Jump to content
Mander Organs
Jonathan Lane

Another Challenge For Those With Too Much Time On Their Hands Or Those Who Like To Do This Despite Being Too Busy

Recommended Posts

During a fairly protracted period of agonising whether to buy an electronic organ I saw a couple of times on Ebay a two manual and pedal practice harmonium made by Rushworth and Dreapers and was sorely tempted to bid, except that I knew it wouldn't get through my front door. Whether the new owner sold it quickly afterwards or whether there are several of these things still in existence that appear on Ebay now and then, I don't know.

 

But it does raise some interesting issues. Does the expertise, and materials, exist to build a fully reed-driven home practice organ rather than a pipe organ, if I so wanted to? I might be wrong, but I can't imagine many pipe organ builders would be wildly enthused if I approached them to build me a complete stand-alone console just so i could plug in some electronics and have a digital practice organ. Who these days has the know-how to build a home practice organ-replacement harmonium (ie at least two manuals, pedals, pipe organ compass), and how would the cost compare to a small home pipe organ or a toaster?

 

Probably hopelessly off topic , but I love the way discussions on this forum develop!

 

I think RF Stevens of Kentish Town North London was one of the last reed organ builders see e.g. RF Stevens. I had (1960) a 1 manual rebuilt reed organ from Stevens. They told me they made new organs for the Navy and I think the Prison Service, although I thought the reconditioned ones were better than their new ones - which looked ugly and had very stiff keys!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The organist of the Grote Kerk in Dordrecht (with the new, much-discussed Bach/Silbermann/Verschueren organ), Cor Ardesch practises on one of those Rushworth and Dreaper reed organs at home.

 

Sorry to break up the hamonium chat, but to go back the original question, my house organ would look something like this (assuming I could afford it, but that the house in question would be of normal, not to say Dutch, proportions).

 

Hoofdwerk:

Praestant 8 (lead, full length at least from 6' F, stopped wooden bass if required)

Octaaf 4 (lead)

 

Nevenwerk:

Praestant 8 (in oak, as in Arp Schnitger's Brüstwerks)

Fluit 4 (bass in oak, treble in organ metal with high lead %)

Nasard 3 (as Fluit 4', conical lead treble)

 

Pedaal:

Subbas 16'

Gedekt 8'

 

Tremulant to whole organ

 

3 couplers

 

Compasses: 56/30

 

Flat, straight pedalboard

 

Temperament: Kellner or similar

 

 

In my experience upperwork and reeds seldom sound well in living rooms, hence this specification.

 

Greetings

 

Bazuin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Compasses: 56/30

 

Why?

 

I am still, even at my advanced age, surprised at the resistance to 61/32 - what possible reason could there be for NOT having these extra notes?

 

And before anyone chimes in with "the cost" - this isn't a factor.

 

It seems to be a referred abhorrence, possibly to electro-pneumatic specifications which are, invariably, 61/32.

 

David Wyld.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

58 or 61 - agreed! :P

 

But I can't ever recall needing top F# or G on the pedalboard, so am quite happy with 30! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is possible Bazuin would work baroque pieces on it say 90% of the time,

and so does not need the extra notes.

Anyway, the tonal design is sound, not "neo" at all, and this is what counts,

not the style -all are interesting, on a par-.

 

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 or 61 - agreed! :P

 

But I can't ever recall needing top F# or G on the pedalboard, so am quite happy with 30! :)

I once attended a recital which included Ned Rorem's "Quaker Reader". One movement required the top F# and G several times, and the visiting recitalist hadn't noticed that he had only a 30-note pedalboard until he tried to play them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cynic
Why?

 

I am still, even at my advanced age, surprised at the resistance to 61/32 - what possible reason could there be for NOT having these extra notes?

 

And before anyone chimes in with "the cost" - this isn't a factor.

 

It seems to be a referred abhorrence, possibly to electro-pneumatic specifications which are, invariably, 61/32.

 

David Wyld.

 

 

I totally agree.

I think this is a deliberately high-minded, quasi-Puritan approach by designers and [some] organ-builders.

