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This is a 1938 organ. This means, already "orgelbewegt"'; and what were the first stops that this fashion

suppressed from the Specifications ? The 8' open Flutes !

 

(Addenda) That there is no 8' open Flute on the first manual you can guess from the voicing of the Gamba

played against the Vox coelestis here.....

 

Pierre

 

 

Is there a 4ft. flute on the Pedal Organ, Pierre? The solo sounds rather like a principal-toned rank.

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Now I come back to this very interesting point:

 

"The timbre varied on almost every note."

(Quote)

 

......And *gerade* (precisely, straight) this IS the baroque organ, even when it is crammed

with foundation stops. The scales you cannot understand with beautiful Excell presentations,

because they are completely empiric, taylored for each situation, each church. Whenever

there is any "rule" behind those scales, they can rely on some kind of "magic thinking"

like "sacred numbers" and so on, a "sense of proportions" that lies completely outside

of any modern "logic".

Most of the time -with, again, the exception of Silbermann and some of his followers- we deal

always here with "mixed scalings", that is, you'd get several distincts "curves" on your Excell file.

Accordingly, the tone varies through the compass.

Is it a fault ? To the eyes of any romantic builder, yes, without doubt. But in polyphonic music

this is quite useful. It is surprising nobody criticize Schnitger organs, which are exactly the same

for that matter.

 

And yes, this is the kind of "awkward things" Bach assessed and played.....

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

I hope I'm not misquoting the late Stephen Bicknell, but I recall somewhere that he questioned Trost's sanity.

 

Now I can see, or rather, hear why for myself.

 

I'll see ifI can find the quote while I convalece from this traumatic experience.

 

MM

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Two very interesting comments !

 

@pcnd: Indeed, one could hesitate. That stop sounds rather dull for a Gamba in the lowest

part of the compass. There, it could be a Principal or a Flute. But it displays quite a degree

of treble ascendancy, gaining both in strenght and timbre in the treble; this is not a Principal

trait, rather an open Flute substitute, and the piece gains much in drama with it.

Oscar Walcker built his Principal with wide scales, after british models, without treble ascendancy.

 

@MM: Baroque organ = crazy organ. Indeed ! a "reasonable" baroque organ is something

that has been invented in the 20th century.

 

Pierre

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Two very interesting comments !

 

@pcnd: Indeed, one could hesitate. That stop sounds rather dull for a Gamba in the lowest

part of the compass. There, it could be a Principal or a Flute. But it displays quite a degree

of treble ascendancy, gaining both in strenght and timbre in the treble; this is not a Principal

trait, rather an open Flute substitute, and the piece gains much in drama with it.

Oscar Walcker built his Principal with wide scales, after british models, without treble ascendancy.

 

 

Pierre

 

Except that this gentle adagio is not supposed to be dramatic - rather a restful interlude before the final toccata. In any case, the stop used for the Pedal solo is, to my ears, entirely the wrong timbre. Widor specified a 'Flûte 4'; this is like no flute which I have ever heard.

 

Incidentally, in a previous post, you refer to this being a '1938 organ'. I am trying to reconcile this with your statement that 'this is the kind of "awkward things" Bach assessed and played.....', but I am presently unable to do so.

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There are indeed two discussions in one for the moment here.....The awkward thing was the baroque

Traversflöte in another video.

 

Well, I could fill some pages with Widor. 35 years ago, it was customary to despise his music

completely; nowadays, some pages are fashionnable again......Save the slow pieces, which are deemed

just a bit higher as supermarket music.

I strongly disagree with this !

Those "little" pices -like this Adagio- are completely underrated gems. In them lies the true dramatic

in Widor's music. I myself rate it 10 times higher than the Toccata. It is in those moments that Widor

goes beyond virtuosity, towards some depth in expression.

The 10th organ symphony, the "Romane" -90% of which is made of rather slow movements and rather

light registrations- express that trend to its fullfilment.

 

PROVIDED -of course-, in both cases, the player understands that and plays accordingly; in this

video at Kaunas, the organist does. And I guess he choosed the "wrong" (and indeed it is wrong if we follow

Widor's remarks) stop just because of that dramatic ascendancy, an ascendancy we can be sure existed

in the Flute stop of Cavaillé-Coll Widor himself used.

 

Pierre

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Well, I could fill some pages with Widor. 35 years ago, it was customary to despise his music

completely; nowadays, some pages are fashionnable again......Save the slow pieces, which are deemed

just a bit higher as supermarket music.

