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Harvard


AJJ
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I was interested to read about the following. This - the largest mechanical action instrument by an American builder in the 20th Century when installed in 1967 and an important element not only in US organ buildng but also in the work of the Fisk company is to be replaced by this in 2012. The confined 'chancel' (Appleton Chapel) area is to be restored including the opening up of a window now behind the older organ. In consequence the new organ will be built on the gallery of the main church (where the choir now sings from at the main Sunday services) and a 1929 Skinner organ installed in the original Appleton Chapel side chambers to accompany smaller daily services etc. The new organ will be named the Charles B. Fisk Memorial Organ - Fisk having been a Harvard alumnus and will be designed for 'choral accompaniment, hymn support and for organ music in services and concerts'. Interestingly Fisk originally wanted the older organ to be in the position the new one is to occupy - it it's present position it has always had to shout to be heard in the main building yet also needing to be subtle to accompany voices.

Looking at the two stoplists and all that Fisk has done in between it is significant that the new organ has a much more 'romantic' and almost 'churchy' look to it's stoplist - as has been commented on in thse pages and elsewhere - styles do seem to go in cycles. The old organ is not being disposed of totally however - it is to be intalled in another church.

 

Maybe one or two places over here could do with the same treatment - Jesus College Cambridge seems to have done something similar - certainly, a new instrument together with related re housing of the previous seems preferable to trying to alter an organ with a strong identity (the older Fisk being such an instrument) to suit new needs etc. Furthermore it also means that instruments of character and undoubted use such as the little 3 man. Mander from Jesus College are preserved and can be appreciated elsewhere.

 

What do people think?

 

AJJ

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This is interesting news indeed. I believe MM of this forum has first hand experience of the present instrument?

 

"Looking at the two stoplists and all that Fisk has done in between it is significant that the new organ has a much more 'romantic' and almost 'churchy' look to it's stoplist - as has been commented on in thse pages and elsewhere - styles do seem to go in cycles."

 

Actually, I think its more important to see the stoplist in the context of the Fisk company's development of the last 15-20 years (especially since the early 90s). In a sense its an extension of the concepts (if not the execution-ideals) of Charles Fisk himself, especially as they began to develop in the 1970s. Fisk researched the work of Cavaillé-Coll as evidenced in his organ at House of Hope Church in St Paul MN. Even the Tuba in the new organ echos the Calvin Hampton-inspired and Charles Fisk designed (though not completed until a decade after his death) organ in the concert hall in Dallas, which has defined their work since.

 

"The old organ is not being disposed of totally however - it is to be intalled in another church."

 

Its loss would be unthinkable given its position in North American organ history. E .Power Biggs was involved in its commissioning, and the organ was played at both his, and Charles Fisk's funerals. Anton Heiller also recorded there I think (Hindemith Sonatas?)

 

"Furthermore it also means that instruments of character and undoubted use such as the little 3 man. Mander from Jesus College are preserved and can be appreciated elsewhere."

 

Hmmmm, I think perhaps equating that organ with the current Harvard Fisk is stretching a point. Now if New College Oxford decided they wanted a new Fisk......

 

B)

 

Greetings

 

Bazuin

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