Jump to content
Mander Organs
MusingMuso

Which Organ Would You Most Want To Marry?

Recommended Posts

An Acoustic Bass is one of the most crude methods of faking 32p tone.
As far as English organs go I would certainly agree. I've hardly ever come across one that sounded remotely like a 32ft. However the examples I've encountered in America have without exception been very effective indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lee Blick
However, what is wrong with organists getting more out of the instrument at their disposal than is really there

 

But such crude methods to fake a 32' is not very musical in my opinion, sorry. When I see a an Acoustic Bass 32' on an organ I immediately think 'what a crap organ'. Good organs would not resort to such devices. If the church isn't big enough to install one then it doesn't need one. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But such crude methods to fake a 32' is not very musical in my opinion, sorry.  When I see a an Acoustic Bass 32' on an organ I immediately think 'what a crap organ'.  Good organs would not resort to such devices.  If the church isn't big enough to install one then it doesn't need one.  B)

 

No - as I said, I do not like Acoustic Bass effects, either.

 

However, you have not yet advanced a convincing argument against an imaginative organist producing fake 32p effects which do work!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lee Blick

But with a real 32ft, you can feel (ahem) the depth of the tone in sympathy with your body, a fake acoustic or a harmonic chord will never reproduce that anymore than a digital one, it just becomes a mush of indeterminate pitch. And if harmonic chords were convincing enough, would it not be widley employed by organ builders?

 

I heard a 'Harmonics of 32ft' on the organ at Hull City Hall and I wasn't impressed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But with a real 32ft, you can feel (ahem) the depth of the tone in sympathy with your body, a fake acoustic or a harmonic chord will never reproduce that anymore than a digital one, it just becomes a mush of indeterminate pitch.  And if harmonic chords were convincing enough, would it not be widley employed by organ builders?

 

I heard a 'Harmonics of 32ft' on the organ at Hull City Hall and I wasn't impressed.

 

I have no idea.

 

What I do know is that, on my own church instrument I am able to produce various 32p effects which do work in the building!

 

In my opinion, the music played is the richer for these quite harmless subterfuges. I am sure that by doing so, the 'earth does indeed move' for some of our parishoners.

 

In some cases, it is highly probable that these are the only times when this happens to them....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But with a real 32ft, you can feel (ahem) the depth of the tone in sympathy with your body, a fake acoustic or a harmonic chord will never reproduce that anymore than a digital one, it just becomes a mush of indeterminate pitch.  And if harmonic chords were convincing enough, would it not be widley employed by organ builders?

 

I heard a 'Harmonics of 32ft' on the organ at Hull City Hall and I wasn't impressed.

 

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

 

 

 

Mmmmmm! This isn't quite true, but I'm not sure I can recall the details until I've dug about a bit in my files.

 

However, if two notes are sounded together, there is generated a third "difference tone"....the mathematics of which escape me for the moment. It's the principle used by the organ "Cornet" stop, but not just that, it was also the very clever way in which John Compton synthesised all sorts of reed organ-tone from flue-pipes.

 

I used to play one organ by Binns, where drawing the keen Viole and a Nazard, produced the most astonishing SIMULATION of an Orchestral Oboe register.

 

The whole theory of musical-synthesis revolves around the "blending" of harmonics and fundamentals, and that is all that musical sound amounts to in reality. So IN THEORY, it is possible to synthesise almost anything, but not necessarily using organ-pipes.

 

I have bits of grey-matter nagging me.....they're telling me that the 32ft Harmonics (a type of Cornet incidentally) was not a Compton invention, but has a place in history, but again, I would have to dig around to find the details.

 

I'm interested in Lee's assertion that the 32ft Harmonics at Hull City Hall did not impress. I wonder how he heard it and in what context?

 

After all, this organ has a Diaphonic 32ft register, which gets into a major fight with the enormously powerful Pedal Tuba 16ft; the end result utterly unmusical to the point of being offensive....they are totally mis-matched. However, if the 32ft Diaphone is not drawn, and the Harmonics 32ft added to full pedal, the effect of a 32ft reed is quite convincing. Please bear in mind that this very large instrument, with 7,500 or so pipes, has GENUINE 32ft flue-pipes, so the fundamental is in place already.

 

It seems odd that Hull City Hall really has TWO full-pedal sounds; either with 16ft Tuba and the 32ft Harmonics, or without the 16ft Tuba but with the Diaphone 32ft rumbling away in a world all its' own.

