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40 Stop, 3 Manual Organ


Guest Lee Blick

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One of the churches I play at has an 1890s 2 man with a III rank 17.19.22. on the Great but no Great reed. (The Swell has no mixture but an 8' Trumpet along with 8', 4' & 2' diapasons etc..) The mixture sits (to my ears anyway) very uneasily on the Great diapason chorus - almost like just pulling out a plain Twelfth and Tierce. How does this fit in with all the above?

 

AJJ

 

It would be interesting to know the builder (and whether any subsequent re-voicing or alteration to the composition of the Mixture had taken place) please, Alastair.

 

I am not (as may readily be guessed) a devotee of 17-19-22 mixtures - particularly when these are the only compound stops on a large organ. I find that such British stops have limited use. If the third-sounding rank is of conical construction, the situation is exacerbated, due to the fact that conical pipes tend naturally to accentuate the third harmonic, resulting in a very reedy effect. I do not personally find these stops acceptable as either reed substitutes, or for use in quasi-cornet registrations.

 

With regard to the instrument you describe, you could certainly do as Pierre suggests, and treat it as a one-clavier instrument much of the time. However, I suspect that this could lead to a lack of variety of timbre. Playing the odd verse of a hymn down an octave (check that the compass is adequate, naturally), or trying un-orthodox combinations may also work. I would not necessarily agree that a Romantic instrument should always be treated in the way which Pierre suggests - surely establishing a number of registrations which work aurally is at least as useful. For example, contrasting the full Swell against G.O. foundations 8p and 4p. Clearly, without trying the instrument, any advice we give is purely conjectural. However, I would encourage you to experiment - and to use whatever means are necessary, in order to achieve a selection of desired effects.

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Thus speaks a Chamades man ! :D:D

 

Absolutely!!

 

The conductor asked me to add these stops to the tutti for a few chords of an anthem (performed antiphonally, with the choir about one hundred and fifty feet away, in the Lady Chapel) and I have to say that I found the sound fat and dull - and, from the console, slightly unpleasant.

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Absolutely!!

 

The conductor asked me to add these stops to the tutti for a few chords of an anthem (performed antiphonally, with the choir about one hundred and fifty feet away, in the Lady Chapel) and I have to say that I found the sound fat and dull - and, from the console, slightly unpleasant.

Eh? Where was the congregation? Or was there none?

 

Being pedantic, there is technically no lady chapel at Salisbury since there has never been a need for one, the building itself being dedicated to Mary. Instead the votive chapel at the east end is dedicated to the Trinity.

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It would be interesting to know the builder (and whether any subsequent re-voicing or alteration to the composition of the Mixture had taken place) please, Alastair.

 

I am not (as may readily be guessed) a devotee of 17-19-22 mixtures - particularly when these are the only compound stops on a large organ. I find that such British stops have limited use. If the third-sounding rank is of conical construction, the situation is exacerbated, due to the fact that conical pipes tend naturally to accentuate the third harmonic, resulting in a very reedy effect. I do not personally find these stops acceptable as either reed substitutes, or for use in quasi-cornet registrations.

 

With regard to the instrument you describe, you could certainly do as Pierre suggests, and treat it as a one-clavier instrument much of the time. However, I suspect that this could lead to a lack of variety of timbre. Playing the odd verse of a hymn down an octave (check that the compass is adequate, naturally), or trying un-orthodox combinations may also work. I would not necessarily agree that a Romantic instrument should always be treated in the way which Pierre suggests - surely establishing a number of registrations which work aurally is at least as useful. For example, contrasting the full Swell against G.O. foundations 8p and 4p. Clearly, without trying the instrument, any advice we give is purely conjectural. However, I would encourage you to experiment - and to use whatever means are necessary, in order to achieve a selection of desired effects.

 

Thanks. 'Got my date out a bit though but here it is. Nothing much done since 1873 to change things 'voicing wise' even with Osmonds in 1973. The acoustic is good and as the organ is in a reasonably good state most things work. The III rank can even be used as a solo combination with 8' and 4' Flutes. The general feeling is big Great and smaller Swell - Romantic direction rather than anything 'Classical' - 'good 19th Century 'parish machine'.

 

AJJ

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Eh? Where was the congregation? Or was there none?

