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Whither The British Organ In The 21st Century?


John Sayer

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A new - and, lets hope, stimulating - topic. Maybe a few questions will prompt lively debate.

 

Where is British organ design heading in the first decade of the 21st century? Where are the bold new ideas and sense of adventure? Are not too many recent organs far too 'safe' and unenterprising in their design and tonal concept?

 

Where are the organs today which break new ground in the way the GDB instrument at New College did 35 years ago? Or the Walker at Exeter College in the 90s?

 

Take any new instrument with an average quota of around 20-25 stops and one could almost write out the specification in advance, so predictable is it likely to be.

 

Why is it left to overseas builders like Aubertin in the unorthodox and quite splendid instrument at Kings College, Aberdeen to attempt something really musically exciting? Or Frobenius at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh - 20 stops disposed in a novel manner that any English builder is unlikely to copy. Or St-Martin at Girton College - a remarkably imaginative and versatile small 4-manual organ?

 

Who's to blame? Is it the builders? Or the small coterie of so-called consultants and organ advisers? Or is it the people who commission new instruments? Or the people who hold the purse strings?

 

Any thoughts?

 

JS

 

JS

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"

Take any new instrument with an average quota of around 20-25 stops and one could almost write out the specification in advance, so predictable is it likely to be."

 

(Quote)

 

There are written testimonies by the ton(s) (contracts, books etc) explaining this situation.

Since 60 years there is but one trend, aiming at the utmost standardisation of the organ to the point you could design a software to write the stops-lists. Like with any fundamentalism, "there is only one book", one Truth.

 

Now things are changing but, sorry, it may seem somewhat slower in Britain :blink: with the exception of....The builders, who are completely "up to date".

I have sometimes the impression many british organist's ideal would be a 1970 Danion-Gonzalez.

 

Maybe it would be interesting to re-discover the treasures of the british traditionS in the first place, and then build something new with them as roots.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Guest Barry Oakley
A new - and, lets hope, stimulating - topic.  Maybe a few questions will prompt lively debate.

 

Where is British organ design heading in the first decade of the 21st century?  Where are the bold new ideas and sense of adventure?  Are not too many recent organs far too 'safe' and unenterprising in their design and tonal concept?

 

Where are the organs today which break new ground in the way the GDB instrument at New College did 35 years ago?  Or the Walker at Exeter College in the 90s?

 

Take any new instrument with an average quota of around 20-25 stops and one could almost write out the specification in advance, so predictable is it likely to be.

 

Why is it left to overseas builders like Aubertin in the unorthodox and quite splendid instrument at Kings College, Aberdeen to attempt something really musically exciting?  Or Frobenius at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh - 20 stops disposed in a novel manner that any English builder is unlikely to copy.  Or St-Martin at Girton College - a remarkably imaginative and versatile small 4-manual organ?

 

Who's to blame?  Is it the builders?  Or the small coterie of so-called consultants and organ advisers?  Or is it the people who commission new instruments?  Or the people who hold the purse strings?

 

Any thoughts?

 

JS

 

JS

I'm looking forward to the development of this topic which has all the potential to exceed the number of postings re Aly Paly, RAH and Worcester Cathedral.

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I'm looking forward to the development of this topic which has all the potential to exceed the number of postings re Aly Paly, RAH and Worcester Cathedral.

 

Hi

 

I think we need to bear in mind that a stop list is by no means the deciding factor in an organ's sound - a conventional stop list doesn't mean that an organ isn't "exciting" to listen to or play.

 

It seems to me that most new organs are relatively small, built for Anglican churches, where leading hymns and accompanying a choir in a very specific form of liturgy are the priorites - and hence it's not really suprising that there's a degree of uniformity about the stop lists - they're built to do the same job.

 

The examples quoted in an earlier post are, in the main, not in "ordinary" churches - hence the opportunity to depart from the norm - and they are somewhat larger than most new church organs.

 

As to the question of non-UK builders - that's one I can't answer.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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"It seems to me that most new organs are relatively small, built for Anglican churches, where leading hymns and accompanying a choir in a very specific form of liturgy are the priorites - and hence it's not really suprising that there's a degree of uniformity about the stop lists - they're built to do the same job."

 

(Quote)

 

There are lots of organ styles that would fit, from the italian to the late-romantic one trough the southern german, not to forget the ancient british of course.

