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What Is Wrong With Hybrid Organs?


Guest spottedmetal

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Guest spottedmetal

Dear All

 

On another thread rather irrelevantly to hybridisation I mentioned the Carlo Curley recordings and American instruments with lots of "expression pedals", and queasy strings on which MM enlightened us further.

 

However, this morning I discovered possibly the most horrible example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtKgOZX3DcU

where the pipe-organ greets the synthesizer - and if there is something wrong with hybrids, that's just it.

 

Earlier this week the pianist Richard Greenwood's memorial service was held at St Mary's Barnes. There is a spectacular 1984 Peter Collins there which is very lovely - but from this one can see how one gets to Trono. Possibly some might call it a vegetarian instrument . . . excellent for Bach, looks good, relies on upperwork to support congregational singing. But the postlude demonstrated the problem - wonderful sound across the Chancel and front of Nave, but at the back and particularly diagonally at the back, the sound was weak and does not fill.

 

Perhaps that's the reason why some hybridisation was experimented with at Trono - and certainly Carlo's recording does not show up the problems. Whilst being convinced that some artificial spice can salvage an out-of-fashion instrument and yet to be persuaded entirely otherwise, in the case of Trono just because one experiment has not worked as well as it might does not invalidate the experiment. In discussion with a young organist who normally plays a spectacular Markussen, he mentioned that it doesn't have "the beef" to fill the chapel where he is - and this is the strength of traditional out-of-fashion H&Hs which are weak in the spice department.

 

In building conservation, we aim for certain principles which do not appear to have been universally applied to organ building and re-building:

1. Where adaptation is involved, changes should be reversible

2. New additions should be identifiable and not confusable with the old

3. The integrity of the old should not be compromised

 

Sadly the numbers of rebuilds of former generations that we are now seeing as having been regrettable suggest that perhaps some of historic building philosophy would be well brought into the realm of organs.

 

When temporary fashions cause people to muck around with the pipework inside cases to satisfy the fashion, none of the historic building criteria are obeyed, especially 2 and 3.

 

Where we see temporary fashions, which of course have validity in themselves, cause pressure for instruments of the old fashion to be done away with or altered beyond recognition, then might possibly a temporary importation of some temporary technology imported onto a MIDI output which allows the instrument to more satisfy the new fashion have a place? In this way, the permanence and integrity of the old instrument can be preserved and either extra rawness can be imported into an H&H or possibly but potentially less successfully more red blood cells might be imported into a vegetarian. . .

 

However, the recording of Trinity Wall Street above in my mind clocks up failure, particularly as it replaced apparently an intrinsically superb pure pipe organ. IMHO hybridisation might have a valid place but at Wall Street, that wasn't it.

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

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Guest spottedmetal
What exactly is it about this instrument which you dislike so?

Don't I hear some orchestral and percussive intrusions? One section sounds like a cinema organ.

 

Brilliant organist though.

 

As I check it again my youngest son is muttering "sounds horrendous" . . .

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

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I may be missing some of the point here, but Trinity Wall Street isn't a hybrid - it is an electronic instrument (and arguably one of the very best of its kind) but in no way is it a "hybrid".

 

Note also that the instrument had various cinema organ sounds specifically added to it for this particular concert.

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As I check it again my youngest son is muttering "sounds horrendous" . . .

May I suggest that you and your youngest son have a look at www.trinitywallstreet.org and find your way through to the organ pages. Drill down to find Paul Jacobs, head of organ studies at the Juilliard, playing Reubke and listen. When you have done so, come back and tell us if you still think it sounds horrendous.

JC

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May I suggest that you and your youngest son have a look at www.trinitywallstreet.org and find your way through to the organ pages. Drill down to find Paul Jacobs, head of organ studies at the Juilliard, playing Reubke and listen. When you have done so, come back and tell us if you still think it sounds horrendous.

JC

 

 

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

 

 

That instrument certainly didn't come cheap, and it is quite probable that decent two or three manual instrument could have been made for the same price.

