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Pierre Lauwers

Trombas & Trompettes

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Hanover Square is a slightly unusual organ (for a H&H). Admittedly I have not played it for several years, but whed I did, it sounded rather thin and under-powered (from the console, at any rate). Whilst it may sound different from the main axis of the building, it was somewhat unsatisfactory from the console. I do not remember anything objectionable in the tonality of the Choir Organ ranks. If I remember correctly, there is also a Positive Organ, playable from the lowest manual.

 

Up until several years ago, there was an untouched H-J in Pilton Church, North Devon - not that far from Barnstaple. It has now been restored, with several tonal changes and additions - including some upperwork.

 

I played it in its un-restored state and am slightly embarrassed to say that I actually quite liked it! However, I suspect that I would have become bored without some upperwork after a while. :P

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

Who's out there wanting to try unrestored, unaltered H&H beasts? I can recommend two right off, both in fairly unfavourable acoustics and both in pretty poor condition. Mind you, in both cases you can be certain that what you hear is virtually 100% what was intended - if you subtract the wind noise, that is. I say virtually, because the fluework would probably sound a little better with a clean - Dulcianas and such get rather slow as the mouths fill up with dust.

 

Any serious H&H hunter should visit these jobs:

St.Margaret, Streatham Hill, South London - sizeable three-decker - of it's type absolutely superb

St.Mary's Stafford (Staffs) - a four decker with more-or-less everything you'd expect to find. If it were in a cathedral it would have been rebuilt at least twice by now. It's terrific - not unlike flying a bomber. I repeat, neither instrument is particularly helped by the acoustics.

 

Anmyone who can't recognise the style and effect of these organs has no soul. And no, I probably wouldn't give a Bach recital on either of them, but they qualify as art works in my book.

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Thanks for the info!

It's noted.

That's precisely the kind of instruments we continentals are interested with, no matter their poor state. And of course, the Bach and de Grigny music sheets we shall left behind us...

 

Just for the sake of it, I placed a link to the Crediton's website on a french forum. There are MP3s there. You should have seen the replies: incredibly enthousiast.

 

http://forum.aceboard.net/18898-3215-17612...21-restaure.htm

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers

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Guest Barry Oakley
Who's out there wanting to try unrestored, unaltered H&H beasts?  I can recommend two right off, both in fairly unfavourable acoustics and both in pretty poor condition.  Mind you, in both cases you can be certain that what you hear is virtually 100% what was intended - if you subtract the wind noise, that is.  I say virtually, because the fluework would probably sound a little better with a clean - Dulcianas and such get rather slow as the mouths fill up with dust.

 

Any serious H&H hunter should visit these jobs:

St.Margaret, Streatham Hill, South London - sizeable three-decker - of it's type absolutely superb

St.Mary's Stafford (Staffs) - a four decker with more-or-less everything you'd expect to find.  If it were in a cathedral it would have been rebuilt at least twice by now.  It's terrific - not unlike flying a bomber.  I repeat, neither instrument is particularly helped by the acoustics.

 

Anmyone who can't recognise the style and effect of these organs has no soul.  And no, I probably wouldn't give a Bach recital on either of them, but they qualify as art works in my book.

 

 

Don't know when you last either played or heard the St. Mary's, Stafford, H&H, but I don't think it's played these days. It was about five years ago when I last heard it and the voicing is typical Arthur Harrison. It's an extremely large-scaled instrument that will take a miracle in terms of raising the cash to put it back in 100% working order. Stafford is not a particularly wealthy area of Staffordshire.

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For something different and indeed rather special listen to Keith John playing the Enigma Variations and the Elgar Sonata on the Temple Church - vintage H & H - on the Hyperion label.

AJJ

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Guest Roffensis
Presumably about as well as kippers and custard....

 

I suppose that they equate roughly to Trombi as perceived by Arthur Harrison, chorus Trumpets by 'Father' Willis (or possibly Walker, or Posaunes by William Hill & Son) and then C-C Bombardes and Trompettes.

 

I cannot immediately think of a British instrument which has all three types, but knowing examples of the above quite well, I do not imagine that one would ever wish to mix them on one organ. There would be little point, really, since they would be unlikely to blend. I do know of a few instruments which have attempted to mix two of the types - with, in my view, somewhat limited success. I would always prefer some homogeneity to the tonal design of an organ. The result is usually more 'honest' than that of some so-called eclectic instruments.