I strongly disagree with this !

 

I, too, would disagree with this assessment - although it could be argued that there is rather more of a touch of saccharine about Widor's slower movements, as compared to those of Vierne - if one were to make a comparison.

 

Those "little" pices -like this Adagio- are completely underrated gems. In them lies the true dramatic

in Widor's music. I myself rate it 10 times higher than the Toccata. It is in those moments that Widor

goes beyond virtuosity, towards some depth in expression.

The 10th organ symphony, the "Romane" -90% of which is made of rather slow movements and rather

light registrations- express that trend to its fullfilment.

 

In this we are agreed, Pierre. I am very happy that the infamous Toccata appears to be less popular at weddings, these days - at least around these parts.

 

The Symphonie 'Romane' - indeed. This was written for (as it were) the fine Cavaillé-Coll instrument at S. Sernin, Toulouse - just as the Symphonie 'Gothïque' was written for that at S. Ouen, Rouen - and in homage to the architectural styles of their respective buildings.

 

 

PROVIDED -of course-, in both cases, the player understands that and plays accordingly; in this

video at Kaunas, the organist does. And I guess he choosed the "wrong" (and indeed it is wrong if we follow

Widor's remarks) stop just because of that dramatic ascendancy, an ascendancy we can be sure existed

in the Flute stop of Cavaillé-Coll Widor himself used.

 

Pierre

 

Granted. This stop had too much of a similar 'edge' to the timbre, to contrast. Whilst it was certainly loud enough to sound clearly over the clavier accompaniment, as far as I see it, Widor wished the solo to predominate (gently) by virtue of it's timbre; not forgetting, of course, that a Pédale Flûte 4 in a Cavaillé-Coll, is worlds away from the generally anaemic 4ft. extension of a Pedal Bourdon rank, which is commonly found in this country.

 

Interestingly, the Pedal 4ft. Flute at Salisbury Cathedral, although rather unimaginitively called 'Octave Flute', is in fact the old G.O. Flûte Harmonique, from 1876 and, as such, it is infinitely more useful than any extended rank.

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There are such little gems in the first symphony already:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et2yeK3XKrE...feature=related

 

....With the french music the first impressions are often deceptive, in that

it seems to be somewhat "light", but this is rarely the case actually.

 

 

Another especially beautiful one:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5UzvstgxRI...feature=related

 

Pierre

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Two very interesting comments !

 

@pcnd: Indeed, one could hesitate. That stop sounds rather dull for a Gamba in the lowest

part of the compass. There, it could be a Principal or a Flute. But it displays quite a degree

of treble ascendancy, gaining both in strenght and timbre in the treble; this is not a Principal

trait, rather an open Flute substitute, and the piece gains much in drama with it.

Oscar Walcker built his Principal with wide scales, after british models, without treble ascendancy.

 

@MM: Baroque organ = crazy organ. Indeed ! a "reasonable" baroque organ is something

that has been invented in the 20th century.

 

Pierre

 

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

 

 

Most genuine baroque organs I have come across, including those by Snetzler in the UK, seem to be perfectly "normal" to my ears, whether or not they use "mixed scaling."

 

To suggest that a Trost organ is typical of the baroque, is to stretch my credibility to the limit.

 

For a start, Trost only built three organs judging by the currently available evidence. Not only that, one remained unfinished and was completed by another builder. He seems to have been something of one-off; never to be repeated.

 

Yes, I concede that Trost was experimenting with new types of registers, just as other instrument makers were developing all sorts of instruments such as the pianoforte etc. I would also concede that the baroque age was partially experimental, Bach was not one to mess around too much with what worked and what was known to work. Even his music is consdervative in style, but taken to the ultimate extreme in terms of quality. Bach did not invent anything new, and I doubt that he would have enjoyed an organ which was, at least in part, a flight of tonal fantasy.

 

The danger is, that we accord Torst a significance completely out of step with the reality, and to suggest that he created, (along with Hilerbrand) the ideal Bach organ, is to apply a judgement which simply isn't valid; if only from the point of view that we have no way of knowing.

 

MM

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Wait a minute, MM,

 

1)- What is the biggest baroque organ we still have in the Bach region ?

 

2)-Among the reports we have from Bach about the organs he assessed,

what did he praise particularly in the Scheibe organ of the Paulinerkirche ?