 

Yes, it sounds good, from what I can tell over the internet, and faced with the after-effects of 9/11, it was probably a very good choice of an almost immediate temporary replacement.

 

I'm glad you mentioned the name of Paul Jacobs, because his was the name I was struggling to recall when I mentioned someone playing the fiendishly difficult "three part" versions of the Bach "two part" inventions, which Reger transcribed and augmented for the organ.

 

I must away and listen to that Reubke!

 

MM

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Guest spottedmetal
May I suggest that you and your youngest son have a look at www.trinitywallstreet.org and find your way through to the organ pages. Drill down to find Paul Jacobs, head of organ studies at the Juilliard, playing Reubke and listen. When you have done so, come back and tell us if you still think it sounds horrendous.

 

Thanks! That sounds as though we are in for a treat - will do.

 

Strange comment on the YouTube page from Aaron Folwell about hybridisation . . . in the back of my mind I had recalled some jumping up and down with excitement in delight at pure toast, and revelling in the scale of it, so it was rather a surprise. As, looking at this young organist's profile he comes from UK, perhaps we ought to try to get him on board on this forum?

 

The ability to casually plug in another 100 stops and a virtual cinema organ, is really what gives toasters on such large scales, whether toasters or pipe-hybrids, the ability to be unorganistic. I'm not at all sure that cymbal crashes and extra cinema organs sounding through are at all appropriate on instruments masquerading in the clothes of pipe organs. When instruments go down this route, doesn't it reduce the King of Instruments to a mere multi-manual synth? From the comments of horizontaltrumpet on

I'm clearly not the only person to have such an opinion - and certainly from that demonstration it's clear that that unit is inappropriate were any hybrid to be conceived - and listening to those orchestral sounds . . . no comment - and as for that hideous Lemmens Fanfare . . . Aren't these machines cringe-making?

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

 

 

PS Have just gone to http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/music/?organ&p=hear without success in finding Reubke - if anyone can find the link, clearly we'd no doubt appreciate it.

 

PPS By the way, if anyone likes what they hear with this sort of toast, I have a spare RTOM (Roland Theatre Organ Module) which would welcome an appreciative home as it's certainly not being plugged in in my back room . . . I was looking for a digital Diapason and got a good deal more than I bargained for . . . !

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The ability to casually plug in another 100 stops and a virtual cinema organ, is really what gives toasters on such large scales, whether toasters or pipe-hybrids, the ability to be unorganistic. I'm not at all sure that cymbal crashes and extra cinema organs sounding through are at all appropriate on instruments masquerading in the clothes of pipe organs. When instruments go down this route, doesn't it reduce the King of Instruments to a mere multi-manual synth?

 

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

 

 

Spot's taken leave of his senses!!!! :blink:

 

Since when was a theatre-organ not a pipe-organ?

 

What is the organ at Weingarten Abbey, other than a piece of showmanship?

 

I know "spot" hasn't ridiculed the theatre-organ, as some others tend to do, but for anyone who doubts just how fiendishly difficult TRUE theatre-organ playing can be, then dig out the Trinity Wall Street archive recordings of Cameron Carpenter.

He may be controversial, (only to the musical snobs), but he can turn his hands and feet just as easily to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and the music of John Williams as he can to an absolutely stupendous performance of the Vierne Toccata.

 

The whole Trinity Organ Series is a showcase of quite extraordinary and diverse talents, ranging from Felix Hell and Jeremy Filsell, through the entire gamut of the organ player's art and craft, to the likes of Cameron Carpenter.

 

I wasn't too thrilled by the Reubke played by Paul Jacobs. Not a patch on Roger Fisher!

 

I haven't listened to all the archive material yet, but the funny thing is, I've yet to hear a good performance of Bach.

 

Could it be that Bach played by virtuosi showmen, is a contradiction in terms waiting to happen?

