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"post-romantic" Organs


Pierre Lauwers

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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.

 

 

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

 

 

I suspect that the Hradetsky at Manchester was the first organ which gave me the clue as to what was going on, when many of these new organs failed to inspire.

 

I recall a trip there, and hearing (and playing) the instrument. I wandered around the hall quite a lot, and used my ears.

 

What I could hear very clearly, was the hall gobbling up the middle frequencies, with the result that the instrument just sounded thin.

 

In a very different acoustic and in a room made from traditional materials, the effect would be quite splendid.

 

(Refer to previous long discussions about modern day materials and acoustic engineering)

 

For the solution to the problem, perhaps the best example of circumnavigating them is to be found in the Disney Hall organ in America, where relatively heavy-pressure unisons add the mid-tone strength which the hall tries to take away. At least, someone recognised the problem before it was too late to do anything about it.

 

I feel sure that this is the reason for the relative success at Huddersfield, which is based on a converted old church. Before the conversion, I recall it as having a superb acoustic as a place of worship, with a lovely sounding, large Abbott & Smith organ of great tonal distinction.

 

MM

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Karl Straube wasn't the only Reger fan in Germany.

And as we know, he soon preffered to follow the last

fashionable cry.

 

Karl Beringer (1866-1943) was organist at the garnison church of Ulm.

This church was built 1908 for the württembergischer regiment, with a nave

22, 5 Meters wide.

 

One of the best Reger player of this time, Beringer designed the specification

of the organ togheter with Gebrüder Link, and the instrument was opened in 1911.

 

There are many registrations noted by Beringer we still have, for Reger, and a huge

number of romantic and post-romantic music; he was an enthousiast advocate of

the composers of his time.

 

The specification, another summit, was as follows:

 

MANUAL I

 

Principal 16 '

Principal 8'

Gamba 8'

Konzertflöte 8'

Doppelgedeckt 8'

Dulciana 8'

Gemshorn 8'

Octav 4'

Rohrflöte 4'

Geigenprincipal 4' (borrowed from the Mixtur)

Quinte 2 2/3'

Octav 2'

Mixtur 4r (4')

Kornett 3- 5 r

Trompete 8'

 

MANUAL II, enclosed in a Swellbox

 

Lieblich Gedeckt 16'

Geigenprincipal 8'

Flauto amabile 8'

Lieblich Gedeckt 8'

Fugara 8'

Aeoline 8'

Voix céleste 8'

Octav 4'

Flauto dolce 4'

Quint 2 2/3' (Borrowed from the Progressiv-harmonica)

Piccolo 2'

Terz 1 3/5' (Borrowed from the Progressiv-harmonica)

Progressiv-harmonica 3r 2 2/3'- 2'- 1 3/5' (1)

Basson 16' (in french!)

Trompette harmonique 8' (in french!)

Clairon 4' (in french!)

 

MANUAL III

 

Outside the Swellbox:

 

Flötenprincipal 8'

Flöte 8'

Quintatön 8'

Viola 8'

Salicional 8'

Fugara 4'

Violine 4'

Flageolet 2' (in french!)

 

Enclosed in a Swellbox:

 

Gedeckt 8'

Clarinette 8' (free reeds)

Vox humana 8' (possibly free reeds as well!)

 

PEDAL

 

Principalbass 16'

Violonbass 16'

Harmonikabass 16'

Subbass 16'

Gedecktbass 16' (Borrowed from II: Lieblich Gedeckt 16')

Quintbass 10 2/3'

Oktavbass 8'

Cellobass 8'

Bourdon 8'

Flötenbass 4'

Posaune 16'

Fagott 16' (Borrowed from II: Basson 16')

Trompete 8' (Borrowed from II: Trompette harmonique 8')

 

Noteworthy is the fact there was a sub-octave coupler II upon the Manual I,

a super-octave coupler for the same , and a I upon itself super-octave coupler.

 

The action was pneumatic throughout while the Windchests were Kegelladen.

 

The organ was "bettered" afterwards, and loose its spectacular, extremely wide flat case

in favor of a "Pipes in the open" design.

