Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

New "english" Concert Organ In Germany


John Sayer
 Share

Recommended Posts

There has been regular reference in these pages to the growing English influence on the German organ scene, as seen in the many imports of redundant specimens of solid 19c English romantic organs and in the new-found taste in high pressure reeds added to existing instruments.

 

The civic authorities in Duisburg seem to have gone the whole hog in commissioning a new IVP/61 instrument for the Mercatorhalle, the main concert venue in the city.

 

The specification Mercatorhalle, on paper at least, looks worthy of Arthur Harrison c. 1920 with a Grand Cornet V thrown in for good measure.

 

All the more remarkable is the fact that the new instrument comes from the workshops of one of the most traditional and long-standing of German organbuilders, Eule of Bautzen.

 

JS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, John,

 

Remember, I already said it from 2006....And not only in Germany.

Guess what would happen in Belgium if some money came back ?

 

The little village of Nadrin, eastern Belgium, just opened

the new organ in the parish church: an Arthur Harrison with

13 stops on two manuals and Pedal, 1898.

The organ was refurbished and erected by the Schumacher firm of Baelen

(german-speaking Belgium) near Eupen. Schumacher found it by a german

builder who especializes with british organs recuperation.

 

The specifications is as follows:

 

GREAT

 

Open Diapason 8'

Hohlflute 8'

Dulciana 8'

Principal 4'

Harmonic Flute 4'

Piccolo 2'

 

SWELL

 

Open Diapason 8'

Salicional 8'

Voix celeste 8'

Rohrflute 8'

Gemshorn 4'

Oboe 8'

 

PEDAL

 

Bourdon 16'

 

See pictures here:

 

http://www.ardennesmagazine.be/reportages/.../article_01.htm

 

....There are even some videos. If you watch them, remember it is a little village

in the Ardennes, an area to be compared with the remotest corners of the Highlands,

so do not expect a musical level like in Worcester etc...

 

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There has been regular reference in these pages to the growing English influence on the German organ scene, as seen in the many imports of redundant specimens of solid 19c English romantic organs and in the new-found taste in high pressure reeds added to existing instruments.

 

The civic authorities in Duisburg seem to have gone the whole hog in commissioning a new IVP/61 instrument for the Mercatorhalle, the main concert venue in the city.

 

The specification Mercatorhalle, on paper at least, looks worthy of Arthur Harrison c. 1920 with a Grand Cornet V thrown in for good measure.

 

All the more remarkable is the fact that the new instrument comes from the workshops of one of the most traditional and long-standing of German organbuilders, Eule of Bautzen.

 

JS

 

There have been many failures by Traditional German Organ Builders to build "foreign-style" organs (e.g Rieger). I just hope that this new organ works out well and does not end up with shril mixtures or reeds sounding like french bombardes or the clarinet sounding like a Krumhorn!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There have been many failures by Traditional German Organ Builders to build "foreign-style" organs (e.g Rieger). I just hope that this new organ works out well and does not end up with shril mixtures or reeds sounding like french bombardes or the clarinet sounding like a Krumhorn!

 

From the nomenclature of the stoplist it looks as if the desire is to build an English Romantic instrument (or neo-Romantic, if one prefers). Clearly we shall have to wait until the organ is finished in order to judge the success of this project. However, there seems little point in specifying such a scheme if the builders chosen could not manage a reasoanble approximation of this tonal style.

 

I wonder how the Mercator Trumpet is intended to sound? Given that the resonators are to be manufactured from [spun?] brass, it may be that a complete contrast to the Tuba Sonora is desired.

 

As it stands on paper (and assuming a fair assimilation of the aural spectrum at which it is aimed) I might actually like this instrument. Of course, I should wish to learn the construction and breaks of the mixture schemes.... A fair assumption is that they would commence (at C1) thus:

 

CHOIR ORGAN

 

Dulciana Mixture (15-19-22) III

 

Orchestral

 

Cornet de Violes (10-12-15) III [No breaks]

 

GREAT ORGAN

 

(15-19-22-26-29) V

 

SWELL ORGAN

 

(12-19-22-26-29) V

 

But one never knows - there could be a tierce skulking around in there somewhere (apart from the Grand Cornet, naturally)....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The point is effectively there; there is a last step to be done,

on paper of course, towards a really post-romantic organ.

And this is with the "structural" Mixtures.