 

MM

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The theatre organ tradition is very much a valid tradition in its own right, and I would hate to see it disappear, although it is not my main interest. I thing the Raiders of the Lost Ark was incredibly effective and showed what an electronic organ is capable of. The Trinity Wall Street organ is one of if not the best example of its kind anywhere, and outranks the the rest by miles. When I first heard it several months ago, I couldn't believe it was electronic, and that's the first time I have ever thought that about a digital organ. If I remember rightly it is the first instrument by the builders who made it, shows what a fresh pair of eyes and ears can do to the industry.

 

I must away to church,

 

Jonathan

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Looking again at the Cameron Carpenter video recordings, would that I could play 1000th as well as he does. That instrument, (though I recognise that it is not without controversy) is staggering - wish we had one here. :blink:

 

One wonders whether criticisms of it (and its player) are from the same green eyed monster that Carlo Curley once spoke of....

 

Q :mellow:

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Have just gone to http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/music/?organ&p=hear without success in finding Reubke - if anyone can find the link, clearly we'd no doubt appreciate it.

You started in the right place. Now click on Conservatory Stars Festival near the bottom of the page and then scroll down to Paul Jacobs. He might not be Roger Fisher, but he doesn't do a bad job and as a method of showing the wide range of voices on this instrument, this clip seemed an appropriate choice.

JC

PS It's worth hooking your computer into a decent sound system to hear this.

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

That instrument certainly didn't come cheap, and it is quite probable that decent two or three manual instrument could have been made for the same price.

 

Yes, it sounds good, from what I can tell over the internet, and faced with the after-effects of 9/11, it was probably a very good choice of an almost immediate temporary replacement.

 

I have come across a few combined pipe/electronics - one where a few extra 16' and 32' pedal stops have been included effectively, one where a small pipe instrument was doubled in size with electronic reeds, chorus work, strings etc. - this sounded decidedly unconvincing and one many years ago where everything from 8' C downwards was electronic - this was ghastly. I was also indirectly involved in a situation where a perfectly reasonable 3 manual pipe organ was to be 'augmented' with 32' reeds, Tubas etc. when someone left the music department at the church with some money 'for the organ'. The music staff were all for this but mercifully the diocese put its foot down and nothing became of the scheme. It seems to me that if a pipe organ is possible and desired then get a pipe organ - the same for a digital but I am not sure of the point of instruments like the Collins/Allen in Scandinavia or many in the USA. Sometimes it seems that the 'Christmas wish list' attitiude takes over from what should be consideration of use and of practical limitations of money and space etc.

 

AJJ

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Guest spottedmetal
=======================

Spot's taken leave of his senses!!!! :blink:

;) I'm honored! I didn't think anyone credited me with any such qualities! :D At the Greenwood memorial service I bumped into my old organ master who introduced me to a current pupil as the maddest person he had ever taught. Now that's a compliment!

Since when was a theatre-organ not a pipe-organ?

 

What is the organ at Weingarten Abbey, other than a piece of showmanship?

 

I know "spot" hasn't ridiculed the theatre-organ, as some others tend to do, but for anyone who doubts just how fiendishly difficult TRUE theatre-organ playing can be

:mellow: Actually, I love theatre-organs and their tradition - but in the right place. In fact the piano tuner from whom I discovered the joys of tuning was an ex Davis Theatre organist in Croydon and taught me a delightfully simple arrangement of Singing in the Rain. I wish now that I'd learned more from him, but he was distinctly unmarried and I didn't feel entirely comfortable as a young boy in his company . . . Another piece I love is the Oscar Rasbach setting of the Joyce Kilmer poem Trees which I heard played at the Kew Musical Museum Wurlitzer. And that's one that transfers onto the classical organ well - and worthy of looking at for encores.

 

The YouTube example which somewhat shocked me did so on account of the mix of idiom in the same piece and instruments like this lead to unorganistic excesses.

 

It's for that reason that my showmanship instrument keeps most "unenclosed", putting merely one extra pedal in an inconvenient place to be used only in extremis. No performer here can go down the route of bad habits. But with my 1812 escapades and Hugh's wardrobe, no-one can accuse the south-east of lacking a spark of showmanship!