To deliberately restrict one's compass is to announce to the world, 'my organ is not built to play decadent music!'

I accept that in restoring an organ, the original compass ought to count for something, but in a new instrument......

 

It is another fetish to rank alongside

Historic Fingerings

Archaic Tunings that predispose the instrument to acceptable performance of a restricted range of repertoire (and - I do acknowledge that some temperaments are very kind)

All Toes Bach Playing

 

I feel tempted to add to the list

Tracker Action on large instruments.

 

Somewhere out there there must be a wonderful organist that we never get to hear in live recital or on disc. This will be because no organ or composer comes up to his/her personal standard. All organs will be too modern, too messed-about-with, the manual keys will be too long, the pedals too convenient. The tuning too acceptable to modern ears and the repertoire unsuited to display his/her purity of thought and depth of research. I take a diametrically opposite view: practically all repertoire is worth an occasional airing, fingering does not matter unless it makes more sense of the phrasing, action does not matter provided that it accurately reflects my touch in terms of duration. Tuning and temperament only matter to me if the result does not grate on the ear. Music - enjoyable music, that is what matters!

 

I lived for seven years with a Dutch organ where the manual compass stopped at F 54. I was always running out of notes. When I remarked upon this to a Dutch friend, his reply was, 'these notes are hardly ever made in Holland'. I notice that quite a few pedalboards stop at E 29 there too - and still they insist on playing Reger, Alain etc. on the resulting instruments!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 or 61 - agreed! :)

 

But I can't ever recall needing top F# or G on the pedalboard, so am quite happy with 30! :)

 

Don't you play Leo Sowerby's 'Pageant' then? :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think RF Stevens of Kentish Town North London was one of the last reed organ builders see e.g. RF Stevens. I had (1960) a 1 manual rebuilt reed organ from Stevens. They told me they made new organs for the Navy and I think the Prison Service, although I thought the reconditioned ones were better than their new ones - which looked ugly and had very stiff keys!

 

Hi

 

Yes, Stevens was the last UK Reed Organ maker in business - they ceased trading sometime in the 1950's I think. After that there were a few repariers who carried on - and I know of 3 trading today (there may well be others) - that's in the UK - there are others abroad.

 

I have a brochure on one of Steven's products - a reed organ with rocker tabs for stop control - probably an attempt to modernise their image - I've not seen one of those in the flesh though.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
During a fairly protracted period of agonising whether to buy an electronic organ I saw a couple of times on Ebay a two manual and pedal practice harmonium made by Rushworth and Dreapers and was sorely tempted to bid, except that I knew it wouldn't get through my front door. Whether the new owner sold it quickly afterwards or whether there are several of these things still in existence that appear on Ebay now and then, I don't know.

 

But it does raise some interesting issues. Does the expertise, and materials, exist to build a fully reed-driven home practice organ rather than a pipe organ, if I so wanted to? I might be wrong, but I can't imagine many pipe organ builders would be wildly enthused if I approached them to build me a complete stand-alone console just so i could plug in some electronics and have a digital practice organ. Who these days has the know-how to build a home practice organ-replacement harmonium (ie at least two manuals, pedals, pipe organ compass), and how would the cost compare to a small home pipe organ or a toaster?

 

Probably hopelessly off topic , but I love the way discussions on this forum develop!

 

Hi

 

There are a fair few 2m/p reed organs around, built to pipe-organ dimensions, and intended as practice organs. The R&D "Appolo" organs are probably the best - but also the most complex, as they use the Vocalian system of resonator tubes/boxes - and that also makes them bulky. Other common makes are Holt & Stevens in the UK - and there are also some Estey's from the US this side of the pond.

 

Other builders did 2m/p jobs - but some are far from pipe-organ spec - probably the worst example that I've had the "fun" of playing was by Bell - a straight, flat pedalboard (which in itself I don't find an issue) - but both manuals had stops split treble and bass - and on the upper manual there was nothing that ran through the compass in the same tone colour!

