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Hi

 

I would be interested if anyone could provide me with some information with regard to the maximum practical length of trackers.

 

Intuitively, I should imagine that, whilst the length of a tracker on its own would not make any difference to the weight of touch, it would affect the speed of repetition. Whatever the material, and however thin and light a tracker could be made, the longer it is, the more mass it would possess and therefore the more inertia, which would slow down its speed of change of direction.

 

In practical terms, I would certainly expect to feel a difference in response between, say, a brustwerk placed just above the console, and a swell at the top of a large organ.

 

Perhaps someone (Mr Mander?) could tell me the longest practical distance between key and pallet in a mechanical action instrument.

 

On the matter of material I understand that, traditionally, trackers are made of thin strips of wood. I am sure that other, lighter materials have been utilised. Very thin strips of aluminium, for example, could be lighter but, presumably, would be subject to contraction/elongation with temperature change. I may be barking up the wrong tree, but I understand that some part of the action can be made to be 'floating' in order to accommodate such changes.

 

As a hypothetical challenge, would it be possible to play with reasonable accuracy (using mechanical action) a division at a vertical distance of, say, fifty feet above the keys?

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Guest Roffensis

The experience I have of trackers has given me a little insight, which doubtless John Mander can enlarge upon, but I would make the following points. Where there are long runs and the trackers are verticle, this can be somwhat offset by tougher springs at the pallet, and in one case this worked well, with falls of over ten feet up to the swell on a old 1863 Willis. It was crisp, and not heavy. I also found that wood is best, and that modern trackers of aluminium are often noisy, and that white plastic coated flat trackers flex, and cause all kinds of problems.

I must also point out the absolute gem of an organ at Chichester, which is tracker and enough to convince anybody what a fine cathedral organ can be like with such an action.There are things that fight against trackers, eg heavy wind, and large stop lists that involve larger pallets to avoid soundboard robbing. Split pallets are options, but the best action to my mind is still a good tracker, and if one can get past the limitations of low wind :lol::( and not having Tubas on 100 inches :P your hands are going to have a wonderful time rather than dealing with pneumatics or electro, and all the wonderful delays etc involved.

All best,

R

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and not having Tubas on 100 inches :

 

Dear Richard,

 

Apart from Atlantic City, where can such stops be found ? Have they been recorded ? I would soooo loooove to have Norman Cocker's Tuba Tune played on a Tuba with attitude rather than the restrained specimen at York Minster used by Francis Jackson for his several renditions of this work !!!! :(:P:lol::o

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your hands are going to have a wonderful time rather than dealing with pneumatics or electro, and all the wonderful delays etc involved.

All best,

R

 

Hmmm... if only that were true for a very long action! As one who plays weekly upon a machine with trackers of perhaps 30-35 ft length, I take my hat off to the consultant & builder for making it work at all. In truth, though, it has much to offer to an argument against repeating the experiment; it is an absolute nightmare to maintain in playable condition, and there is so much weight, flex and bounciness in the action as to make anything quick a real pig to play, & the repetition is naturally not too good - all of which eliminates the reasons for preferring tracker in the first place. You will save money, both now and even more so in the future (on maintenance), by reaching for the Kimber Allen catalogue and accepting that, just occasionally, the 20th century came up with a better solution...

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Hmmm... if only that were true for a very long action!  As one who plays weekly upon a machine with trackers of perhaps 30-35 ft length, I take my hat off to the consultant & builder for making it work at all.  In truth, though, it has much to offer to an argument against repeating the experiment; it is an absolute nightmare to maintain in playable condition, and there is so much weight, flex and bounciness in the action as to make anything quick a real pig to play, & the repetition is naturally not too good - all of which eliminates the reasons for preferring tracker in the first place.  You will save money, both now and even more so in the future (on maintenance), by reaching for the Kimber Allen catalogue and accepting that, just occasionally, the 20th century came up with a better solution...