 

Being pedantic, there is technically no lady chapel at Salisbury since there has never been a need for one, the building itself being dedicated to Mary. Instead the votive chapel at the east end is dedicated to the Trinity.

 

There was indeed a congregation, Vox. They followed the choir in procession (during a hymn) to the east end of the cathedral.

 

You are of course correct, Vox. I cite the fact that I had to attempt to play in time with the choir - and play loudly at points (so that I was unable to hear them) as the reason for my error.... For the record, the CCTV was of little use, since the camera was not positioned in such a way that enabled me to use the 'zoom' facility. Thus, the choir (and conductor) appeared as a tiny grey smudge at the top of the screen.

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"If the third-sounding rank is of conical construction, the situation is exacerbated, due to the fact that conical pipes tend naturally to accentuate the third harmonic, resulting in a very reedy effect."

(Quote)

 

It may be interesting to note this was precisely the aim; all Mixtures, without any exception, built

by Walcker from 1833 (at least!) to 1919 had conical tierce ranks.

Even more: Bach himself quite probably played a number of such Mixtures...

 

Here is an example of a romantic Mixture (2 2/3'-2'- 1 3/5'- 1 1/3', Schlimbach organ):

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Schultheis_Schlimbac...R_Mix223_HW.mp3

 

Pierre.

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It may be interesting to note this was precisely the aim; all Mixtures, without any exception, built

by Walcker from 1833 (at least!) to 1919 had conical tierce ranks.

 

Even more: Bach himself quite probably played a number of such Mixtures...

 

Pierre.

 

Pierre, I would be interested to see your source or reference for this statement. As far as I can remember, one or two of the instruments in churches at which JSB held tenure certainly possessed a Sesquialtera, but I cannot recall ever reading of one which contained a 17-19-22 mixture which would approximate to the type of stops under discussion.

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Pierre, I would be interested to see your source or reference for this statement. As far as I can remember, one or two of the instruments in churches at which JSB held tenure certainly possessed a Sesquialtera, but I cannot recall ever reading of one which contained a 17-19-22 mixture which would approximate to the type of stops under discussion.

 

I do not mean 17-19-22 (which is of course derived from baroque british and flemish Sesquialteras), but Mixtures with tierce ranks, often conical.

 

I shall post here some interesting sound files.

 

Listen first to the two first from the top of this page:

 

http://www.angermuender-sommerkonzerte.de/tontraeger.htm

 

(This Wagner organ is in my top three...)

 

An interesting Video, played at Waltershausen on the famous Trost organ:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pY08e_tdtA...ch=organ%20bach

 

(There is no Mixture without tierce ranks there.....Quite reedy!)

 

Angermünde again ("Ohrenclick"), excellent quality soundfile:

 

http://www.orgellandschaftbrandenburg.de/1...Jahrhundert.htm

 

Want some Mixture specifications ? I found *some* in the Oscar Walcker's archives.

 

Just an example.

One may say Waltershausen wasn't played by Bach himself, but he much enjoyed

its little brother, Altenburg, which Mixtures were -and still are- as follows:

 

HW Mixtur VI-IX (also borrowed on the Pedal):

 

C 2 1 1/3 1 4/5 2/3 1/2

 

c0 2 1 1/3 1 4/5 2/3 1/2 1/2

 

g0 2 2/3 2 1 1/3 1 4/5 2/3 1/2

 

g' 4 2 2/3 2 2 1 3/5 1 1/3 1 2/3

 

g" 8 5 1/3 4 2 2/3 2 2 1 3/5 1 1/3 1

 

 

HW Sesquialtera II:

 

C 1 3/5 1 1/3

c0 2 2/3 1 3/5

 

 

OW Mixtur IV-V:

 

C 2 1 1/3 1 4/5

 

c' 2 2/3 2 1 3/5 1 1/3 1

 

c" 4 2 2/3 2 1 3/5 1 1/3

 

 

OW Cornett V:

 

g0 8 4 2 2/3 2 1 3/5

 

...Now if you copy those Mixtures, but an octave lower, you get....Typical Eberhard Friedrich

Walcker's Mixtures...

 

Pierre

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I do not mean 17-19-22 (which is of course derived from baroque british and flemish Sesquialteras), but Mixtures with tierce ranks, often conical.