 

Anyroads....the best example of a 32ft Harmonics I know is at St.Bride's, Fleet Street, London, and I've just listened to a recording I made in recital of that very instrument. You can certainly "hear" a 32ft reed, even if there isn't one on the organ.

 

All a 32ft Harmonics does is add the harmonics of a 32ft reed to a 32ft fundamental, but it really only works when a 16ft reed is drawn also. Then, and only then, can it sound really effective.

 

I'll dig around a bit and find something about the theory and history. They've certainly been used on a number of US organs over the years.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure you are correct, MM!

 

I know that John Compton experimented with the harmonic series whilst on an enforced break - recuperating from an illness, I believe. However, I am also not sure that he was the first to utilise such ideas.

 

On a related point:

 

The Choir Organ at Exeter Cathedral has, amongst other ranks, a Nazard and a Tierce. If one were to draw both stops and play slowly from middle C upwards, the two constituent notes dissapear - to be replaced with the 'difference note'. This is also due to the correct tuning of these ranks. I think that the Nazard is tuned sharp and the Tierce tuned flat. However, it is after midnight and there is a 50% chance that I have those the wrong way around....

 

The mutations on my own instrument perform the same feat - and are tuned in the same way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am sure you are correct, MM!

 

I know that John Compton experimented with the harmonic series whilst on an enforced break - recuperating from an illness, I believe. However, I am also not sure that he was the first to utilise such ideas.

 

 

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

 

 

There is a certain man called Stephen Bicknell........

 

He writes about harmonics and the history of harmonic mixtures far better than I could possibly attempt, and I would thus refer anyone who has a few days study-time available to consider the information in the following URL:-

 

http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~oneskull/3.6.01.htm

 

Having ploughed through that and understood it, anyone who is not totally confused, may wish to read about "difference tones" at Wikipedia:-

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combination_tone

 

Permit me the indulgence of quoting a post by Mr Ian Bell to Piporg-l, which refers to the 32ft Harmonics at St.Bride's Church, Fleet Stree, London, (Compton 1958). He wrote:-

 

.........the 4-manual Compton at St Bride's, Fleet

Street, London. All new in 1958, all enclosed in swell boxes

except for a small Positive, the Tuba and the pedal diaphone

and polyphones. A very good sound (if unsuited to the 17th

century surroundings - another Bruton). The Pedal has a

Harmonics of 32ft, all extended from the diaphone/Principal

rank, giving 1.8.12.17.21.23.25. Sounds weird alone, but

added to the 16 foot reeds it produces a most convincing

32-foot reed - all for free!

 

They did many, some in theatre organs taken off the Tibia,

but this is one of the best I have heard.

 

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

 

Of course, "difference tones" are not restricted to the lower partials and fundamental tones, and can be at quite the opposiute end of the audible spectrum.

 

In certain Polish organs of the baroque period, they incorporated Cymbal Mixtures which, if I have got it absolutely right, repeat the same notes and pipes each octave; presumably using some sort of off-chest conduction.

 

THESE WERE NEVER TUNED ANY PARTICULAR PITCH !!!!!

 

So screechy are the harmonics, the notes don't really matter. Instead, the effect is rather like a "Mixtur Mirabilis" which adds a gritty, piercing sound to the full chorus.

 

As Jimmy Saville might say, "It just so happens....."

 

To hear the effect, and a remarkable improvisation by Prof.Julian Gembalsky from Poland, playing a baroque organ with one of these "broken glass" climax registers, go to the following URL (in Polish....sorry!), look at the pretty pictures, then scroll down to the bottom, where there is a download link. It may be a bit slow to boot up, (this is Poland after all), but the rewards are worth it.

 

http://bernardyni.ofm.pl/klasztor/lezajsk/organy_remont.htm

 

 

You'll KNOW when the Cymbal is being used....trust my judgement!

 

I wonder how many Zloty one would cost, as compared to a Zimbelstern?

 

Hurry while stocks last and the Polish economy is still in ruins!!

 

MM

 

 

PS: John Compton spent much time tampering with old Italian organs during the war, swapping pipes about and using them as harmonic test-beds for his experiments. History does not record whether he ruined the instruments for all time, or whether he put them back as he found them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I forgot to include details of the Polish organ, which herein is:-

http://www.organy.art.pl/instrumenty.php?instr_id=142

A seriously pretty organ-case, and one of THREE baroque organs in the same church, which can be played by three people at the same time!!