A 1 1/7' independant rank could already form a "Harmonics" substitute

with the Cornet -at least in the treble, as the genuine Harmonics starts

with 1 3/5' at C, also considerably higher in pitch than a Cornet.-

 

One gets the impression the old faith in the "good-for-all-repertoire"

Graal-organ has some difficulties to die. But fact is, a romantic organ

definitely needs romantic mixtures. Even the Cornet, in a romantic organ,

is something different from the baroque models.

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The point is effectively there; there is a last step to be done,

on paper of course, towards a really post-romantic organ.

And this is with the "structural" Mixtures.

A 1 1/7' independant rank could already form a "Harmonics" substitute

with the Cornet -at least in the treble, as the genuine Harmonics starts

with 1 3/5' at C, also considerably higher in pitch than a Cornet.-

 

One gets the impression the old faith in the "good-for-all-repertoire"

Graal-organ has some difficulties to die. But fact is, a romantic organ

definitely needs romantic mixtures. Even the Cornet, in a romantic organ,

is something different from the baroque models.

 

Pierre

 

Possibly so, but there are a number of extant examples of instruments by Arthur Harrison, with mixture schemes similar to those which I proposed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clearly we shall have to wait until the organ is finished....

Not long to wait. According to the website linked to John's post this morning, the dedication (Einweihung) is only a fortnight away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not long to wait. According to the website linked to John's post this morning, the dedication (Einweihung) is only a fortnight away.

 

Splendid!

 

There's no reason anyone with ears, eyes and an open mind wouldn't be capable of replicating any style of voicing they wanted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not long to wait. According to the website linked to John's post this morning, the dedication (Einweihung) is only a fortnight away.

 

Yes, the inaugural concert itself - entitled Ihre Majestät zieht ein (Her Majesty arrives) and given by Tom Trotter and Iveta Apkalna - is pretty remarkable with works by Stanford, Bridge and GT-B, alongside Wagner and Guilmant. Subsequent recitals include Lemare, Hollins, Horatio Parker, Cocker, Nevin, Brewer etc. Wir werden sehen... as they say.

 

Duisburg is Germany's twelfth biggest city, twinned with Portsmouth but perhaps more accurately on a par with somewhere like Hull.

 

One must admire the civic authorities for going ahead with - on paper at least - such a bold and uncompromising artistic venture. One can't imagine the average British city council commissioning, say, Nicholson & Co to build a full-blooded replica of an early 1900s Walcker or CC-Mutin.

 

JS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"One can't imagine the average British city council commissioning, say, Nicholson & Co to build a full-blooded replica of an early 1900s Walcker or CC-Mutin."

(Quote)

 

....However, maybe a good plan would be to preserve the original british models -in order to help

us on the continent to build credible ones, not needing 75 years of trials and errors, like

it happened with baroque organs-.

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"One can't imagine the average British city council commissioning, say, Nicholson & Co to build a full-blooded replica of an early 1900s Walcker or CC-Mutin."

(Quote)

 

....However, maybe a good plan would be to preserve the original british models -in order to help

us on the continent to build credible ones, not needing 75 years of trials and errors, like

it happened with baroque organs-.

 

Pierre

 

Well, so you say. I have a large 3m Harrison of no particular musical merit - it's buried in a transept chamber and totally overwhelms the choir whilst being scarcely audible at the back. It is on its 3rd set of electronic controls since 1976. At today's prices, the cost of a thorough down-to-the-ground clean and overhaul (including releathering 12 reservoirs), which would then give perhaps 30 or 40 years of trouble-free use, represents two 30-stop Aubertins, for instance. Why should I preserve the Harrison?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, so you say. I have a large 3m Harrison of no particular musical merit - it's buried in a transept chamber and totally overwhelms the choir whilst being scarcely audible at the back. It is on its 3rd set of electronic controls since 1976. At today's prices, the cost of a thorough down-to-the-ground clean and overhaul (including releathering 12 reservoirs), which would then give perhaps 30 or 40 years of trouble-free use, represents two 30-stop Aubertins, for instance. Why should I preserve the Harrison?

 

Just because it is an Harrison.

Aubertins we still can get, not Harrisons. And to have only Aubertins

would be a problem -as good as they are-.

I already said we have complete areas in Belgium with organs

from one builder, one style, one period.

Those organs aren't "bad", but nobody more plays them, and

nobody more buy organs CDs there. Such a situation equals

the death of the organ.

