. One of his late favourites, at Naumburg (1746), had 16, 16, 16, 8, 8, 4, 2, VII, 32, 16, 8, 4. Not to mention the Hamburg instruments of St Katharinen – which he expressedly loved – and St. Jakobi with their »Greats for the feet«. So, Arnstadt cannot be used against the assumption that Bach liked a good lot of pedal. Of course, and what you specify is met, e. g., by most of Silbermann's two-manuals. But those were really small, had big pedal sounds available (open wood Subbasses and large Posaune and Trompete reeds), and a coupler Gt to P with its own wind box and valves. Furthermore, in service they were used to play improvised pre- and postludes and accompany Figuralmusik and not much more. From a cathedral organ, I expect grandeur, not coupling. I am with MM here. You cannot get from a coupled-down or borrowed manual 16' or 8' flue, let alone a reed, what is needed in the pedal, not without painful musical compromises. Cavaillé-Coll's pedal organs can get a lot of work done before any tirasse comes into play, due to healthy scales, soft but growing volume and proper winding – and, quite often, a 4' flue rank. I admit, I love well-developed pedal lines and must keep myself from humming along with them. I do suffer when I hear a Bach prelude where there is no proper Posaune to carry a grand chorus, and where the Swell Fagotto, even with the Trumpet drawn, has to meagerly substitute for what's missing down there. I love good pedal principals 16+8+4 providing a healthy, un-coupled fundament for anything. That's proper, to my ears. Best, Friedrich
  3. Well, thank YOU – was fun to write, and I like Motette' presentation of the booklet. I found Winfried Bönig's own written remarks on the musical realisation highly interesting, considering the extreme organ situation he has in Cologne. Best, Friedrich
  4. Is it Stephen's design altogether? Or was it just the case? I keep reading and re-reading what he had to say about organbuilding. I wish he was still among us, just to learn from his knowledge and jugdement. Best, Friedrich
  5. It reads a little like a Lewis scheme, but I seem to be far too continental to identify it. Best, Friedrich
  6. Well, all these read as British as they come. I like AJJ's attempt at more chorus versatility, and want to try something similar, except for some details. Also, I'll try to remain within the 35-stops range. I Choir (expressive, but placed in the front, above or below the Great) 8' Gemshorn 8' Bourdon 4' Principal 4' Flute 3' Nasat 2' Waldflöte 1 3/5' Tierce IV Sharp mixture 8' Cromorne Tremulant III/I, IV/I II Great 16' Open diapason 8' Open diapason 8' Rohrflöte 4' Principal II Grave Mixture (2 2/3') V-VI Mixture 16' Double Trumpet 8' Trumpet I/I, III/II, Sub III/II III Swell 16' Bourdon 8' Open flute 8' Gamba 8' Céleste 4' Principal 2' Fifteenth II Sesquialtera 16' Trumpet 8' Oboe Tremulant IV/III, Super III/III IV Solo (enclosed in Choir box) 8' Flûte harmonique 8' 'Cello 8' Solo Trumpet (unenclosed, hooded or horizontal) Super IV/IV Pedal 16' Double Open Metal 10 2/3' Quint 8' Flute 4' Octave flute 32' Basson 16' Bombarde I/P, II/P, III/P, IV/P Super III/P, Super IV/P Compasses will have to be 61/32. Now I'd love to add a treble Cornet to the Great, as well as Trumpets of different colour to the Choir, Swell and Pedal, but the 35 are full, so couplers will have to fill in. Tracker action, maybe assisted for the Great couplers, and a case, with the Pedal behind, I thought essential; also, to provide an un-coupled tutti on the Great and Pedal, and to have the Pedal mostly independent by having large-scale, but not too loud flues at 16, 8 and 4; more definition can be provided by the Solo 'Cello. Full Swell might need the octave coupler, a Willan or Whitlock string flood might be obtained by the same and the Swell coupled to the Great at 16. As in all "multum in parvo" attempts, much would depend on scaling and voicing – just think what tasks will have to be met by the three 16' flues alone. Best, Friedrich
  7. Has this already been mentioned on the forum? It contains another Lemare roll (Mendelssohn, Ruy Blas overture). The organ is mostly in splendid shape and tune; sometimes you notice compass limitations in the treble (Reger, Benedictus). The tempo in the Lemare arrangement is as fast as it is in the Bach pieces mentioned above. Perhaps we shouldn't forget that virtuoso piano training was behind all this, and in Lemares times was still much influenced by the brilliant style established by players like Hummel and Mendelssohn, and continued by the likes of Clara Wieck and Sigismund Thalberg. I for one find nothing wrong with the D major, except for the tuning of course. You may argue that the piece has virtuosity written all over it, and play it accordingly. Best Friedrich