The good question might be to know which ones would not do.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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There are lots of organ styles that would fit, from the italian to the late-romantic one trough the southern german, not to forget the ancient british of course.

The good question might be to know which ones would not do.

Well, why not start with poorly built instruments. I for one am never shy of banging the British drum, but even this one-eyed Englishman would admit that we have produced our fair share of poorly built and/or finished organs in recent years.

 

There is also, however, the matter of the instrument's suitability for the building it is to be housed in. One of the problems with 'continental' inspired organs, whether in an Oxbridge chapel or an English cathedral (Gloucester), is that they are not ideally suited to accompanying the daily choral services. A sweeping statement, maybe, but neo-classical instruments have tended to lack the subtlety in voicing needed, or in larger instruments, such 'anachronisms' as a Tuba to help lead a congregation or provide a fitting climax to works such as Howells' Collegium Regale Jubilate.

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The history of the organ is marked by specific requirements; the jolly piping of a portative street organ in Roman times, the delicate accompaniment of singers in the pre-reformation period, the discreet accompaniment of 18th century English Choral Music, the rendition of bold Toccatas and Fugues in Northern Europe, the spectacular tonal brush-strokes of French impressionism and Cavaille-Coll, the big sound required of massed choirs and congregations etc etc.

 

In other words, we are almost into a game of prediction as to the next fashion or musical "movement," to which organists, organ consultants and organ-builders will, without doubt, respond appropriately as time unfolds.

 

Considering the near death of religion and the financial constraints this imposes, perhaps I might cynically suggest that the future is cheap, small and even digital.

 

Perhaps organs will become hybrid instruments utilising digital voices which are not necessarily copies of pipe-organ sounds, but new and individual electronic tones which are compatible with pipes.

 

Maybe I am expressing a certain ignorance of world-music, but it seems to me that for the forseeable future, we are stuck with music which is essentially harmonic rather than contrapuntal; organists being rather out-of-sync with this predelection, with their fugues and trio-sonatas. Perhaps this is the reason why organ-design appears relatively static at the present time, because nothing much seems to be going anywhere in the organ-world; save for some of the more robust music of Eastern Europe, which certainly captivates my own imagination.

 

However, I was slightly uplifted this very day, when I looked at some compositions by young, budding composers. Much of it was immature, but some of it was fascinatingly contrapuntal in style; perhaps re-commencing what Paul Hindemith first started...modern contrapuntal style.

 

There are so many "possibles" and so few "definites," I wouldn't dare to predict the outcome as the 21st century unfolds. However, of one thing I am certain, and that is, that the musical sensibilities and advances of the day will dictate the type of musical instruments which will find favour with composers and the general fashions enjoyed by future generations of music lovers.

 

Actually, what we have now is not to be sneezed at, because many organs are being re-built with respect to their history, such as the RAH organ. Others are built new, and fulfill a particular purpose, such as Chelmsford Cathedral, and still olthers are out-and-out concert instruments with a spectacular sound. Boring is certainly not a word I would apply to organ-building to-day, but I would concede that there is little desire or impetus towards creating something fresh and vital which fits a new musical world-order.

 

Let's perhaps encourage young composers to write music for the organ, and then, if organ-builders have to build harmoniums with built-in digital Japanese temple-drums, they'll at least stay in business!

 

MM

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If what is needed is refinment -this is my opinion too- you will find it

with romantic organs, italian and south german ones.

Not suited are then the spanish, french and belgian baroque organs.

 

If a wide dynamic range is required, like in Howells's music for example,

there is no substitute for.....What the composer had in mind as an organ.

 

In Belgium a majority of priester and choir masters, when asked, tell

they are wanting "soft stops".dont acte.

Best wishes,

Pierre

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A new - and, lets hope, stimulating - topic.  Maybe a few questions will prompt lively debate.

 

Where is British organ design heading in the first decade of the 21st century?  Where are the bold new ideas and sense of adventure?  Are not too many recent organs far too 'safe' and unenterprising in their design and tonal concept?

 

Where are the organs today which break new ground in the way the GDB instrument at New College did 35 years ago?  Or the Walker at Exeter College in the 90s?

 

Take any new instrument with an average quota of around 20-25 stops and one could almost write out the specification in advance, so predictable is it likely to be.

 

Why is it left to overseas builders like Aubertin in the unorthodox and quite splendid instrument at Kings College, Aberdeen to attempt something really musically exciting?  Or Frobenius at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh - 20 stops disposed in a novel manner that any English builder is unlikely to copy.  Or St-Martin at Girton College - a remarkably imaginative and versatile small 4-manual organ?