 

To be frank, I can see little of musical value in existing H&H Trombi; their opaque, un-blending tone tends to stand away from the flue-work. In any case, they are usually so powerful (often on 10" - 12" w.g.) that they obliterate the rest of the G.O., where they are normally found. Examples extant are Ripon Cathedral (although I think they have been tamed, here, since they sound more musical and appear to have more harmonic development than of yore), Crediton Parish Church, Devon (this still has its Harmonics IV on the Great, complete with flat twenty-first) and King's, Cambridge. Here again, though, they are not typical, due to the fact that the G.O. Trombi were enclosed in the Solo box at the 1934 re-build by H&H.

 

Some good examples of musical G.O. chorus reeds are (I know that was not quite your original question): Exeter (H&H), Bristol (Walker), Gloucester(Willis/H,N&B/Downes), Coventry (H&H), Winchester (Willis/H&H) and Salisbury (Willis). The latter is, I think, a better example than say, Truro, where the G.O. reeds are perhaps a little too loud for the building. I have also not included examples where the G.O. reed chorus does not include the sub-unison, such as Chichester or Worcester, good as these reeds are.

 

However, my own personal favourites are examples such as the C-C at S. Etienne, Caen (G.O.) and Notre-Dame and S. Sulpice, Paris.

 

A lot of organ builders reeds do vary, Willis reeds in particular tend to dominate his organs too much in my opinion, and Harrisons can be very "fat" at times. I much prefer Hill to either. It really comes down to taste, you can play Howells on a Harrison, but it wont have quite the same effect on a Hill for example. The message here must be that all organs are different, and it is easy to see how organs can be removed by such opinions, and we should remember that Kings was under threat not so long ago as it was considered tonally out of touch.

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Guest Roffensis
As in Free-masonry?

 

Hmm, interesting!

 

I still like the Worcester organ, though! It is now almost certainly too late to prevent it being scrapped (apart from the 32' ranks). As you probably know, they are due to replace it with two four-manual organs hanging from the triforia. One East of the crossing and the other towards the West end.

 

Sic transit gloria....

 

Well there's a surprise but which explains everything, including the long list of unanswered questions why the organ has to go etc etc fawn fawn fawn, all basically given lip service but no objective reasoning behind any of it......

 

I will miss the organ, and I think its common knowledge that it is being outed entirely for the wrong reasons. I would never have expected the ministry of funny walks to be involved. Is there any proof? More letters to the dean may help.

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I believe enough has been said about Worcester for everyone being convinced

of at least this: No one will ever say: "We didn't know, what we did", so many

arguments having been exchanged.

 

Now is the time for other means of possible influence there, but there are already

more than enough pages about this peculiar case on the forums.

 

 

Back to Trombas and Trompettes; it seems there has been, during the romantic period,a sheer diversity of reed voicing in Britain, while in comparison a french Trompette is still

a Trompette -rather loud and free-toned-.

I could hear some Hill's (far too few of them), Willis's, H&H, Lewis, all very different.

There must be even others?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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The Lewis organs at Southwark Cathedral and Kelvingrove Gallery, Glasgow both exhibit this sort of diversity. The 32/16 Posaune and 16/8 Bombarde ranks on the Pedal at Southwark are especially fine on a lowish wind pressure. One can but imagine what Southwark might sound like on an open west or transept gallery!

AJJ

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Another top-class organ, particularly appreciated by the french, strange as it may seem for an instrument built by an english builder inflenced by a german one!

 

I heard it in 1978, so many years before the last restoration which seems to have

been very successfull -as far as a CD can tell-.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I think they will find the journey worthwhile. But, arguably (and for different reasons), it has the same problems of restricted repertoire that one encounters at St. Bavo, Haarlem. I know it plays Baroque and modern music well, and it cannot reasonably be expected to play the entire repertoire without compromise. But - no Franck, no Widor, no Vierne, no Reger? No thanks! (Apart from problems of compass, one would need at least two registrants, a personal fitness trainer and a large bottle of Vodka in order to accomplish such a feat.)

 

==============

 

I gulped when I read this!

 

I go to Holland most years, and ALWAYS try to hear the Bavo organ in all its' glory.

 

There is a very good CD recording available of Jos van der Kooy playing romantic organ music at Bavo. IT IS STUNNING!

 

The music includes music by Manuel Torres (Who?), Widor, Reger etc.

