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Guest stevecbournias

What Organs Are Being Built In The Uk?

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Guest Lee Blick

Yes, the TC Lewis at Southwark sounds wonderful but doesn't it suffer from it's out of the way position? I know many British organs get shoved into cramped organ chambers but I don't quite understand why the organ could not have placed elsewhere in the building. Maybe someone could tell me why it had to be placed in a side chamber, rather than in the transept or even at the west-end?

 

I do love the building though. Out of all the parish churches which were given Cathdral Status, I do think Southwark is one of the most succesful - a cathedral in miniature.

 

I have very fond memories of the diocese, having been organist at one of the churches in Kennington. the Revd. Roger Royle occasionally used to worship at my church when he wasn't busy with his t.v. work. The cathedral on the whole has been forward thinking in the ministry to minorities, particularly towards lesbian and gay community.

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I remember accompanying Howell's Like As The Hart at Southwark Cathedral for a visiting choir on a Saturday evensong. A passing train obliterated the start of the three final chords and the minister came in with the prayers while I was still playing.

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I remember accompanying Howell's  Like As The Hart at Southwark Cathedral for a visiting choir on a Saturday evensong. A passing train obliterated the start of the three final chords and the minister came in with the prayers while I was still playing.

 

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

 

The same thing used to happen in Rotterdam, when the trains rattled across a great iron-bridge which ran just outside the chancel of St.Laurens Cathedral.

 

The organist had a telephone at the console, and they used to hold the trains back until a piece was finished.....how Dutch is that?

 

It was a bit disconcerting though........Bach Fantasia in G minor, then RUMBLE, RUMBLE, CLANK, CLANK, followed by Fugue in G minor.

 

Anyway, they did the only intelligent thing and removed the railway, leaving the cathedral standing in an oasis of calm.

 

MM

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This leaves two major questions unanswered:

1) what can you play Bach on then? and

2) do all of Bach's works need the same type of organ?

 

To which two partial answers might be

1) something like a Hildebrandt or Trost and

2) No.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

Well, we just have a big "Bach's organs" topic on Plenum.

 

We know relatively well the organs Bach played, at least on paper, some

even do still exist today.

Here is one Bach approved after inspection and trial. Krebs too used it:

 

http://www.orgelsite.nl/kerken15/altenburg.htm

 

It has been restored 1973 by Eule Orgelbau.

The stops with an asterisk plus the HPTW's Mixtur are borrowed on the Pedal.

 

Pierre

 

Well, it's by Trost, as I said. By the way, Waltershausen is even more spectacular. It too has masses of transmissions to the pedal.

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Southwark.................cathedral on the whole has been forward thinking in the ministry to minorities, particularly towards lesbian and gay community.

 

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

 

Sounds like "Heaven" to me.

 

;)

 

MM

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This leaves two major questions unanswered:

1) what can you play Bach on then? and

2) do all of Bach's works need the same type of organ?

 

To which two partial answers might be

1) something like a Hildebrandt or Trost and

2) No.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

To question 1, we can also add organs like Lewises, Hills, etc.

Question 2 really isn't answered by a yes/no answer.... it's a question of making Bach's organ music work on the instrument at your disposal and making a musical effort of it.

 

It's just that some organs are better at it than others...

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You can't really play Bach on a Cavaillé-Coll

Cheers

Barry

 

I disagree!

 

I heartily recommend the superb JSB-only recording by Daniel Roth at S. Sulpice - I cannot presently recall the label or the catalogue number, largely because I am currently at school.

 

As I mentioned in a recent post, I am fairly certain that if one were to hear this recording, it would be very difficult to guess the instrument on which it was recorded.

 

In fairness, it must be admitted that this 'super Cavaillé-Coll' does have just about everything for which one could reasonably wish (unless one happened to be from the U.S. ....), including several separate mutation ranks and a number of really good quint mixtures.

 

;)

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About Waltershausen:

 

http://infopuq.uquebec.ca/~uss1010/orgues/...rshausensk.html

 

Just another job I wonder why the "reformers" never copied it.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

I strongly recommend Stephen Bicknell's article on it in Choir and Organ. Stephen talks a lot about its almost obsessive levels of detail during construnction (just look at the turned posts supporting the upperboards - they're more elaborate than most people's stops), the very gritty, quite pungent chorus (probably quite unsuitable for a big Bach P&F to some ears) and the strange quieter stops, concentrating more on novelty strings than sesquialteras...

 

Looking at the construction of this organ, it's quite clear why on-one has copied it: no-one (except perhaps the Americans) could afford it and even they could, you'd be hard pressed to find a builder happy to copy every detail...

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I rather liked the story of William Harris's approach to playing Bach at Windsor. Having placed the music on the desk, he thoughtfully drew a Stopped Diapason 8ft. After a moment's contemplation he turned to a student beside him and said, "Let's go all Baroque!" and pulled out the Principal 4ft...

 

 

H

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Looking at the construction of this organ, it's quite clear why on-one has copied it: no-one (except perhaps the Americans) could afford it and even they could, you'd be hard pressed to find a builder happy to copy every detail...

 

Of course, but so far as the pipes, the chests, the action and the bellows

are correct, I'd be content with a pine case...

 

Pierre

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I rather liked the story of William Harris's approach to playing Bach at Windsor.  Having placed the music on the desk, he thoughtfully drew a Stopped Diapason 8ft. After a moment's contemplation he turned to a student beside him and said, "Let's go all Baroque!" and pulled out the Principal 4ft...