 

Who's to blame?  Is it the builders?  Or the small coterie of so-called consultants and organ advisers?  Or is it the people who commission new instruments?  Or the people who hold the purse strings?

 

Any thoughts?

 

JS

 

JS

 

 

Seen the spec of the Aberdeen organ? Now here is food for thought. I've just heard the CD. Something to rock the boat here. What sounds. Best in the UK? What a looker too.

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Who's to blame? Is it the builders? Or the small coterie of so-called consultants and organ advisers? Or is it the people who commission new instruments? Or the people who hold the purse strings?

 

I've thought long and hard over teatime with this one. I think that builders are not always allowed to build what is best for each place taking into consideration acoustics and situation. Secondly, the people who are commissioning have sometimes idyosyncratic tastes which perhaps the next incumbant will not have. Consultants! Well, do they suggest? design? or consider tenders on behalf of the purchaser? If a builder knows what they can properly build for a position I think everyone should have faith in their judgement. If I had such an opportunity to engage a builder I think that I would simply say "give me two designs". The first, what you would think appropriate to display their artistry and secondly another design that has a financial ceiling. To me that would be the basis for positive discussion and a foundation for an excellent musical instrument. On a musical organ I imagine you can play just about everything.

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This is a really interesting subject.

 

There have been a number of sensible observations made - which I will try not to re-iterate.

 

It is true that there is a certain uniformity in church organ design at present - no one builder is solely to blame - in fact, the former house-styles of most individual builders have all-but disappeared.

 

Many instruments are moderate-sized, with two-claviers, often containing a cornet séparé on the GO, strings (but often no 8p diapason) on the Swell and a Bassoon, or wooden Trombone on the Pedal Organ.

 

Whilst I take the point that this is slightly boring, the Rev. Newnham has observed that these instruments generally have to be suitable to lead congregational singing and accompany choirs - with voluntaries probably consisting of general repertoire, often of little more than average difficulty.

 

In these situations, it is perhaps prudent to ask just how useful a Grosse Tierce 3 1/5p, a Regal 16p or a Septeint, consisting of a 1 1/7p and some broken glass are likely to be....

 

That said, I think that there are areas where organ builders could show some originality - I tried to, when designing a large two-clavier instrument (with electro-pneumatic action) - a rebuild of a Gray and Davison/Geo. Osmond. Oh God - I have just recalled that there is four-fifths of a cornet séparé on the GO....Oh well.

 

Personally, I think that one of the most serious failings in organ design at present (particularly in moderate two- and three-clavier organs) is the apparent lack of colour.

 

At this point, I shall remind myself of Rev. Newnham's exhortation that one cannot necessarily judge the sound of an instrument from a paper specification. Nevertheless, many seem to have bland flutes - usually Stopped Diapasons (Not technically a flute, I know), insipid, colourless strings (though often with little string quality in the timbre), thin reeds, etc. Whilst it can be unwise to generalise, I do think that there is some truth in these points.

 

Perhaps it is because colour has now become almost completely subservient to the true chorus and 'genuine' organ effects. Maybe the pendulum, having swung away from the extreme sonorities of Hope-Jones and, to an extent, Arthur Harrison, is now at the other limit of its arc - a place in which the chorus occupies centre-stage and all else is very much an also-ran.

 

I have to ask myself how useful a cornet really is, in service-playing. If I am honest, I would prefer a couple of good foundation stops - a Harmonic Flute (like Coventry) and a good Gamba - with some real string tone. That thing on the GO of Bath Abbey is about as useful as a chocolate chastity-belt in a convent.

 

To that end, I shall post a scheme on the site which has been opened by another correspondent, just to see what I can come up with. I will, of course, attempt to ensure that the scheme, whilst having some individuality, is also practical.

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Of course the "Gamba" on the GO at Bath was actually a Gemshorn in the previous spec. Can't understand the reason for a name change.

 

Supply and demand is how the world works. There are very few builders "out on a limb" - Mander to a very slight extent, Drake, Aubertin, Glatter-Gotz. There are others who are adventurous and skilled but many find hard to take seriously, like Matthew Copley. There are too many that are just plain awful, and yet everywhere you go people will hail them as the best thing in organbuilding. We are too "comfortable" with Harrison, Nicholson, Walker et al; Dominic says let's ask for artistry in one scheme and financial ceilings in another. I suspect with our "comfortable" builders, we'd get almost exactly the same thing, and possibly in the same order, from each. Not only can you prepare the spec to a formula, often you will be able to feel the touch beneath your fingers and hear the pipe speech too.