 

 

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just because it is an Harrison.

Aubertins we still can get, not Harrisons. And to have only Aubertins

would be a problem -as good as they are-.

I already said we have complete areas in Belgium with organs

from one builder, one style, one period.

Those organs aren't "bad", but nobody more plays them, and

nobody more buy organs CDs there. Such a situation equals

the death of the organ.

 

 

 

Pierre

 

But we still can get Harrisons - from Harrisons. As if to prove it, Colin Harvey just did. So have many other people and places. Indeed, this thread discusses a new organ clearly intended to be in Harrison style, and one presumes the makers have paid attention to Harrison voicing styles as well as stoplists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, this thread discusses a new organ clearly intended to be in Harrison style, and one presumes the makers have paid attention to Harrison voicing styles as well as stoplists.

Seems strange, though, that Eule are putting the Great on the bottom manual. After all, the Germans are not exactly unused to organs with the Hauptwerk on Man. II. Perhaps I haven't got out and about enough, but the Keraulophons I have met here are not really so very different from Salicionals, so I am surprised to see both on the Swell here. I can't imagine Eule providing a wasteful near-duplication, so I am guessing that at least one of the stops will be differentiated in some way. I would also hope that the Orchestral to Solo coupler is actually a transfer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just because it is an Harrison.

Aubertins we still can get, not Harrisons. And to have only Aubertins

would be a problem -as good as they are-.

I already said we have complete areas in Belgium with organs

from one builder, one style, one period.

Those organs aren't "bad", but nobody more plays them, and

nobody more buy organs CDs there. Such a situation equals

the death of the organ.

 

 

 

Pierre

 

What David did not say was that his particular 'Harrison' organ no longer retains its tonal integrity, having been substantially altered around 1976 by Rushworth & Dreaper.

 

Having spent two years playing this instrument for weekly services (a few years ago, when it was in better health), I can state that, whilst it does still have a wide tonal palette for accompanimental purposes, it is indeed buried in a chamber on the north side of the chancel - but separated from the choir itself by a wide aisle. Furthermore, it is, as David has said, extremely bad at projecting its sound down the nave; yet, at volume levels high enough to be heard in the rest of the building, it virtually obliterates the singers in the choir stalls.

 

The instrument has been altered tonally to the extent that it no longer speaks with a single personality - be it an Edwardian Harrison sound, or a more contemporary voice. The G.O. has been shorn of its 'Harmonics' and the former trombe ranks revoiced. New upperwork now sits uncomfortably on the remains of the full-toned 'Harrison' foundations. The unenclosed section of the Choir Organ has been re-arranged as an Open Diapason, Gemshorn and Acuta [sic] (19-22). This is sheer nonsense and does not in any way constitute a cohesive chorus. The Cor Anglais has also had the extra octave of pipes (in the treble register) removed, and is now only available at 16ft. pitch. Apparently Rushworths were unable to continue this arrangement when the new electro-pneumatic action was installed in the rebuild - despite Harry Harrison being able to do it in 1914 (the original Choir Organ was on direct electric action).

 

There has been sundry revoicing and, I suspect, alteration of wind pressures - although the G.O. reeds still speak on a rather high pressure (250mm). Interestingly, the Swell Lieblich Bourdon (yes, I do mean this rank) has retained its leathered lips - something which I had not seen previously. All of this is underpinned by the old 'Harrison' Ophicleide - which still blurts away in stentorian voice from the depths of the chamber. Rushworths extended this rank to provide a 32ft. Bombardon; however, the break at 16ft. C is about the least convincing I have ever heard, the new bass being of smaller scale and, I think, half-length. They also left it with one of the cheapest-looking and ugliest utilitarian consoles I have ever played. After the sumptuous elegance of the former H&H console, with its polished walnut, ebonised stop jambs and thick ivory stop heads and keys, this is nothing less than a disgrace.

 

What is left is an instrument no longer of one style or period, nor with a satisfactory egress of sound or a convincing tonal unity. Whilst it is hardly unusual for an English organ to have been altered to the extent that its former personality has been subsumed into a new identity, it does mean that this instrument is no longer remotely representative of the type of style which Pierre (or anyone else) would wish to preserve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whilst it is hardly unusual for an English organ to have been altered to the extent that its former personality has been subsumed into a new identity, it does mean that this instrument is no longer remotely representative of the type of style which Pierre (or anyone else) would wish to preserve.