The current , standardized, cluster-high pitched neo Mixtures were added, but a number of the original stops

remain, so that a return towards the original could be achieved (in more enlightened times).

 

(1)- The case of the Progressiv-harmonica isn't clear. Or it has only three ranks troughout the compass,

and it should have been named "Harmonia aetherea" (not always made with string pipes in Link organs).

Or it has more ranks in the treble, but this is not documented.

Pierre

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As we talked about Aubertin's and Gaillard's achievments elsewhere

in restoring late-romantic and post-romantic organs, Mr Allcoat cited

Thann.

Though originally rather a romantic organ (1888), it was rebuild in 1955

towards the "néo-classique" (ecclectic) style, with electric action replacing

the pneumatics.

Michel Gaillard rebuilt it with tracker action + Barker levers, with a specification

typically....Post-romantic in spirit:

 

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/eisenberg/orgues/thannthi.htm

 

Don't miss that one if you can, it is a gem !

 

Pierre

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

This "outstanding design" is, in my view, extremely wasteful and very musically restricted.

 

It may achieve some sort of seamless crescendo, but that can be done with a half-decent swell box in any case.

 

What exactly is the musical point of this instrument?

 

Does it have anything to say that we don't already know and haven't tried previously?

 

MM

 

I imagine it gives a pretty authentic account of Reger's music.

 

It might be of interest to see a modern reinterpretation of this sort of instrument -a 'post-post-Romantic' organ, if you like - in the recent new organ for Max Reger's own church in Weiden.

 

See Max-Reger-Orgel and click on 'Disposition' at the bottom

 

There are two enclosed divisions, the Schwellwerk being placed right at the back to give the remote effect of the 19c 'Drittes Manual'. The shutters may alternatively be operated by hand levers, presumably by the registrant. There is, of course, a (programmable) Walze and the stoplist is intended to give an imperceptibly gradual crescendo at 8ft pitch (ein unvermerkliches graduelles Crescendo im 8'-Bereich).

 

The suspended mechanical action is designed to simulate the touch of mechanical cone-chests. Other modern gadgetry includes adjustable wind throttles for controlling the wind supply to individual divisions for use 'in playing modern compositions' (this used to be a bit of a fad among present-day German builders, as I recall).

 

Reger's tonal palette has been carefully supplemented to increase the versatility of the instrument.

 

JS

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Thanks !

 

And yes, even the Mixtures seem appropriate,

on paper at least.

Has anyone heard it ?

 

Pierre

 

 

The Hauptwerk has one which begins (presumably) at 15-19-22-26-29 and the Positivwerk has another which commences at 19-22-26-29 (or something similar). I had thought that you might find these to be too high-pitched, Pierre!

 

It certainly looks interesting, though. I, too, would be interested in some sound-files, if anyone happens to have any to hand.

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The Hauptwerk has one which begins (presumably) at 15-19-22-26-29 and the Positivwerk has another which commences at 19-22-26-29 (or something similar). I had thought that you might find these to be too high-pitched, Pierre!

It's just so difficult to predict without knowing the full composition. A GO mixture on one of my favourite instruments looks a fairly conventional 15-19-22-26 on paper, but by the time it reaches f42 its composition is actually 16' - 10 2/3'- 8' - 5 1/3'. No shrillness there!

JC

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Now, dear Ladies and gentlemen, we may commence to look towards

others directions, as the Post-romantic period was so diverse that we may

speak of styles, not one style.

Carl Weigle of Stuttgart, Stahlhuth from the "Dreiländerpunkt" (belgian-german-dutch

border area) had a british equivalent , who rebuilt 1907 a Roosevelt organ in New York:

 

http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/html/StJa....html#HopeJones

 

1)- Note the Cornet and the Mixture;

 

2)- I am indebted for the link to someone who will recognize himself; thanks !

 

Pierre

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

 

What a ridiculous specification.......quite useless in fact.