 

MM

 

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

 

 

Even more pretty pictures, including the consoles of the other two organs:-

 

http://bernardyni.ofm.pl/klasztor/lezajsk/organy_remont.htm

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for the different levels of tolerance against out-of tuneness

stops according to culture and languages, there is a quite interesting

article from Gehrard Grenzing here (in english too):

 

http://www.grenzing.com/pdf/klang.pdf

 

Pierre

 

Very many thanks for the pointer to such a fascinating article: I hope other people interested in the differences between national organ styles will make a point of reading it.

 

I'm quite sure there is some truth in the notion of a correlation between the harmonic spectrum of the spoken language and the characteristic sound of the indigenous organ. For example the graph of harmonics of spoken French is shown to peak around 1500Hz, thereby favouring a certain nasal quality of sound (though it's interesting to note that CC's mother was a Catalan speaker, which has a different tonal spectrum). Equally intriguing is the fact the the equivalent English graph is relatively flat, with no pronounced emphasis on particular freqency ranges. What inferences can we draw from that on our own typical organ sound?

 

It takes a while to digest what Grenzing is saying, but the implications of his theory are absolutely fascinating.

 

JS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes!

 

As a native from a little country with four languages crammed

very closely togheter, I can testify Mr Grenzing has an excellent

point there!

Our organs here are quite diverse, all being actually hybrids with a

pinch more of this and that individually.

Same situation in Alsace, Switzerland.

As for british organs, there are many that show an incredible balance.

You throw all stops and you get a wall, from the deepest up to the highest

pitch.

Quite impressive and not to be find elsewhere...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes!

 

As a native from a little country with four languages crammed

very closely togheter, I can testify Mr Grenzing has an excellent

point there!

Our organs here are quite diverse, all being actually hybrids with a

pinch more of this and that individually.

Same situation in Alsace, Switzerland.

As for british organs, there are many that show an incredible balance.

You throw all stops and you get a wall, from the deepest up to the highest

pitch.

Quite impressive and not to be find elsewhere...

 

Best wishes,

Pierre.

 

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

 

I infer from this, that the English people are perceived as being "balanced."

 

However, by further inference, we seem to share something in common with the Swiss.....I'm not sure I could go along with this. I recall being extremely bored at a financial seminar by a "wunch" of bankers from Switzerland and England, but that's another story!

 

There may be someting in all this, although it has absolutely nothing to do with marrying organs.....we drifted again.

 

However, whenever I listen to a French organ I know what it is. The German ones tend to be very spikey and assertive, the Italian ones bright and chirpy, American ones rather gross and loud but, when I listen to Dutch organs, I hear structural balance and discipline combined with a certain sweetness.....just like the Dutch themsleves, in fact.

 

That's probably why I shoved so many Dutch organs at the top of my marriage list, but if there are any unattached Dutch-persons around.............. :rolleyes:

 

 

Slightly more seriously, I would suggest that the rhythms of national language have also played a very important part in national styles of music.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
========================

 

... I recall being extremely bored at a financial seminar  by a "wunch" of bankers from Switzerland and England, but that's another story!

 

Ah! So you also know that particular collective noun....

 

...However, whenever I listen to a French organ I know what it is. The German ones tend to be very spikey and assertive, the Italian ones bright and chirpy, American ones rather gross and loud but, when I listen to Dutch organs, I hear structural balance and discipline combined with a certain sweetness.....just like the Dutch themsleves, in fact.

 

MM

 

Well, I hope to travel over to Holland this coming week-end. Perhaps I will actually get to hear the Sint Bavo organ in the flesh - or pipes.

 

I am not sure about Italian organs, though. Those which I have heard have made French organs sound perfectly in tune. They (Italian organs) have jangled away - I was also surprised at how little impact the reed-work had on the many ranks of flues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I hope to travel over to Holland this coming week-end. Perhaps I will actually get to hear the Sint Bavo organ in the flesh - or pipes.

 

.

 

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

 

If you get to hear St.Bavvo, prepare to be stunned.

 

There are lots of trains which run on time, but if you are going to Haarlem, allow about 10-15 mins to walk from the station (a very beautiful, unspoiled example) to St.Bavvo.

