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Pierre Lauwers

"post-romantic" Organs

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....And Liszt, and Reubke, and...

 

So weit, so gut.

 

Others comments, Ladies and Gentlemen ?

 

Pierre

 

Well, Pierre, I'm not quite sure about those. The essence of a Ladegast instrument is different, and the crescendo is not quite as seamless as it becomes in the instruments of Sauer.

 

But I think that there is a very valid general point to be made: that the effect of a crescendo made by adding stops of increasing dynamic level is a very different one from that achieved by using the same stops, but shutting them up in a box. This doesn't only apply to playing Germanic music on a French or English style instrument, of course, but also the other way around - I recently heard the Widor "Romane" on a Sauer - it was a total non-event, especially when the "caged rage" effect of Recit reeds closed was called for.

 

On the other hand - Reger fares better on an English organ than Vierne does on a German instrument!

 

Cheers

B

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Well, I do play some Reger (and Karg-Elert - and some Liszt). I do not think that these composers use crescendi in quite the same way that I believe Pierre means. HOwever, I could have mis-interpreted what he has written.

 

I think that this organ reveals the distilled essence of Reger! That is precisely how he uses crescendi - just sit at a (later) Sauer and open that "Rollschweller" - forget Michael's lovely Amsterdam Sauer - it's too early and doesn't have a Rollschweller!

 

The very weak third manual is a middle German tradition going back beyond Ladegast. Even very large instruments have a third manual with just a few quiet stops; the trend in later years was for this to expand again a little, but the dynamic difference remained very clear. There was a soft manual, a medium manual, and a loud manual. The swell was of the "open or shut" variety, mostly not easy to reach. Reger distinguishes clearly between "hair-pin" markings (swell-box) - always in the vicinity of pp to at the most mp - and the words crescendo or dim, meaning (always) adding or subtracting stops.

 

Cheers

Barry

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I think that this organ reveals the distilled essence of Reger! That is precisely how he uses crescendi - just sit at a (later) Sauer and open that "Rollschweller" - forget Michael's lovely Amsterdam Sauer - it's too early and doesn't have a Rollschweller!

 

The very weak third manual is a middle German tradition going back beyond Ladegast. Even very large instruments have a third manual with just a few quiet stops; the trend in later years was for this to expand again a little, but the dynamic difference remained very clear. There was a soft manual, a medium manual, and a loud manual. The swell was of the "open or shut" variety, mostly not easy to reach. Reger distinguishes clearly between "hair-pin" markings (swell-box) - always in the vicinity of pp to at the most mp - and the words crescendo or dim, meaning (always) adding or subtracting stops.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

I agree regarding Michael's Sauer (lovely though it is in other respects). I also agree (to an extent) regarding the Reger - although I would suggest that a number of his large-scale works contain subtle differences in the registrational scheme. For example, the Fugue which forms the second half of his Chorale Fantasy on Wachet Auf. I currently have the score in front of me at school (since I may play it after our Carol Service, this year). There are a number of crescendi and diminuendi - although in this case, not in the vicinity of pp to mp; there are some which direct the player to go from ff to pp. Are you certain that these also refer to the use of the Rollschweller? In fact, this is the only example of such a direction in this fugue. For the other dynamics, they seem more to resemble block - or terrace - dynamics, with ff and above being employed frequently - even quite early on in the fugue.

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This said, I think that I would find this organ rather unsatisfying to play - and rather wasteful in its design.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Thank-you 'pcnd'....beautifully succinct.

 

I am quite happy to hear my Reger played on an organ like Haarlem, whatever the composer had in mind.

 

And on that subject, Reger was increasingly influenced by the work of organ-reform and the efforts of Karl Straube, so in point of fact, one could argue that a big Steinmeyer is just as valid as a Walcker or Sauer.

 

The Germans tended to be contrapuntists, and as we all know, and contrapuntal music does not entirely rely on dynamic, for it is also influenced by textural differences in the writing. This is precisely why Reger translates so well to almost any organ of substance which has linear clarity.

