sprondel Posted February 1, 2008 Share Posted February 1, 2008 Dear forum members, Pierre announced recently to open this thread as a spin-off from the "Greatest British Organ Work" thread. But then, he appears to have found an ad in the classified section offering Harrison Trombas at a bargain price, so he had to leave immediately. In the meantime, I take the freedom to open this topic for him. ==============================... There is something about which I have often pondered however, and I have yet to discover the answer. I think I am right in saying that Carl Straube became an advocate of the "Orgel Bewebung" movement, and was he not involved in the design of the Steinmeyer at Passau? Yes, he designed the specification of the chancel organ, providing the scaling as well. He was well into Orgelbewegung thinking then already. If so, then it really was an abrupt about-face from the much heavier and clouded sounds associated with the high-romantic organ in Germany, because as I understand it, Steinmeyer went for a much more exciting and brilliant sound. Indeed, as an Englishman, I find the appalling destruction of Steinmeyer's work nothing short of criminal; with very few surviving large instruments if my information is correct. "Heavy and clouded" is quite right in so far as Wilhelm Sauer's organs are concerned. Compared to the work of Walcker and Steinmeyer, they sounded heavier, with a tendency to woolliness. Mind you, they were wonderful and expressive instruments nevertheless, and apparently very comfortable to play. In his carreer, Straube played a succession of large Sauers: Berlin, Garnisonskirche (destroyed) and Wesel, cathedral (interior destroyed in ww II), and Thomaskirche, Leipzig, where the organ has been recently restored to its 1908 glory. However, the $6m question must be, (sorry, I can't work that out in Euros with the turmoil in the markets), did Reger move with the times and embrace the more neo-classical style of instrument, and if so, is this reflected in the later works? There are people who say so, since Reger wrote his op. 127 for the monumental Sauer at Breslau, Jahrhunderthalle, the design of which shows the influence of the so-called Alsatian organ reform triggered by Rupp and Schweitzer. Straube played the first performance there, but Reger didn't come and never heard the organ. -- The registration indication for the opening arpeggios of op. 135b are sometimes taken as a hint that Reger developed an interest for brighter sounds; he demands a "gap" registration of 16 + 4 + 2 on III. But again, this was possible on many organs that were otherwise entirely romantic in concept. The work was first performed on a romatic Furtwängler (gone now) by Hermann Dettmer at Hannover Town Hall. As a final thought about the I,II,III markings in Reger (etc), I played "Hallelujah! Gott zu Loben" at a recital on the Schulze of St.Bart's, Armley here in the UK, many years ago, and I felt then (as I do now) that this really isn't the ideal instrument for this music. Perhaps that demonstrates the enormous changes which German organs went through after 1850 ... (Needless to say, with all those beautiful flutes, the quieter passages sounded quite ravishing). The basic concept of Schulze was still classical, with a true diapason chorus on the Great and a secondary chorus on another manual, and without the foundations designed to form a seamless build-up. The divisions at Armley appear, to me, to be heavily funcionalized in the British way, and not as parts of a III-II-I Crescendo, as they would have in a late-romantic German organ. I know I spent about an hour just trying to get the registration right to fit this one work , and even then, it was less than ideal. That's the fate of almost everybody today who wants to play Reger, and is not so lucky as to have a vintage Sauer or Steinmeyer at his hands. I wonder how Simon Preston managed at the RFH! Now that's an anti-Reger organ. Best, Friedrich Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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