 

I don't expect you'll get to hear or see the Cavaille-Coll at the Concertegebouw in Haarlem, but it's quite good. The RC Basilika organ is the wonderful Adema instrument, and there are much older instruments also around town.

 

Recommended.....The Frans Hals museum. That man was no daub-artist, unlike Picasso.

 

Enjoy your trip!

 

Dag!

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dear MM,

 

So your way should be obvious:

Ga studeeren bij de nederlandse Taalakademie.

 

Beste wensen,

Pierre

 

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

 

Je hebt gelijk! Nu je het zegt, zie ik wat je bedoelt.

 

:rolleyes:

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
========================

 

If you get to hear St.Bavvo, prepare to be stunned.

 

There are lots of trains which run on time, but if you are going to Haarlem, allow about 10-15 mins to walk from the station (a very beautiful, unspoiled example) to St.Bavvo.

 

I don't expect you'll get to hear or see the Cavaille-Coll at the Concertegebouw in Haarlem, but it's quite good. The RC Basilika organ is the wonderful Adema instrument, and there are much older instruments also around town.

 

Recommended.....The Frans Hals museum. That man was no daub-artist, unlike Picasso.

 

Enjoy your trip!

 

Dag!

 

MM

 

Thank you, MM!

 

I hope so!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
========================

I don't expect you'll get to hear or see the Cavaille-Coll at the Concertegebouw in Haarlem, but it's quite good.

 

 

Listen to the very first recording of it, after being restored, Jos van der Kooij 'improvising'

Note: only the middle track is recent (the intro isn't Haarlem at all I think)

 

For pcnd5584: there is a organrecital in the Concertgebouw in Haarlem next sunday (familiyconcert, Dukas - L'apprenti sourcier with Van der Kooij at the ACC)

BTW. Ofcourse you're welcome in Breda (though there's nothing going this weekend), but unfortunately I'm not able to show you around if wanted (busy doing too many things in too little time, again -)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Heva - it sounds stunning.

 

Having said that, my computer is refusing to play the 'Finale' track. I will try it again later, when I get back from teaching.

 

I have not forgotten about the recording which I promised you - next week (when I return from Holland) should be a good opportunity to do it!

 

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Ah! So you also know that particular collective noun....

Well, I hope to travel over to Holland this coming week-end. Perhaps I will actually get to hear the Sint Bavo organ in the flesh - or pipes.

 

I

 

Wonderful though The Bavo is, your professional (Dutch) organists would probably not themselves recommend it as either an authentic or a typical sound. It was restored by Marcussens at just the wrong time - the 1970's - and it was assumed by them then that all the nicking must have been added by later builders so all this was scrupulously removed! It has now transpired that the nicking was original, so of course The Bavo is reckoned to be somewhat overdue for a really authentic restoration. 'One step forward, two steps back'!.

 

You would do better with St.Michael's Zwolle, The Martinikerk Groningen, big organs in Maastricht and Zutphen, or Jos van der Kooy's Sunday job - the Westerkerk* in Amsterdam. Although this is not by any means all old it has the voice of truth about it!

 

*I could play that organ all day and not even want to stop for meals.

 

There are some fascinating later organs almost everywhere but the Dutch themselves are much less interested in anything approaching a romantic organ - even though these would not qualify as romantic to us. We would be thrilled to bits with any organ still largely as it was a hundred-and-fifty years ago, but this is too recent for some Dutch. Bear in mind that the whole country still retains its 17/18th century infra-structure! It's both a conservationist and a profoundly conservative (with a small c) outlook. This has ensured the survival of their organ treasures which are utterly remarkable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...You would do better with St.Michael's Zwolle, The Martinikerk Groningen, big organs in Maastricht and Zutphen, or Jos van der Kooy's Sunday job - the Westerkerk* in Amsterdam.  Although this is not by any means all old it has the voice of truth about it!

 

*I could play that organ all day and not even want to stop for meals. ...

 

 

Thank you for this, Paul. I cannot wait to get there, now!

 

I have tried to get into the Westerkerk on several occasions (including on a Sunday) - but it is always locked (even, apparently, during the Sunday morning service) - odd!

 

There is also an excellent restaurant beside the west (?) entrance to the church - it used to be a sort-of Jamaican/Carribbean type, but now it is different - all stainless steel, etc.

 

There is also Alkmaar, too - Helmut Walcha's old church. Is there not also a C-C in Rotterdam?