 

3)- Why do we find such "experimental" stops in nearly all village baroque organs

in Thuringia ? (The Traversflöte we heard above is NOT in a Trost...)

 

Old fashionned music, maybe -but in fashionnable, experimental clothes.....

 

Pierre

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I am very happy that the infamous Toccata appears to be less popular at weddings, these days - at least around these parts.

 

I have been asked only twice since the New Year to play for a Funeral and both have put down the Vth Symphony's Toccata to conclude as the coffin leaves the church. However, for the first I was at the last moment unable to play. I would happily have transposed it to F# major as I was in hospital with suspected meningitis at the time and the tests quite unspeakable. So, I am wondering how the Muse will affect me when it comes to doing as bid on Friday. Greatly strange choice in my estimation.

 

Best wishes,

N

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I have been asked only twice since the New Year to play for a Funeral and both have put down the Vth Symphony's Toccata to conclude as the coffin leaves the church. However, for the first I was at the last moment unable to play. I would happily have transposed it to F# major as I was in hospital with suspected meningitis at the time and the tests quite unspeakable. So, I am wondering how the Muse will affect me when it comes to doing as bid on Friday. Greatly strange choice in my estimation.

I played the Widor Toccata from Sym. V at a funeral on Saturday. The deceased had arranged all the details of the service including the venue and this concluding voluntary. It was, I think, uplifting for everyone except me, who was waiting in vain for the post-service chatter to start!

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I played the Widor Toccata from Sym. V at a funeral on Saturday. The deceased had arranged all the details of the service including the venue and this concluding voluntary. It was, I think, uplifting for everyone except me, who was waiting in vain for the post-service chatter to start!

 

I have visions of the lid lifting when you say everyone.

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I have visions of the lid lifting when you say everyone.

 

 

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

 

 

No, no, no......this is what you need for that sort of thing!

 

Brilliantly disturbing accompaniment to the Klaus Kinski, silent film classic, Nosferatu (Dracula), improvised (?) or composed (?) by Cameron Carpenter.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDrkgd1rWhg

 

I want this at my funeral....what is his fee?

 

MM

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

 

 

No, no, no......this is what you need for that sort of thing!

 

Brilliantly disturbing accompaniment to the Klaus Kinski, silent film classic, Nosferatu (Dracula), improvised (?) or composed (?) by Cameron Carpenter.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDrkgd1rWhg

 

I want this at my funeral....what is his fee?

 

MM

As I have written on Facebook (sic):

Regardless of what the world might think of my standing, I've decided at my funeral when horizontal, to have the sign on the coffin 'Get me out of here. I'm a celebrity'.

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I wrote "When I shall see the matters here from the other side of the grass (1), you'll

give me to my roses as manure".

 

(This way, I know my tomb will be flowered..... :blink: )

 

(1)- From a funny saying in my own language: " Wann Ëch d'Sachen vunn d'andere Seit d' Raas seeh"

 

Pierre

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Wait a minute, MM,

 

1)- What is the biggest baroque organ we still have in the Bach region ?

 

2)-Among the reports we have from Bach about the organs he assessed,

what did he praise particularly in the Scheibe organ of the Paulinerkirche ?

 

3)- Why do we find such "experimental" stops in nearly all village baroque organs

in Thuringia ? (The Traversflöte we heard above is NOT in a Trost...)

 

Old fashionned music, maybe -but in fashionnable, experimental clothes.....

 

Pierre

 

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

 

 

I have a problem with this Pierre, but not from a historical source perspective, which I know to be correct.

 

I question the accuracy of the assumptions, and I'll tell you why.

 

I very much doubt that we can truly understand anything without understanding at least something of the msuical, artistic and political environment in which Bach (and other great composers) flourished.

 

My German history may be patchy at best, but what I do know, is the fact that almost everything was totaly dependent upon the approval of regional monarchs and aristocrats, to whom everyone deferred.

 

It raises the interesting possibility that the organ "Flauto Traverso" was as much a sycophantic act as it was a musical one; Feredrick II (?) being an expert Flautist.

 

Bach had just spent time in Jail, having crossed pens with his aristocratic employer, and courting favour with both noblefolk and academics was required of every servant, because everything existed by way of royal assent.

 

You criticise the organ's "Traverse Flute" and you criticise the monarch! Build an organ with such a stop, and string tones, (no matter how poor), and might that find official approval or be regarded as a compliment?

 

Could it be that music was the last consideration?