 

It would be possible to build one today - but you'd probably have to use second-hand reeds (which are available) - but unless you are a very skilled woodworker, it would be an expensive task.

 

As to stand-alone consoles, the Willis company did just that for a customer - it was illustrated on their web-site, but I don't know if it's still there. Or you could buy a console from a redundant organ and use that.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

British organists are so funny, I design a house organ and all they want to talk about is the compasses....

 

The simple reason for the compasses is that the vast majority of organ music fits within the compasses and the extra notes wouldn't justify the expense. It would first and foremost be a study organ after all. And the recitals I play are almost all on organs with shorter compasses than this, and almost never with compasses longer than this. Puritism, fetishism, abhorrence of EP actions has nothing to do with it.

 

I'm not planning to learn Pagaent any time soon, (good piece though!)

 

Cynic justified his name by writing:

 

 

"I think this is a deliberately high-minded, quasi-Puritan approach by designers and [some] organ-builders.

To deliberately restrict one's compass is to announce to the world, 'my organ is not built to play decadent music!'

I accept that in restoring an organ, the original compass ought to count for something, but in a new instrument......

 

It is another fetish to rank alongside

Historic Fingerings

Archaic Tunings that predispose the instrument to acceptable performance of a restricted range of repertoire (and - I do acknowledge that some temperaments are very kind)

All Toes Bach Playing"

 

I'm sorry but this kind of "ignorance posing as epistle" isn't, in my opinion, worthy of this discussion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but backing it up with something resembling evidence/knowledge helps somewhat. I am neither puritan, nor do I have a fetish, and yes I use historic fingerings when appropriate, yes I understand the importance of different tuning systems in different contexts and yes, I play Bach all toes. Why? Because I have travelled, played a lot of historic organs, and studied with some very good people. And, most importantly, LISTENED A LOT. I've even read some books.

 

Cynic also wrote:

"I notice that quite a few pedalboards stop at E 29 there too "

 

I have yet to come across a pedalboard in the Netherlands which stops at E29, almost all pedalboards go to D27. If your facts at least were correct, maybe I could take your opinions more seriously.

 

Hoping the tone of the discussion will improve.

 

Bazuin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's a good one, with an open 8' Principal, a 16', and no ear-ticking 2'.

I would take it.

 

Pierre

 

And both the manual 8's open too - nice idea. The solo/chorus/contrast needs are all there - for a 'work' organ that's probably all one would need.

 

AJJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And both the manual 8's open too - nice idea. The solo/chorus/contrast needs are all there - for a 'work' organ that's probably all one would need.

 

AJJ

 

Indeed, wood and metal. I'd probably place the 16' and 8' stopped on the I and borrow

them on the Pedal, but it is already nice as it is -besides all possible discussions, which

are about styles more than tonal architecture per se-.

 

Peace on Earth, ladies & Gentlemen ! myself a "post-romantic" afficionado, let me tell you

if the "would-be-baroque" organs we have in Belgium were designed after Bazuin's lines,

I'd already be content...We had people here who would not even accept such designs

as "too deep-nearly-decadent"....

 

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I totally agree.

I think this is a deliberately high-minded, quasi-Puritan approach by designers and [some] organ-builders.

To deliberately restrict one's compass is to announce to the world, 'my organ is not built to play decadent music!'

I accept that in restoring an organ, the original compass ought to count for something, but in a new instrument......

 

Ok then, following your reasoning, why not take the pedals up to Treble C, and have each manual the same compass as a piano? :blink:

 

Don't you play Leo Sowerby's 'Pageant' then? :unsure:

 

No, actually, I don't! :)

 

The simple reason for the compasses is that the vast majority of organ music fits within the compasses and the extra notes wouldn't justify the expense.

 

Indeed! B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... and yes, I play Bach all toes. Why? Because I have travelled, played a lot of historic organs, and studied with some very good people. And, most importantly, LISTENED A LOT. I've even read some books.

 

Bazuin

 

Bazuin - fear not; you are not alone in having travelled, having played a lot of historic organs, studied with some very good people - or, for that matter, having listened a lot. I suspect that a goodly number here have also read some books.