 

By the way, someone on YouTube accused my exciting "beast" of sounding like a big electronic squeezebox - an effect due entirely to diabolical automatic level control on the camera and terrible microphone - and I was intending to post the example of that accordionist that caused someone to think that an H&H would become imminently redundant. If anyone can put their fingers on that clip again, searches have been fruitless and I'd be very grateful.

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

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I have come across a few combined pipe/electronics - one where a few extra 16' and 32' pedal stops have been included effectively, one where a small pipe instrument was doubled in size with electronic reeds, chorus work, strings etc. - this sounded decidedly unconvincing and one many years ago where everything from 8' C downwards was electronic - this was ghastly. I was also indirectly involved in a situation where a perfectly reasonable 3 manual pipe organ was to be 'augmented' with 32' reeds, Tubas etc. when someone left the music department at the church with some money 'for the organ'. The music staff were all for this but mercifully the diocese put its foot down and nothing became of the scheme. It seems to me that if a pipe organ is possible and desired then get a pipe organ - the same for a digital but I am not sure of the point of instruments like the Collins/Allen in Scandinavia or many in the USA. Sometimes it seems that the 'Christmas wish list' attitiude takes over from what should be consideration of use and of practical limitations of money and space etc.

 

AJJ

 

 

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

 

I think I know exactly what Alastair is saying, and I would largely agree with him.

 

However, the history of the hybrid organ is certainly older than electronics, and has its own unique place in history. In the 18th century, there were those curious organ/harpsichord instruments, which must have been very useful as continuo instruments in many situations.

 

More up to date, but no less fascinating, is an organ which (if I can find the link to add later), is not only visually stunning, it must be unique in the history of organ-building.

 

In Poland (I'll find out where when I've found the link), is an organ which began life as a large two-manual 18th century baroque instrument. Presumably during the partition of Poland, in the German sector, a great deal of work was done to many of these old organs (sadly), by the firm of Schlag & Sohn. They worked very much in the romantic tradition, but not to the sort of excess one find with later instruments from other German builders. In fact, the new organs they built were tonally very fine indeed. (There are a few of their organs as far away as Norway).

 

Nevertheless, in the re-building of this particular Polish baroque-organ, a third manual was added, along with pneumatic-action and stop-control. However, the third manual was not there to play pipes, but instead, a harmonium built into the body of the console. My Polish is decidedly erratic, but from what I can gather, the third manual exists only in name these days: the harmonium either having been removed or fallen apart. Of course, it is really an extension of the "free-reeds in a box" idea, so beloved of the German builders of the romantic period.

 

Returning to Alastairs observations, I couldn't agree more that electronic/pipe mixes are about as attractive as Water Melon in Worcester Sauce. I could not begin to imagine, for instance, what an old Netherlands instrument would sound like with added electronic voices. The word horrible springs to mind.

 

With more romantic voicing, such as one finds in some profusion in America, I suspect that the end results, if carefully done, might be more agreeable, but only to a certain point.

 

Much as I admire many of the latest generation of electronics, and the Marshall & Ogeltree organ at Trinity NY in particular, I can't help but feel that electronics and pipes should not be mixed as a general rule, even though it is sometimes quite effective, as it is at Blackburn Cathedral.

 

I much prefer to admire the very clever achievements in digital organ technology, and to enjoy them as such, without having to make the comparison between pipes and electronics.

 

Yes, we can all (I hope) admire the result at Trinity NY, but as I said previously, it came at quite a price, as befits a church with more money than it knows what to do with; serving as it does, the financial area of New York.

 

MM

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Dear All

 

On another thread rather irrelevantly to hybridisation I mentioned the Carlo Curley recordings and American instruments with lots of "expression pedals", and queasy strings on which MM enlightened us further.

 

However, this morning I discovered possibly the most horrible example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtKgOZX3DcU

where the pipe-organ greets the synthesizer - and if there is something wrong with hybrids, that's just it.