 

This must have a lot to do with the fact we have certain consultants of often fixed opinion, whom the builders must try and please in order to secure the next contract, whatever the musical results. Hence, we sadly have some new organs that are musically and mechanically badly designed and often badly finished (if the consultant decides to mess about with voicing decisions, too). Mainstream builders it seems can no longer have room for artistry as a first concern because financial constraints require them to perform high volumes of work to survive and the reaction to the neo-classical movement is constantly banging the drum of choral accompaniment in our ears. Only those like Drake and Aubertin can get away with saying "no - this is what we do, and this alone - if you want it, you will have to wait ten years before we can start". Do other nations place more faith in the builder as a craftsman rather than as mere executor of project? Do other nations HAVE consultants with any more meaningful role than to ensure payments and contract terms are fair and being maintained, and legal/safety issues covered? I think we've allowed consultants to stifle creativity too much.

 

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have another 1851 Exhibition, and see just what our builders can come up with without constraint?

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"Wouldn't it be wonderful to have another 1851 Exhibition, and see just what our builders can come up with without constraint?"

(Quote)

 

Of course it would.

But mind you, the 19th century (after about 1840) was a period with a higher level of globalization than today, and by far.

New ideas spread worldwide in few time, german builders went to the U.S., Belgium, France, England etc and reversely; there were of course chauvinisms but the ideas and the people circulated.

This is absolutely not the case today: the protectionnism reigns, the free trade is restricted to the very big players.

Out of 100 builders how many work actually abroad? Very, very few.

And when Kern builds a new organ in Germany, this is a scandal -the reverse would be just as true-.

 

So an international exposition with all the good builders of today may only be a dream, and I even don't talk about the expenses this would mean...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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But mind you, the 19th century (after about 1840) was a period with a higher level of globalization than today, and by far.

 

This is absolutely not the case today: the protectionnism reigns, the free trade is restricted to the very big players.

Out of 100 builders how many work actually abroad?

 

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

 

 

I think the facts would reveal that this simply isn't true; certainly in the UK market, where an extraordinary number of "foreign" built instruments have filled some of the more prestige projects.

 

Klais have been especially fortunate, but over the years, there have been offerings from Marcussen, Frobenius, Radestky, Flentrop and a few individual instruments by other builders from across the North Sea.

 

In fact, when it comes to the big, prestige jobs, it is difficult to find a new UK-built instrument among the ranks (so to speak).

 

Of course, the name Laukhoff, (as a major supplier of parts), is also internationally very active, and I know that even organ-cases have been made in the former Eastern Bloc. The amalgamation of Rogers and Stinkens is also not without significance from the pipe-making point of view.

 

I think that both Harrison & Harrison and Mander Organs have also been quite active in the US market, as are Rieger-Kloss from the Czech Republic, but with the $ exchange-rate, that is now perhaps less lucrative and certainly a lot more competitive for foreign builders.

 

MM

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Interesting topic. Can I offer a couple of random and probably not very coherent thoughts?

 

I don't see why the requirements of leading hymn singing should put too many restrictions on organ design. Any organ with decent chorus work should be able to do that perfectly well and you certainly don't need a Tuba (though in a large building it's certainly nice to have a loud reed of some sort - I prefer a Trompette-type stop personally).

 

Choir accompaniment: now that is a different matter. Then again, the churches in the UK that have choirs good enough to do any more than sing hymns is far outnumbered by the ones that don't - though I daresay that the latter are the least likely ones to want a new pipe organ.

 

I suspect the main reason for British organ design being generally unadventurous is that organists want the stops that will allow them to play as wide a spread of repertoire as possible. That's bound to favour tried and tested formulas over originality (to some extent at least).

 

Also organists have taken a step backwards (timewise, I hasten to add) in recent years. When I was young the neo-Baroque was all the rage. The organ, we were told, was a musical instrument in its own right, not a substitute orchestra and we were encouraged to prefer "proper" organ music. It was still OK to play the likes of Howells and Whitlock, but there was certainly a bit of a feeling in some quarters that they weren't "quaite naice". Orchestral transcriptions were most definitely frowned upon. The current trend has very much swung back to transcriptions and to thinking of the organ as an orchestra - which requires a "symphonic-friendly" specification.