 

Now having played this wonderful....superlative instrument, I can assure anyone that it is not too heavy to play in spite of its huge size (about the same number of pipes as the RFH), and the key action is spot-on. The biggest problem is in registering music of the romantic repertoire, which does really call for one page turner and two stop-assistants fully briefed beforehand.

 

Jos van der Kooy can even replicate the effect of a Swell Box on this organ, which has to be heard to be believed!

 

I'm delighted to report that I have one reason, and one reason alone for going to hear the Bavo organ. It is to hear the music of Reger brilliantly played on an instrument which probably suits the music better than almost ANY Walcker organ of the period. (I've heard Reger played on the 4-manual Walcker at Doesburg, Netherlands)

 

That's the thing about the Bavo organ.......it is not just good, it has real musical presence and a capacity to embrace more than that for which it was designed; at the same time, inspiring the soul like almost no other instrument in Europe.

 

OK....it's probably as much Marcussen as it is Muller these days, but it was good enough to have me flowing with tears when I first played it !!

 

MM

 

PS: Last year, I heard Frank Bridge played on the Bavo organ!!

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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....17.19.21.22) 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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Actually, to the question "who took ober H-J's interests", you have of course Wurlitzer, where arised a genuine, interesting and worthwile instrument, the cinema organ.

 

But as far as I know, Arthur Harrison was a contemporary of Wurlitzer. He employed, well, euh, at least *some* ideas from H-J (these reeds...) and at least one voicer from the same. To build genuine, individual and beautiful church organs.

Well, enough with that or I shall get some missiles.

 

A less bright chorus with Tierce and flat twenty-first? This can be the reverse as well, as the mixtures of Willis and Walcker show us (with 17th ranks).

The matter gets complicated by the fact romantic mixtures pipes often have a greater harmonic developpment than older ones, so that a Willis 17-19-22 might appear far higher pitched as it is actually. Mr Bicknell explains this very well.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Actually, to the question "who took ober H-J's interests", you have of course Wurlitzer, where arised a genuine, interesting and worthwile instrument, the cinema organ.

 

===============

 

 

Actually, when I stated that Norman & Beard took over the Hope-Jones interests, I meant the company interests. They finished some of H-J unfinished work, such as the instrument at Lambeth Town Hall, London.

 

I can also inform Pierre and others, that the earliest experiments in Tibia tones were done at the Norman & Beard works in Norwich, and Hope-Jones was somehow involved in it, but I forget the exact details.

 

Another extant H-J organ (1898), which was "improved" only three years after being built, by Norman & Beard Ltd (1901) and subsequently re-furbished rather than altered, by Hill, Norman & Beard in 1935, is the organ of Ambleside Parish Church, Cumbria, in the English Lake District. I assume it is still in use?

 

The fascinating thing about H-J was the wonderful quality of the voicing. The Flutes are lovely, the Tibias full and typical of the sound, the keen strings are beautifully voiced, the Diapasons are also good, whilst the reeds are generally magnificent.

 

The problem is, that nothing blends too well which might yield a proper organ-chorus sound.

 

I have played it, and enjoyed it for what it is.....but a proper organ it isn't!!

 

This instrument also has a Diaphonic pedal rank. Diaphones produced ultra-smooth, very powerful bass tones, as may be heard in many Wurlitzer organs, where the buildings often shake when they are introduced.

 

If Pierre really wants to hear a big Diapahone sound, he should travel to Hull City Hall to hear the 32ft version there. (John Compton) Interestingly, this diaphone simply does not blend at all with the hugely powerful 16ft extention of the Solo Tuba on 20" wg wind. A curious and very unpleasent hetrodyne, or harmonic "wobble" results when the two are drawn at the same time. Consequently, no one ever uses the 16ft Tuba with the full organ, but if they do, they usually make sure that the 32ft Diaphone is replaced by the wonderfully effective 32ft Harmonics....a type of pedal Cornet, which gives the effect of a 32ft reed very convincingly.

 

I also "Hope" that a few H-J instruments continue to survive in more or less original condition, for they are an important part of British organ-heritage and history.

 

MM

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Well, at least there are some people in the english-speaking world

ready to do that....

Mind you, I personally don't like Diaphones and cinema organs; but this does not matter at all.

The quality of H-J's voicing I have had more than enough testimonies of. In an area

of western England I'd better forget.

 

A cinema organ isn't about choruses. It's another instrument; but who will dare

tell what a "proper chorus" is?

