Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Ernest Skinner: The Modern Organ (ny, 1917)

Vox Humana

Recommended Posts

This might be of interest to some: https://urresearch.rochester.edu/handle/1802/5300






This is quite fascinating stuff; especially when one has had the opportunity of sampling the work of the man himself.


The "Organ as Symphony Orchestra" may be largely dead in the water these days, but no-one ever did it better or more convincingly than Ernest Skinner and his team. A chance to hear, see or play the Newberry organ at Yale, is really a must if one is to appreciate the best of these instruments and place them in context.


Within this pdf file "The modern organ" are some real gems and insights; some of which are quite amusing.


I quote:-


A silent pipe is no more a dummy than the bunch of quartered oak grapes on the woodwork which supports it.


Shutting off wind at the toe improves the tone but fails to utilize the high-pressure, which leaves us with a high-pressure outfit and a low-pressure result.


Of course Ernest Skinner lived a long and very productive life, but sadly, as time went on, he became ever more isolated: displaced by the "neo-classical" movement and by the vision of people such as G Donald Harrison. I think one can safely say, that whilst other organ-builders, musicians and theorists had very different ideas; none were actually better organ-builders.


It is especially sad to recall that at a US congress of some sort, Ernest Skinner (then in his 80's), sat alone in a corner and was largely ignored by everyone in the room.


Fashion and fad can be so cruel, but there is little doubt that Ernest Skinner was a great tonal-artist.


There will come a day when some bright student or apprentice will ask, "Have you heard those Skinner reeds at Yale?"


Hopefully, just a few of his organs will remain as they were built, for the sake of posterity.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hopefully, just a few of his organs will remain as they were built, for the sake of posterity."



Why so much restrain ?


Skinner deserves more. After thousands of neo-Schnitger, Ernest M. might well

inspire some kind of neo- as well.

And I do not dream at all -have a look towards San Francisco-. The heritage

is still there.


And "a few" survivors won't be enough...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...