 

Hi

 

Tracker has it's place - and is still, in my opinion, the best choice when circumstances allow. With ref. to long runs on tracker, I well rember on that I played at odd times - in the former St. James Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham. That was a fair size 3 manual from just before the turn of the 19th century, typical chancel chamber position - however, it had a nave department - elevated at the head of the north aisle effectively. That had tracker action - running from the coupler backfalls (Nave was playable from choir or great manuals) down to just above the regulator, where a set of squares turned the action 90 degrees to horizontal - to another set of suares giving a right angle to the right to another set of squares to give a vertical run of about 6-7 ft - to yeat another set of suares taking the action horizontally through the wall (probaby about 5 ft run) to a horizontal roller board beneath the chest! I think there may have been some pneumatic assistance for the basses, but everything else was tracker - somewhat heavy, but still playable without too much trouble even after some 40 years of neglect and minimal maintenance. Why Nicholson's didn't use pneumatics I don't know -especially as the Swell Trumpet was on a pneumatic chest & relay to give 16ft and 4ft extensions!

 

Probably the best tracker action I've played on a large organ is the St. Martin in Girton College, Cambridge (a suspended action).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

Tracker has it's place - and is still, in my opinion, the best choice when circumstances allow.

 

Probably the best tracker action I've played on a large organ is the St. Martin in Girton College, Cambridge (a suspended action).

 

=====================

 

I've played St.Bavo, Haarlem a few times, and it is just the most wonderful action.

 

It's when you look up and then to each side, that you realise just how far some of that action travels.

 

MM

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Of course tracker has its place - it should be the default choice unless there is a good reason for doing something different. In the case of seriously long runs, the costs and disadvantages & potential for things going wrong completely outweigh the positives. If you no longer have prompt speech, perfect repetition, easy regulation & complete, taut control of the pallet then - why bother? 50 feet is an awfully long way!

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Maybe one day this matter will be regarded as a matter of style, too.

Towards the end of the 19th century, ancient organs were "upgraded"(!)

to pneumatic action in order to soften their attacks, which were considered

too "stiff"!

 

In romantic organs, the attack vary with each stop, like in the orchestra

each instrument has his own kind of attack.

In classical organ the attacks are homogeneous; if the tracker action

enables the organist to vary them, it is in nearly the same way for all

the stops that are played togheter, and are indeed feeded by the same valve

with a slider chest.

 

Depressing a key on a romantic organ actually starts a crescendo, the quickest

stops commencing first, the slower ones later.

Of course any "chiff" theirin would end up with a cacophony...

 

Listen again to a big pneumatic organ, especially with full registrations; the

attacks are actually waves. This is a "rolling" sound, which was named

"churchy roll". It has its charm and its place, perfectly suited to Wesley's

choral music (tough S-S Wesley himself may have rarely seen any pneumatic

organ), not for Bach of course.

 

To me any action system is good (provided the craftsmanship is there of course) if it corresponds to the style of the instrument it is build in.

And the choice should definitively be left to the organ builder, as a part of an artistic expression. Would anyone tell a painter which kind of material he must use?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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In romantic organs, the attack vary with each stop, like in the orchestra

each instrument has his own kind of attack.

In classical organ the attacks are homogeneous; if the tracker action

enables the organist to vary them, it is in nearly the same way for all

the stops that are played togheter, and are indeed feeded by the same valve

with a slider chest.

 

Depressing a key on a romantic organ actually starts a crescendo, the quickest

stops commencing first, the slower ones later.

Of course any "chiff" theirin would end up with a cacophony...

 

Listen again to a big pneumatic organ, especially with full registrations; the

attacks are actually waves. This is a "rolling" sound, which was named

"churchy roll". It has its charm and its place, perfectly suited to Wesley's

choral music (tough S-S Wesley himself may have rarely seen any pneumatic

organ), not for Bach of course.

 

To me any action system is good (provided the craftsmanship is there of course) if it corresponds to the style of the instrument it is build in.

And the choice should definitively be left to the organ builder, as a part of an artistic expression. Would anyone tell a painter which kind of material he must use?

 

======================

 

I think there are certain issues in Pierre's statements, which ought to be challenged.

 

Firstly, the fact that the Armley Schulze was converted to pneumatic action had a disastrous affect on certain pipes, which were close to over-blowing when the explosive collapse of the pneumatic motors unsettled the speech. The organ was originally voiced with Barker-Lever action.