  8. I'm glad you succeeded ordering the CD! Let us know what you think of it, eventually. It's the first one with Klais's new west-end Tubas on it (for the BWV 29 Sinfonia, arranged neither by Guilmant nor by Dupré). Best, Friedrich
  9. Dear John, this is quite peculiar, since the CD is a very recent one. You may find it here on amazon.de. Please contact me privately in case you do not succeed there. BTW, smashing CD. Best, Friedrich
  10. It's obviously played by heart – he takes a wrong turn at the end of the Allegro con fuoco and manages only just to go back on track. Same on the very last page of the score – with quite surprising results! It's strange how many players jump into an Allegro which is just not there in b. 16, as Guillou does here – it is still Grave, nothing else is given. But I definitely love his rendering of the initial Grave – and the Bassoon-Sound he finds for the bass is just stunningly orchestral! Best, Friedrich
  11. Oh, I liked this part best: "He hated Vaughan Williams and Elgar. Vaughan Williams wrote some gorgeous music." Reads like a find in a dusty corner of The Abandoned School's Music Department. (Oh golly, now I am going to be sued, only I wouldn't know for what, and neither would any judge or jury in the universe.) There can't be much fun in the life of the poor chap – except for all the cherished Puccini moments, and oh what a moral and sincere fellow he was! Best, Friedrich P. S. To make this a little more on-topic, wait till I tell you all my stories about Nowowiejski! Just to give you a foreshadowing: I simply know his music is all wrong, wrong, wrong! P. P. S. It is true: RVW did write some gorgeous music. Forget his left-wing attitudes.
  12. Maybe he doesn't count either, because he actually presided an organists' school for some time. I often found organ music from non-organist composers to be lacking on the emotional side – as if only experienced organists had the means to create emotional depth in this instrument. Ginastera's Toccata, Villancico y Fuga just goes in the one ear and leaves by the other, touching nothing in between (well, that may be due to a lack of what's there, of course, but hopefully …). More often than not, I feel like that with Liszt, "Weinen, klagen" being the single exception. I am still struggling with finding a way into Novák's triptych. If this was a rule, then there were at least two important exceptions: Brahms as a non-organist composer on the one hand, whose organ music I find highly emotional; and on the other hand, Nowowiejski as an organist-composer, whose extensive organic essays never fail to leave me utterly bored. Best, Friedrich
  13. Hans Peter Reiners – who presided for four decades over the large French-style Oberlinger organ at St. Joseph Bonn-Beuel and managed an incredible recital programme there, that included simply all of the names of modern French organ playing – has turned 65, and is now going to enjoy his live as a pensioneer. Some of you may know him. However, to celebrate this change, he managed to organise an high-level organ marathon (see here) that took place in Bonn-Beuel last sunday. you may witness what three top-notch players and close friends of Hans Peter (along with a congregation of several hundreds) had to say about that – entirely enjoying themselves doing so. Best, Friedrich (who wasn't there as he had to mind the baby, but is glad to have been given this URL)
  14. Just what I feared when reading about Lehman. The doodle dam broken, once and for all. Good thing Bach didn't have a telephone or at least did not pass on his notepad to the next generation! Or was it a good thing? Maybe if he had passed it on, we now knew for sure just when he confessed to Leonardo da Vinci that all his works were actually written by Anna Magdalena, including those from his first marriage and before. Knowing this, we of course can imagine that he had lots of time at his hands to encode her masterworks. I don't know, however, how she reacted when she found her beautiful stretto cut from the AoF! Tief ist der Brunnen der Vergangenheit. Best, Friedrich
  15. Is it "Why?" or "How?" The stoplist, when counted the usual way, gives about 4700 pipes (manual ranks * 61 except the Dessus, which I counted with 37 keys, c' to c''''; pedal ranks * 32), give and take some (can't figure out the 3 to 5 ranks mixture in the Récit); or rather give some, since the trebles of the reeds most probably contain several ranks of flue pipes, so that we shall easily arrive at about 5000 pipes, or just below. If there are more, then there must be multiple-rank foundations somewhere (perhaps in the diapason choruses and/or display pipes), and/or helpers in the doubles (height is limited, I understand), or something else I can't think of which makes the pipe count go up. Or it's just boasting. (Or my maths are foul, which is well possible.) Best, Friedrich
