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As far as the continental romantic organ is concerned, we may assume with a fair confidence it ermerged from a synthesis of the southern german baroque organ (with for instance Josef Gabler, among others) with Abt Vogler's ideas. Vogler himself did little more than destroying valuable ancient organs to end up with questionable prototypes, but E-F Walcker turned his ideas into the Paulskirche Frankfurt organ (1833), which we may see as the first genuine romantic organ.

 

But...

This splendid theory needs certainly to be internationalized, because of a man named William Hill. According to an article from Mr Nicholas Thistlethwaite in "Organist's review", Februar 1999:

 

-Hill joined the organ-builder Elliot in 1815.

Together they built traditional organs.

 

-1820 began an "Insular movement" towards an expansion in scale of the english organ.

 

An then:

"Beginning in 1829, the firm was responsible for a series of instruments which for size, mechanical ingenuity and tonal novelty, were unprecedented in english experience. Christ's Hospital (1830), Oldham Parish Church (1830), York Minster (1829-30), Birmingham Towh Hall (1834), Christchurch, Newgate street (1831,1834), the Chapel Royal, St-James Palace (1837) and St John's College, Cambridge (1838) all exhibited novel features which distinguish them from the organs of Snetzler, England and Thomas Elliot himself. Among these features were Pedal pipes, German pedal boards, CC keyboard compasses, manual doubles, unprecedently wide scales, Posaune and Cornopean reeds, imitative registers, large Swell divisions (some of almost full compass) and duplication of chorus ranks..."

 

So the period is remarkably the same as E-F Walcker's. A german influence seems to be possible (compasses, Posaune). A certain middle-European influence is of course due to Johannes Snetzler (to which we owe the Dulciana, originally a Dolcan), while the Swell was of course already a time-honored feature of the british organ.

 

I would be very interested with any idea about:

 

-What was this "Insular Movement"?

 

-Where did William Hill find inspiration for what seems to be, along with Walcker, the first romantic organs? (Cavaillé-Coll's first one dates 1841, and was rather a transition organ).

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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As far as the continental romantic organ is concerned, we may assume with a fair confidence it ermerged from a synthesis of the southern german baroque organ (with for instance Josef Gabler, among others) with Abt Vogler's ideas.

 

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

 

 

Mmmmmm!

 

....and what about the famous romantic organ in Romania, which pre-dates them all? (Two swell boxes and reed choruses!)

 

More info on request ;-)

 

 

MM

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[===

 

....and what about the famous romantic organ in Romania, which pre-dates them all? (Two swell boxes and reed choruses!)

 

More info on request ;-)

MM

 

Well, you are welcome!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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This is an area with which we are not yet well acquainted, so more information would definitely be of interest.

 

John Pike Mander

 

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

 

Oooops! I've probably mislead a little here. What I should have said, was that the 1841 St.Deny's Cavaille-Coll was anticipated by the Buckholz organ at Kronstadt, Romania, (1839 completion) which has two swell boxes; one of which contains a full reed chorus. Not that the instrument is remotely like those of Cavaille-Coll.

 

Buckholz was a Berliner who seemed to largely eschew the affects of Vogler; instead following and respecting the organs of Wagner, which were the staple style of German organ-building of the immediate pre-romantic period.

 

MM

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1839, that's late compared to E-F Walcker and William Hill, who made already romantic organs in 1829; that there were one or two swellboxes is of course significant, but not as much as a toroughly develloped Abschwächungsprinzip, or romantic reeds, full compasses (Hill) etc.

Cavaillé-Coll was actually late. 1841, that's not early. Moreover, St-Denis is still rather a transition organ (I do not mean an inferior one, of course!).

 

This leaves us with the former question: where did William Hill find inspiration for his ideas? Did he know Abt Vogler?

As to E-F Walcker, we are busy searching if the two men did know each other.

 

Joachim Wagner is a quite interesting case, like Hildebrandt. It seems Wagner was the

first to borrow stops from one manual to another.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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But...