 

Secondly, not all the stops on baroque organs speak quickly or at the same speed as others. Some of the Dutch reed basses are quite slow to join the living, whilst the Principals can be positively leisurely. Flutes, (often luscious ones) can be slow, but most are prompt enough. The upperwork is usually lightning quick in response, so I just cannot see how this "homogenous" quality exists except in the minds of those who think that "neo-baroque" equates with immediate response.

 

The 32ft octave of the pedal Principal at Haarlem seems to take about three seconds to settle into steady speech. The horizontally disposed 32ft Open Wood at Halifax PC takes about three weeks for the bottom notes to make their presence felt.

 

Digressing slightly, it is interesting that Jaques Lemmens, when asked what sort of action he liked best, stated that he liked a good tracker above all others.

 

I believe that a far more important consideration is not so much the speed of action response, because we can all play around delays. Blackburn is a classic example of a quite substantial time-delay, but one soon gets used to it. What MUST be avoided at all costs, are those pneumatic action components which work at different speeds; either from bass to treble, or between different windchests. This, more than anything else, destroys any chance of sucessful music-making. The same problem is apparent when bits of organ are scattered far and wide over a large area, when the aural feedback is confusing, to say the least.

 

MM

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As long as Armley had been built with tracker action, it should have

been kept so -from today's point of view-. Schulze organs were

early romantic organs, still rooted in the baroque tradition.

 

The attacks may vary in a classical organ, of course, but less

so than in a romantic one.

If you want to change the attack with a classic organ, you change

your touch -it's the raison d'être of the tracker action

If you want to change the attack with a romantic organ, you

change....The stop!

 

Haarlem might not be "the" example for all classic organs in

that respect.

 

"What MUST be avoided at all costs, are those pneumatic action components which work at different speeds; either from bass to treble, or between different windchests. This, more than anything else, destroys any chance of sucessful music-making. The same problem is apparent when bits of organ are scattered far and wide over a large area, when the aural feedback is confusing, to say the least."

 

(Quote)

 

Here we agree completely of course; it is a matter of craftsmanship as

I said above.

 

Jaak Nikolaas Lemmens lived and worked a bit early to be involved with

ripe tubular systems; on the other hand, he was at the very forefront to

discard ancient organs to make room for the "last cry"! had he have a say

everywhere, we would have nothing else as ancient organs in Belgium today

than Cavaillé-Coll organs.

Best wishes,

Pierre

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I've played St.Bavo, Haarlem a few times, and it is just the most wonderful action.

 

It's when you look up and then to each side, that you realise just how far some of that action travels.

 

MM

 

As a rough estimate, using a cross-sectional diagram of Haarlem (without a scale!), I would say that the length of the Bovenwerk action is in the region of forty feet. There appear to be two ninety-degree changes of direction.

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As a rough estimate, using a cross-sectional diagram of Haarlem (without a scale!), I would say that the length of the Bovenwerk action is in the region of forty feet.  There appear to be two ninety-degree changes of direction.

 

Do you by any chance have a link to a drawing of this, please? Would be interested to see how they tackled the issue.

 

Thanks

 

David

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Do you by any chance have a link to a drawing of this, please?  Would be interested to see how they tackled the issue.

 

Thanks

 

David

 

No, unfortunately. It is in a brochure I obtained in Haarlem several years ago (in Dutch - I don't understand most of the text!).

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A few thoughts on all of this:

 

* Because of the rather explosive nature of pneumatic and e-p actions opening pallets, the voicing of the pipes has to be set slower (and hence hornier) than set with pipes over tracker action, which speak quicker and duller. That's the real reason why pneumatics or e-p actions seem slower to respond than tracker actions (given the action is functioning correctly). A few thoughts spring from this:

 

* We've got the chicken and egg argument with slow speaking romantic organs with pneumatic action. Which came first - the pneumatic action or the desire for slow speach?

 

* It's the reason why changing the action changes the sound the pipes make, usually with poor results. Pipes regulated for tracker action have to have their speech reset (slower and hornier) and pipes regulated for pneumatic action need to be made quicker if they're put on tracker action.