 

But maybe I'm just being completely unimaginative and failing to grasp the possibilites of marrying innovation with traditional requirements..

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I suspect the main reason for British organ design being generally unadventurous is that organists want the stops that will allow them to play as wide a spread of repertoire as possible. That's bound to favour tried and tested formulas over originality (to some extent at least).

 

Also organists have taken a step backwards (timewise, I hasten to add) in recent years. When I was young the neo-Baroque was all the rage. The organ, we were told, was a musical instrument in its own right, not a substitute orchestra and we were encouraged to prefer "proper" organ music. It was still OK to play the likes of Howells and Whitlock, but there was certainly a bit of a feeling in some quarters that they weren't "quaite naice". Orchestral transcriptions were most definitely frowned upon. The current trend has very much swung back to transcriptions and to thinking of the organ as an orchestra - which requires a "symphonic-friendly" specification.

 

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

 

The history of the organ is essentialy connected with contrapuntal music, and it may be expedient to recall the diversity of style associated with that countrapuntal preference:-

 

Almost the entire pre-Baroque and Baroque of course, which needs no further eleboration.

 

But then look at some of the best after this period:-

 

Mozart Boely Mendelssohn Liszt Guilmant Dupre Widor Brahms Reger Hindemith

 

All these latter composers, and many others, were quite capable of writing real organ music in the contrapuntal style which suits the organ best.

 

If people want to play pretty tunes with accompaniment, then perhaps they should take up the theatre organ or synthesiser, which were designed as melodic/transcription instruments. It is perhaps a sign of the times and the desperation of organists, that they feel obliged to transcribe on the one hand, and live in the past on the other.

 

The trouble is, no-one is writing good music for the organ anymore. Isn't that the case?

 

No? :D

 

They are? :blink:

 

I wonder where? :D

 

MM

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The trouble is, no-one is writing good music for the organ anymore. Isn't that the case?

 

No? :D

 

They are? :blink:

 

I wonder where? :D

 

MM

 

A couple of months ago I started a thread on PIPORG-L with interesting results. There had been a thread on the subject of "who are the five best composers for the organ of all time". I thought that was too easy, and started a thread on the topic of "who are the five best living composers for the organ." Not many people were able to propose a full five names. Few, if any, names were proposed more than once and several people admitted that almost all the names proposed were completely unknown to them.

 

I don't come across much organ music by living composers, even at the sort of events I go to. The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival seems to completely ignore the instrument. Pity, because the HCMF is probably the only event that would have the guts to put on programmes of contemporary organ music.

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It is perhaps a sign of the times and the desperation of organists, that they feel obliged to transcribe on the one hand, and live in the past on the other.

Personally I quite agree with you, but I frequently get the feeling that I'm in a minority these days. But I'm sure that a lot of it is because of the paucity of first class organ repertoire of any period. Not a total lack, to be sure, but we do do poorly compared to many orchestral instruments. Even much of Bach's organ music compares poorly to things like the cantatas and orchestral suites. The best organ music is often by people unkown to the mainstream musical public. It's difficult enough to get them interested in organ recitals. When they do turn up they like transcriptions (OK, it's because they don't know any better - which is a pity, but there you go.)

 

Sorry if I'm off topic, but I don't really think I am. Organ design that doesn't take account of what the organ-loving society wants from it is going to end up in a cul-de-sac. All IMHO, of course.

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I wonder how far-fetched it is to describe a lot of Bach's organ music as transcriptions of string and obbligato pieces? He is supposed to have spent much of his life conducting from the harpsichord & teaching violin, and had pitifully poor organs to play on. As the illustrious and present Mr Allcoat says, even with just the 6 Bach trio sonatas and nothing else, we would still have one of the finest repertoires of any instrument.

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I wonder how far-fetched it is to describe a lot of Bach's organ music as transcriptions of string and obbligato pieces?  He is supposed to have spent much of his life conducting from the harpsichord & teaching violin, and had pitifully poor organs to play on.  As the illustrious and present Mr Allcoat says, even with just the 6 Bach trio sonatas and nothing else, we would still have one of the finest repertoires of any instrument.