 

I shall post here some interesting sound files.

 

Listen first to the two first from the top of this page:

 

http://www.angermuender-sommerkonzerte.de/tontraeger.htm

 

(This Wagner organ is in my top three...)

 

An interesting Video, played at Waltershausen on the famous Trost organ:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pY08e_tdtA...ch=organ%20bach

 

(There is no Mixture without tierce ranks there.....Quite reedy!)

 

Angermünde again ("Ohrenclick"), excellent quality soundfile:

 

http://www.orgellandschaftbrandenburg.de/1...Jahrhundert.htm

 

Want some Mixture specifications ? I found *some* in the Oscar Walcker's archives.

 

Just an example.

One may say Waltershausen wasn't played by Bach himself, but he much enjoyed

its little brother, Altenburg, which Mixtures were -and still are- as follows:

 

HW Mixtur VI-IX (also borrowed on the Pedal):

 

C 2 1 1/3 1 4/5 2/3 1/2

 

c0 2 1 1/3 1 4/5 2/3 1/2 1/2

 

g0 2 2/3 2 1 1/3 1 4/5 2/3 1/2

 

g' 4 2 2/3 2 2 1 3/5 1 1/3 1 2/3

 

g" 8 5 1/3 4 2 2/3 2 2 1 3/5 1 1/3 1

HW Sesquialtera II:

 

C 1 3/5 1 1/3

c0 2 2/3 1 3/5

OW Mixtur IV-V:

 

C 2 1 1/3 1 4/5

 

c' 2 2/3 2 1 3/5 1 1/3 1

 

c" 4 2 2/3 2 1 3/5 1 1/3

OW Cornett V:

 

g0 8 4 2 2/3 2 1 3/5

 

...Now if you copy those Mixtures, but an octave lower, you get....Typical Eberhard Friedrich

Walcker's Mixtures...

 

Pierre

 

Pierre - thank you for posting these sound-files.

 

The first, I did not like at all. Aside from the fact that there are a number of mistakes (and at one point his feet are not in synchronisation with his hands), the sound is the absolute antithesis of the way I play this - and the way I prefer it to sound. I prefer greatly the recording by Jos Van Der Kooy, on the beautiful organ in the Westerkerk, Amsterdam. Am I correct in assuming that the organ featured in your first sound-file is tuned to some form of unequal temperament?

 

The second clip - I must confess that I dislike greatly the overworked '565', so I do not particularly mind how it is played! This one seems to be more in character with the music, although I did not care for the 32p reed, which appears to be almost as smooth as some Silbermann examples.

 

The last clip - it is not as bad as the first. However, I found that the reedy tang to the chorus soon became irritating. I am afraid that I much prefer to hear this music played on quint mixtures.

 

I am currently converting your mixture intervals to numbers - after which I shall analyse them. However, what I would really like is documentation of the mixture intervals of the instruments at Arnstadt, Weimar Castle, St. Blasius (Mülhausen) and the Thomaskirk (Leipzig) - as they were at the time which JSB was associated with each building.

 

At this point in time, I remain un-convinced!

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Here is an example of a romantic Mixture (2 2/3'-2'- 1 3/5'- 1 1/3', Schlimbach organ):

 

http://www.aeoline.de/Schultheis_Schlimbac...R_Mix223_HW.mp3

 

Pierre.

 

It sounds similar to many English tierce mixtures, although possibly a little quieter; it is difficult to tell on a recording. However, I do not like it and I think that I would find little for such a stop to do!

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"and the way I prefer it to sound. I prefer greatly the recording by Jos Van Der Kooy, on the beautiful organ in the Westerkerk, Amsterdam. Am I correct in assuming that the organ featured in your first sound-file is tuned to some form of unequal temperament?"

(Quote)

 

Werckmeister III.

Trouble is, Angermünde is a typical organ from the very Bach's period, designed by

a pupil of a pupil of Schnitger who spent two years with Silbermann afterwards....

Aha...

And he then built splendid synthesis of all the tendancies Bach knew in organ-building.

Bach played his organs in recital, and one of his sons was titular of a Wagner organ.

 

Amsterdam belongs to a completely different school, it is foreign to Bach.

 

So we should conclude you do not like Bach's organs....A Bach organ without

tierce Mixtures is like a Franck organ without a Hautbois.