 

Believe it or not, I can get away with Reger on the 11 speaking stop organ I play......and it just about works!!!!! (The secret is the sheer blend of ALL stops, which make dynamic changes possible).

 

I'm sorry Pierre, there is just no justification for the building of such instruments to-day, because they took everyone down a cul-de-sac; just as the organs of Arthur Harrison did in the UK, whatever their merits.

 

 

 

MM

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I agree regarding Michael's Sauer (lovely though it is in other respects). I also agree (to an extent) regarding the Reger - although I would suggest that a number of his large-scale works contain subtle differences in the registrational scheme. For example, the Fugue which forms the second half of his Chorale Fantasy on Wachet Auf. I currently have the score in front of me at school (since I may play it after our Carol Service, this year). There are a number of crescendi and diminuendi - although in this case, not in the vicinity of pp to mp; there are some which direct the player to go from ff to pp. Are you certain that these also refer to the use of the Rollschweller? In fact, this is the only example of such a direction in this fugue. For the other dynamics, they seem more to resemble block - or terrace - dynamics, with ff and above being employed frequently - even quite early on in the fugue.

 

Before I answer, may I ask which edition you are using?

 

B

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"I am quite happy to hear my Reger played on an organ like Haarlem, whatever the composer had in mind."

(Quote)

 

I could tell, as a mirror, "I am quite happy to hear Bach on an organ like Yale's, whatever the composer had in mind"....

And that as a "cul de sac", to beat the neo-baroque will be quite, quite difficult.

 

Back to Andernach for a moment ?

(By the way, dear Barry, are you far away from the Koblenz area ?)

 

The organ is actually quite clear, bold, precise in its attacks.

The Abschwächungsprinzip is by no way overdone; the third manual

is well present in the nave.

As with Walcker organs, polyphonic music is fully possible, though I won't

call it a Bach organ of course. But "muddy" it is certainly not.

 

Nobody noted Andernach is a "8 pieds en Montre", that is, there is no open 16' on the manuals.

And though, the full organ sounds like a rather big 32' one.

 

This organ is designed to build up its -apparent- power on resultant tones, exactly like

Walcker did since the 1829 Frankfurt organ; the first role of those deep mixtures and mutations

is to have "the organ sent in the basement", like a french organist said.

It is a miniaturized Cathedral organ.

 

Such idea already existed during Bach's time (I could halas not continue the Bach organs thread

up to the examples), when 5 1/3' Quints were sometimes build as a 16' Ersatz where place was at a premium.

So Abt Vogler did not really invent that thrick, like E-F Walcker believed it.

 

Now the surprise at Andernach comes from the fact those 3 1/5' and 6 2/5', 5 1/3' ranks are hidden

behind seemingly innocent things: "Cornett", "Harmonia aetherea".....And then WHAMOOOO....

 

Now I shall demonstrate, dear MM, it is possible to go ahead.

Ready for the belgian, 2007 version ?

It comes on the next post.

 

Pierre

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Before I answer, may I ask which edition you are using?

 

B

 

As far as I know it is a facsimile of an older engraving, reproduced by Kalmus (and sold under the Belwin Mills label). I do not know which publisher produced the original engraved version, though. For the record, it looks very similar to some of the Breitkopf & Härtel scores of Reger's organ works which I also possess.

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ANDERNACH: revisited version for a multilingual, little, government-less, improbable country in a no-man's-land

somewhere between Koblenz, London and Paris.

 

After the same tonal structure, that is, big resultants from a limited height,

while being able to do justice to Reger, Howells and Dupré.

