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"post-romantic" Organs


Pierre Lauwers

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Here it is:

 

-If you go to Paris, you expect french cuisine.

 

-If a belgian or french organist would go to Britain, do you think

he expects to find Schnitgers or Gonzalez organs, or something else ?

 

Pierre

 

No - but neither would it be reasonable for him to expect the following:

 

GREAT ORGAYNE (GG - d)

 

Open Diapason 8

Stopt Diapason 8

Principall 4

Nason Flutte 4

Twelfth 3

Fifteenth 2

Recorder 2

Two and Twenty 1

 

CHAIRE ORGAYNE (GG - d)

 

Stopt Diapason 8

Principall 4

Flutte 4

Fifteenth 2

Bafsoon 8

Vox Humana 8

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It would not be fair for the topic, not to mention some of the German companies active in Silesia till 1945.

 

Several hundreds of large romantic instruments (some with influences of the Alsatian reform) survive intact in Silesia, as funds for the eventual modernization have never been there. Since ca. 1990 they are being restored.

 

The most important builders would be:

 

1. Gebr. Rieger - Jägerndorf,

 

the largest surviving instruments of the company are preserved in the evangelical cathedral in Lodz ( http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=157 ) built in 1928, 60/III+P,

 

and Katowice ( http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=568 ) built 1927, 75/III+P.

 

Rieger built a number of smaller tracker organs with the Multiplex system - Octaves are transmitted from the Principal 8', Dolce 4' from Salicional 8', Flöte 4' from Liebl. Gedeckt 8'. ( http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=857 )

 

----------------

 

2. Emil Sauer - Franfurt/Oder

 

the largest organs survive in Wroclaw ( http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=21 )built 1925-1926, 46/III+P,

 

Katowice ( http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=9 ) built 1922, 52/III+Principal

 

and Strzegom ( http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=347 ) built 1927, 52/III+P - the stoplist was designed by dr. Oscar Walcker.

 

Bytom ( http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=510 ) 1897 Schlag & Söhne / 1928 Sauer, 44/III+P the console used by Sauer was second-hand and came from the Leipzig conservatory, where it was played by no other than Max Reger.

 

NB. Walcker built a number of organs for Warsaw and a very interesting one for the Kozlowka palace chapel ( http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=830 )

 

----------------

 

3. Schlag & Söhne - Schweidnitz

 

probably the most interesting of all, having built ca. 1200 instruments in Germany, Poland, Norway, Mexico...

 

For a brief history of the company visit http://www.orgellandschaftbrandenburg.de/Orgelbauer.htm

 

Schlag was known for his sympathy for old pipework, that he often reused on a large scale.

 

E.F. Richter ("Katechismus der Orgel.", ?Verlagsbuchhandlung von J.J. Weber, Leipzig 1896) wrote:

 

"Aus der 1831 eröffneten Orgelbauanstalt Schlag & Söhne (Schlesien) gingen bis jetzt ungefähr 400 neue Werke hervor, unter denen die gleichgroßen Orgelum- bz. Neubauten zu St. Marien in Berlin und zu St. Peter und Paul in Liegnitz um so rühmender genannt werden müssen, als leider nicht alle großen Orgelbauer altes Material mit gleicher Pietät zu behandeln wissen."

 

In St. Marien, Berlin, it was of course the former Wagner organ rebuilt by Schlag.

For stoplist as it was after work carried out by Schlag visit my website http://paxel1677.republika.pl/forqueray/be....st.marien.html - of Wagner 2231 pipes only 241 were not reused (some six stops), which is an unusually high number for standards odf the time.

 

The organ, as you probably know, was later modified by Sauer and recently restored to its form from the time of Wagner.

 

A similar case was the large organ of St. Peter und Paul in Legnica/Liegnitz.

Of 34 baroque stops about 20 were reused.

For stoplist of the Schlag organ visit http://paxel1677.republika.pl/forqueray/li...r.und.paul.html

 

The organ was slightly rebuilt in style of Orgelbewegung by Gustav Heinze in 1928, and it is preserved in this state. For details visit http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=387 (on some photographs whole ranks of wooden 1734 pipes by Ignatius Mentzel are visible).