 

Speaking (well, writing) of books, I must try to track down the source in which I read an article concerning some research, which pointed to evidence that Bach taught his pupils to play using both toes and heels.

 

Regarding the house organ project, it is an interesting idea - and one in which I intend to participate late tonight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I play Bach all toes. Why? Because I have travelled, played a lot of historic organs, and studied with some very good people. And, most importantly, LISTENED A LOT.

 

If improvements in pedal board design since Bach's time rendered the use of heels acceptable, then why persist with toes only pedalling? There seems to be no practical advantage in continuing to use only toes, and to do so is surely nothing other than intellectual posturing. The correct technique must be that which produces the most satisfying results musically.

 

I agree with Cynic here; I wouldn't call it fetishism, however - I'm not quite sure what I would call it. However, when historical considerations overtake common sense and musicality, then priorities have clearly become disordered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If improvements in pedal board design since Bach's time rendered the use of heels acceptable, then why persist with toes only pedalling? There seems to be no practical advantage in continuing to use only toes, and to do so is surely nothing other than intellectual posturing. The correct technique must be that which produces the most satisfying results musically.

 

Yes, agreed, to a point. However, you have better control with toes. Say, for example, there was something on the floor which you wanted to move with your foot. Would you try and move it with your heel, or with your toe end of your foot?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, agreed, to a point. However, you have better control with toes. Say, for example, there was something on the floor which you wanted to move with your foot. Would you try and move it with your heel, or with your toe end of your foot?

 

Except that this is not quite the same thing - one is not actually moving pedals. I can think of several passages in Bach's organ music where it would be extremely difficult to produce a fluent rendering of the passage - particularly in a dry acoustic - without resorting to heels occasionally, on virtually any type of pedalboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, agreed, to a point. However, you have better control with toes. Say, for example, there was something on the floor which you wanted to move with your foot. Would you try and move it with your heel, or with your toe end of your foot?

 

That doesn't represent the same type of problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Except that this is not quite the same thing - one is not actually moving pedals. I can think of several passages in Bach's organ music where it would be extremely difficult to produce a fluent rendering of the passage - particularly in a dry acoustic - without resorting to heels occasionally, on virtually any type of pedalboard.

 

Don't get me wrong - I do very occasionally use heels in Bach where they help provide a more fluent performance. But I find in pedalling in organ works of all periods and schools that a technique which favours toes works better at giving more accurate control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could take the easy option and buy one, as a friend of mine did :

 

http://www.orgues-bancells.com/show?ar_id=26

 

But I rather think I would copy the very small Maurice Puget placed in the Jacobins church in Toulouse :

2MP, 61/32

I)

Diapason 8

Bourdon 8

II)

Flûte harmonique 8

Flûte octaviante 4

Trompette 8

Ped) Soubasse 16

 

Pneumatic action (easier to have it adapted to the strange shape of my flat)

16-8-4 couplers, 8-4 tirasses

All in box, except the 2 first octaves of the diapason and the soubasse.

 

That sould be enough to go accros most of my favorite repertoire, and more would be unrealistic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I could take the easy option and buy one, as a friend of mine did :

 

http://www.orgues-bancells.com/show?ar_id=26

 

But I rather think I would copy the very small Maurice Puget placed in the Jacobins church in Toulouse :

2MP, 61/32

I)

Diapason 8

Bourdon 8

II)

Flûte harmonique 8

Flûte octaviante 4

Trompette 8

Ped) Soubasse 16

 

Pneumatic action (easier to have it adapted to the strange shape of my flat)

16-8-4 couplers, 8-4 tirasses

All in box, except the 2 first octaves of the diapason and the soubasse.

 

That sould be enough to go accros most of my favorite repertoire, and more would be unrealistic.

 

And with a non mechanical action one can always have some crafty derivations /duplications to make it even more versatile - maybe instead of some of the octave couplers. I'd like a Gamba/Voix C. somewhere too - pure indulgence!

 

AJJ

Share this post


Link to post
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...