 

 

MANUAL I

 

Bourdon 16'

Open Diapason, large 8'

Open Diapason, medium 8'

Gamba 8'

Conzertflöte 8'

Quinte 5 1/3'

Principal 4', large

Octav 4', medium

Terz 3 1/5'

Goldene Mixtur 3r 2 2/3'- 2'- 1 3/5' (1)

Plein-jeu 3r 2'- 1 1/3'- 1'

Trumpet 8' (Willis)

Clarion (Willis)

 

MANUAL II, enclosed (thick Swellbox)

 

Lieblich Gedackt 16'

Salicional 8'

Vox angelica 8'

Traversflöte 8'

Flûte octaviante 4'

Octavin 2'

Cornet 3r 2 2/3'- 2'- 1 3/5' ( no need for deep breaks since we have 5 1/3' and 3 1/5' on the I)

Basson 16' (Cavaillé-Coll)

Trompette harmonique 8'

Clairon harmonique 4'

 

MANUAL III

 

First division, unenclosed

 

Dulciana 8'

Lieblich Gedackt 8' (double mouths, very bright)

Dulciana 4'

Tuba 8' (The Willis type, not closed-toned)

 

Second division, enclosed in a not too thick swellbox:

 

Aeoline 8'

Voix céleste 8'

Zauberflöte 4' (Tewkesbury)

Dulcet 2'

Dulciana Mixture 4r : 2 2/3'- 1 3/5'- 1 1/3'- 1' (ends with 3 1/5' in the treble)

Klarinette 8' (free reeds)

 

PEDAL (with actually only 6 stops on the windchest!)

 

Principalbass 16'

Subbass 16'

Lieblich Gedacktbass 16' (borrowed from II)

Grossquintbass 10 2/3'

Violonbass 8' (borrowed from I: Gamba)

Flötenbass 8' (borrowed from I: Conzertflöte)

Octave 8' (extended from Principalbass)

Grossterzbass 6 2/5'

Flute 4'

Trombone 16' (Willis)

Basson 16' (borrowed from II)

Octave Trombone 8' (extended from the 16')

 

Also.....39 actual stops to be paid for (more on paper and at the console, yes)

 

(1) With "Goldene Mixtur", I mean precisely this (same specification):

 

http://www.walckerorgel.de/gewalcker.de/20.../Chanon(02).wmv

 

After having talked about a basement, I remember I have something to do in the shelter....

 

Pierre

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But I think that there is a very valid general point to be made: that the effect of a crescendo made by adding stops of increasing dynamic level is a very different one from that achieved by using the same stops, but shutting them up in a box. This doesn't only apply to playing Germanic music on a French or English style instrument, of course, but also the other way around - I recently heard the Widor "Romane" on a Sauer - it was a total non-event, especially when the "caged rage" effect of Recit reeds closed was called for.

The trouble with the German Romantic organs I have heard - and, I imagine, the reason why the Widor was a non-event - is that the seamless dynamic gradations rely on having stops that blend and this blend is achieved at the expense of individual colour. Individuality of colour is suppressed because the more colourful a stop is, the more it will draw attention to itself when added to the ensemble. So, although the sound that these organs make can be very splendid, there is essentially only one sound and, personally, I find it quickly becomes wearying. One longs for the more sharply edged colours of a Willis or a Cavaillé-Coll.

 

Our IV/P Rushworth & Dreaper works on the same principle. In my view this monochrome style of organ represents a cul-de-sac in the instrument's evolution. There have been more viable avenues elsewhere, notably the neo-Baroque, which did at least aim to address the issue of producing music as opposed to mere sound.

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The trouble with the German Romantic organs I have heard - and, I imagine, the reason why the Widor was a non-event - is that the seamless dynamic gradations rely on having stops that blend and this blend is achieved at the expense of individual colour. Individuality of colour is suppressed because the more colourful a stop is, the more it will draw attention to itself when added to the ensemble. So, although the sound that these organs make can be very splendid, there is essentially only one sound and, personally, I find it quickly becomes wearying. One longs for the more sharply edged colours of a Willis or a Cavaillé-Coll.

 

Our IV/P Rushworth & Dreaper works on the same principle. In my view this monochrome style of organ represents a cul-de-sac in the instrument's evolution. There have been more viable avenues elsewhere, notably the neo-Baroque, which did at least aim to address the issue of producing music as opposed to mere sound.

 

Quite interesting, Vox humana.

The colors are there, as in a Cavaillé-Coll, but with more steps between the extremes, also more stops.

But the monochrome impression effectively obtains in the Crescendo.