 

Earlier this week the pianist Richard Greenwood's memorial service was held at St Mary's Barnes. There is a spectacular 1984 Peter Collins there which is very lovely - but from this one can see how one gets to Trono. Possibly some might call it a vegetarian instrument . . . excellent for Bach, looks good, relies on upperwork to support congregational singing. But the postlude demonstrated the problem - wonderful sound across the Chancel and front of Nave, but at the back and particularly diagonally at the back, the sound was weak and does not fill.

 

Perhaps that's the reason why some hybridisation was experimented with at Trono - and certainly Carlo's recording does not show up the problems. Whilst being convinced that some artificial spice can salvage an out-of-fashion instrument and yet to be persuaded entirely otherwise, in the case of Trono just because one experiment has not worked as well as it might does not invalidate the experiment. In discussion with a young organist who normally plays a spectacular Markussen, he mentioned that it doesn't have "the beef" to fill the chapel where he is - and this is the strength of traditional out-of-fashion H&Hs which are weak in the spice department.

 

In building conservation, we aim for certain principles which do not appear to have been universally applied to organ building and re-building:

1. Where adaptation is involved, changes should be reversible

2. New additions should be identifiable and not confusable with the old

3. The integrity of the old should not be compromised

 

Sadly the numbers of rebuilds of former generations that we are now seeing as having been regrettable suggest that perhaps some of historic building philosophy would be well brought into the realm of organs.

 

When temporary fashions cause people to muck around with the pipework inside cases to satisfy the fashion, none of the historic building criteria are obeyed, especially 2 and 3.

 

Where we see temporary fashions, which of course have validity in themselves, cause pressure for instruments of the old fashion to be done away with or altered beyond recognition, then might possibly a temporary importation of some temporary technology imported onto a MIDI output which allows the instrument to more satisfy the new fashion have a place? In this way, the permanence and integrity of the old instrument can be preserved and either extra rawness can be imported into an H&H or possibly but potentially less successfully more red blood cells might be imported into a vegetarian. . .

 

However, the recording of Trinity Wall Street above in my mind clocks up failure, particularly as it replaced apparently an intrinsically superb pure pipe organ. IMHO hybridisation might have a valid place but at Wall Street, that wasn't it.

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

 

No, it certainly wasn't the case at Trono - the pipe organ is well placed to speak into the small church and could have filled the building quite happily. There was quite enough space to install a well designed and flexible 2 manual organ in a good position. Sounds from speakers don't carrry as well as pipes, so speakers cannot augment the power of an organ's pipes successfully. At Trono, there was no need to "add on" to the sound for the sake of a few decibels.

 

The problem with Trono, hybrid organs (and Cameron Carpenter for that matter) is that no taste is involved. Neither know when too much ceases to be impressive and just becomes tacky.

 

The suggestion of adding electronic voices to "spice up" an Edwardian H&H or "fill out" a 1980s Peter Collins strikes me as equally tacky.

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I wish now that I'd learned more from him, but he was distinctly unmarried and I didn't feel entirely comfortable as a young boy in his company . . .

 

 

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

 

 

Indeed, there are more important things in life than being a kite-flyer.

 

On the other hand, this could be a cover for being a pseudo-sensualist....you know...the sort of person who smokes his opium through water.

 

:blink:

 

MM

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The problem with Trono, hybrid organs (and Cameron Carpenter for that matter) is that no taste is involved. Neither know when too much ceases to be impressive and just becomes tacky.

 

 

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

 

 

In an odd way, this sums up what I felt when I listened to those Trinity NY archive recordings. Some of the performances from the more adventurous draw attention to them rather than to the music; hence my comment about not hearing good Bach.

 

I often think, when I listen to Cameron Carpenter's phenomenal talent and virtuosity, just how nice it would be to hear, as written, something like Vierne's "Berceuse."

 

Beauty and refined elegance is in such short supply these days.......which takes me back to my previous comments about the hyperactitivity of the age in which we live.

 

Like the nice policeman (with gun), in America, said to me when he pulled me for speeding, "Boy, if you're in that kind o' rush, maybes you should have caught yerself an airplane!"

