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Mander Organs

Whither The British Organ In The 21st Century?


John Sayer

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Our big romantic beasts are a match for any in the world and you will find that your seasoned travellers from elsewhere will agree with this assessment.  They do not come here to sample our Klais, Reiger and Marcussen jobs - they probably know better ones back home!  By contrast, they are often fascinated by what our builders (especially in the late 19th century) really know/knew how to do - their target being rather different from ours, viz. the creation of expressive colour, richness and variety.

Which, of course, makes the Klais at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, such a strange beast. It looks to me like Klais initially got lost on their way to Symphony Hall and found themselves in the Town Hall. Inspired by the Hill organ there, they went away and essentially built a traditional English Town Hall organ, albeit in a Klais 21st Century way. For heavens sake, the organ has an enclosed rank of Tubas! If Symphony Hall wanted an organ like this, why didn't they go to someone like Manders or Harrison for whom such instruments are in their DNA?

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Which, of course, makes the Klais at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, such a strange beast. It looks to me like Klais initially got lost on their way to Symphony Hall and found themselves in the Town Hall. Inspired by the Hill organ there, they went away and essentially built a traditional English Town Hall organ, albeit in a Klais 21st Century way. For heavens sake, the organ has an enclosed rank of Tubas! If Symphony Hall wanted an organ like this, why didn't they go to someone like Manders or Harrison for whom such instruments are in their DNA?

 

 

Just a hunch - do you think Thomas Trotter made Klais aware of the disappointing results that Marcussens had just got at The Bridgewater Hall? You could say that there was a lesson to be learned with that one! It may have been very useful that this one was the later project by a year or two.

 

Whether the above is true or not, IMHO the involvement of T.T. can only have helped balance the scheme of the Symphony Hall organ anyway. He doesn't just play trio sonatas and fancy French morsels. His CD of the results is wonderful.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
Just a hunch - do you think Thomas Trotter made Klais aware of the disappointing results that Marcussens had just got at The Bridgewater Hall? You could say that there was a lesson to be learned with that one!  It may have been very useful that this one was the later project by a year or two.

 

Whether the above is true or not, IMHO the involvement of T.T. can only have helped balance the scheme of the Symphony Hall organ anyway.  He doesn't just play trio sonatas and fancy French morsels.  His CD of the results is wonderful.

 

I was visiting Marcussen's workshop at the time the Manchester opus was being built/installed. I seem to remember they were bemoaning the fact that they were having to put the organ in before the hall was finished and more importantly before the furnishings were in. I think that the hall was behind schedule although the organ wasn't. Correct me if my memory plays tricks - it was in the last century, all this. To me it seems that Birmingham certainly had the luxury of having a completed hall and thus the opportunity to revise/redress the scheme and install the organ at leisure.

 

I recently received the details of the new 91 stop organ (5 manual departments) (finished in 2007) for the Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen. Where is the BBC's? Whither the British Organ in the 21st Century?

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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I recently received the details of the new 91 stop organ (5 manual departments) (finished in 2007) for the Radio Concert Hall  in Copenhagen. Where is the BBC's? Whither the British Organ in the 21st Century?

 

Best wishes,

NJA

 

Could you post details, please?

 

John

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IMHO the involvement of T.T. can only have helped balance the scheme of the Symphony Hall organ anyway.  He doesn't just play trio sonatas and fancy French morsels.  His CD of the results is wonderful.

Yes, despite some reservations, the Symphony Hall Klais is a wonderful instrument in so many ways. I don't think it's a very honest instrument - it's not what you might call a typical Klais instrument and I suspect the Bonn organ builders had quite a steep learning curve on this project - but the end results are undeniably a superbly constructed and tonally finished instrument. And perhaps most important of all, it is not underpowered like the Marcussen at Bridgewater Halll.

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I recently received the details of the new 91 stop organ (5 manual departments) (finished in 2007) for the Radio Concert Hall  in Copenhagen. Where is the BBC's? Whither the British Organ in the 21st Century?

 

Best wishes,

NJA

 

Hi

 

Maybe the BBC should go for a new concert organ - but I suspect the politics in that organisation mean that they wouldn't countenance spending licencfee money on such a project - and would they have the will to use it? The BBC have 2 Compton concert organs - in studios at Maida Vale & Broadcasting House - I can't remember the last time I heard either on the air; and the lack of regular organ broadcasts on Radio 3 - and the notable absence of a significant contribution from the RAH organ in this year's proms sums up the prevailing attitude.

 

Every Blessing - and Christmas Greetings

 

Tony

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I recently received the details of the new 91 stop organ (5 manual departments) (finished in 2007) for the Radio Concert Hall  in Copenhagen. Where is the BBC's?

 

 

Oh, come on!!

You've got to be joking.

 

If the BBC has any interest whatsoever in the organ as a musical instrument for broadcasting purposes they have hidden this very successfully for at least ten years.

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See here:

 

http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/instrumen..._kopenhagen.htm

 

This said, there might be something at least as interesting the other side

of the Kattegat -in Stockholm-

Pierre

 

Weird - it looks like Jean Gillou had a hand in the design - and just look at those pressures for the Tuba stops - Arthur Harrison would be proud!

<_<

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Weird - it looks like Jean Gillou had a hand in the design - and just look at those pressures for the Tuba stops - Arthur Harrison would be proud!

<_<

 

A propos Harrison -his descendants might be implied somewhere nearby

on the opposite side of the Kattegat ("cat's gate")-

Pierre'

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And what, pray, would I want with a Grosse Neuvième, or whatever it was?!

 

Even the Septième 2 2/7 on the Solo Orgue of N.-D. de Paris was known to make odd noises - c.f. Cochereau's recorded improvised Variations sur un Noël [Nouvelet] - there is a brief pont before the adagio (which is really rather beautiful) in which I am certain that this rank was used in combination. It really has to be heard to be believed....

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Guest Barry Oakley
Oh, come on!!

You've got to be joking.

 

If the BBC has any interest whatsoever in the organ as a musical instrument for broadcasting purposes they have hidden this very successfully for at least ten years.

 

The RCO should make it a priority to constantly lobby the BBC to redress the lack of organ music on Radio 3. during sociable hours. And it would help, perhaps, if the RCM and RAM did likewise. And when the BBC puts a large part of its operation in Manchester it would also help if the RNCM made it a similar priority.

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Whilst I do agree that the situation regarding broadcast organ music in the UK is pathetic, I rather doubt that the BBC would take any notice, regardless of who it was that protested. Gone are the days of Music for the Iron Voice and similar programmes formerly aired on Radio Three.

 

One absurd counter-argument I heard them come up with was that "Well, we don't have oboe recitals broadcast regularly, either". The fact that one can daily hear oboes being played in orchestras or that neither Bach or Mozart ever referred to the oboe as the King of Instruments may possibly have escaped their notice.

 

By all means lobby, but I fear that the Beeb became selectively deaf years ago.

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See here:

 

http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/instrumen..._kopenhagen.htm

 

This said, there might be something at least as interesting the other side

of the Kattegat -in Stockholm-

Pierre

 

Many thanks. Most interesting.

 

I'm pleased to see so many mutations, including three sevenths and two ninths, although I'm not so sure about all manual divisions, bar one, being enclosed.

 

It is interesting that high pressure tubas seem to be becoming more and more popular on the continent. I know Klais has produced several over the past few years. I wonder whether the Royal Trumpet will bear any resemblance to the Mander ones at St Paul's.

 

Of course the BBC will never countenance anything like this, but we all know their attitude to the organ.

 

John

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