  16. I did use the Denkmäler-Ausgabe as well, as it is available from IMSLP and, by some lucky coincidence, even from my bookcase. Yes, translating generally earns bad pay and does not suffice to make one's living. As for me, I do it occasionally to earn a little extra, and mainly stick to writing introducory notes for concerts and recordings. My favourite is introducing audiences to programmes – it's really fun, and if you love the music, you rarely fail to induce love, or at least pleasure and interest, in the listeners. Best, Friedrich
  17. Why, thank you. Friedrich
  18. Just for the fun of it -- I make my living with this kind of thing, you know, only usually the other way round (from your beautiful language to mine). This is rather a word-by-word translation. I could not venture to capture the spirit of baroque, ornamental writing in English, so please do make corrections. In case you were to print the translation, it would be kind, however, if you put my name under it. Best, Friedrich The fatally ill, and again healthy, Hiskias To piety, great promises are made. A life both earthly and eternal is called for her recompensation. She has hand and seal on it: Godliness serves well in everything and carries the promise of this life and the coming one. However, counting the years of God's pious children, I sometimes find that an ungodly one is much in the advantage, as in other earthly goods, so in health and longevity. Who does not know King Hiskias? Was he not, among the anointed, a rare example of godliness? The spirit of God gave him testimony by which his glory became immortal. It testifies that this potentate made the will of God his only aim in all his concerns, that he suppressed the service of the false gods, trusted in God and led a life as was not equaled by another king in Juda. However, I mostly have to count him among those to whom the star of earthly happyness rises but rarely. He indeed did not suffer from lack of wealth and honor, but lived to see some storm of ill fate. How many rioting enemies did not disturb his quiet soul time and again! Then, considering his old age, I find a poisonous worm of illness stinging him all too soon, so that even in the noon of his life, he was told that his days were to end before long, and that he was not to rise before the day of judgement. Isaias was God's messenger to deliver this message in the name of his high commander: Have your house prepared, for you will die, and not live. I do not notice, now, in this patient a movement as strong as in Belshazzar, who grew pale and could not keep still his limbs from horror when seeing the Finger writing his sentence on the whitewashed wall. However, I see that Hiskias is in no little excitement over this, as is proven by the tears flowing from his eyes, and by his other saddened gestures. But he does not yield to despair, as he knows well the way to the foremost medico. To Him, he laments his ailment and asks for help eagerly. He pleads his leading a faultless life, and his heart having always been true to God. By this, he easily wins the heart of the, as ever loving, heavenly physician. As the Prophet, having hardly left the patient's threshold, is ordered to turn around and tell the king in the kindest way that he was God's dearest child and the prince of his people: His prayer and plead having penetrated the clouds, and he shall be in good health again, and visit the House of the Lord on the third day, and his capital will be spared from the Assyrian king. This wondrous help God confirms by an uncommon miracle of nature. He gives him a number to remember, which the number of his days will surpass in proportione sesquialtera; as the shadow on Aha's sundial will walk backwards by ten hours, and by this advises him that the hour of his death will lie 15 years ahead. What joy this prolongation of his life must have inspired in him, only those will understand who have learned from sickness about the preciousness of health an life. (1) The heart of king Hiskias saddened over the news of his imminent death, and the eager prayer for his health, in a lamento on the verse: Heil du mich lieber Herre (Cure me, o dear Lord), from the hymn: Ach Herr mich armen Sünder (O Lord, help thy poor sinner). (2) His trust that GOD will have received his prayer and surely shall return him to good health, as well as give him rest from his enemies, in the verse: Weicht all ihr Übeltäter, mir ist geholfen schon (Away, you evildoers, I was helped already), from the same hymn. (3) The joy about his recovery, during which he sometimes remembers the evil bygone, but soon forgets it again.