 

However, I am interested in seeing Dutch organs, this time. I have played for a concert (I hate 'concertised' - or worse 'concertized'!) in St. Nicolas, Amsterdam - west gallery organ - but this was a little French in style and sound. The claviers were rather short-compass, though. The only Widor I could find (to fit the compass) at short notice, was the Finale of the 2me Symphonie.

 

I take your points about Sint Bavo - but I would still like to see it!

 

Thank you all for your advice - I hope that my colleagues do not mind traipsing around at least a couple of churches.... I also hope to return with a goodly number of digital images - which I can put on another new gallery on my website.

 

Best wishes,

 

pcnd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wonderful though The Bavo is,  your professional (Dutch) organists would probably not themselves recommend it as either an authentic or a typical sound.  It was restored by Marcussens at just the wrong time - the 1970's - and it was assumed by them then that all the nicking must have been added by later builders so all this was scrupulously removed!  It has now transpired that the nicking was original, so of course The Bavo is reckoned to be somewhat overdue for a really authentic restoration.  'One step forward, two steps back'!.

 

You would do better with St.Michael's Zwolle, The Martinikerk Groningen, big organs in Maastricht and Zutphen, or Jos van der Kooy's Sunday job - the Westerkerk* in Amsterdam.  Although this is not by any means all old it has the voice of truth about it!

 

*I could play that organ all day and not even want to stop for meals. 

 

There are some fascinating later organs almost everywhere but the Dutch themselves are much less interested in anything approaching a romantic organ - even though these would not qualify as romantic to us.  We would be thrilled to bits with any organ still largely as it was a hundred-and-fifty years ago, but this is too recent for some Dutch.  Bear in mind that the whole country still retains its 17/18th century infra-structure! It's both a conservationist and a profoundly conservative (with a small c) outlook.  This has ensured the survival of their organ treasures which are utterly remarkable.

 

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

 

 

Mmmmmm!

 

Paul is absolutely right about the Bavo-orgel and the nicking, but it's actually worse than that, because Marcussen also reduced the wind-pressure of the whole instrument, thus making it much less assertive. Also, they added Mixture ranks, but I cannot recall whether these were to replace ones taken away.

 

What you get is STILL possibly the finest organ in the world, but not an entirely authentic one. In recent times, some of the reeds have been revoiced, for example, but they are AWFULLY GOOD reeds nevertheless.

 

I think the best thing is to approach the Bavo-orgel for what it IS rather than for what it once WAS, and then you will never be disappointed.

 

The romantic organ WAS quite developed in Holland, with the work of Adema....hence my mention of the remarkable "other organ" in Haarlem, at the RC Bavo-Basilika. This organ has quite a following, and lest we forget, the arch exponent of the Cavaille-Coll legacy are van der Heuval.

 

As for the Dutch (we should say 'the Hollanders') being conservative, even with a small 'c,' I think the people of that fair country would not agree. Sons of the sea and sons of the soil they may be, but as a nation they are dynamic, hard-headed business-people. Just because they have canals doesn't mean that they haven't got superb trains, trams, motorways, buses, water-taxis and airports. They have an enormous freight and oil-industry; the latter the single most important place in terms of oil-prices and international trading. To see the TRUE Holland, you need to go to Rotterdam and Eindhoven, as well as marvel at the sheer scale of the market-garden and flower-industry. Of course, as water-engineers and flood-defence engineers, they are the world's best!!

 

The preservation of old organs and other treasures, possibly owes much to the fact that after the "Golden Age" of the 18th century, Holland went into sharp decline and lost much of its pre-eminence as a seafaring nation and much of its' empire. They were late-comers to industry, but when they did get started, they did well for themselves, and the vast amount of money spent on conservation of art-treasures is generated by the wealth and success of Holland's industry.

 

Sorry to lecture so, but I just couldn't let this one pass without comment.

 

Ah yes! Groningen and Zwolle ARE wonderful, but then so are all those splendid Hinsz, Freytag,Lohman, Batz, Oeckelen and Flentrop organs....even the street organs sound gorgeous!!

 

Holland is so rich in old and new, and the people are nice to us.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It was restored by Marcussens at just the wrong time - the 1970's - and it was assumed by them then that all the nicking must have been added by later builders so all this was scrupulously removed! It has now transpired that the nicking was original, so of course The Bavo is reckoned to be somewhat overdue for a really authentic restoration. 'One step forward, two steps back'!."

 

(Quote) :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Pierre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...