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AJJ

An 'anglican' Organ In The Usa

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Priory Records have recently recorder John Scott on a new J P Buzard organ in Atlanta Georgia (see link below). The playing and recording standards are as would be expected from player and company involved and I am assuming that the very impressive range of sounds are a representation pretty much of what one would hear in the building. The instrument is large for its 'context' with a wide array of tonal resources including a chorus of Dulcianas, extended Trombas, a H & H Harmonics, proper choruses and mutation ranks, a plethora of colour flues and reeds and two remote divisions away from the main bulk of the organ. The blurb states that this is an organ in an 'Anglican' context - presumably from a liturgical point of view and it can seemingly cope with a wide range of the repertoire as the recording shows. What I am wondering is - whether this 'type' of organ would ever be built over here in the UK or is it more an example of the sort of instrument being built by an number of companies in the USA in a kind of 'new romantic' or 'new symphonic style' almost a sort of upgraded St Mary Redcliffe. Compared to recent new organs over here there seems little similarity to me.

 

AJJ

 

http://www.buzardorgans.com/opus/opus29-list.htm

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Well, it *seems* you could have to wait a little, AJJ.

What I can say is were Belgium still a rich country

like 40 years ago, we would already have such organs

here.

 

Dare I add there are still things of this kind in the UK,

some of which being slightly threatened?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I agree - Redcliffe etc. are spectacular - hopefully less threatened than in the past - vis restoration work at Al Saints Margaret Street and Crediton. But in the USA it is almost like reform of the reform of the reform!

 

AJJ

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I agree - Redcliffe etc. are spectacular - hopefully less threatened than in the past - vis restoration work at Al Saints Margaret Street and Crediton. But in the USA it is almost like reform of the reform of the reform!

 

AJJ

 

Do you believe it's different in Europe?

As I said somewhere else here, the taste today is very different

in UK compared to elsewhere.

Mind you, as a "romantic guy" since 30 years, I spend most of

my time reasoning young organists who want to romanticize

neo-baroque organs. See my forum!

The situation in Europe today is as follows: no money on the

continent, and some *big old names* that must be content with

quick-fix jobs -with some exceptions of course, but largely working

outside their own country-. A better situation in the UK, excellent builders,

some *big old names* still alive and capable to do at least as well as Buzard

or Schoenstein (among others up-to-date US builders) were they only given

the chance, a restorator capable to rescue something like RAH; in short, a

huge artistic potential.....But who reads this forum fully like myself quickly

understands there is more interest with baroque french trompettes or north

german's Zymbels or Zymbelsterns.

 

So nothing moves, and we now peek towards U.S. with envy while ou own

european builders must sit down on their own knowledge and rich traditions.

If I were an english organ-builder, I would possibly be slightly discontent.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Do you believe it's different in Europe?

As I said somewhere else here, the taste today is very different

in UK compared to elsewhere.

 

So nothing moves, and we now peek towards U.S. with envy while ou own

european builders must sit down on their own knowledge and rich traditions.

If I were an english organ-builder, I would possibly be slightly discontent.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Hi

 

I suspect that there's rather more money in churches in the USA - there are very few UK churches that have the financial resources for new large organs - and those that have probably already have a pretty decent organ. Then there's issues with organ advisor's, English Heritage and the conservation lobby to contend with.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Also interestingly the big new Mander, Harrison & Walker 3 & 4 manual jobs going to the US are often less 'lean' than the new examples over here though not as out and out 'romantic/symphonic' as some by Buzard or Schoenstein etc. over there. One can almost tell what one is going to get over here when a new project of larger proportions is announced. That is not in any sense meant as a criticism but new instruments in the pipeline from a number of builders for instance back this up (though Kenneth Jones has done some 'different' things at Rugby and Tewkesbury). Not wanting to start an old (and tired) line again - but I'll say it anyway - we wait in anticipation to see what happens at Worcester. Regardless of the pros and cons of removing the old organ - the opportunity provided by the new will I hope be taken up and exploited fully and with imagination.

 

AJJ

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Also interestingly the big new Mander, Harrison & Walker 3 & 4 manual jobs going to the US are often less 'lean' than the new examples over here though not as out and out 'romantic/symphonic' as some by Buzard or Schoenstein etc. over there. One can almost tell what one is going to get over here when a new project of larger proportions is announced. That is not in any sense meant as a criticism but new instruments in the pipeline from a number of builders for instance back this up (though Kenneth Jones has done some 'different' things at Rugby and Tewkesbury). Not wanting to start an old (and tired) line again  - but I'll say it anyway - we wait in anticipation to see what happens at Worcester. Regardless of the pros and cons of removing the old organ - the opportunity provided by the new will I hope be taken up and exploited fully and with imagination.

 

AJJ

 

There is more by far to be learned with the scales Mr Mander provides than in the stoplists!

There are clearly three tendancies today, one "neo-romantic", an "eclectic" and

then a "classic" one, which has its roots in the classic revival but goes beyond it

with an open mind.

All are of course worthwile!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I have found that a lot of the organs in the states wether in a church situation or concert hall tend to have names, which more often than not have either been donated, or, had lots of $$$$ thrown at them. the only place I can think of over here where that has happened (I will probably be wrong tho) is Blackburn Cathedral, where John Bertalot recieved a large cheque for the then new (19 something) 0rgan.

