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American Mega-organs


Guest Lee Blick
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Was there no space for REAL bells ? Well . as far as I am concerned, the electronic variety are better than none at all, so while we have all had to read the specification, not ALL of us seem likely to have the same complaints about it. I thought I had a CD of this organ somewhere but I cannot seem to find it. Anyone know if one actually exists or is my SD simply getting worse ?

 

BAC

 

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The organ of St.Moritz, Olomouc, has only been recorded a few times for some strange reason; considering the quality of the instrument tonally and its historic significance.

 

However, after digging around in my extensive files for some time, I have come up with the following recordings and references:-

 

Musica Bona catalogue:-

 

Works for Organ

Catalog No.: VA0020-2

Label: MusicVars, 1992

1 CD (DDD)

 

Cesar Auguste Franck

Trois Chorals pour Orgue (E major; B minor; A minor)

Trois Pieces pour Grand Orgue (Fantasie; Cantabile; Piece heroique)

 

Jirina Pokorna Organ

 

--------------------------------------

 

FAMOUS ORGAN WORKS 2

 

Bach: Concerto in a 593 nach Vivaldi; TF in F 540. Liszt: PF über BACH. Vierne: Carillon de Westminster (3. Suite op. 54/6). Widor: Toccata (Sinfonie 5 op. 42-1/5) - Jirina Pokorna, Orgel, St. Moritz, Olmütz (Olomouc)

 

Siroky Dvur, Music Vars, VA 01142131, CD

 

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

 

 

http://www.musicvars.cz/Katalog/Vazna/VA0030.html

 

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

 

Messiaen, Dupré, Alain - Organ Works

Olivier Messiaen (1908): L'Ascension

Marcel Dupré (1886-1971): Prelude and Fugue in G minor

Jehan Alain (1911-1941): L'Oeuvre d'Orgue

 

Recorded at St. Maurice's Church in Olomouc, from 13 to 16 May, 1985

 

SUPRAPHON 1111 3896 (P) 1986

 

---------------------------------------------------------

 

Titel: Widor - Boellmann

 

Komponist: Ch. M. Widor; L. Boellmann

 

Werk: Sin. 5 op. 42/1; S. G. op25

 

Interpret: Jan Vladimir Michalko

 

Orgel: Orgel St. Moritz, Olmütz (St. Maurice, Olomouc)c

 

Label: Opus

 

Nummer: 9351 1764

 

Tonträger: CD

 

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

 

I'm not sure if they are all still available, but that seems to be the list. Oddly enough, this organ hasn't featured on the Minnesota "Pipedreams" programme, so even that doesn't offer a chance to listen to it in the archives.

 

I wonder if part of the reason, apart from the commi legacy, is the fact that the original Engler console has a short-octave pedal?

 

I bet it has, but I can't tell from the photos I have.

 

If so, it would be virtually impossible to play Bach from the tracker console, and that would surely mean using the detached electric 5-manual console?

 

It also implies that the additions to the organ by Rieger-Kloss in the late 50's and 60's, must have included new pipework matched to the original, which filled in the missing notes of the pedal. That may even extend to the keyboards, but I don't know.

 

Anyway, it sounds awfully good to my ears; whatever the precise details.

 

I've also come across a paper concerned with the influence of Czech organs on Latvian ones, which may interest Pierre, who will know of the famous Walcker at Riga. Michael Engler may prove to be a highly significant omission in the normal organ history books, but I can't speak with any sort of authority about it at the moment.

 

MM

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I wonder if part of the reason, apart from the commi legacy, is the fact that the original Engler console has a short-octave pedal? 

 

I bet it has, but I can't tell from the photos I have.

 

If so, it would be virtually impossible to play Bach from the tracker console, and that would surely mean using the detached electric 5-manual console?

 

It also implies that the additions to the organ by Rieger-Kloss in the late 50's and 60's, must have included new pipework matched to the original, which filled in the missing notes of the pedal. That may even extend to the keyboards, but I don't know.

 

 

MM

 

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

 

I reply to my own quote because I have made a further discovery.

 

The Olomouc instrument, as built by Engler, does indeed have both short octave pedals AND manuals....I found another pici of the old console.

 

MM

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The organ of St.Moritz, Olomouc, has only been recorded a few times for some strange reason; considering the quality of the instrument tonally and its historic significance.