 

* There are many factors affecting the touch and weight of tracker action - the strength of the pallet spring, design of the pallet (affecting pluck), bushing (to an extent), how well set up the action is. To be quite honest, I find this pre-occupation on tracker weight to be a bit of a red herring. Yes, there are inertia effects, but we also need to consider the weight of the keys, pallets, backfalls, etc. And the focus should be on "an agreeable weight" rather than "a light weight"!

 

I remember seeing a modern trackers in action and being rather alarmed by the amount of movement and deflection side to side. Surely the things need a bit of rigidity to give a direct touch, otherwise we may as well use string.

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"* We've got the chicken and egg argument with slow speaking romantic organs with pneumatic action. Which came first - the pneumatic action or the desire for slow speach?"

 

(Quote)

 

The answer is to be find by any early romantic organ in original

state (with tracker action also).

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Here are some examples of truly romantic voicing.

 

The first are string stops:

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Orgelstimmen%20C...0H_Streich2.mp3

 

Could you imagine that with "TSCHACK-TSCHACK" articulation? The mechanical

noises are already very disturbing.

 

Here is a french Flûte harmonique:

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/franz_orgel_mp3/...lute%20harm.mp3

 

Again, the mechanichal noises are disturbing, but the attacks, tough absolutely

not slow at all, are round and completely free of chiff; actually, the voicer

stayed just behind the chiff.

You can get that with a pneumatic action, without the noises.

 

Here is a Prinzipal 8' from 1898 :

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Orgelstimmen%20C...H_Princ8_HW.mp3

 

Again, no chiff, this is a somewhat mellow attack. But no muddiness at all, isn't it?

Moderate scales and slotting are the reasons. No mechanichal noises here.

 

And now the coup de grâce:

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Mp3/Physh_Hoff_001.mp3

 

Amazing, isn't it? The organ is a tracker one from the 1840. Free reeds were

very appreciated in Germany (in Belgium too), above all for their extreme mellowness in attack. Actually, they start with their foundation, the harmonics come after, contrarily to all other stops.

 

Would you still play Reger on neo-baroque organs?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Here are some examples of truly romantic voicing.

 

Amazing, isn't it? The organ is a tracker one from the 1840. Free reeds were

very appreciated in Germany (in Belgium too), above all for their extreme mellowness in attack. Actually, they start with their foundation, the harmonics come after, contrarily to all other stops.

 

Would you still play Reger on neo-baroque organs?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Very Interesting. Also interesting to note that some older organs also speak quite slowly - there's not much chiff at Alkmaar. And Reger sounds fabulous at Alkmaar and Harlem - and I guess Naumberg too (whose strings speak really quite slowly, too).

 

Also interesting to notice the attack of pipes on Skinner organs on Pitman chests, too!

 

Wasn't it T.C.Lewis who said the art of voicing pipes was to make them speak slowly without the organist realising they were speaking slowly?

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Of course, Alkmaar has no Chiff! and this, combined with the fact it is tuned

after the aequal temperament, renders it suitable for Reger. But believe me,

if you hear Reger on a true german romantic organ, you won't go back

to something else!

 

As to Lewis, he was a disciple of Schulze, which says it all.

 

Had you still original Green organs and about 1830 Hills, I would like

to compare. I guess Green wasn't so far away from romantic voicing.

 

You can hear the attacks of a 1931 Skinner here (Toledo Cathedral):

 

http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/jav-inc/JAV131cowan.mp3

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Had you still original Green organs and  about 1830 Hills, I would like

to compare. I guess Green wasn't so far away from romantic voicing.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

The tradition is that English organs of that period were voiced quick and dull (no chiff). Pipe metal tends to be very thin. there was an interest in "sweetness" of sound. Green used tiny scales in his upperwork and the sound was distinctly unpowerful - more a box of whistles than thunder. Even an organ like St Mary at Hill produces little more power than a chamber organ. But a very refined sound.

 

Get a recording of Bermondsley to get an idea of what they sound like. Bishop 1829, which suffered a little alteration in 1877 and subsequent neglect before restoration to original state in 2003.