 

(I never did pay the fine. Will they extradite me?)

 

MM

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The problem with Trono, hybrid organs (and Cameron Carpenter for that matter) is that no taste is involved. Neither know when too much ceases to be impressive and just becomes tacky.

 

The suggestion of adding electronic voices to "spice up" an Edwardian H&H or "fill out" a 1980s Peter Collins strikes me as equally tacky.

 

That is why (on the whole) I can listen to (and watch) the likes of (fairly randomly) Thomas Trotter, Thomas Murray, Olivier Latry, Naji Hakim, David Briggs, Daniel Roth, Dame Gillian Weir or Marie Claire Alain more than than anyone with a hyperactive publicity machine, extensive costume amd lighting department and above all technique that after not too long (however amazing) actually starts to detract from the music itself. OK, there have always been showmen/women but from a purely personal POV I find it all too intrusive. Fun maybe but if the playing is superb then what is the point? To put it another way - I very nearly abandoned wife and kids to go to hear David Briggs at ND de P this weekend but would probably not do the same to hear Cameron Carpenter on a 'half and half' or digital somewhere closer - but that's just me! (Similarly if our very own 'Cynic' were playing two villages away on an 1890s 2 manual Vowles I would go to that.)

As to the organ - if it is digital then let it be digital and if pipe let it be pipe (and I tend to exclude the bass bits at Blackburn and Southwell from this which seem to add to their respective instruments' flexibility) - with too much money and not much taste and musicianship it is easy to get into the realms of bling!

 

AJJ

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That is why (on the whole) I can listen to (and watch) the likes of (fairly randomly) Thomas Trotter, Thomas Murray, Olivier Latry, Naji Hakim, David Briggs, Daniel Roth, Dame Gillian Weir or Marie Claire Alain more than than anyone with a hyperactive publicity machine, extensive costume amd lighting department and above all technique that after not too long (however amazing) actually starts to detract from the music itself. OK, there have always been showmen/women but from a purely personal POV I find it all too intrusive. Fun maybe but if the playing is superb then what is the point? To put it another way - I very nearly abandoned wife and kids to go to hear David Briggs at ND de P this weekend but would probably not do the same to hear Cameron Carpenter on a 'half and half' or digital somewhere closer - but that's just me! (Similarly if our very own 'Cynic' were playing two villages away on an 1890s 2 manual Vowles I would go to that.)

As to the organ - if it is digital then let it be digital and if pipe let it be pipe (and I tend to exclude the bass bits at Blackburn and Southwell from this which add to their respective instruments' flexibility) - with too much money and not much taste and musicianship it is easy to get into the realms of bling!

 

AJJ

 

 

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

 

 

I think, if I am honest with myself, I would enjoy out-and-out showmanship for a whole concert; perhaps just to enjoy the party.

 

However, one of the reasons that I try to go to Holland for a few recitals each year, is the fact that the organists are NEVER on view, NEVER play to the gallery and NEVER allow personal ego to get in the way of the music. What you find instead is depth: real depth of musical understanding; beautifully crafted and carefully prepared.

 

I recall an organ concert in Holland, which was absolutely poe-faced baroque throughout, and in the middle of a Bach CP, this strangely elaborate ornament crept in, much to everyone's surprise. Eyebrows raised and looks were exchanged.

 

I asked the organist what the hell he thought he had been doing (but not in those words of course), whereupon he said, "Sure, I know how it must be, so I make a little humour. Do you think Herr Bach will be forgiving me?"

 

Sometimes, a tiny gem like that is leaning towards egocentricity and showmanship, but somehow, it seemed to lighten the whole recital and make it distinctly memorable.

 

The danger is, that we become musical snobs whenever the word "entertainment" is mentioned; as if entertainment were somehow bad. It's a bit like mentioning Trio Sonatas at a theatre organ event.

