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Electric Couplers

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Suppose one would have an organ built with 4 manuals and tracker action in a symphonic taste. What could a good solution to provide the instrument with all possible (manual)couplers 16/8/4?

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Electric coupling for the 8ve and sub 8ve couplers would be an option, although the "Unison Off" option so often found on British organs would not be a possibility if the basic action were mechanical. However, I think a neater way round that problem is to develop the symphonic style to provide those elements that the 8ve couplers were meant to provide. Is it not true that composers reached for the 8ve couplers to achieve the upperwork effect not present on the organs for which they were composing? Is it not also true to say that the importance of the sub 8ve couplers in the French romantic instrument is to provide the foundation which was missing when the composers where writing in the upper regions of the keyboard to try to achieve the brightness which was not evident nearer the middle of the keyboard?

 

Somebody told me that Reger had once said on hearing his music played on an old classical organ that this was the way he meant his music to sound. Does anybody know if there is any truth in that assertion?

 

John Pike Mander

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I have played Reger and Karg-Elert at Alkmaar (locked up in the empty Laurenskirk for half a day... heaven on earth...).

 

Alkmaar and Reger created the most incredible musical experience. The organ has such presence, clarity, grandeur, gravitas and brilliance (all done with such artistry) that it could render the dense counterpoint of the music like nothing else. Every line could be heard clearly and with such presence. It was overwhelming to listen to and it was an intense musical experience to play and hear.

 

We very much went away feeling that this was the way the music was supposed to sound, especially after hearing the same music sound very ugly on a renowned English Cathedral organ.

 

I understand Jos van der Kooy is fond of playing Reger at Harlem too.

 

So, I would agree with Reger...

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Jos van der Kooy playing Reger at Haarlem on the Spectacular Romantics CD is another very good example. Also clear and grand.

 

I would live to know if Reger really said that though.

 

John Pike Mander

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The question to know "which was Reger's Organ" is often discussed in Germany. And actually, nobody knows. It seems there are no more "genuine Reger's Organs" as Bachs. Reger never bothered writing about the subject, so maybe he had an open mind about the matter. His versions of the Bach's Chorals seem to be a kind of "transcription for the romantic organ", while the crescendos that abound in his work seem to need a "Walze" (crescendo pedal). But beyond that, little is known. Anyway, be the organ crammed with "player's gimmicks" or not, some help for manipulation and registration is still needed, save if some kind of genetic engineering could provide an organist with six hands and four feet.

 

So Reger at Alkmaar, why not? I would be very curious to hear that, it deserves a try without preconceptions.

 

I know of several post-romantic (I mean later than Late romantic, but still not neo-classical) organs in which the octave couplers are "build in", that is, they have extended compass (73 notes) and even the scales take them into account, that is, a slower halving rate, like to be find in extension organs. So we may see that as a kind of extension, it was intended for use in the Tutti, while earlier, it seems the idea was provided for detail registrations. Now of course these organs are electro-pneumatic ones. With mechanical ones, one imagine it can be preferable by far to provide these "extra pipes" within the disposition itself, as Mr Mander says.

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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I forgot about one thing:

 

Alkmaar might be an excellent place for such experiments, because this organ has equal temperament....Since Frans-Caspar Schnitger.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Reading this thread has just reminded me of the Hindemith Sontas and Reger Prelude in D & Intro and Passacaglia etc played by Piet Kee at St Bavo Haarlem. Is this the sort of clarity you are refering to? The CD is Chandos CHAN9097.

Regards,

Oliver Horn

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