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Pierre Lauwers

Baroque Organ Tone

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The baroque organ is largely unknown.

There are numerous organists who play baroque music,

but are quite surprised when presented authentic, or nearly

authentic, ancient organs.

 

Baroque organs are "crazy ones", i.e., "baroque" also means a creativity

without borders. These organs are unpredictable, experimental, varied

and highly idiosyncratic, each town , each builder having its own style

and charachter.

And whenever you find a not-too bastled over baroque organ, it is invariably

extremely beautiful, whatever its style and size.

 

I propone we share here links to pages with musical files, and I will open

it with an organ I like particularly much: the 1717 Jacobus Van den Eynde organ

in Oostkamp (BE).

This is a typical flemish baroque organ; you will ear the Principal Plenum with

the strong Sesquialtera, crazy "Weissblech" reeds, etc. And note it is a small

instrument *with no Pedal*, only pull-downs. Aha, like in Britain ? No, like everywhere

save in big Cathedrals. To have independant 16' Pedals on a little organ like that

is a neo-baroque idea. But let us stop with polemic, have a look and an ear here:

 

http://www.andriessenorgelbouw.be/fr/OSP-info.html

 

Pierre

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A famous example, but remarkably well preserved.

 

http://www.alkmaarorgelstad.nl/index.php?id=129&L=1

 

and almost as famous but also fabulous:

 

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=MWzLvxj_IlQ (Hinsz organ, 1743, pedal by Freytag 1790, many pipes in the Hoofdwerk chorus from an earlier instrument by the local builder, Jan Slegel)

 

Greetings

 

Bazuin

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I've bored you to tears previously with my enthusiasm for the organ of the Hooglandse Kerk, Leiden, but I still think it's a magnificent instrument. The pipework is apparently all old stuff, with work since 1702 being mainly the addition of more stops followed by their removal.

 

Its history is:

 

1565 New organ built by Peter Jansz de Swart of Utrecht

1637 Rebuilding and enlargement by G van Hagerbeer

1702 Restoration and changes (compass enlargement) by J Duyschot

1879 Changes by Lohman en Schaafeld

1941 Restoration by van Leeuwen

1978 Complete restoration and reconstruction to the 1702 specification by Ahrend.

 

This is Theo Visser playing a Ground by Tomkins during a demonstration of the organ on 17 April 2007.

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A dutch organ more, the not in original state, but "magic", Aa kerk organ:

 

http://orgelconcerten.ncrv.nl/ncrv?nav=abxjsCsHtGAiBzBeBH

 

(Click on "beluister")

 

Balbastre on the Bourges cathedral organ; this recording gives a good idea

of french baroque reeds from the 18th century:

 

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/organ-au-logis...etiteChasse.mp3

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
A dutch organ more, the not in original state, but "magic", Aa kerk organ:

 

http://orgelconcerten.ncrv.nl/ncrv?nav=abxjsCsHtGAiBzBeBH

 

(Click on "beluister")

 

Balbastre on the Bourges cathedral organ; this recording gives a good idea

of french baroque reeds from the 18th century:

 

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/organ-au-logis...etiteChasse.mp3

 

I rather beg to differ with Pierre as the organ in Bourges Cathedral is not a typical instrument from the 18th Century. It is a relatively recent conception by Kern of Strasbourg (with a full swell division) and is in equal temperament. Also, recordings are not at all helpful as this soundbite makes the organ sound as if it has a grand Chamade. In fact this Chamade (not full compass, is more of a Regal at the console and in the building (as students of ISOC found this summer). For a late 18th century sound that it still without any real restoration (certainly with the pipes) is the organ in Souvigny Abbey.

Best wishes,

Nigel

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About what Kern did I do know relatively well; these stops are

among the ancient ones (about 30% of the stops are).

 

This said, I admit Souvigny is better ! thanks for this, Nigell,

and let us continue to share the good files.

 

Pierre

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
About what Kern did I do know relatively well; these stops are

among the ancient ones (about 30% of the stops are).

 

This said, I admit Souvigny is better ! thanks for this, Nigell,

and let us continue to share the good files.