 

It may seem a far fetched notion to us to-day, but that's the problem of history, where we take the facts and then bend the truth in the light of contemporary understandings.

 

Maybe.....just maybe....we should take all this into account when dealing with this sort of "factual" information, because the intrigues and machinations of the old court patronage system cannot easily be understood by modern-day democrats.

 

MM

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Well, MM,

 

I think the german organ-builders of the 18th century were freer, by far,

as long as the Specifications of their organs are concerned, than those

of our "democratic" times !

 

 

Pierre

 

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

 

 

Some would argue that true freedom is serving convention, but actually you're wrong. Whatever one's views, many organs to-day include electronic sounds, percussion effects and sequencers; the last never a part of the essential equipment required of 99% of the organ repertoire.

 

It doesn't matter of course, because we have no way of knowing what was in the minds of 18th century organists and organ-builders, who were so very regional and often particularly well travelled; often quite happy to introduce "foreign" elements.

 

That's how things develop, for good or ill.

 

If I were an important organ composer and then died, I think I would be tempted to haunt those who went trawling around my locality seeking out the evidence of what I heard when I was alive, and for which instruments I may have hypothetically written particular pieces. It is perfectly possible to write for an "ideal" organ, even where such is not avalable locally, and I'm quite sure that Bach, working away from the keyboard, would do much the same.

 

Until I see something in Bach's hand which says, "The organist must now draw the Gamba and the Traverse Flute," I shall remain sceptical.

 

Historians (and musicologists) like to link this with that and then claim some sort of continuity of purpose, but life and art isn't like that at all. It is much more subtle and much more chaotic.

 

MM

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

 

 

Most genuine baroque organs I have come across, including those by Snetzler in the UK, seem to be perfectly "normal" to my ears, whether or not they use "mixed scaling."

 

To suggest that a Trost organ is typical of the baroque, is to stretch my credibility to the limit.

 

For a start, Trost only built three organs judging by the currently available evidence. Not only that, one remained unfinished and was completed by another builder. He seems to have been something of one-off; never to be repeated.

 

Yes, I concede that Trost was experimenting with new types of registers, just as other instrument makers were developing all sorts of instruments such as the pianoforte etc. I would also concede that the baroque age was partially experimental, Bach was not one to mess around too much with what worked and what was known to work. Even his music is consdervative in style, but taken to the ultimate extreme in terms of quality. Bach did not invent anything new, and I doubt that he would have enjoyed an organ which was, at least in part, a flight of tonal fantasy.

 

The danger is, that we accord Torst a significance completely out of step with the reality, and to suggest that he created, (along with Hilerbrand) the ideal Bach organ, is to apply a judgement which simply isn't valid; if only from the point of view that we have no way of knowing.

 

MM

 

Indeed! Waltershausen is actually the organ I liked least of all the German and Dutch organs I've recorded over the years, and I can't help feeling that Trost was almost the Hope Jones of the early 18th century! :lol:

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Indeed! Waltershausen is actually the organ I liked least of all the German and Dutch organs I've recorded over the years, and I can't help feeling that Trost was almost the Hope Jones of the early 18th century! :lol:

 

 

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

 

 

DON'T MENTION H-J!

 

Well have another Worcester on our hands!

 

MM

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"Trost was almost the Hope Jones of the early 18th century!"

(Quote)

 

Indeed he was !

 

 

"f I were an important organ composer and then died, I think I would be tempted to haunt those who went trawling around my locality seeking out the evidence of what I heard when I was alive, and for which instruments I may have hypothetically written particular pieces."

(Quote)

 

This was exactly the argument the neo-baroque thinkers used to be left doing whatever they wanted...

I do not think one should tell the player "now you draw this and that", like with the french organ music.

But the french organs were very homogeneous in their Specifications, while the german organ

were extremely innovative, even experimental.

But whenever you hear such organs in Bach, it is a revelation, with, for example, those Unda-Maris stops....But

well, again, we should all go there in order to really go on.

 

Pierre

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2)-Among the reports we have from Bach about the organs he assessed,

what did he praise particularly in the Scheibe organ of the Paulinerkirche ?

Well, I've read Bach's report on the organ again and I still don't know. Here's a summary of what he said:

 

1. The organ was cramped, though this was not Scheibe's fault as he had to work within an existing case and had been denied permission for additional space.