 

However, after digging around in my extensive files for some time, I have come up with the following recordings and references:-

 

Dear MM,

 

Thank you for the reference. I have just spent half an hour looking at the site and ordered the Bach CD, so I hope the organ lives up to your recommendation

 

Brian C

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I have been following the discussion here with some interest. Personally, whilst acknowledging that such a plethora of stops will rarely be required (or even employable), I agree with MM that it is fun to have them and no great harm is caused by the existence of a few mega organs. However, I am slightly puzzled by two things -

 

1. If, as is often claimed, the single most important stop on an organ is the building which houses it, how profitable is it to draw up extensive lists of stops without providing ANY indication of the design features, and potential uses, of the building in which the finished instrument is to be housed ? One would have thought that knowing whether the building had accoustic characteristics which more nearly resembled St Paul's or , on the other hand, the Festival Hall would come fairly high on the list of essential information any designer would need to know .

 

2. If there is actually money available in the US for such projects why is first call on it not for the purpose of restoring what actually exists, namely the Atlantic City Convention Hall instrument ? I do not think it is indicative either of narrow mindeness or hostility to the concept of mega organs to ask what is the point of constructing another whilst the one that exists is desperately in need of funds for restoration. It seems to me a bit like setting out to errect another Great Pyramid at Giza , using money that might more sensibly be spent to preserve the one that is already there !

 

Brian Childs

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Some good points here, Brian.

 

Size is not always of paramount importance. One organist may be able to make a small organ sound heavenly, whilst another makes a large five-clavier instrument sound like a distressed sheep being dragged across a large cheese-grater.

 

I have, as I hope readers will note, taken great care to avoid the obvious double-entendres normally rife, when discussing the subject of the relative merits of big versus small organs.

 

I will stop this post now - before anything untoward happens.

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the situation u address in usa is not as u imagine

 

 

 

so if a new mega organ comes like the one for charlotte north carolina a black baptist church awaiting a 5 manual ruffati with string sections and celestial divisions and batteries of chamades like notre dame

 

 

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

 

 

This will definitely be my last word on American v. European organs.....honest!

 

:o

 

It seems to me, that there is an enormous cultural gap which keeps the subject lively, but which will never somehow fill in the Atlantic Ocean and enable us to shake hands somewhere in the middle.

 

It is, I guess, the gulf which existed between Virgil Fox and E.Power-Biggs.

 

Europe certainly has mega-organs, but of a different nature and perhaps more of a piece as musical instruments.....Cavaille-Coll, Walcker and the organ builder we always tend to overlook, Steinmeyer. In the UK, the work of the various members of theWillis family; Hill, Norman & Beard, Arthur Harrison (etc) were associated with some very large instruments, but that era has now passed.

 

Take a simple analogy. If I wanted to drive a very fast car on a race track, I could go two ways. I COULD get a Chevrolet Corvette, or somesuch thunder machine, and go very, very fast in a straight line and hope that the brute will stop.

I could, on the other hand, choose something light, minimal, sophisticated, responsive, nimble and not over-powerful, which would knock spots off the US car around the corners and under braking.

 

Each would have their strengths and weaknesses, but forty years ago, that competition really took place to the delight of many race fans, and the little car won the championship!

 

Whis is the best fighter jet? The one which goes very fast, or the one that can fly backwards? Think about your answer, because the latter actually has the advantage.

 

So long live the cultural divide, and in a spirit of our "special relationship," enjoy the fun we have discussing the things which both unite us and divide us.

 

I still prefer a Schnitger though!!!!!!!!! :o

 

MM

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

Whis is the best fighter jet?  The one which goes very fast, or the one that can fly backwards?  Think about your answer, because the latter actually has the advantage.

 

But there are no fighter jets that can fly backwards ! Even the Harrier cannot do that, if by fly backwards you mean put into reverse like a car. I agree with you that in theory the one that can fly backwards ought to have the advantage but at the back of my mind lurks the experience of the 1930s, when the argument was between the highly manoeuvrable biplane and the faster, better armed monoplane. There was a school of thought that the monoplane would never out perform the biplane in aerial fighting which it was assumed would take the form familiar to Mannock, McCudden and Ball (and I should add Bishop (for our Canadian readers) and Eddie Rickenbacker for those from the USA). Some air forces, particularly the Italian, went with this philosophy and entered WW2 with a front line strength which included a number of biplanes that were perfectly delightful to fly and quite incapable of living in the same airspace as a spitfire or even a twin engined beaufighter. So perhaps the jet that can fly faster than the speed of a bullet or pursuing missile might have the advantage after all in an environment where targets are not seen but acquired on radar and attacked from distances measured in miles rather than the hundreds of feet of WW1 or the hundreds of yards of WW2 ?