  19. Jürgen Wolf, organist at the (now) "Porsche"-Orgel in Leipzig, St. Nikolai, recorded a wonderfully dark and slow Brahms set of op. 122, along with the Reubke, a few years ago, when the organ was still awaiting reconstruction. Even though the action is a bit noisy, the colours of that organ give the music a mournfully, black-veiled air that really is the antithesis of any neo-baroque misunderstanding of these gorgeuos pieces. The Reubke, however comes off a little inert. Anyway, the set appears to be out of trade, but I still cherish it. Best, Friedrich
  20. About recording and cuts in a performance, three stories spring to my mind. I used to work for a small record company (Ars Musici), and when they were about to close down, got the opportunity to have a look at the score archive. I found, among other things, a protocol score of a Beethoven quartet where, in the slow movement, there were up to four cuts per measure throughout. The protocol belonged to a recording that turned out to be brilliant, won several prizes and sounds fantastic indeed. And yes, cutting appears to be quite difficult in organ music. On Heinz Wunderlich's (otherwise flawless) early Reger recordings at the Kemper in St. Jakobi, Hamburg, there are few but clearly audible cuts, given away be the reverberation, or the lack thereof. I have a recording of the Mussorgsky "pictures", done in a West-German concert hall, recorded by a top-notch company and played by a concert organist who is quite busy as teacher and recitalist. I always wondered why the recording sounded so entirely uninteresting -- until I heard him play the piece live at the cathedral in my home town. I had never heard so sloppy playing in my life. On leaving after the recital, I met an organist friend, who, instead of a greeting, just said: "What was that?!" If his playing was like that for the recording as well, I assume that it was cut to shape, so to speak, with the said pale result. But this is only a suspicion. Best, Friedrich
  21. This is a tough one. When I think about the organists with which I was most impressed live and on recordings, I find it hard to make a choice. I hardly found fault with anything Latry ever recorded, but his Duruflé is the best I ever heard. (Beats John Scott's by so much as a nose's length -- though "beats" is the wrong word, they are both just brilliant.) Graham Barber's Whitlock, especially the sonata at Downside Abbey. Vernet's late Bach at Grauhof. Kynaston's recordings of virtuoso Italian music (Bossi, Respighi, Germani, Matthey, ...) AND his Allegro from Widor's Sixth at the RAH. Christoph Bossert's Reger. To the Ben-van-Oosten list I would like to add Vierne, with which he started his incredible French series. And then, there were some surprises. Marie-Claire Alain and Liszt was one. Guillou and Franck was another. (Sorry, all-new flame suit.) Best, Friedrich
  22. I agree -- personally, I found it most enjoyable to listen to what Colin Walsh had to tell about the Lincoln Willis, as he did not in any way hide his attachment to this instrument, and apparently enjoyed himself thoroughly showing it off. Watching the bonus track, I definitely got a feeling of meeting two real personalities, Mr Walsh's and the organ's. I daresay one of them smiled at some point, but cannot remember who and when in the programme. Best, Friedrich
  23. The small Schnitgers are models in distribution of resources, and, in my opinion, remain so until today. SlowOrg will remember a discussion in another forum where both of us are members. There was a thread about a recently discovered contract between Schnitger and the church at Bardenfleth, in which the following specification was found: I Gedact 8' Principal 4' Quinte 2 2/3' Octav 2' Waltflöt 2' Sexquialt II II Holtzflöt 8' Blockflöt (wood) 4' Nassat 3' SuperOctav 2' Mixtur IV Trommet 8' Pedal with couplers I/P and II/P So here you have a very complete one-manual organ, distributed in such a way that there is an energetic, rather heavy chorus on I, spiced with the third from the Sexquialt (which, in Schnitger's style, starts 1 1/3' + 4/5' and breaks somewhere around middle C); and another chorus on II, of different colour and leaner proportions but with a true mixture, that can be supported by the Trumpet, which, again in Schnitger's style, makes up for the lack of an 8-foot principal. This