H

 

Whilst there is, of course, an amusing side to this story, is it not also supremely arrogant? The implication is surely that Harris (or more widely, British organists) knew best - and that their way was how Bach should be played. Once we stop listening to others, or we fail to approach any music with an open and enquiring mind, we stagnate and our performances suffer as a result.

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Whilst there is, of course, an amusing side to this story, is it not also supremely arrogant? The implication is surely that Harris (or more widely, British organists) knew best - and that their way was how Bach should be played. Once we stop listening to others, or we fail to approach any music with an open and enquiring mind, we stagnate and our performances suffer as a result.
You often get a similar sort of reaction from people who prefer their Baroque music played by modern orchestras rather than on "original" instruments. I don't know that I'd call it supremely arrogant. I think it's probably more about comfort zones. Either way, I agree there's a fault in their musical receptiveness (I think that's what I mean, but I'm tired).

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I disagree!

 

I heartily recommend the superb JSB-only recording by Daniel Roth at S. Sulpice - I cannot presently recall the label or the catalogue number, largely because I am currently at school.

 

As I mentioned in a recent post, I am fairly certain that if one were to hear this recording, it would be very difficult to guess the instrument on which it was recorded.

 

In fairness, it must be admitted that this 'super Cavaillé-Coll' does have just about everything for which one could reasonably wish (unless one happened to be from the U.S. ....), including several separate mutation ranks and a number of really good quint mixtures.

 

:blink:

 

The point I'm trying to make, obviously with limited success, is simply that it is very difficult to pin-point a particular type of instrument as being ideal for the music of Bach. Slowly we seem to be realising that the typical neo-baroque instrument, with an absence of string tone, underpowered fundamentals and very high pitched mixtures is NOT what Bach was looking for - too late to stop a lot of instruments with which Bach could probably have identified pretty well being, in effect, "baroqeicised" - including Naumburg, Waltershausen and Altenburg, all having now been returned to something like their original state.

 

Whether you can play Bach on an Edwardian organ would be rather like asking whether you can cut grass with your fridge; that is simply not what it is for. If it works, it's an unexpected bonus. Of course you CAN do it, the music is simply good enough for it to survive. You can also maje elephnats stand on little painted tubs. It can sound spectacularly good, like Daniel Roth's st. Sulpice Bach; but there is a level on which, narrow-mindedly contemplated, the thing is all wrong. It is, as someone further up said, a matter of comfort zones.

 

My question (and answer) whether ALL of Bach'smusic requires the same sort of instrument was neither idle nor meant to be (merely) provocative, because it seems clear that a piece like the multisectional E major Toccata (or is it in C?) requires a different sort of instrument from the CÜ III or any of the big non-sectional works, so that to talk of "a" Bach organ is probably impossible anyway. The organs which he encountered in Lüneburg or Hamburg were very different from the Stertzing/Wender types that he knew at home. If the "Dorian" was really written for Kassel, that would have been different again.

 

All for the nonce

Cheers

Barry

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Whether you can play Bach on an Edwardian organ would be rather like asking whether you can cut grass with your fridge; that is simply not what it is for. If it works, it's an unexpected bonus. Of course you CAN do it, the music is simply good enough for it to survive.

 

You can also make elephants stand on little painted tubs.

 

My question (and answer) whether ALL of Bach'smusic requires the same sort of instrument was neither idle nor meant to be (merely) provocative.....................

 

.........to talk of "a" Bach organ is probably impossible anyway.[

 

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

 

I can think of many, many melodic pieces by Bach (such as "Liebtser Jesu") which would work wonderfully with US Erzhalers and a Skinner Heckalphone.....God knows, Virgil Fox did it all the time.

 

The point of departure is in the big works and highly contrapuntal Trio writing, where clarity and the concerted style demand integrated, balanced chorus-work of a type which, frankly, has seldom been equalled (and never bettered) since Bach walked the earth.

 

I cannot speak for elephants standing on painted tubs, but my father knew a lion-tamer by the name of Claude Bottomley. :blink:

 

The nearest I have come to wildlife is walking a pet Cheetah on a lead in the US......that was fun!

 

MM

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Well, it is certainly less scary than a cheetah - I would like to have seen a picture of that, though.

 

Perhaps MM has one?

 

:P

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I don't think people should get too worked up about what instruments Bach works on and what doesn't. Surely it should be more a question of whatever combination of stops is drawn, is the end product musical? There's no question that you can ever produce something 'authentic' on a Willis or Harrison, so why even try?

 

For me, Peter Hurford provided a clear way forward in a performance of the Bach Passacaglia in C minor with which he concluded a recital on the 4M Harrison at the Colston Hall, Bristol in the mid-1980s when the opening, for pedal only I think, was given on full organ, 32ft reed et al. I think for most of us in the hall who were expecting the usual meek opening, it was something of an epiphany, and without a doubt hair-raising.

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I don't think people should get too worked up about what instruments Bach works on and what doesn't. Surely it should be more a question of whatever combination of stops is drawn, is the end product musical? There's no question that you can ever produce something 'authentic' on a Willis or Harrison, so why even try?

 

For me, Peter Hurford provided a clear way forward in a performance of the Bach Passacaglia in C minor with which he concluded a recital on the 4M Harrison at the Colston Hall, Bristol in the mid-1980s when the opening, for pedal only I think, was given on full organ, 32ft reed et al. I think for most of us in the hall who were expecting the usual meek opening, it was something of an epiphany, and without a doubt hair-raising.

 

It sounds good to me.

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