 

MM

 

As there is interest, here is another Weigle, dating 1913:

 

MANUEL I

 

Bourdon 16'

Principal 8'

Viola di Gamba 8'

Doppel Gedackt 8'

Flûte octaviante 8'

Dulciana 8'

Oktave 4'

Rohrflöte 4'

Quinte 2 2/3'

Mixtur 4-5 r 2 2/3'- 1 3/5'- 1 1/7'- 1'

Trompete 8'

 

MANUAL II

 

First division

 

Principal 8'

Seraphonflöte 8'

Fugara 8'

Lieblich Gedackt 8'

Salicional 8'

Geigenprincipal 4'

Flautino 2'

Cornett 3-5r 2 2/3'- 2'- 1 3/5'

 

Second division: Fernwerk, behind the first

 

Quintatön 16'

Gemshorn 8'

Flauto amabile 8'

Aeoline 8'

Vox coelestis 8'

Traversflöte 4'

 

Pedal

 

Principalbass 16'

Violonbass 16'

Subbass 16'

Echobass 16'

Oktavbass 8'

Cello 8'

Posaune 16'

 

Quite lovely in its usefullnessless, isn't it ?

Had H-J done better ?

 

(I forgot to mention Weigle's patents, which representatives in Belgium and

France were such funny guys as Puget, Toulouse; Schyven, Brussels; Delmotte, Tournai).

 

Pierre

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I have to say I don't understand the point to describe specifications as "useless" or "ridiculous" ...

Here are a few links to specifications of organs looking strange on the paper, but these organs are utterly beautyfull.

If some specifications may be "cul-de-sac" it would be the Danion-Gonzalès like style, where there is no real research about the possibilities, but just pilling up series of standard stops up to the number required.. and with absolutely no musical inspiration (see Bordeaux cathedral specification for such an instument...).

So, provided the organ builder has his idea in mind, and upon everything is good enough at voicing, there may not be many "wastefull" specifications.

"Wastefull" specifications have too often been good reasons to knock down the work of others to place one's own work.

So, here are exemples, and I can only invite you to have a glance to the two specifications I inserted in another topic (Temple du Salin in Toulouse and Urrugne parish church)...

 

http://www.toulouse-les-orgues.org/web/5-p...imoineFiche=143

 

http://www.toulouse-les-orgues.org/web/5-p...imoineFiche=108

 

http://www.orgues-bancells.com/show?ar_id=67

 

http://www.toulouse-les-orgues.org/web/5-p...imoineFiche=102

 

Some are more neo-classic than post-romantic, but in a way very different from the main french neo-classic style. Some are none of the two.

But all are very good instruments where a lot of nice music can be played.

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Puget organs display, it seems, more versatility than Cavaillé-Coll's,

in that they do have soft stops, which is uncommon with french builders.

Puget used Carl Weigle's patents for Windchests (Taschenladen) and

pneumatic action (after having build tracker organs, of course). I suspect

there were some tonal influencies as well.

Puget organs would deserve some CDs.

 

Gérard Bancells is an excellent builder, with forward-looking, innovative ideas.

He was involved with Xavier Darasse in his youth, Darasse, who was probably

the first scholar to advocate all organ styles and periods do deserve and need

protection.

 

Pierre

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Well, Puget organs of the 1870-1890 years are more "orchestral" that the AC equivalent in that they gerenally all have two swell boxes, but mainly that the foundation stops blend without any important step, as you find in an ACC. In that way a "seamless" crescendo is easier to obtain on these instruments than on ACCs. The specification display more research about specific stop, and original colors. Of course, they are perfectly voiced, and are in nothing second to ACC and Merklin as so many people tried to insinuate during the XXth century.

They have smashing barker levers, and some even possessed the "double registration" system, as in St Sulpice or ND de Paris.

The later Puget instruments (let's say 1890-1920) have pneumatic action (Weigle system as Pierre pointed out), very efficient, and the voicing is typical of this period : very broad reed, sharp gambas, etc. Exactly the same evolution you can hear on ending ACC and Mutin period. Having worked on a small choir organ of 1898, II/9 pneumatic, I can tell you that's really comftable and the voicing is almost perfect (well, except the trumpet of this poor organ, "repaired and tuned" understand ruined by a local slaughter -see Narbonne cathedral for further explanations).