 

The interesting thing about the "entertainment" organists even in the theatre-organ world, is the fact the very best of them are seldom out-and-out showmen. Those that are, tend to be second division, whereas someone like the late Sidney Torch, would sit there with a military posture, seldom smiling or saying anything, yet setting the feet tapping like few others.

 

There's just no substitute for musicianship, is there?

 

MM

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'Agree totally with MM - I have a CD of a live recording of Marie Claire Alain playing a Couperin Mass from St. Croix in Bordeaux - immaculate playing on an amazing organ with plainsong sung by a better than usual French choir. Then - as a sort of encore she plays a Dandrieu Noel - as rustic as it can be with masses of humour - one can imagine the 'peasants' poking each other with baguettes! As pointed as in any really good stand up comedy act - the contrast between the two types of music and the approach causes an amazing reaction from the audience. Interestingly a similar piece played over here on a CD by an equally respected player is so po faced as to leave me cold. I don't think I am a musical snob but I do not like being treated as if the music is not enough to stand on its own without all the visual etc. and technique (which usually equates to speed) for technique's sake.

 

AJJ

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Guest spottedmetal
No, it certainly wasn't the case at Trono - the pipe organ is well placed to speak into the small church and could have filled the building quite happily. There was quite enough space to install a well designed and flexible 2 manual organ in a good position.
Having heard St Mary Barnes, I suspected as much. That church in particular is quite difficult having been radically re-ordered with a very self-consciously modern roof and acquiring an L shape that is an acoustic challenge in itself.

 

Sounds from speakers don't carrry as well as pipes, so speakers cannot augment the power of an organ's pipes successfully.

Well, yes, but not wishing to defend such systems where inappropriate, there are speakers and speakers. I have run events with fireworks outside with orchestral accompaniments of the highest quality audible on the other side of the valley a mile away on 60W amplifiers.

At Trono, there was no need to "add on" to the sound for the sake of a few decibels.
Clearly

 

The problem with Trono, hybrid organs (and Cameron Carpenter for that matter) is that no taste is involved. Neither know when too much ceases to be impressive and just becomes tacky.

Well that's probably what I have been trying to express. Dipping in occasionally to Radio 2 on Tuesday evenings, all the pipe of either church or cinema variety are glorious, but when they get onto electronic mock-orchestras . . .

The suggestion of adding electronic voices to "spice up" an Edwardian H&H. . . . equally tacky.
Perhaps not necessarily if the single stops are chosen with care and any Blockwerk effect adds sparkle.
I could not begin to imagine, for instance, what an old Netherlands instrument would sound like with added electronic voices. The word horrible springs to mind.

 

With more romantic voicing, such as one finds in some profusion in America, I suspect that the end results, if carefully done, might be more agreeable, but only to a certain point.

From my experiments, interesting things are potentially possible. The Netherlands/German Echo department works and adds well to the rest of the instrument and the Italian high pitched mixtures and lower pitch mixtures at lower intensity do add significantly and well to a very typically English configuration.

 

Finally, thanks so much for the Reubke link - yes isn't it marvellous? However, some time ago I heard Mark Blatchly play that piece at Charterhouse Chapel . . . and, without having yet heard the Marshall & Ogletree at good volume through proper speakers, the Charterhouse instrument acheived quite the equal effect in its setting.

 

Having said that, perhaps one should not be seduced by the M&O instrument. A press release for it mentioned it being a collection of samples from over 40 organs and perhaps this says it all. Once one has the hardware and the software, digital stops are cheap. Big crescendos can be achieved and there one is listening to up to 40 organs at once. It's not real - it's super-real. As such, an organ such as this takes itself too seriously - and I bet that in 15 years time that church will be clamouring for a pipe organ.

 

It runs on linux. Putting horrid hard discs aside (does one really trust quantum scale magnetics in the longer term?), I know to my cost with a linux server that the slightest difficulty 4 years down the line is greeted with "Sorry sir: this version of linux is no longer supported." Such instruments should be taken for the temporary exuberance and fun that they are, and no more.

 

It's easy to be seduced by 40 or even just 5 organs in one - this is way beyond the addition of a select choice of ear ticklers and where this is the case audiences should be made aware that they are about to listen through technicolor spectacles.