 

But, enough Harrison remains; the Big Fat Great Open with leathered lips, the Tuba, the Swell Open with leathered lips, the orchestral colours of the Choir.

 

A bit of Willis remains; the gorgeous Choir Open Diapason principally, but also some of the string ranks, the Clarinet, the Great No 2 Open (albeit rescaled by two notes).

 

The question for Pierre is still a serious one which has been answered with a historian's and enthusiast's head, but not yet a realists. Why do I spend £500,000 on the kind of overhaul and new console which it probably needs to survive another 30-40 years, £750,000 on the sort of restoration which makes it identifiably Harrison again - or around £350,000 on a new 30 stop 3 manual tracker organ sensibly positioned in the building with a life expectancy of 75-100 years without major work.

 

Neither English Heritage nor the Government nor any other statutory body will help me with this decision, and the local organ fraternity is reluctant to put £2 a month into a recital collection plate. Viewed as a business - and the church in England must view itself as a business, and one largely on the rocks - it would be an act of criminal insanity to spend double the money on a solution which lasts half as long and works half as well. (Incidentally, the organ in question is not under threat - it will be preserved, somehow, and hopefully taken back to its former life.)

 

It's terribly easy to sit in an armchair and type "maybe a good plan would be to preserve the original british models -in order to help us on the continent to build credible ones." Whenever I see that, or similar sentiments, I want to say - why should I bankrupt myself in order that you can produce a copy? Bring a lorry and get the real thing! There are countless dozens in storage. Some, by no means all, may be there for a very good reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But, enough Harrison remains; the Big Fat Great Open with leathered lips, the Tuba, the Swell Open with leathered lips, the orchestral colours of the Choir. ...

 

I suspect that these few ranks may not necessarily be deemed 'enough' by some - perhaps even Pierre....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why do I spend £500,000 on the kind of overhaul and new console which it probably needs to survive another 30-40 years, £750,000 on the sort of restoration which makes it identifiably Harrison again - or around £350,000 on a new 30 stop 3 manual tracker organ sensibly positioned in the building with a life expectancy of 75-100 years without major work.

 

Neither English Heritage nor the Government nor any other statutory body will help me with this decision, .......

 

 

This instrument I know pretty well too. It unfortunately lives in a bunker next to one of the most glorious settings of the Tractarian movement. To be honest, you can walk into this rather large church and think there is no organ at all. It is nearer an escape route to the north of the Sanctuary and Choir. It is in a lamentable position for music-making in the body of the church as we have come to appreciate it in these times. Paradoxically, the pipes are for the most part unseen from the main building and sounding to me as if in another parish, but after a rebuild the organist can now sit in full view of the Nave due to modern technology and well away from the sound source! David has a perplexing problem as he has inherited something from another time. The organ has truly lost its original identity and it could surely not be held high as a model of one particular organ builder's work. But as an example of British organ design and positioning, it is a prime example. It is a pity that it was never put in the church. To me it is knocking at the door.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The question for Pierre is still a serious one which has been answered with a historian's and enthusiast's head, but not yet a realists. Why do I spend £500,000 on the kind of overhaul and new console which it probably needs to survive another 30-40 years,"

 

Sorry David but I don't understand your economics. Surely your organ's present state is because of the cheap but not very cheerful treatment handed out to it by R and D. If your organ was rebuilt in an artistically cohesive way, perhaps with a new pneumatic action (who does that these days? And yet Britain is full of pneumatic actions by Binns, Norman and Beard et al which are still going strong 100 years on!) and as little obsolescence as possible, why couldn't it survive as long as a new 30 stop organ with mechanical action? Why only 30-40 years? Why would your mechanical action organ be any less prone to the damage caused to your 12 reservoirs, for example ?

 

In case you think I'm crazy suggesting a new pneumatic action, I heard this week from a colleague in Norway who had just visited a 'new' organ of 60 stops in Tonsberg by Ryde and Berg. This was originally built by Frobenius in 1924 and electrified and neo-baroqueified in the 1950s. The organ has a new case, some new stops partly to replace the 1950s additions, and a new pneumatic action!

 

"Bring a lorry and get the real thing! There are countless dozens in storage. Some, by no means all, may be there for a very good reason."

 

This is happening already! The 'good reason' in most instances is antipathy, mostly not shared by the organs' new owners on foreign shoes.

 

Bazuin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This discussion is becoming quite interesting !