 

 

Pitifully poor organs - no. In Bach's day a considerable amount of effort went into ensuring that organs when completed (and they were for astronomical sums) were well up to the job. If David reads about Bach's own organ-proving this is clear. Remember that Bach was a contemporary of Silbermann and knew him well. Yes, they argued about tunings, but you cannot tell me that these instruments (many of which survive as among the greatest ever built) are/were poor.

 

Hildebrandt trained with Silbermann, Bach often played on his organs. We all know about Bach's trips to Hamburg to enjoy the Schnitgers etc. etc.

 

I would agree that he was never regular organist of one of the 'top class' instruments but he certainly got to play them. This might have irked Bach a little, but judging from his letters, which are available ('A Bach reader' for example) he was much more irked at not having a sufficiently important post to exercise his full talents.

 

 

It would be a revolution if all our big contract instruments had to go through a proving procedure before full payment went to the organ-builders. I can think of several jobs that would never make it (including one or two of my own bodging!).

 

Try the steady wind/big chord test on full organ!

'We must see if the organ has good lungs' (Bach)

or the thorough and even regulation of the stops and action. The laws of slander/libel prohibit me from giving you instances of sub-standard big contract jobs but I could name loads of them.

 

It would be easier to tell you of the relatively few organs that would pass all Bach's tests. The organs of Bill Drake and Kenneth Tickell have been mentioned recently, and I think both of those gents have a lot of instruments to be proud of. I haven't played enough recent Manders to give an informed opinion so please don't take this as criticism by omission.

 

Of course, after the organ-proving, there would be a massive party going on for days! Ah... they knew what they were up to in Bach's day. He was much sought-after in this context. It might well be that some of our favourite pieces were written specifically for such purposes.

 

P.S. The Trio Sonatas are wonderful, but David could equally well have selected the Chorale Preludes or the Preludes and Fugues. Apart from a few early works - Toccata in C/E and early Fantasias in G and G minor, I would swap any other music I have to keep my whole set of Bach.

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I don't come across much organ music by living composers, even at the sort of events I go to. The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival seems to completely ignore the instrument. Pity, because the HCMF is probably the only event that would have the guts to put on programmes of contemporary organ music.

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

 

I guess that's why Huddersfield gets what it thinks is good, and Manchester gets the best!

 

It's not long since Petr Eben graced Manchester....probably one of the most gifted and prolific composers of recent times.

 

MM

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Pitifully poor organs - no.

 

It would be a revolution if all our big contract instruments had to go through a proving procedure before full payment went to the organ-builders.  I can think of several jobs that would never make it (including one or two of my own bodging!). 

 

Try the steady wind/big chord test on full organ!

'We must see if the organ has good lungs' (Bach)

or the thorough and even regulation of the stops and action. The laws of slander/libel prohibit me from giving you instances of sub-standard big contract jobs but I could name loads of them.

 

It would be easier to tell you of the relatively few organs that would pass all Bach's tests.  The organs of Bill Drake and Kenneth Tickell have been mentioned recently, and I think both of those gents have a lot of instruments to be proud of.  I haven't played enough recent Manders to give an informed opinion so please don't take this as criticism by omission.

 

 

I didn't mean to sound like Bach never played a good organ - isn't it however true that quite a lot of the time he accompanied services at the harpsichord, conducting strings? The parallel was meant to be that of transcriptions. A vast amount of the organ music was clearly designed with other instruments in mind and the best performances reflect this (but then I suppose the best performances of any music do to some extent). Wasn't Bach particularly fussy about tremulants also? This is a much neglected point in some new instruments.

 

The proving process would indeed be interesting to apply. Trouble is, who would do the proving? The consultant? (Every one a pass.) Another builder? (Every one a fail.) A little retirement job for Gillian Weir? Have opinions of what is good and what is not good ever been so diverse as they are for us, with our many more schools of music and functions to try and entertain? If I were to say - New College Oxford, Clifton Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Grosvenor Chapel, Exeter College Oxford and Turner Sims Concert Hall we might none of us agree on any of them, and consequently not only would prices go up (to cover the eventuality of losing money) but the results would almost certainly get even blander and more stereotypical still as we struggle to draw lines in the sand.

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Dare I ask something very stupid:

 

Is any 21st century british organ to be designed

to play Bach like some experts want us all to do since 60 years?

 

(Then we'd have some organs from the 70's you could copy, or even better,

take away forever. No need to re-invent them)

 

See for instance the third here (at the bottom), a 1978 job that features

all what you need:

 

http://www.cathedralestmichel.be/fr/cult_a...ues.php?lang=fr

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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