 

:o

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the situation u address in usa is not as u imagine

 

each organ is the property of the principals of that particular institution without regard for what others around them r doing so if atlantic city is playing or not isnt a concern of 1st baptist, hope college, organ music school, great cathedral, civic centre, etc

 

it is not as if all of the organs in usa r one or related

 

so if a new mega organ comes like the one for charlotte north carolina a black baptist church awaiting a 5 manual ruffati with string sections and celestial divisions and batteries of chamades like notre dame

 

so u see the one situation is indifferent to the other and the purpose at the black baptist is far removed from atlantic city and not 1 red cent will be diverted from charlotte to new jersey as a result

 

Steve,

 

I am sorry that the things I left out of my post misled you into thinking I have a somewhat unworldly view of what the USA is like in 2006. Of course if we are considering specific projects then what you say must be right, but exactly the same would apply in the UK where there would be no question of virement between,for example, a project to restore the organ of Glasgow University's Bute Hall and one to refurbish that of the Royal Festival Hall in London. I was thinking in rather more general terms about a project funded by public subscription, in the same way that the public are invited to give for the purposes of charitable relief in the wake of a disaster such as that which recently befell New Orleans, although I failed to specify that. In such a situation my point was that if you are asking the public to subscribe for a major civic project - and in the case of Atlantic City the argument could surely be made that the instrument was of more than merely LOCAL importance, just as the response to Katrina reached beyond the boundaries of the States affected - then it surely made more sense to preserve something that already exists than to start again from scratch. It is very seldom that it is quicker or cheaper to build a brand new building as opposed to refurbishing an existing one.

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But there are no fighter jets that can fly backwards ! Even the Harrier cannot do that, if by fly backwards you mean put into reverse like a car.

:o

 

Yes, it can. And sideways. How do you think it can position itself for vertical landing?

 

But I think we should get back to organs - much more interesting!

 

John

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Yes, it can.  And sideways.  How do you think it can position itself for vertical landing?

 

But I think we should get back to organs - much more interesting!

 

John

It can MOVE backwards through the air but it cannot FLY backwards at the same speed as it can FLY forwards (which is what I mean by reversing), and the backwards movement is not possible except at low altitude. This is very useful for operating from non-conventional landing sites but has very limited potential as a means of avoiding any form of missile attack by anything even slightly more sophisticated than the rockets used by the first RAF Typhoons in Normandy in 1944.

 

But perhaps we should return to the subject of organs

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It can MOVE backwards through the air but it cannot FLY backwards at the same speed as it can FLY forwards (which is what I mean by reversing), and the backwards movement is not possible except at low altitude. This is very useful for operating from non-conventional landing sites but has very limited potential as a means of avoiding any form of missile attack by anything even slightly more sophisticated than the rockets used by the first RAF Typhoons in Normandy in 1944.

 

But perhaps we should return to the subject of organs

 

My car can't move backwards as quickly as it can forwards! Sadly, it cannot move sideways, which I would certainly find an advantage when parking!

 

For God's sake let's return to organs now!

 

John

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But there are no fighter jets that can fly backwards ! Even the Harrier cannot do that, if by fly backwards you mean put into reverse like a car. I agree with you that in theory the one that can fly backwards ought to have the advantage but at the back of my mind  lurks the experience of the 1930s, when the argument was between the highly manoeuvrable biplane and the faster, better armed monoplane. There was a school of thought that the monoplane would never out perform the biplane in aerial fighting which it was assumed would take the form familiar to Mannock, McCudden and Ball (and I should add Bishop (for our Canadian readers) and Eddie Rickenbacker for those from the USA). Some air forces, particularly the Italian, went with this philosophy and entered WW2 with a front line strength which included a number of biplanes that were perfectly delightful to fly and quite incapable of living in the same airspace as a spitfire or even a twin engined beaufighter. So perhaps the jet that can fly faster than the speed of a bullet or pursuing missile might have the advantage after all in an environment where targets are not seen but acquired on radar and attacked from distances measured in miles rather than the hundreds of feet of WW1 or the hundreds of yards of WW2 ?