 

Pierre

 

Bourges went through many transformations really, and even if some pipes are old, they have been changed to suit the tastes of subsequent builders.

I know, Pierre, you hold quite a store upon these videos and sound tracks. To be frank, I don't find them helpful at all as most to me only show the inadequacies of the recording company and microphones. I have recordings of a same instrument that sounds quite different in the hands of other players (using similar registrations, I might add) that one wonders if it is the same instrument!

There is absolutely no alternative but to play visit and walk around a building and attend also a service where people have mopped up the acoustic. Weather too plays a great part in the sonority - strange as it might seem to some readers.

But back to Souvigny and that little clip. The organ sounds quite undistinguished on the clip actually and one has little inclination of what it really does sound like. I can assure you that this organ is one of the most magnificent available to us in almost unaltered condition. It is a plain and simple organ 'sent down' from the works of F-H Cliquot in 1783. Nothing extraordinary in any way one might say. No extravagance even though it is an Abbey of Royal connections. Simple 8ft case. ORGAN PICTURE Every stop just right. But the whole is a sensation. Tall, narrow and long Benedictine Abbatiale with an ample acoustic but certainly not excessive. And then someone plays! And then we hear downstairs an example of true organ building. The character and blend of all the stops underpinned by a most generous 8ft Flute is something always to be remembered. A Cromorne of exceptional presence and one of the loudest stops (not heard in the video clip at all well).

The Grand jeux of less than a handful of stops is the height of majesty - rich, vast, warm and hugely powerful. Therefore, these examples need to be heard in situ although I agree that arm-chair looking and listening is much cheaper and a good guide for planning expeditions for the future. (But don't go to Souvigny yet. There is an intense restoration project on the church.)

All the best,

Nigel

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"I agree that arm-chair looking and listening is much cheaper and a good guide for planning expeditions for the future."

(Quote)

 

......And this we did not have several years ago.

This is better than nothing. I agree it will never replace

the tenths of thousand kilometers I drove in the past

across Europe visiting organs, from Spain to Britain

and Germany. But who could still afford that today ?

This time is over.

 

Another interesting Video from Souvigny with Michel Chapuis:

 

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=IQtK2-w3_ng&...feature=related

 

And here is another one, which displays the difference between the Jeu de Tierce (in five stops)

and the Cornet:

 

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=SVXlHwo98RE&...feature=related

 

Isn't that interesting?

 

Pierre

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

And here is a snippet from a recording of The Queen of all organs. It is a disastrous recording in my estimation. It gives no idea of the glorious acoustic, position and quality. But those listeners who want to hear reeds as if you are standing on the tribune directly in the firing line - this is just for you!

Marchand Dialogue

 

Nigel

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A bit better without going through Hauptwerk, this Plein-jeu (same organ):

 

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/organ-au-logis...oupCouvPJXD.mp3

 

Here is another of my favorites:

 

 

Here too, the quality of the recording does not justice to the instrument, no doubt.

But it is sufficient to make clear the Mixtures there are extremely different from

whatever the "Reform" movement has built in the 20th Century.

 

Pierre

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Isn't this all fun?

Here's a King of an organ in Amsterdam. One of the glories of The Netherlands. Buxtehude in the Nieue Kerk. Buxtehude

Best wishes,

Ngel

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Perhaps the best musical 'vision' to demonstrate Baroque programme music and the organ. Great fun.

Let Battle Commence! Headphones are best to be at the head of the army.

Best wishes.

N

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Anoter gem; the Robustelly organ of Helmond, NL.

 

-Robustelly was a pupil of Le Picard in Liège

(His true name was Robostel, he was a german-speaking belgian).

 

-The Le Picards came in Belgium round 1700, and they introduced

the french style of the late 17th Century in Liège, that is, the very kind

of organs F. Couperin and Grigny knew..

 

-The Le Picards and their pupils continued to build after this style, with only

little changes, in isolation. These changes were mainly the typical belgian

Sesquialtera, which belonged to the Principal chorus.

 

Needless to say, Couperin and Grigny go extremely well on Liège organs...

 

Now the Video:

 

 

This other Video, not very well recorded, displays the "Grand-jeu" (sound begins at 0,42"):

 

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=G6gVX-MC8Cg

 

Pierre

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Anoter gem; the Robustelly organ of Helmond, NL.