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The tradition is that English organs of that period were voiced quick and dull (no chiff). Pipe metal tends to be very thin. there was an interest in "sweetness" of sound. Green used tiny scales in his upperwork and the sound was distinctly unpowerful - more a box of whistles than thunder. Even an organ like St Mary at Hill produces little more power than a chamber organ. But a very refined sound.

 

Get a recording of Bermondsley to get an idea of what they sound like. Bishop 1829, which suffered a little alteration in 1877 and subsequent neglect before restoration to original state in 2003.

 

===========================

 

Pierre is forever mentioning Green organs, but I wonder if he has ever heard one?

 

I don't know what condition the organ at Heaton Hall, Manchester is in these days, but when I heard it last, about twenty years ago, it was a very sweet but tiny sound which had very limited musical uses; and this in a room which is really a large living room in what was a stately home.

 

Early William Hill I have mentioned before, and one of the very best examples is that in the Methodist Church, Cambridge; originally housed in Eastbrook Chapel, Bradford, West Yorkshire (a city which once boasted two Anneesens organs!)

 

In its present home, the Hill organ sounds delightful and just nicely fills the building. In its' original home at Eastbrook Hall Chapel, it was absolutely puny; the chapel seating over 2,000 people and absolutely vast in dimensions. It really needed full organ most of the time just to accompany "Silent night!"

 

I think that this Hill organ was about the same period as the now destroyed instrument at Great George Street Congregational Church, Liverpool, which I played as a boy before it was torn out. I'm not sure if Eastbrook was a Hill/Gauntlett design, but if not, it certainly shared many of the same characteristics as the Liverpool instrument, and its' preservation was an inspired bit of organ conservation at Cambridge; largely, I believe, thanks to Dr Nicholas Thistlethwaite.

 

A couple of other points concerning slow Principals (Diapasons). T C Lewis did not slavishly copy Schulze, but he certainly admired Schulze above all others. In fact, Lewis had an ear equal to that of Schulze, but he never went quite so far as Schulze did with his voicing. I recall, somwhere in my memory banks, that Lewis just took the edge off the quints in the Mixtures, by arching the top lip slightly. In fact, a Lewis organ sounds quite different to a Schulze, but the pedigree is noticable, as indeed it was with the early organs of Charles Brindley and those voiced by Karl Schulze when he worked as head-voicer at Brindley & Foster after being an Edmund Schulze employee. For perhaps the most authentic Lewis sound, it is necessary to go and play/hear the organs at Studley Royal and the superlative Congregational Church at Ashton under Lyne, near Manchester, with its' wonderful hammer-beam roof and fabulous acoustic.

 

Of course, one organ stands out in my mind as being quite slow of speech; the Holzay organ of Rot-en-der-Rot, built just after the end of the baroque period proper. The 8ft Principals have a sombre, slow and very attractive quality, which is transformed as the 4ft Octave and upperwork are added.

 

I suspect that slow and fast are relative things, but the true baroque period is marked by the dynamic balances of the individual divisions; something which went out through the window with romantic instruments.

 

As for preferring a Walcker organ for Reger, I remain to be convinced. I think that an organ such as Haarlem is as near perfect for Reger as it is possible to get, not least becuase one can actually hear the counterpoint. I wonder if Reger would have agreed with me? Maybe not, but then, he drank far too much anyway and didn't play the organ too well!!

 

MM

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Well, dear MM,

 

I'll answer more lenghtly when I shall have more time,

but about this:

 

"but the true baroque period is marked by the dynamic balances of the individual divisions; something which went out through the window with romantic instruments."

 

(Quote)

 

Even Lawrence Phelps (as opposite to my views as one can imagine, but very interesting nonetheless!) recognize this:

 

Pure neo-baroque idea. Since Görlitz, 1703, by Casparini, the Werkprinzip

was dead.

 

Poor old John Sutton! he is still at work since 1847, it seems, with his condamnation

of Green's organs as " musical snuff-boxes"...

Maybe it is time for him to retire, isn't it? exactly at the same time, Fétis condemned the late-baroque belgian organ in the same terms. But he was a great friend of Joseph Merklin...

 

My point is this one: whenever a builder has been praised in his time, there are reasons for that. Where the 18th-century's ladies and gentlemen so badly educated

in Britain as to take a music-box for a good organ?