 

:o

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But there are no fighter jets that can fly backwards ! Even the Harrier cannot do that, if by fly backwards you mean put into reverse like a car. I agree with you that in theory the one that can fly backwards ought to have the advantage

 

:o

 

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

 

Pursuit is all about speed differentials. The Harrier can flip into vectored hover, resulting in a pursuit jet or missiles over-shooting or losing heat-seeking capacity as the jet engines are thrust downwards. The the Harrier pilot just sends HIS missiles after them! It's a neat trick, and makes the Harrier especially effective in combat.

 

Good old Barnes Wallace!

 

MM

 

PS: The Harrier CAN fly backwards....very slowly.

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

 

Pursuit is all about speed differentials. The Harrier can flip into vectored hover, resulting in a pursuit jet or missiles over-shooting or losing heat-seeking capacity as the jet engines are thrust downwards. The the Harrier pilot just sends HIS missiles after them!  It's a neat trick, and makes the Harrier especially effective in combat.

 

Good old Barnes Wallace!  Oh yes the R100 and the Wellesley

 

MM

 

PS: The Harrier CAN fly backwards....very slowly.

 

And laser guided ?

 

PS : To change subject so as not to anger JR who originally said" You can always tell a Yorlshireman, but you can't tell him much..." Genuine question : know the quote but not the originator.

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PS : To change subject so as not to anger JR, who originally said, "You can always tell a Yorlshireman, but you can't tell him much..." Genuine question : know the quote but not the originator.

 

Nay, lad! Tha'll not rile me as easily as sum'n on't site!

 

'Course ah knew tha were talkin about flyin as in usin't aerofoils to support't weight, but ah were just tryin to be pedantic, like.

 

Hope ah didn't rile thee ta much!

 

Besides, yon sayin's perfectly true, though ah don't know who made it up, like.

 

John

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Nay, lad!  Tha'll not rile me as easily as sum'n on't site!

 

'Course ah knew tha were talkin about flyin as in usin't aerofoils to support't weight, but ah were just tryin to be pedantic, like.

 

Hope ah didn't rile thee ta much!

 

Besides, yon sayin's perfectly true, though ah don't know who made it up, like.

 

John

 

 

I was told when I graduated in 1969 from a University in Yorkshire that I had become an honorary Yorkshireman, although a subsequent speaker suggested such was not possible since the word "honorary" (implying without payment) was not to be found in any locally available dictionary. A vile calumny, doubtless, though I do seem to remember "if tha' does owt for nowt do it for tha' sen" being said more than once in my hearing.

 

I have learned a considerable amount from discussions and posts on this site and am grateful to everyone whose greater knowledge has contributed to the improvement of my own so it would be self-defeating to be "riled" when someone s disagrees with me, or corrects a mistake I have made. That said I do think that in a couple of instances on this site there appear instances of personal animosity being displayed which cannot be explained on the basis of anything publicly posted here, and I would personally prefer it if those with private quarrels kept them private and did not involve the rest of us.

 

 

Brian

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Guest Barry Oakley
That said I do think that in a couple of instances on this site there appear instances of personal animosity being displayed which cannot be explained  on the basis of anything publicly posted here, and I would personally prefer it if those with private quarrels kept them private and did not involve the rest of us.

Brian

 

 

I thoroughly agree, Brian.

 

Barry

 

(Adopted Yorkshireman in exile)

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PS : To change subject so as not to anger JR who originally said" You can always tell a Yorlshireman, but you can't tell him much..." Genuine question : know the quote but not the originator [unquote].

 

 

Strictly speaking, the quote, I think, is, "Tha' can always tell a Yorkshireman, but tha' can't tell him a lot". Sorry I can't help with the originator; it's maybe just part of folk-lore.

 

On the more serious point raised by Brian & Barry, it's a pity a few contributors persist in using this site to peddle their own brand of tiresome in-jokes and nerd-like personal innuendo - most of it having nothing to do with the organ - rather than for the intended purpose of an exchange of views, knowledge, opinions etc on the instrument itself.

 

I subscribe to two other organ forums (fora, if you prefer), one UK-based and the other overseas. Both of these are well-conducted, relevant, informative and thoroughly worthwhile, yet not by any means without humour. I'm afraid this site's standards often fall sadly short of the competition.