This splendid theory needs certainly to be internationalized, because of a man named William Hill. (SNIP).....

 

"Beginning in 1829, the firm was responsible for a series of instruments which for size, mechanical ingenuity and tonal novelty, were unprecedented in english experience. (snip)......

 

Among these features were Pedal pipes, German pedal boards, CC keyboard compasses, manual doubles, unprecedently wide scales, Posaune and Cornopean reeds, imitative registers, large Swell divisions (some of almost full compass) and duplication of chorus ranks..."

 

So the period is remarkably the same as E-F Walcker's. A german influence seems to be possible ........(truncated)

 

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

 

 

One thing is sure, William Hill never travelled outside Britain, so any German influence would come to him indirectly.

 

How could this be?

 

Well, other people certainly travelled, and brought back ideas and reports. This was especially true even whilst Hill was working on the re-build/enlargement of the Ward organ at Doncaster Parish Church.

 

However, perhaps the key to much that we now call the English "German movement" is to be found in the personages of Prince Albert (the Prince Consort to Victoria, and from the Thuringian region of Germany) and, of course, in the immediate fame of Mendelssohn, who had arrive in Britain in 1829. Prince Albert was an organist, and Mendelssohn was a brilliant organist and recitalist. (Many were the times that planned organ-recitals had to be cancelled due to the restricted nature of English organs of the period)

 

Enter the melting pot the name of Dr.H J Gauntlett; a friend of Mendelssohn, who in turn, was often the private guest of Queen Victoria and the organ playing Prince Albert.

 

Ganutlett was a fine organist and tutor; being involved with the musical expansion of Congregational Church music, and repsonsible for some very interesting English "German" designs, such as the fine organ of George Street Congregational Church, Liverpool.

 

Will we ever know the proper answer? Possibly not, unless documents turn up which may throw further light on the subject.

 

I think that the role of Prince Albert, who single-handedly arranged the Great Exhibition of 1851, and invited Schulze to install an organ there, has never been fully acknowledged. Certainly, it would have been very interesting to be a "fly on the wall" to the fascinating conversations which Mendelssohn, Prince Albert and Dr.Gauntlett enjoyed.

 

London was, at the time, incredibly international, and the "grapevine" among organists was certainly very well-established.

 

The humble Mr Hill would doubtless have been approached, and told what to do!

 

MM

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Some light on the influences at work in the building of the 1841 William Hill organ in Liverpool and its relationship to so-called "Continental" organ building can be found here:

http://rousseau.shp.media/william-hill-organ-liverpool/

The bulk of this article is a report on the opening of the organ that appeared in the Northampton Mercury of 1 January, 1842. Comparing the various newspaper reports of the time, it seems clear that someone was briefing the press on the influences at work in what all recognised was a significant attempt to break with traditional English organ building (described as the influence of [Bernard] Smith and [Renatus] Harris) and to blend "English tone" with "German pipes" (and other features respecting compass and manuals). These were especially the instruments in Haarlem and Strasbourg.

The musical influences - at least in the building of the Liverpool organ but also at Christ Church, Newgate Street, and Eastbrook Methodist Chapel, Bradford - was the requirement for a "Protestant organ", one that could chiefly be used to support the massed singing of hymns but which would also (happily) be ideal for playing the music of J.S. Bach, the trend for which was now fully underway. (The Congregational Chapel at Liverpool could take up to 2,000 worshipers and was later referred to as the city's third cathedral.)

The article refers to the instruments Hill built at York and Birmingham, immediately prior to Liverpool, as being "monstrous piles of church harmony on the plans of Harris and Smith, which for the purposes of pure part playing, that is, in other words, using only  three or four notes at a time, have proved each of them failures". And the Liverpool organ is in effect presented as a contrast to York and Birmingham and the first significant step in a new direction for English organ building (along with the as then unfinished Christ Church, Newgate Street, organ).

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