Peter

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"there are very few UK churches that have the financial resources for new large organs "

 

(Quote)

 

Of course, tough in a somewhat better state than the continent as far as economy is concerned, the UK churches aren't as wealthy as in the US.

 

In Belgium a majority of churches do not even have the money for an annual tuning,

the organist must care for himself; so many flue stops aren't tuned at all for years.

 

After WW II the country recovered and became wealthy again up to 1970, then the

crisis began and today, thirty five years later, it is still at work, with unemployment rates

up to an incredible 30% in some areas.

 

This has had quite significant effect on the state of the "organ park"!

From about 1950 up to 1970 many organs were rebuild, 90% of these works being now rated as complete disasters, in baroque as well as in romantic organs.

The remaining 10% are the instruments that were build anew; be them "Néo-classique"

in the kind of Gonzalez or Klais (belgian organs of this period are somewhere between these two) or neo-baroque, they are interesting and worth preservation.

 

So after 1970 there has been fewer rebuilds by far, with the result you can still find

some gems here. For example, a 1911 Walcker (about 45/III) in a bad state but 100% original! Ditto a 1906 Friedrich Goll, or a Peter Golfuss (17th century) in

a restorable state.

 

We have had to be content with this situation for so long a time that had we money again today , the approach would be completely different. There is a consensus in Belgium one may be daring and innovative with new organs, and aim at the widest possible diversity -why not have spanish, italian, english, american organs?- but in the meantime we must be extremely cautious and conservative whenever restoration

is concerned; we have had the time to learn and understand these "bins" so many organists had to be content with are actually gems, even non-homogeneous ones.

 

Now my 100 Pounds question:

 

Were the churches in Britain today as wealthy as in the US, what would happen today?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Were the churches in Britain today as wealthy as in the US, what would happen today?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Well, we wouldn't have Romsey for a start - there was a proposal in the late 50's that Willises should turn it into a spiky, jangly thing covered in larigots with a detached console. The only reason it was saved is that there was no money.

 

I think the concept of historical restoration is fairly well established now. I sometimes even hear of small, underfunded churches raising money to reverse work done in the 60's-80's, be it even turning a Twelfth back into a Gamba, in the name of restoration. The meglomaniac streak is of course still there, so if there were pots of money my hot prediction is there will be hundreds of lovely 2 manual Grays and Bishops and Sweetlands going into mothballs in the name of "preservation" and lots more toasters with mixtures and tubas and God knows what else going in next to them.

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QUOTE(Pierre Lauwers @ Oct 24 2005, 08:26 AM)

 

''Were the churches in Britain today as wealthy as in the US, what would happen today?''

 

 

I would suspect that where new organs were replacing old (as opposed to rebuilds etc.) pretty much the same would happen as is happening at present - look at St Albans (Mander), Honiton (Tickell), Deptford (Drake) - there is an economy and perhaps one could say healthy leanness of design that is sometimes not present in the US. That is not to say that we skimp on details over here but even with our exports there is nothing there that doesn't need to be there. Jack Bethards of Schoenstein once wrote to me that he wished that clients would ask for smaller instruments with better economy of design. Rebuilds are a different thing but even there on the whole there seems to be more common sense around than there was - look at the work done at Sherborne - ok it has a new action etc. and remote section but the rest shows a healthy regard for what was good about the old scheme by leaving it alone. Money does have a lot to do with it though.

 

AJJ

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What I am wondering is - whether this 'type' of organ would ever be built over here in the UK or is it more an example of the sort of instrument being built by an number of companies in the USA in a kind of 'new romantic' or 'new symphonic style' almost a sort of upgraded St Mary Redcliffe. Compared to recent new organs over here there seems little similarity to me.

With contracts for new builds at St Albans and Worcester recently going to Manders and Tickell respectively, rather than to the usual suspects from mainland Europe - Marcussen, Rieger, Klais, Goll (oh, golly, I forgot that one's been cancelled!) - I am quitely confident that we may just have turned the corner in time and realised what great organ builders we have here in the UK.

 

As is often the case here, we never take anyone seriously until they've conquered the rest of the world. And with Manders, Harrisons and other UK firms order books having in recent years been filled with significant instruments for the overseas market, it's not before time.

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Someone mentioned somewhere on this board that the building is the most important stop. In the UK, older gothic, romanesque or classical buildings general provide great accoustics. This is especially important for the lower frequencies, I've been told, as reverberations reinforces the bass notes.

 

By contrast, new buildings in the US have dry or even dead acoustics. To compensate, they may have had to put in more to get equally rich sounds. Of course, money also has a role in it.

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Someone mentioned somewhere on this board that the building is the most important stop.  In the UK, older gothic, romanesque or classical buildings general provide great accoustics.  This is especially important for the lower frequencies, I've been told, as reverberations reinforces the bass notes.

 

By contrast, new buildings in the US have dry or even dead acoustics.  To compensate, they may have had to put in more to get equally rich sounds.  Of course, money also has a role in it.

 

This interestingly brings things back to where they started as from what I can gather, the Buzard organ in question is in a fairly dead acoustic (though not a new building) - the 'surround sound' effects of remote divisions together with a large ammount (for the building size) of fairly opulent sounding pipework seems to work very well.

 

AJJ

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