 

No doubt someone from the 'yahoo-tendency' will feel moved to rubbish such sentiments in their usual uncouth manner - if they do, they will only prove my point!

 

JS

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I was told when I graduated in 1969 from a University in Yorkshire that I had become an honorary Yorkshireman, although a subsequent speaker suggested such was not possible since the word "honorary" (implying without payment) was not to be found in any locally available dictionary. A vile calumny, doubtless, though I do seem to remember "if tha' does owt for nowt do it for tha' sen" being said more than once in my hearing.

 

I have learned a considerable amount from discussions and posts on this site and am grateful to everyone whose greater knowledge has contributed to the improvement of my own so it would be self-defeating to be "riled" when someone s disagrees with me, or corrects a mistake I have made. That said I do think that in a couple of instances on this site there appear instances of personal animosity being displayed which cannot be explained  on the basis of anything publicly posted here, and I would personally prefer it if those with private quarrels kept them private and did not involve the rest of us.

Brian

 

Brian, I hope you didn't think I meant you when I referred to 'sum'n on't site'. I'm not going to say who, of course. Think about it!

 

I'd just like to add that none of my posts involve intentional personal animosity against anyone, although I have been told that I do have a rather dry sense of humour. Also, I can laugh at myself and really don't mind too much what people may say about me. But Yorkshiremen, tight-fisted? Come on!

 

Generally, you should take anything I say with a pinch of salt!

 

John

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Brian, I hope you didn't think I meant you when I referred to 'sum'n on't site'.  I'm not going to say who, of course.  Think about it!

 

I'd just like to add that none of my posts involve intentional personal animosity against anyone, although I have been told that I do have a rather dry sense of humour.  Also, I can laugh at myself and really don't mind too much what people may say about me.  But Yorkshiremen, tight-fisted?  Come on!

 

Generally, you should take anything I say with a pinch of salt!

 

John

 

No John I certainly was not thinking of you when I wrote that. I also do not intend to be specific about those I was but the posts I have in mind tend to be directed to an individual's character or integrity rather than his ideas. Nothing you have written of which I am aware could sensibly be construed as falling into that category.

 

To illustrate the distinction I have in mind PCND and I would seem to hold diametrically opposed views on the value of tonal percussion registers in a classical organ design. I quite like them : he appears not to. I am entitled to think his opinion on this issue is silly (even if on many other issues I find myself in complete and total agreement with him), and I do not doubt he holds exactly the same view of mine.The freedom to hold opposing views is what "free speech" is all about. It does not follow that I am entitled on this forum to transfer the description silly from his opinion to the character of the man, still less to do so using even stronger and more condemnatory language. It seemed to me that a Rubicon lay between those two things which it was not appropriate for us to cross here. It was, and remains, my personal view that some have done precisely that and addressed each other in terms which reveal a degree of hostility which cannot be explained by anything posted here. My inference was that some members here were carrying on a quarrel between themselves that had its origins outside the confines of this Board. I would prefer they did not carry it on here, if for no other reason than the practical consideration that the rules that apply to such a debate are as different from those that one might expect to apply on this Board as are those which govern a contest fought under the rules of the Amateur Boxing Association from those applicable to a bar room brawl (ie none).

 

I trust with this explanation you will see that I was not thinking of you at all since nothing that you have written here, certainly nothing referable to any post of mine, could reasonably be interpreted as a personal attack on me, but you do not have to search too far back to find one or two posts that look (or did prior to any subsequent editing) fairly like a personal attack though not directed at me.

Whilst I think Yorshire folk are "careful" I would never describe them as tight, and I am so fond of the County that my wife and I are considering moving back there !

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Strictly speaking, the quote, I think, is, "Tha' can always tell a Yorkshireman, but tha' can't tell him a lot".  Sorry I can't help with the originator; it's maybe just part of folk-lore.

 

On the more serious point raised by Brian & Barry, it's a pity a few contributors persist in using this site to peddle their own brand of tiresome in-jokes and nerd-like personal innuendo - most of it having nothing to do with the organ - rather than for the intended purpose of an exchange of views, knowledge, opinions etc on the instrument itself.

 

 

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

 

 

Pot & kettle, calling each other black?

 

MM :rolleyes:

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