I still do not know!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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.......A cinema organ isn't about choruses. It's another instrument; but who will dare tell what a "proper chorus" is?

I still do not know!

 

================

 

I always liken chorus work to a consort of Viols, where each complements the next in such a way that there is musical empathy and integrity. This is something which was clouded by the introduction of more powerful, less homogenous instruments such as the Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass and Clarinet.

 

I personally love theatre organ, but then, I do play them from time to time....even in public!

 

Theatre Organs DO have choruses.....Tibia and Reed ones, but never Diapason ones. If we think of them as the earliest synthesisers and a development of the Fair Organs which Wurlitzer, the Belgians, French and Dutch made so beautifully, then they start to make sense. They succeeded in being the "one-man orchestra", whereas Hope-Jones instruments failed to be "church organs".

 

Of course, many theatre organs are very badly played, but hear a master at work, or the old recordings of Quentin Maclean (a student of Reger and Karl Straube) or Reginal Foort FRCO, and it soon becomes apparent that they are very musical instruments in the right hands (and feet).

 

MM

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.......A cinema organ isn't about choruses. It's another instrument; but who will dare tell what a "proper chorus" is?

I still do not know!

 

================

 

I always liken chorus work to a consort of Viols, where each complements the next in such a way that there is musical empathy and integrity. This is something which was clouded by the introduction of more powerful, less homogenous instruments such as the Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass and Clarinet.

 

I personally love theatre organ, but then, I do play them from time to time....even in public!

 

Theatre Organs DO have choruses.....Tibia and Reed ones, but never Diapason ones. If we think of them as the earliest synthesisers and a development of the Fair Organs which Wurlitzer, the Belgians, French and Dutch made so beautifully, then they start to make sense. They succeeded in being the "one-man orchestra", whereas Hope-Jones instruments failed to be "church organs".

 

Of course, many theatre organs are very badly played, but hear a master at work, or the old recordings of Quentin Maclean (a student of Reger and Karl Straube) or Reginal Foort FRCO, and it soon becomes apparent that they are very musical instruments in the right hands (and feet).

 

MM

 

That's fine!

 

About choruse's integrity, I find just that as well in a Van Peteghem, where the Seventheenth is just as loud as the 8', as in a Walcker or Link organ, where that very same Seventheenth is 15 times softer as the 8'.

But for some people a "proper chorus" is from Diapasons only; not enough, it must be "this and that" Diapasons.

Every 25 years or so, the "this and that" changes. And the scrap yard thickens, while our historic heritage becomes thinner.

In the same vein, maybe we could imagine H-J's church organs will one day be relaxed from the accusation of being "failures". Like theatre-cinema organs are rehabilitated now-deservedly-.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I gulped when I read this!

 

I go to Holland most years, and ALWAYS try to hear the Bavo organ in all its' glory.

 

There is a very good CD recording available of Jos van der Kooy playing romantic organ music at Bavo. IT IS STUNNING!

 

The music includes music by Manuel Torres (Who?), Widor, Reger etc.

 

Now having played this wonderful....superlative instrument, I can assure anyone that it is not too heavy to play in spite of its huge size (about the same number of pipes as the RFH), and the key action is spot-on. The biggest problem is in registering music of the romantic repertoire, which does really call for one page turner and two stop-assistants fully briefed beforehand.

 

Jos van der Kooy can even replicate the effect of a Swell Box on this organ, which has to be heard to be believed!

 

 

That's the thing about the Bavo organ.......it is not just good, it has real musical presence and a capacity to embrace more than that for which it was designed; at the same time, inspiring the soul like almost no other instrument in Europe.

 

 

Whilst I would be interested to hear this, I am still not convinced. Playing Romantic music on this organ must still be something of a compromise. If nothing else, it must be extremely hard work. I have no desire to trust registration to friends or colleagues - this also must substantially increase rehearsal time, in order for the registrants to remember and practise the stop changes.

 

Swell box effect....hmmm... I would like to hear him play Franck 1 (or 3) there. How about restricted compass in the big works - Reger and some French pieces would surely run out of notes at the top of the keyboards?

 

Since Reger wrote many of his works with Karl Straube (and therefore the organ of St. Thomas, Leipzig) in mind, I cannot agree that the Sint Bavokerk organ is more suitable than a large Walcker with a rollschweller and freikomibationen or whatever.