 

As for the reliability-longetivity matter; there are 100 years+ pneumatic organs

still working, with "belgian maintenance" (read: near to zero), and 75 years

electro-pneumatic organs in good condition (same maintenance non-schedule).

 

AND....

 

We also have in store neo-baroque, straight tracker ("suspended action" and all

the ideologic stuff conform to the party's phraseology, SED-like)......Completely

out after 30 years.

(This is not true for all of them, but some of them. But enough to question

the equality tracker= X times longer life expectancy).

 

Pierre (old, yes. Armchair, not yet. Wait some years more!) <_<

 

Addenda: If we see the organ after a strict economics, managerial point of view,

there is no sense to spoil good materials and workmanship into an organ designed

to last 75 years or more.

If we consider the life expectancy of the "Truths" during the previous century, it would

be advisable to build bio-degradable organs; they would go back to dust in 30 years,

a dust that could be sold as a soil fertilizer.

So no rebuilds, no high costs. On the long term, the church would make substantial

savings.

(No, toasters aren't bio-degradable, quite to the contrary, electronic components

are a threat for the environment, and must be disposed of properly. Big argument

for the bio-degradable pipe organ, whose lead can of course be melted and used

again...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry David but I don't understand your economics. Surely your organ's present state is because of the cheap but not very cheerful treatment handed out to it by R and D. Why only 30-40 years? Why would your mechanical action organ be any less prone to the damage caused to your 12 reservoirs, for example ?

 

It's to do with scale, rathern than the nature of problems. 12 reservoirs, 22 chests/soundboards, about 15 sheep's worth of pneumatic motors, some in a water-logged basement where the magnets corrode and seize up, some in a furnace-dry roof space where the wood and leather split... Put it this way. 1914, 1936, 1954, 1976 are the dates of the major overhauls. From 2002 a programme of releathering knackered underactions has been in place. The patches on the patches on the reservoirs now need patching and most of the concussions have blown. In 2007, eleven full days' maintenance were paid for, 9 of which were spent exclusively on patching wind leaks. That's about £3000 to you, spent on simply standing still.

 

There are twenty two chests/soundboards, 5 of them in some way to do with the Great, all of which is fed from 3 different reservoirs. Already that is 5 times the cost to overhaul one division as it would be on a mechanical cased organ.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's to do with scale, rathern than the nature of problems. 12 reservoirs, 22 chests/soundboards, about 15 sheep's worth of pneumatic motors, some in a water-logged basement where the magnets corrode and seize up, some in a furnace-dry roof space where the wood and leather split... Put it this way. 1914, 1936, 1954, 1976 are the dates of the major overhauls. From 2002 a programme of releathering knackered underactions has been in place. The patches on the patches on the reservoirs now need patching and most of the concussions have blown. In 2007, eleven full days' maintenance were paid for, 9 of which were spent exclusively on patching wind leaks. That's about £3000 to you, spent on simply standing still.

 

There are twenty two chests/soundboards, 5 of them in some way to do with the Great, all of which is fed from 3 different reservoirs. Already that is 5 times the cost to overhaul one division as it would be on a mechanical cased organ.

 

Hmmm.... this sounds worse than I had feared. Unfortunately the church sold their hall in the 1970s, in order to finance the rebuild in 1976. I am not sure how the money could easily be raised to save the instrument again.

 

Diverting the culvert under the organ chamber would be money well spent - unfortunately though, it would ba a costly sum.

 

What a pity you cannot stumble upon some priceless artifact in the basement. I suppose you have checked all the paintings around the church, just in case there is a Breughel, a Vermeer or even a Canaletto hanging around?

 

Mind you, it does sound rather as if you are hankering for a fresh start - and a shiny new Aubertin....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Mind you, it does sound rather as if you are hankering for a fresh start - and a shiny new Aubertin...."...

 

(Quote)

 

.......An organ that the three following generations of organists will fall in love with,

no doubt ! " a fantastic future awaits us" (well, where did I read that ?)

 

Pierre

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Mind you, it does sound rather as if you are hankering for a fresh start - and a shiny new Aubertin...."...

 

(Quote)

 

.......An organ that the three following generations of organists will fall in love with,

no doubt ! " a fantastic future awaits us" (well, where did I read that ?)

 

Pierre

 

Well, I have yet to see and play a real live Aubertin, so I am not sure what they are like....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...