 

A very beautiful instrument - similar to Bergen ( http://johanneskirken.worldofchurches.com/...b5f251732ca9e03 ) is preserved in catholic church in Walbrzych (46/III+P) - for details visit http://paxel1677.republika.pl/forqueray/wa...ch.aniolow.html

 

The evangelical church in Walbrzych houses another large Schlag; the stoplist was consulted with Albert Schweitzer http://paxel1677.republika.pl/forqueray/wa...wangelicki.html

 

Of larger organs are preserved - Swidnica, evangelical church (which has a second, smaller, altar organ from the edn of 17th c.) - http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=104 60/III+P

 

And probably the most spectacular Schlag in Jelenia Gora. http://organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=59 (70/III+P)

Stops Schlag reused from the former Michael Röver organ (1729) are marked with an asterix.

 

Krzysztof.

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In Paris I would hope to be able to find a variety of cuisines (except English - mustn't push my luck too far). Similarly I am glad that this country offers a representative selection of the best of different styles. Would that I did not have to travel so far to experience them.

 

Do you have any of the following styles in Britain:

 

Van Petegem, Niehoff, Sevrin, Gabler, Antegnati, Casparini, Jean de Joyeuse, Jordi Bosch, Maurice Puget,

Carl Weigle, Sauer, J. Wagner, Stahlhuth, Robustelly (Robostel), Le Picard, Kerkhoff, etc, etc, etc?

(You had some Anneessens yes)....

 

.....Or rather, save exceptions, when our host here or others premium builders are given the chance

-rarely- to build something with character, do you promote one, ecclectic style, "for today's needs"?

 

And do you believe we shall cross the Channel to discover that, when we have it here since 1948

"in Hülle und Fülle" (like the cats and the dogs when it rains, let we say).

 

Pierre

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Pierre, you seem once again to be promoting the notion of the organ as a historical document and nothing more. Organs here are built first and foremost to play music. Thus the choice for a new organ is between, on the one hand, something that replicates the type of organ appropriate to a specific composer or style and, on the other, organs designed to render as many different repertoires as possible.* If there is no important repertoire written to be played on the organ by a particular builder a replica is unlikely to be built. Similarly if there are organs by more highly valued builders in the same general style.

 

* I have said this before, but the use of the term "eclectic" to describe such organs has been roundly criticised in the past. Eclectic organs, it was said, are those that incorporate different voicing styles within the same instrument, such as a Schnitger-scaled Positive alongside Willis foundation stops and Cliquot reeds. Such organs are frowned upon these days since such a hotch-potch is unlikely to have integrity. It was reckoned far more artistic to build an organs voiced in one, coherent style. The result might have exactly the same specification on paper, but artistically would be significantly different. These are not therefore "eclectic" organs, but rather "all-purpose" instruments. The distinction seems a useful one to me.

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Pierre, you seem once again to be promoting the notion of the organ as a historical document and nothing more. Organs here are built first and foremost to play music. Thus the choice for a new organ is between, on the one hand, something that replicates the type of organ appropriate to a specific composer or style and, on the other, organs designed to render as many different repertoires as possible.* If there is no important repertoire written to be played on the organ by a particular builder a replica is unlikely to be built. Similarly if there are organs by more highly valued builders in the same general style.

 

* I have said this before, but the use of the term "eclectic" to describe such organs has been roundly criticised in the past. Eclectic organs, it was said, are those that incorporate different voicing styles within the same instrument, such as a Schnitger-scaled Positive alongside Willis foundation stops and Cliquot reeds. Such organs are frowned upon these days since such a hotch-potch is unlikely to have integrity. It was reckoned far more artistic to build an organs voiced in one, coherent style. The result might have exactly the same specification on paper, but artistically would be significantly different. These are not therefore "eclectic" organs, but rather "all-purpose" instruments. The distinction seems a useful one to me.

 

Vox, this is excellent - and very clear. I could not have put it better myself.

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It would not be fair for the topic, not to mention some of the German companies active in Silesia till 1945.

 

Several hundreds of large romantic instruments (some with influences of the Alsatian reform) survive intact in Silesia, as funds for the eventual modernization has never been there. Since ca. 1990 they are being restored.