 

2. The wind supply was unequal and needed correcting.

 

3. Some of the voicing was uneven and needed better regulation. Also, the lowest notes of the Pedal Posaune and Trumpet should not speak so coarsely and noisily, but with a clear and firm tone.

 

4. The manual touch was too heavy and too deep. It was not possible to correct this, but the organ could still be played without the fingers sticking.

 

5. The mechanical parts of the organ had been well and carefully made.

 

6. The specification was as per the contract except that a Schalmei 4' and Cornet 2' had been omitted in accordance with the Honourable Collegium's instructions and replaced by two 2' manual stops.

 

7. Scheibe should be reimbursed for his extra expense in having to make a new wind chest for the Brustwerk because the existing chest had proved unsuitable and also for some other expenses outside the contract.

 

8. The organ needed shielding from the window behind it by a wall or a heavy sheet of iron.

 

9. Scheibe needed to guarantee his work for a year.

 

This doesn't sound like praise to me. More like the opposite. Is there another document?

 

Agricola noted that Bach and Hildebrand had declared Scheibe's organ at St John's, Leipzig to be "faultless … after the most severe examination that any organ ever received", but they may have meant only that they could find nothing that needed correcting.

 

I very much doubt that we can truly understand anything without understanding at least something of the msuical, artistic and political environment in which Bach (and other great composers) flourished.

 

My German history may be patchy at best, but what I do know, is the fact that almost everything was totaly dependent upon the approval of regional monarchs and aristocrats, to whom everyone deferred.

I think this rather overplays the importance of the courts. In Bach's time at least they were fairly remote from the ordinary person's day-to-day experience.

 

For anyone wanting a better understanding of how Leipzig functioned in Bach's time, I recommend this book (you can read chunks of it online). Much of it has only the most peripheral bearing on music, but chapters 1, 2 and 5 give some useful insight into the social and religious environment in which Bach worked. MM ought to read chapters 3 and 4 as well.

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I think this rather overplays the importance of the courts. In Bach’s time at least they were fairly remote from the ordinary person’s day-to-day experience.

 

For anyone wanting a better understanding of how Leipzig functioned in Bach’s time, I recommend this book. Much of it has only the most peripheral bearing on music, but chapters 1, 2 and 5 give some useful insight into the social and religious environment in which Bach worked. MM ought to read chapter 3 as well.

 

 

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

 

 

This is the Discussion Board at its best! Thank you for pointing out this book, which I haven't heard of previously.

 

However, I wonder if the "remoteness" of which 'Vox' speaks is actually valid when mentioning Bach?

 

Wasn't it Frederick II who was the keen musician, and when Bach turned up at court, he cancelled the planned concerts and had Bach improvise on a submitted theme? (Later re-written as 'The musical offering')

 

I forget which minor Monarch also had Bach accompany him to highly fashionable Carlsbad, (in the Czech Republic), to "take the waters" and enjoy a holiday. This would be when Bach took a folding harpsichord and teamed up with either Cernohorsky or Brixi, (I don't know where I've put the infoprmation). In any event, they performed together in Carlsbad.

 

This doesn't suggest that the monarchs were all that remote from music, and I suspect that at the top level, music was a way of squirming one's way into high-society.....always as a servant of course.

 

After all, the great musicians were invariably employed and supported either by monarchs or religious prelates, from the 13th Century to quite modern times. Remnants of that same patronage continue into the present day; not least in cathedral music.

 

Anyway, let uis not divert, because this is an interesting discussion.

 

MM

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This was exactly the argument the neo-baroque thinkers used to be left doing whatever they wanted...

I do not think one should tell the player "now you draw this and that", like with the french organ music.

But the french organs were very homogeneous in their Specifications, while the german organ

were extremely innovative, even experimental.

But whenever you hear such organs in Bach, it is a revelation, with, for example, those Unda-Maris stops....But

well, again, we should all go there in order to really go on.

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

Ah! Those neo-classical organ-builders. They haven't a clue.

 

 

MM

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However, I wonder if the "remoteness" of which 'Vox' speaks is actually valid when mentioning Bach?

Ah, well, Bach wasn't an "ordinary person" was he? :lol: He most definitely valued his court connections, particularly his honorary Dresden position which he quoted whenever he could. However, as far as his Leipzig cantorate was concerned it was very much the local authorities which whom he had to deal and battle - and it's interesting how in the published obituary, CPE Bach plays down the Leipzig job altogether (IIRC he barely mentions it).

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