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

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Finally, thanks so much for the Reubke link - yes isn't it marvellous? However, some time ago I heard Mark Blatchly play that piece at Charterhouse Chapel . . . and, without having yet heard the Marshall & Ogletree at good volume through proper speakers, the Charterhouse instrument acheived quite the equal effect in its setting.

 

Having said that, perhaps one should not be seduced by the M&O instrument. A press release for it mentioned it being a collection of samples from over 40 organs and perhaps this says it all. Once one has the hardware and the software, digital stops are cheap. Big crescendos can be achieved and there one is listening to up to 40 organs at once. It's not real - it's super-real. As such, an organ such as this takes itself too seriously - and I bet that in 15 years time that church will be clamouring for a pipe organ.

 

It runs on linux. Putting horrid hard discs aside (does one really trust quantum scale magnetics in the longer term?), I know to my cost with a linux server that the slightest difficulty 4 years down the line is greeted with "Sorry sir: this version of linux is no longer supported." Such instruments should be taken for the temporary exuberance and fun that they are, and no more.

 

It's easy to be seduced by 40 or even just 5 organs in one - this is way beyond the addition of a select choice of ear ticklers and where this is the case audiences should be made aware that they are about to listen through technicolor spectacles.

Funny, I thought that less than 24 hours ago you were saying that the Trinity Wall Street Organ sounded "horrendous". Now you seem to be searching for other excuses to rubbish it. Many restored organs may have material from several different sources. How is this different from using a variety of samples? The craft is choosing what works well together. With half a century of experience with electronic instruments, I would say that the M&O is the best I have ever heard. I accept it's still not the same as a pipe organ, just as a CD of the Lindsay Quartet is not the same as hearing them play live, but even so it is quite acceptable. It is also put together by real people who care about their work and have feelings. Please, before you start chucking stones at things someone has told you you shouldn't like, make sure you aren't standing in your own greenhouse. And please have some consideration for others you might hurt in the process.

JC

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Funny, I thought that less than 24 hours ago you were saying that the Trinity Wall Street Organ sounded "horrendous". Now you seem to be searching for other excuses to rubbish it. Many restored organs may have material from several different sources. How is this different from using a variety of samples? The craft is choosing what works well together. With half a century of experience with electronic instruments, I would say that the M&O is the best I have ever heard. I accept it's still not the same as a pipe organ, just as a CD of the Lindsay Quartet is not the same as hearing them play live, but even so it is quite acceptable. It is also put together by real people who care about their work and have feelings. Please, before you start chucking stones at things someone has told you you shouldn't like, make sure you aren't standing in your own greenhouse. And please have some consideration for others you might hurt in the process.

JC

 

SpottedMetal's membership of this forum has been cancelled this evening, so he won't be able to respond to this or any other messages.

 

Moderator, Mander Organs

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I've found the links to the Polish "combination organ" I mentioned, at Legnica, with the whole manual given over to high-pressure (not suction) free-reeds.

 

Sadly, the "orchestral" (harmonium) division was taken out, but actually sat on its own windchest, somewhere between the manuals and the pedal-board (presumably behind the kneeboard).

 

The free-reeds were replaced by an 8 stop "baroque division".

 

You can all marvel at the organ-case, which is just fantastic:-

 

http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?miejsc_id=17

 

For Pierre's delectation, here is also a link to the lovely little Casparini organ at Wroclaw (Breslau, as it used to be known).

 

http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=491

 

Finally, the Polish "Organy Art" website has increased considerably since I last looked at it, but it is now something of a giagantic undertaking to go through it all, with no less than 63 organs listed just for Wroclaw!!!!!

 

For those with nothing better to do between meals and gazing at the Mander Board, here is the link:-

 

http://www.organy.art.pl/

 

If you want "wallpaper" for your computer-screen, this is the site to visit, by clicking on "instrumenty" at the heading, when a full list of Polish places will appear.

 

MM

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