This period saw the grand orgue of Albi cathedral, which suffered the end we know. (I'm finishing to translate the article published on the Blog "le Dermogloste" in english, but that's a hard work!) Very few important instrument of this period remain.

And finally after the 20's the organs of Maurice Puget, with their typical "inverted pyramid" specification, perfect for the XXth century music (Alain, Langlais, Duruflé, Dupré...), but not many of them remain and in playable condition.

 

I can only advice you to purchase some discs edited by Hortus, mainly, and recorded at ND du Taur (1881)

Désenclos Requiem

Duruflé Requiem

"Un mariage, un enterrement et un salut au saint sacrement" played by Vincent Genvrin

and the AMY/Darasse/Messiean disc by François Espinasse in which he plays the Office de la Pentecôte on the organ of La Dalbade (1888)

 

Link to Hortus catalog : http://www.editionshortus.com/teasing/Hortus2004FR.pdf

 

St Salvy organ have been registered in a DVD by the Christophe Moucherel association in Albi (http://pagesperso-orange.fr/ass.christophe.moucherel/_private/dvd.htm)

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Here is an interesting example of a reasonnable, two-manuals Weigle specification:

 

http://www.trierer-orgelpunkt.de/gdispbworgel.jpg

 

("Seraphon"- = heavy wind stops)

 

Pierre

 

Certainly not 'useless' - but I would say that there is too much emphasis on foundation stops and not enough chorus work. This, as far as I am concerned, will limit the repertoire which would sound effective on this instrument.

 

More later - teaching.

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Certainly not 'useless' - but I would say that there is too much emphasis on foundation stops and not enough chorus work. This, as far as I am concerned, will limit the repertoire which would sound effective on this instrument.

 

More later - teaching.

 

'Useless', 'wastefull', 'limit' ...

 

What about this one, rather exemplary for Maarschalkerweerds in Holland 1890-1910's

 

Great:

Bourdon16

Prestant8

Roerfluit8

Salicionaal8

Octaaf8

Gemshoorn4

CornetII-III

Trompet8

 

Swell:

Holpijp8

Viola8

Aeoline8 (now a 2 2/3)

Voix celeste8 (now a 2')

Flute harm.4

 

Pedal:

Subbas16

Octaaf8

Fluit4

Bazuin16

 

Oh, and just guess where it is ...

 

 

More later - work ... :rolleyes:

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'Useless', 'wastefull', 'limit' ...

 

What about this one, rather exemplary for Maarschalkerweerds in Holland 1890-1910's

 

Great:

Bourdon16

Prestant8

Roerfluit8

Salicionaal8

Octaaf8

Gemshoorn4

CornetII-III

Trompet8

 

Swell:

Holpijp8

Viola8

Aeoline8 (now a 2 2/3)

Voix celeste8 (now a 2')

Flute harm.4

 

Pedal:

Subbas16

Octaaf8

Fluit4

Bazuin16

 

Oh, and just guess where it is ...

 

What a pity that the strings were changed for upperwork, on this instrument.

 

I have no idea where it is.

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I have to say I don't understand the point to describe specifications as "useless" or "ridiculous" ...

Here are a few links to specifications of organs looking strange on the paper, but these organs are utterly beautyfull.

If some specifications may be "cul-de-sac" it would be the Danion-Gonzalès like style, where there is no real research about the possibilities, but just pilling up series of standard stops up to the number required.. and with absolutely no musical inspiration (see Bordeaux cathedral specification for such an instument...).

So, provided the organ builder has his idea in mind, and upon everything is good enough at voicing, there may not be many "wastefull" specifications.

"Wastefull" specifications have too often been good reasons to knock down the work of others to place one's own work.

So, here are exemples, and I can only invite you to have a glance to the two specifications I inserted in another topic (Temple du Salin in Toulouse and Urrugne parish church)...

 

http://www.toulouse-les-orgues.org/web/5-p...imoineFiche=143

 

http://www.toulouse-les-orgues.org/web/5-p...imoineFiche=108

 

http://www.orgues-bancells.com/show?ar_id=67

 

http://www.toulouse-les-orgues.org/web/5-p...imoineFiche=102

 

Some are more neo-classic than post-romantic, but in a way very different from the main french neo-classic style. Some are none of the two.