Was Samuel Green a Lord nobody would have dared to say something against?

 

History repeats itself to an incredible degree; always the same balance movement.

So I suspect there is something Great with Green, G-G, Gasp! Gold. Like with all

these numerous late-baroque builders who simply happened to have worked to late, being superseded too early by romantic builders -who owe them nearly all-.

 

You cite Holzhey. I just told many about him on my forum. This builder summned

three traditions, melted togheter in a time-consuming process that started in 1703 and created the southern german baroque organ: the german, the italian and the french.

I ended like this: Now you take Holzhey, Vogler's theories plus the swellbox he found in Britain; mix strongly. What you get is Eberhardt Friedrich Walcker.

 

Best wishes,

pierre

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Even Lawrence Phelps (as opposite to my views as one can imagine, but very interesting nonetheless!) recognize this:

 

Pure neo-baroque idea. Since Görlitz, 1703, by Casparini, the Werkprinzip

was dead.

 

Poor old John Sutton! he is still at work since 1847, it seems, with his condamnation

of Green's organs as " musical snuff-boxes"...

Maybe it is time for him to retire, isn't it? exactly at the same time, Fétis condemned the late-baroque belgian organ in the same terms. But he was a great friend of Joseph Merklin...

 

My point is this one: whenever a builder has been praised in his time, there are reasons for that. Where the 18th-century's ladies and gentlemen so badly educated

in Britain as to take a music-box for a good organ?

Was Samuel Green a Lord nobody would have dared to say something against?

 

History repeats itself to an incredible degree; always the same balance movement.

So I suspect there is something Great with Green, G-G, Gasp! Gold. Like with all

these numerous late-baroque builders who simply happened to have worked to late, being superseded too early by romantic builders -who owe them nearly all-.

 

You cite Holzhey. I just told many about him on my forum. This builder summned

three traditions, melted togheter in a time-consuming process that started in 1703 and created the southern german baroque organ: the german, the italian and the french.

I ended like this: Now you take Holzhey, Vogler's theories plus the swellbox he found in Britain; mix strongly. What you get is Eberhardt Friedrich Walcker.

 

=========================

 

 

Dare I argue with the late, great Lawrence Phelps?

 

Bavo is "werkprinzip" enough, but there are other late examples of the classic layout in Holland, especially by Schnitger's pupil Hinz, such as the Petruskerk at Leens, 1728, or the Hervormde Kerk, Midwolda, from 1772. Even as late as 1869, van Oeckelen was enlarging an organ by Lohman dating from 1828, which is virtually a baroque organ with the classic "werkprinzip" layout.

 

Of course, I know exactly what Lawrence Phelps was getting at, and I would generally agree that the absolute separation of "organs" in the "werkprinzip" sense, was certainly beginning to lose its' grip on organ design as an absolute principle.

 

I forget who it was who championed the organs of Green, but I know he was important in English Church Music.....anyone enlighten me?

 

Why was such refinement so highly regarded?

 

I think the answer may well come from the nature of church worship in 18th century England. There wasn't a healthy tradition of congregational singing, which came much later. The emphasis was on "well mannered" and orderly worship, where the main focus of activity was in the chancel, usually behind a stone screen. The numbers in the congregation would probably have been a couple of dozen souls at best. The emphasis was on refinement, the polite small-scale, gentlemen at prayer and rather musically precious in their tastes.....like musical cut-glass.

Organs didn't need to do much more than accompany a choir singing in a refined manner........I'm sure there are many who will put this in true perspective better than I am able or can recall accurately.

 

Seen in that context, Green fulfilled all that was required of him, and must therefore be considered a good organ-builder during his day, but one who had no place in the more robust worship of later generations.

 

The Holzhey sound is wonderful, and I quite agree with Pierre that, with a little imagination, it is certainly possible to link the sound to that of Walcker, but I would leave such detail to Pierre's better knowledge of the German tradition which took that particular course.