distribution works fine in Ripieno-Concertino music, as SlowOrg suggests, as well as it sports two ensembles of equal strength. The pedal, to be coupled, adds to the versatility considerably: E. g. you might play a full, meaty chorus on I and couple the Trumpet from II. So, even though there is no open 8' and no double, this organ might serve a large space and substancial music. As to Rückpositivs, I like to imagine them as soloists standing in front of the orchestra, acting self-consciously, even flamboyant at times. This kind of musical behaviour can take shape in different tonal palettes, depending of the overall character of the instrument. I very much like to listen to a spicy chorus with a true Sesquialtera there, and not-too-modest reeds; it is a good place for stopped flutes or good quintadenas, since even though they might sound soft, they are brought forward in an ideal acoustical position, and a good voicer might put lots of music in their attack alone. Best, Friedrich
  24. I do carry that permanently on my MP3 player. It's so great to listen to this maestro's playing -- all the more since the same fire you feel throughout the RAH recordings (Widor VI!!) keeps burning on, as you can hear on his more recent recordings. I can appreciate wholeheartedly that playing of this kind might cause permanent organ addiction! Best, Friedrich
  25. So then, what is fish here, and what is fowl? For example, if you look at Cavaillé-Coll -- whom the RCO seem to have had in mind when outlining the design for a new organ --, his tonal concept found many an incarnation that may well count as "tonal experiment": Orléans, Toulouse, Rouen, Sacré-Coeur, let alone the spectacularly experimental organs at Notre-Dame and Saint-Sulpice. You will see that none of his large organs are alike, neither in sound, nor concerning distribution of stops and ensembles, but they all work fine within the larger frame of C-C's ingenious sonic concept. Even if you look at medium-size C-Cs like at Lyon, you might find a distribution of reeds that is not quite what you would expect, but still works very fine with the typical repertoire, as you may hear on many recordings. Kuhn have developed a valid sonic concept of their own that offers many French qualities -- e. g. intense but noble reeds and warm, blending foundations --, but also choruses of clear, well-balanced and complex character that are, to my ears, superior to Cavaillé-Colls treble-heavy ones, and certainly equal to those you hear at St Ignatius. Furthermore, their recent concert-hall organs, such as the one for the Essen Philharmonie, display a huge dynamic range and marvelous flexibility; and Kuhn's craftsmanship has, for decades now, been excellent throughout. There is one thing in the design that may appear experimental to most: the lack of chorus reeds on the Great (apart from the Fagott, which might be a mild Trumpet emphasizing the unison in polyphonic textures), and instead a pair enclosed with manual II that, probably, will be of bold character apt for providing what is needed for a Grand Choeur. That will be certainly something to cope with. But then it might be a clever move, in a concert-hall organ, to enclose these reeds -- which will be of a quality different from those on the Récit --, and have them available via the coupler. Actually, this kind of experimentation follows highly conservative lines. As Karl-Bernhardin Kropf has been so kind as to point to the Kuhn at Lübeck, you will see where this idea comes from. The basic concept is a two-manual scheme, mainly for space-saving considerations, providing some of the advantages of a three-manual design. These have been expanded for the RCO organ, which also will not have as ample space as a true symphonic organ might want. So yes, there are a few unusual features in this scheme with which one might, in some (not all by far) repertoire, have to cope. But then, coping is what one needs to do, and learn, with all literature and all organs one encounters. And, judging from what Kuhn have done recently, this might well turn out to be an excellent instrument. But then, as history tells (for example Dresden's with the Kern at the Frauenkirche), before-hand supporters as well as before-hand critics will, on hearing the result, end up saying "Have I not been telling you all the time?" Best Friedrich
  • Create New...