 

 

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

 

I'm sure that more or less ALL of these instruments are unknown to the majority of organists in the UK and America, as well as elsewhere.

 

This is what has fascinated me, because in the conventional history-books, very little mention is made of these instruments.

 

However, as a start, isn't it just wonderful to see some of those staggeringly beautiful old organ-cases in Poland; not to mention the beauty of so many church interiors? (They even have congregations!)

 

I do sincerely hope that Krysztof will stay with us and tell us a lot more, because with so many young Polish people in the UK, I need something to remind them that they come from a country with a wonderfully rich heritage, which many of them tend to overlook.

 

Culture doesn't always travel well, and this week, I met a young man in Birmingham who claimed to be Latvian.

 

"Prove it! Sing to me!" I demanded.

 

What I DIDN'T expect was part of a Mozart Requiem; sung flawlessly, outside and with the snow falling!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The young Poles shrugged, rolled their eyes and one said, "He's singing again!"

 

Apparently, the Latvian had been a star singer in a Riga boy's choir, and had won many accolades and sung frequently on TV back in Latvia.

 

Life can be so full of surprises and unexpected joys.

 

:o

 

MM

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Here is the whole point:

 

"If there is no important repertoire written to be played on the organ by a particular builder a replica is unlikely to be built. Similarly if there are organs by more highly valued builders in the same general style

 

(Quote)

 

Are the words I set in bold characters facts, or rather judgments, also taste matters

subject to change ?

 

What is an "important" music ?

What is a "highly valued" builder?

 

Saint-Saëns was deemed not deserving a recording 30 years ago; Cavaillé-Coll

was a questionable organ-builder.

 

Besides this, hear again that little baroque organ Mr Urbaniak gave a link

to a sound file from it.

This organ has more "value" than hundred all-purpose ones togheter, I would say,

if tastes matter...

 

Pierre

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What is an "important" music ?

II did not mean "great", or even "good" music. By "important" I meant nothing more than a substantial repertoire worthy of performance on the type of organ for which it was conceived. So not a value-judgement.

 

What is a "highly valued" builder?

I grant you that this is a matter of opinion. And if opinion changes in the future, well, that will simply lead to a greater diversity, won't it? :o

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"I grant you that this is a matter of opinion. And if opinion changes in the future, well, that will simply lead to a greater diversity, won't it?"

(Quote)

 

We fully agree on this, but the problem is what happens -and happened since quite a long time- in the meantime:

relentless destructions and a strong tendancy to have all organs rebuild the same way... So, adios the diversity!

 

We have here in Wallony severals towns whose organs are all strictly the same save their number of stops !

A nightmare, oder ?

 

What is "worthy" to be performed? There is an enormous volume of post-romantic organ "repertoire"....

 

Pierre

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Do you have any of the following styles in Britain:

 

Van Petegem, Niehoff, Sevrin, Gabler, Antegnati, Casparini, Jean de Joyeuse, Jordi Bosch, Maurice Puget,

Carl Weigle, Sauer, J. Wagner, Stahlhuth, Robustelly (Robostel), Le Picard, Kerkhoff, etc, etc, etc?

(You had some Anneessens yes)....

 

 

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

 

Pierre, we have ALL of these styles....trust me.

 

What we do NOT have is any idea why, or from whence they came, or even how they came about!

 

:o

 

However, in the "standard organ" stakes, I think you are lacking in knowledge. There are many, many good organs by UK builders; not least from our kind hosts.

 

I always quote Blackburn as an outstanding example, because in a uniquely English way, J W Walker created an instrument which draws on German, French and English ideas, to produce an organ of stunning ability as a recital instrument.

 

The Kenneth Jones instrument at Gt.St.Mary church is another superb example of organ-building. This one organ carries forward the "English" sound to a new understanding. Furthermore, it does not benefit from a huge acoustic, but simply an ample ambience.

 

I've mentioned Huddersfield University, which again, is a very "English" interpretation of a modern "standard" instrument, and one which has many admirers.

 

Coventry Cathedral is another, whilst St George's Windsor is among my personal favourites....both Harrison instruments.

 

Oddly enough, Blackburn is the English equivalent to St Matthew, Budapest or St.James', Prague, and certainly every bit as good, with a unique character all its own.

 

MM

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