 

Throwing the debate open slightly, I wonder how Michael Engler fits into the overall scheme of things in the Silesian tradition. I am reliably informed that the one remaining masterpiece, at Olomouc in the Czech Republic, remains more or less as he built it, even though a further 50 registers have been tagged on to the main body of the Engler instrument by Rieger-Kloss. I've only heard recordings of this apparently wonderful instrument, but it is a mighty impressive sound when played as originally built by Engler from the original tracker console, or when played as a whole from the 5-manual electric console. I know of no other baroque organ, anywhere in the world, which combines romantic voices with genuine baroque ones so perfectly.

 

It's quite extraordinary to hear crystal clear "authentic" Bach one minute, and then Franck or Messaien the next, with a sound quality which does full justice to the French Romantic tradition.

 

Quite remarkable.....I feel sure there are lessons to be learned from this important and unique instrument. Someday, I shall get along to hear it. My brother was taken there by some Czech academics for a private performance and a viewing, and he is more into "Status Quo" and scientific things.....there's no justice in this world!! He wouldn't have had a clue as to what he was hearing!!

At least he enthused about reading the original papers of Copernicus, which would have been lost on me, I'm afraid.

 

 

MM

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The vanishing of the Werkprinzip is a south-german affair; 1703 already,

Görlitz had no Rückpositiv, and we know that Caspar(ini)'s pupil, a certain

Gottfried, did not use Rückpositivs as well (naughty boy! Mr Phelps held

him for the first romantic builder, no doubt he'd have had such organs

"rectified", like the belgian experts of the 70's destroyed baroque organs

to have neo-baroque organs instead with complete compasses and more

piercing mixtures).

I'd do more than follow Mr Phelps; I consider Görlitz as the first

pre-romantic organ.

It might be interesting to note a certain Johannes S. invaded England

from his native Switzerland with precisely that style; in Britain, his

competitor, and to a certain degree follower, held the name of

Samuel.Oho. And this guy combined that with english idiosyncrasies,

strange, "provincial" things like swellboxes (what a lack of taste!).

 

The northern builders kept the Werkprinzip (but not as dogmatically as

the 20th century did), while the romantic organ friends find their Graal

in central Europe, because it is there that all happened. You may have

the Schnitger school, I shall be content with Gabler, Riepp and Holzhey.

 

Refined taste? Mmmmh! this could be an agreeable relief after football

or a pub party, isn't it? Something in the spirit of Couperin's Leçons de ténèbres (I agree it's not the good time and place, but the same kind

of ambiance); meditative recitals for civilized people. Or maybe are we too

far already on the way to decay?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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The vanishing of the Werkprinzip is a south-german affair; ....Mr Phelps held

him for the first romantic builder, no doubt he'd have had such organs

"rectified", like the belgian experts of the 70's destroyed baroque organs

to have neo-baroque organs instead with complete compasses and more

piercing mixtures).

 

The northern builders kept the Werkprinzip (but not as dogmatically as

the 20th century did)...

 

Refined taste? Mmmmh! this could be an agreeable relief after football

or a pub party, isn't it? Something in the spirit of Couperin's Leçons de ténèbres (I agree it's not the good time and place, but the same kind

of ambiance); meditative recitals for civilized people. Or maybe are we too

far already on the way to decay?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

So refined was the taste in England at the time that there was quite a lot of dislike of those "coarse and uncouth instruments" they had on the continent, like Haarlem, for example. Dreadfully loud thing. Green were so much sweeter and cultured.

 

The reaction reminds me a bit of the reaction to the RFH organ in the '50s - RWV asserting that the best Bach was played by Harold Darke at St Michaels Cornhill, etc.

 

Wasn't the term "Werkprinzip" coined in the 1920s and 1930s at the beginning of the organ reform movement? And I believe that ne plus ultra of werkprinzip organs, Arp Schnitger's masterpiece at the Hamburg Jacobikircke, has the overwerk situated 18 inches above the Haupwerk and behind it?

 

I love the simplicity of aesthetic the Werkprinzip idea brings and I love the concepts of it - like Peter Williams assertion of the Innsbruck Hofkircke illustrating the difference of pitch being more important (?) than tone or dynamic between divisions of the organ.

 

So, is the Jacobikircke werkprinzip? Or do we just see some elements of the style we invented in the 1920s which we can apply to something made in 1694?

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