But all are very good instruments where a lot of nice music can be played.

 

Toulouse must surely have the most comprehensive collection of instruments, old and new, of any city in Europe.

 

As an example of the imaginative, innovative reinterpretation of the post-romantic aesthetic, the organ by Jean Daldosso in the Temple du Salin must surely repay close examination.

 

Temple du Salin

 

The design has many ingenious features - pedal organ almost entirely derived from downward extension of manuals to 73 notes, floating divisions on mechanical action and a remarkable mixture scheme. And much more besides.

 

JS

 

Just in case the link doesn't work! - http://dermogloste.viabloga.com/news/l-org...in-a-toulouse-4

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Another tipically Post-romantic organ was Josef Merklin's nephew, Alberto Merklin

-who was organbuilder in Madrid- organ for the Guadalupe Abbey.

 

The organ was build somewhere between 1915 and 1920, in two seperate cases plus

a Fernwerk in the Dome, while the (Walcker) console was in the choir.

The blowers were driven by a 8 HP petrol motor.

The electropneumatic action and the windchests were from Michael Weise, the

heavy wind flue stops after the Weigle patent, the reeds from Giesecke.

 

MANUAL I 68 notes, wind: 100mm

 

Principal 16'

Principal 8'

Harmonieflöte 8'

Aeoline 8'

Oktav 4'

Mixtur 4r 2 2/3'

Trompete 8'

 

MANUALS II and III

 

(all these stops are available, seperatly, on both manuals)

 

IN SWELLBOX A, wind: 160mm

 

Doppelflöte 8'

Viola 8'

Lieblich Gedeckt 8'

Traversflöte 4'

Octavin 2'

Cornett 5r

Tremolo

 

IN SWELLBOX B, wind: 250mm

 

Seraphon-Fugara 8'

Seraphon-Gedackt 8'

Violine 8'

Vox Cölestis 8'

Fagott 16'

Tuba mirabilis 8'

Tremolo

 

MANUAL IV, FERNWERK, wind: 150mm

 

All stops divided in bass & treble

 

Gedecktflöte 8'

Vox angelica 2 ranks 8'

Spitzflöte 4'

Mixtur 3r 2 2/3'- 2'- 1 1/3'

Feldtrompete 8'

Vox humana 8'

Tremolo

Bells ("Grosse Glocken")

 

PEDAL (in the same case than Manual I)

 

Subcontra 32' (acoustic)

Principalbass 16'

Subbass 16'

Flöte 8'

Posaune 16'

 

 

So....30 stops only, and we do not even know if there are borrowings (for example Principal 16')

on the Pedal.

 

Here, again, we can discover three points:

 

-Those organs are quite daring, experimental, compared with the "straight" romantic ones;

 

- Hope-Jones was not alone, by far, in his experiments. There was a trend towards innovation

in the whole organ world.

 

-The most interesting among these organs are the not-so-huge ones. If we can cram a complete

catalogue togheter, we do not need to select what's important, while an organ like this one

tells a lot about the priorities of its designer/builder.

 

....Last but not least, you know now where Mr Daldosso, and also Thomas of Belgium, found

the idea of the "jeux baladeurs" (stops available on two manuals). The post-romantic builders

used them quite often. This said, the inventor was Joachim Wagner, a baroque builder whose

ideas were very well known in the 19th century trough Schlimbach's treatise.

 

All is in all and reversely...

 

Pierre

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....Last but not least, you know now where Mr Daldosso, and also Thomas of Belgium, found

the idea of the "jeux baladeurs" (stops available on two manuals). The post-romantic builders

used them quite often. This said, the inventor was Joachim Wagner, a baroque builder whose

ideas were very well known in the 19th century trough Schlimbach's treatise.

 

All is in all and reversely...

 

Pierre

 

Hi

 

I don't think so! Stops shared between 2 manuals were known in England much earlier - on a quick skim through my books, the earliest I've found is Adlington Hall - c.1693 - and I'm pretty sure that around that time there was a large organ where the entire choir dept was derived from the same ranks as the great.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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