I agree the neo-baroque has its place, no problem, but it must be admitted

this style suppressed simply 80% of the organ colors...

 

Pierre

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As far as I know it is a facsimile of an older engraving, reproduced by Kalmus (and sold under the Belwin Mills label). I do not know which publisher produced the original engraved version, though. For the record, it looks very similar to some of the Breitkopf & Härtel scores of Reger's organ works which I also possess.

 

The original edition was by Aibl, which was taken over by Universal in 1904. These are reliable scores. The Breitkopf (complete) edition by Hans Klotz has to be taken with caution, as many passages have been reinterpreted in the light of late neo-baroque tendencies.

 

But the fugue of Wachet auf is a case in point. Looking through it I have found no hair-pins at all but plenty of "poco a poco crecendo's" and yes, these are all very much a case for the "Walze". Reger facsimiles show that he was fond of writing "cre -- - - - - -scen - - - - do and spreading it out over 10 bars or more, but this has not been reproduced in the Breitkopf complete edition. The "other " Breitkopf edition (Köhler) is even more unreliable, incidentally.

 

By the way: it is possible to turn the "Walze" off by means of a pedal. So that going from fff to pp instantaneously is easy; you don't have to close the Walze, you just turn it off, and you are left with whatever stops you have set up manually.

 

Cheers

B

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The trouble with the German Romantic organs I have heard - and, I imagine, the reason why the Widor was a non-event - is that the seamless dynamic gradations rely on having stops that blend and this blend is achieved at the expense of individual colour. Individuality of colour is suppressed because the more colourful a stop is, the more it will draw attention to itself when added to the ensemble. So, although the sound that these organs make can be very splendid, there is essentially only one sound and, personally, I find it quickly becomes wearying. One longs for the more sharply edged colours of a Willis or a Cavaillé-Coll.

 

Our IV/P Rushworth & Dreaper works on the same principle. In my view this monochrome style of organ represents a cul-de-sac in the instrument's evolution. There have been more viable avenues elsewhere, notably the neo-Baroque, which did at least aim to address the issue of producing music as opposed to mere sound.

 

I wouldn't disagree with you, actually. I don't think you really have to love the organs in order to admire them.

 

Though I must say that the R&D's I know are considerably duller than anything I have ever heard by Sauer!

 

:unsure: B

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By the way: it is possible to turn the "Walze" off by means of a pedal. So that going from fff to pp instantaneously is easy; you don't have to close the Walze, you just turn it off, and you are left with whatever stops you have set up manually.

That's interesting to know. What happens when you turn the Walze on again? Does it return to the fff at which you left it, or does it re-set itself?

 

Though I must say that the R&D's I know are considerably duller than anything I have ever heard by Sauer!

I think that's probably a very fair comment! :unsure:

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That's interesting to know. What happens when you turn the Walze on again? Does it return to the fff at which you left it, or does it re-set itself?

 

 

You have time to reset it to wherever you want it! If you leave it open, you can of course use it as a sort of Tutti-combination.

 

B

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I could tell, as a mirror, "I am quite happy to hear Bach on an organ like Yale's, whatever the composer had in mind"....

And that as a "cul de sac", to beat the neo-baroque will be quite, quite difficult.

 

 

(snip)

 

 

Now I shall demonstrate, dear MM, it is possible to go ahead.

Ready for the belgian, 2007 version ?

 

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

The following organ is rather good for almost everything, including Reger and Bach.

 

I could live with it quite happily, but I don't think anyone has ever copied the style since it was built.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N02956

 

Anyway, Pierre knows that I admire the Adema organ at St Bavo (RC) Basilica, Haarlem, as well as the work of Ch.Aneesens, so we are not that far away in our sensibilities. I just think that wasteful designs are wasteful designs in any type of instrument, and I see no merit in organs which play around with either fundemental tones or extreme expressiveness at the cost of linear clarity and capability.

 

MM

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"we are not that far away in our sensibilities."

(Quote)

 

Quite correct, actually !

The differencies lie elsewhere, but there are many organs

we both like, no doubt.