 

Whilst it plays Baroque music well, there is, inevitably, a compromise when playing Romantic music. However, I would be interested to know further details with regard to the Jos van der Kooy recording!

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For me, the idea that one can play Reger on a baroque organ is extremely annoying, because it reduces the emergency to rehabilitate and restore a sufficient number of german romantic organs.

If we wait 20 years more, it will be too late.

If we had say 100 such organs rescued and secured today, I'd have of course no objection against whatever one would like to try. But to believe one repertoire can be transposed on another organ without loss of "Substanz" to the point this organ can be "replaced" that way is dangerous.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Whilst I would be interested to hear this, I am still not convinced. Playing Romantic music on this organ must still be something of a compromise. (snip)

 

 

===================

 

The Bavo recording on which Jos van der Kooy plays romantic music, is entitled

"Spectacular Romantics" and is on the "Intersound" label No.DDD1013. The full track list is:-

 

Widor - Allegro fromSymph.6

 

Saint-Saens - Triosieme Fantaisie do majeur op.157

 

Reger - Introduction und Passacaglia in d minor

 

- Intermezzo in f minor (Nine pieces Op.129)

 

- Fantasie und Fugue Op.135b

 

Eduardo Garcia Torres - Saeta II

 

- Saeta IV

 

Marco Enrico Bossi - Theme et Variations Op.115

 

 

I wrongly suggested that it was Manuel Torres....my apologies. The Saetas are absolutely fascinating however, being based on Gypsy Marian cries, but I'm not sure that they are in print.

 

As Jos van der Kooy states in the sleeve notes, the romantic works have to be "transcribed" a little.

 

As for Pierre's comment about "trusting others" to register the organ, this would have been perfectly normal practice in Bach's time; especially on certain organs where the stops are in lengthy, horizontal rows; some of which are virtually beyond reach. It can be quite a social occasion!

 

Anyway Piere, I guess we play Bach on romantic instruments, so why not Messaien at Haarlem? (Messaien did!!)

 

I have fond memories of Virgil Fox murdering Bach at the Albert Hall, but with such conviction and panache, that it was actually enormously entertaining and impressive.

 

And the perfect Reger organ?

 

It's just got to be Passau, in which Straube had a hand, but I guess the purists will argue the case for a great Walcker or Sauer instrument of the period. Others would be perfectly happy to play it on the splendidly re-built Albert Hall instrument.

 

MM

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Fact is, there are very few Walckers and Sauers left!

 

If this was not the case, I would have no objections Reger to be played on something else.

We know of an organ Reger did contribute to the disposition (Odeon München 1906).

We have here in Namur a 1907 reduced version of this organ.

 

According to Gerhard Walcker, Reger never played a tracker organ in his life.

As to the Passau organ, apologies, the mixtures that obtain there today I do not like

(at all) in the romantic music. But Messiaen sounds really great there.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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[

The Saetas are absolutely fascinating however, being based on Gypsy Marian cries, but I'm not sure that they are in print.

 

At least one is - published by Banks of York in a volume of manuals only music edited by John Scott Whitely from York Minster.

AJJ

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Thank you, MusingMuso, for the details.

 

However, I am uneasy - just how much 'transcribing' did Jos van der Kooy have to do, to make the big pieces 'work'?

 

I must agree with M. Lauwers. I still think that it is a bit of a waste of effort!

 

As for registration in JSB's time - there is still a well-supported school of thought that he would have expected to play entire movements without altering the registration. Even, some maintain, remaining on the same clavier throughout a movement/prelude/fugue, etc.

 

A colleague heard a very able young organist play a recital at Sint Bavokerk some years ago - he kept stopping during JSB preludes and fugues, in order to adjust the stops - that is not 'transcribing' - that, to my mind, is 'butchery'!

(I trust that this is not the normal course of events at recitals in Sint Bavo's?)

 

Last point - honest! The perfect Reger organ? Passau? Nah! Riga Dom, Latvia - now that is the perfect Reger organ! However, each to his own! :blink:

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Last point - honest! The perfect Reger organ? Passau?    Nah!  Riga Dom, Latvia - now that is the perfect Reger organ! However, each to his own!  :blink:

 

 

Yes!!!

 

And there you have exactly the right choruses and mixtures.

 

As for the registrations in Bach, we know actually very little. I believe both the

"change stops and manual at every corner" manner and the neo-baroque

"play that straight with mixtures from the first to the last note on the same

manual" are exagerated.

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