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Organ comfort zones - successes and failure


Guest Hector5
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Guest Hector5

My family and I have recently spent a pleasurable few days in the Groningen area, staying with friends before departing for Burgundy. As most know the Groningen area is well-stocked in terms of historic organs, and many of them. What struck me on this visit was just flexible the apparently inflexible instruments could be. The A-Kerk Schnitger and Martinikerk organ organs surprised me in their ability to cope with romantic and 20th century music. Obviously a lot of the success is down to the player's ability to get the best out of the instrument. And on each occasion when I heard the organ, there was nowhere in the programme where I felt that each organ couldn't cope. The A-Kerk Schnitger was quite superb in the Ritter Sonata and Matter pieces. Needless so say, there are organs where some music really won't work, and my only failure on this was when playing for a friend's wedding on the really super organ at Middelstum, which dates from around the 1840s. I wonder if others have have had surprising successes or catastrophic failures on unlikely instruments.

 

Over to you!

 

Paul

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I had a sobering experience accompanning Mass at St Etheldreda's, Ely Place, on its swish new Spaeth organ. Filling in after Communion I thought: 'tierce en taille' - a favourite strategy. But a German-scaled Tierce simply doesn't play ball - it sounded, to borrow a phrase, like 'a bag of spanners'. Hastily, I switched to a standard amorphous flute-y wallpaper...!

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