 

Pierre

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

The following organ is rather good for almost everything, including Reger and Bach.

 

I could live with it quite happily, but I don't think anyone has ever copied the style since it was built.

 

http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=N02956

 

Anyway, Pierre knows that I admire the Adema organ at St Bavo (RC) Basilica, Haarlem, as well as the work of Ch.Aneesens, so we are not that far away in our sensibilities. I just think that wasteful designs are wasteful designs in any type of instrument, and I see no merit in organs which play around with either fundemental tones or extreme expressiveness at the cost of linear clarity and capability.

 

MM

Hmm. I know the Huddersfield organ is well-respected, and has been valued by generations of gifted students, but the spec looks like any medium-sized, pan-European eclectic tracker organ, of which the North of England has a fair few, including the RNCM's Hradetsky and Bolton Town Hall's Walker. They are all excellent, versatile instruments, which were ground-breaking in their day. However, surely none of these organs possess sufficient quantity and variety of foundation colours, or low-pitched mixtures, to do justice to the Reger school like the instruments cited above? (Oh dear...light the blue touch paper...I'm going to regret this post in the morning!)

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Hmm. I know the Huddersfield organ is well-respected, and has been valued by generations of gifted students, but the spec looks like any medium-sized, pan-European eclectic tracker organ, of which the North of England has a fair few, including the RNCM's Hradetsky and Bolton Town Hall's Walker. They are all excellent, versatile instruments, which were ground-breaking in their day. However, surely none of these organs possess sufficient quantity and variety of foundation colours, or low-pitched mixtures, to do justice to the Reger school like the instruments cited above? (Oh dear...light the blue touch paper...I'm going to regret this post in the morning!)

 

And here's another one!

 

AJJ

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And here's another one!

 

AJJ

Indeed. Why oh why did it take so long for some builders to acknowledge that the Sw Oboe is an essential part of the foundations?? Talk about spoiling the ship for an ha'peth o'tar!

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Guest Cynic
Indeed. Why oh why did it take so long for some builders to acknowledge that the Sw Oboe is an essential part of the foundations?? Talk about spoiling the ship for an ha'peth o'tar!

 

 

I think a solitary 8' stopped flute might be a bit thin to support a proper manual II chorus.

Even if it doesn't sound thin with all that perched on top, such a spec is certainly a bit restrictive!

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Hmm. I know the Huddersfield organ is well-respected, and has been valued by generations of gifted students, but the spec looks like any medium-sized, pan-European eclectic tracker organ, of which the North of England has a fair few, including the RNCM's Hradetsky and Bolton Town Hall's Walker. They are all excellent, versatile instruments, which were ground-breaking in their day. However, surely none of these organs possess sufficient quantity and variety of foundation colours, or low-pitched mixtures, to do justice to the Reger school like the instruments cited above? (Oh dear...light the blue touch paper...I'm going to regret this post in the morning!)

 

Yes! Touch paper lit but here's another lighted taper to help! I know the RNCM's Hradetsky, having played it regularly for a couple of years some time ago. True, it has some wonderful choruses and some truly beautiful sounds but it just isn't a "do all" instrument. I always wanted to reach out for (let's call it an open diapason I for argument!!) something more as foundation on the great and just some relief on the pos. I even said as much to a teacher (no longer there)-how quickly one learns to be diplomatic!!

 

I'm sure this relates to other threads aswell, but in my humble opinion "eclectic" organs really never satisfy fully: they can do many things rather well but nothing utterly convincingly. An organ constructed with vision and integrity, of any style, can pull off music not only which it was created to play but of many varying styles. Yea, even a good old Fr Willis plays Bach well and more besides because it is an instrument of integrity: you use the "colours" from the palette you have and be satisfied.

 

Does lieblich gedackt 8, dulciana 8, gemshorn 4, flageolet 2 work better used honestly or a mutilated gedact 8, spitz prinzipal 4, octave 2, mixture 19, 22 (no breaks) with pipes of varying vintages and indifferent voicing?

 

F-W.