 

Pierre

 

Indeed, a glorious organ but of the music and playing, I can make no comment.

Helmond brings back happy memories of being the first such organ that I played and it must also be the only church to be built to accommodate an organ. If I remember rightly, the organ was bought (from a disused Abbey?) and brought to Helmond. Then the church was unsafe and needed replacing - so the organ is actually older than the church in which it lives. Huge neo-Gothic structure now with vast reverberation which means that the player must take special care with registrations. The next organ I played in the same sort of style - was at Vlaardingen. I shall hopefully find some sound clips that do the organs justice. Pierre - please help?

Best wishes,

Nigel

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No sound files, halas, but at least this page:

 

http://www.orgelvlaardingen.nl/

 

(on the left, there are links to some info, but in dutch)

 

A gem more. If you can, don't miss that one !

 

Another one of the same vein, in western Flanders:

 

http://www.haringe.be/orgel.htm

 

Pierre

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Perhaps the best musical 'vision' to demonstrate Baroque programme music and the organ. Great fun.

Let Battle Commence! Headphones are best to be at the head of the army.

Best wishes.

N

I'm really enjoying the contributions to this thread. Best one in ages

 

Nigel: OMG! With artillery like that, how could an army ever lose?

 

BTW, a friend of mine informs me that most of the photos on that clip aren't Segovia - there are lots of shots of Granada. The appearance and visual splendour of the baroque organ should never be overlooked, neither the detail and skill of the craftsmanship. Here's a photo of the Segovia organ:

 

Segovia%20-%20cathedral%20-%20Iberian%20organ%201.JPG

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Waow! I did not know that Video....Excellent!

 

(I have the impression we are many to have St-Maximin among our favorites...)

 

I found this other one:

 

http://video.aol.com/video-detail/nicolas-...oria/3605824509

 

This is an organ you can drawn whatever stop, even a single Bourdon 8', hop,

splendid...

 

Pierre

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Indeed it is an interesting thread. Here is a gold thread from high days of Spanish Mexico. It is a fun video that highlights the dreary state of many organs from the Baroque - both in Latin Europe and the New World. Mexico

Beware - this is an illuminating holiday video where for some of the time the organ looks as if it is going the same way as the Titantic. Any tuners thinking of taking a holiday in Mexico? I dare gamble you would get it all paid for!

 

And as a dash back to mainland Europe - a Frescobaldi Kyrie with singing. At last I hear Meantuning!

Italian Kyrie

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

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The Onze Lieve vrouw Basilica of Maastricht hosts an organ

which was originally built bij Severin, from liège, in the 17th century,

also before the french influence came with the Le Picards.

 

The organ is no more in its original state, but it has still ancient pipes

and much character:

 

http://orgelconcerten.ncrv.nl/ncrv?nav=ninruCsHtGAkBbCGFoCzC

 

(Click on the little loudspeaker at the right of the presentation text)

 

Does anyone know if there are sound files available for this one:

 

http://www.uquebec.ca/musique/orgues/autri...terneuburg.html

 

(Another I am happy to have heard in Situ: unbelievably beautiful)

 

Pierre

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

And in this glorious arm-chair tour of musical delicacies, we must surely come to the Cheese course. Here is one of the Gods of the organ world. "Enjoy" as some say........

 

Alkmaar

 

P.S. If you have good speakers or headphones you will discern the extraordinary 20-odd ft Principal in the Cantus Firmus of the first track. Nice Video with glorious shots (also a quickie of the very early organ in the North Aisle). N

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And in this glorious arm-chair tour of musical delicacies, we must surely come to the Cheese course. Here is one of the Gods of the organ world. "Enjoy" as some say........

 

Alkmaar

 

P.S. If you have good speakers or headphones you will discern the extraordinary 20-odd ft Principal in the Cantus Firmus of the first track. Nice Video with glorious shots (also a quickie of the very early organ in the North Aisle). N

 

This early organ is extremely interesting too ! if it where alone in any other place,

it would be reknown as well. It still has its Springladen.

 

Pierre

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