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Yes! Touch paper lit but here's another lighted taper to help! I know the RNCM's Hradetsky, having played it regularly for a couple of years some time ago. True, it has some wonderful choruses and some truly beautiful sounds but it just isn't a "do all" instrument. I always wanted to reach out for (let's call it an open diapason I for argument!!) something more as foundation on the great and just some relief on the pos. I even said as much to a teacher (no longer there)-how quickly one learns to be diplomatic!!

 

I'm sure this relates to other threads aswell, but in my humble opinion "eclectic" organs really never satisfy fully: they can do many things rather well but nothing utterly convincingly. An organ constructed with vision and integrity, of any style, can pull off music not only which it was created to play but of many varying styles. Yea, even a good old Fr Willis plays Bach well and more besides because it is an instrument of integrity: you use the "colours" from the palette you have and be satisfied.

 

Does lieblich gedackt 8, dulciana 8, gemshorn 4, flageolet 2 work better used honestly or a mutilated gedact 8, spitz prinzipal 4, octave 2, mixture 19, 22 (no breaks) with pipes of varying vintages and indifferent voicing?

 

F-W.

Here here! (And I too had similar reservations about the Hradetsky, despite its thrills.) Interestingly, your views accord with those expressed in two of the more interesting articles in this month's OR (the review of Ken Jones and David Ponsford's item). In short: eclectic organs don't do anything particularly convincingly, and organs built with real character tend to provoke polarised opinions.

 

I was interested by an earlier post in this thread which described organs voiced (I paraphrase) with bland colours, in order to maximise their blending potential. It's interesting that both Fisk and Guillou believe the exact opposite: the more characterful and soloistic an individual stop, the better the blend.

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I was interested by an earlier post in this thread which described organs voiced (I paraphrase) with bland colours, in order to maximise their blending potential. It's interesting that both Fisk and Guillou believe the exact opposite: the more characterful and soloistic an individual stop, the better the blend.

I wonder whether what they were referring to is more a matter of coherence than blend. For example, the stops of a Cavaillé-Coll are characterful, well-differentiated and far from bland, yet they fit together with great integrity. I do not think anyone would deny this. However, I think this coherence is a rather different phenomenon from the blend of the German Romantic organ. Draw the GO fonds and you are likely to be aware of a wonderful ensemble of Montre, flutes and Gambe. On a German organ I doubt I would be able to identify the individual stops.

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in my humble opinion "eclectic" organs really never satisfy fully: they can do many things rather well but nothing utterly convincingly.

Those of us who have played Coventry and St George's, Windsor might disagree!

 

Yea, even a good old Fr Willis plays Bach well

Sorry, but I disagree. Father Willises can make a passable stab at some Bach. That's all.

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Hmm. I know the Huddersfield organ is well-respected, and has been valued by generations of gifted students, but the spec looks like any medium-sized, pan-European eclectic tracker organ, of which the North of England has a fair few, including the RNCM's Hradetsky and Bolton Town Hall's Walker. They are all excellent, versatile instruments, which were ground-breaking in their day. However, surely none of these organs possess sufficient quantity and variety of foundation colours, or low-pitched mixtures, to do justice to the Reger school like the instruments cited above? (Oh dear...light the blue touch paper...I'm going to regret this post in the morning!)

 

 

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

 

 

Specifications can be so misleading. Actually, the Hudersfield instrument is surprisingly versatile, has considerable warmth of tone and speaks into a superb acoustic. It could not be more different from the rather bright Walker at Bolton, or the thin-toned Hradestky at the RNCM, Manchester.

 

As for "low pitched Mixtures" I would refer to my earlier comments about the links between Reger, Straube and Steinmeyer organs......much brighter instruments than those which went before, yet perfectly suitable for Reger's music.

 

However, I would generally agree that a little more foundational variety would not go amiss for Reger's music, but there was an LP made of the Huddersfield organ, which I have. The organist was Jonathan Bielby, and since then, the organ has been tonally improved further.

 

It's a good sound for most things, and in some ways anticipated the tonal path which Kenneth Jones & Associates adopted!

 

MM

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