 

This said, you are not alone, by far.

Not earlier as this May, a young organist I convinced to visit Altenburg

came back quite surprised indeed !

The Kern team reconstituted the Wagner organ in St-Marien, Berlin, some years

ago, and they came back with a completely new idea of any Bach organ as well.

 

Pierre

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Werckmeister III.

Trouble is, Angermünde is a typical organ from the very Bach's period, designed by

a pupil of a pupil of Schnitger who spent two years with Silbermann afterwards....

Aha...

And he then built splendid synthesis of all the tendancies Bach knew in organ-building.

Bach played his organs in recital, and one of his sons was titular of a Wagner organ.

 

Amsterdam belongs to a completely different school, it is foreign to Bach. ...

 

Pierre

 

Which does not alter the fact that I find the recording of JSB's Prelude and Fugue, in G major (BWV 541) by Jos Van Der Kooy utterly delightful and the recording which you posted rather less so. Leaving aside the question of temperament, I found that the reed-based registration both detracted from the clarity of the music and sounded foreign to the nature of the piece.

 

Clearly, I can write only for myself. There may well be others here who like this performance. However, I am happy to be thought out of step with the idea of Bach's music performed using tierce mixtures and chorus reeds throughout what is a comparatively light prelude. For my money, it cannot begin to compare with the lightness, clarity and sheer beauty of JVDK's performance - which is also musical and accurate.

 

I shall, at some point read through the posts on Organographia, Pierre.

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... A Bach organ without

tierce Mixtures is like a Franck organ without a Hautbois. ...

 

Pierre

 

For the record, a Franck organ without an Hautbois:

 

l'orgue de l'eglise de Saint-Jean-François du Marais (Cavaillé-Coll, 1843)

 

PÉDALE ORGUE (20 notes: C - g)

 

Flûte Ouverte 16

Bombarde 16

 

GRAND ORGUE (54 notes)

 

Montre 8

Bourdon 8

Salicional 8

Prestant 4

Nasard 2 2/3

Doublette 2

Plein jeu III

Trompette 8

Clairon 4

 

RÉCIT-EXPRESSIF (37 notes)

 

Voix Céleste 8

Flûte Harmonique 8

Flûte Octaviante 4

Octavin 2

Cromorne 8

Cor Anglais 8

Trompette 8

 

César Franck was Organiste Titulaire at this church from either the end of 1851 or the beginning of 1852, until shortly before the end of 1857.

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I'm not talking about the playing, but about the tone.

Fact is, the builders in Bach time were "tone guys", like

a Skinner, rather than neo-baroque scholars, who decided

the tone wasn't important, "texture" was...

 

The organs in Bach time were rich, heavy and fat. This is

not an opinion, but a fact.

What has been presented since 75 years as authentic "Bach sound"

is actually a 20th century version, which bears as little relation

to the original as could a version on a 1910 A. Harrison organ.

 

If a piece seems out of place with such an organ, the first culprit

may be the tempo...

 

Pierre

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... The organs in Bach time were rich, heavy and fat. This is

not an opinion, but a fact.

 

What has been presented since 75 years as authentic "Bach sound"

is actually a 20th century version, which bears as little relation

to the original as could a version on a 1910 A. Harrison organ.

 

Surely this is difficult to prove. Are we certain that there remain examples of instruments which Bach knew and liked - and which have definitely not been altered tonally in any way? There was a thread on this board several months ago, regarding a particular English cathedral organ; it sought to question whether it sounds exactly the same as it did when it was originally built. Even though this instrument is fairly well-documented (and less than one hundred and twenty-five years old), the general feeling was that it was impossible to say with certainty that the organ had never been altered tonally in any way.

 

In fact, in a lecture given at the International Organ Festival at St. Albans 2nd December 2000, the late Stephen Bicknell stated: "There is no identifiable Bach organ, and despite the hopes of many researchers the possible connection between J. S. Bach and the design of any particular instrument - whether the Trost organ at Altenburg or the Hildebrandt at Naumburg - is at best treacherously tenuous."

 

If a piece seems out of place with such an organ, the first culprit

may be the tempo...

 

Pierre

 

No - it is definitely the sound (and therefore the registration) which I dislike.

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Whilst I am unable so far to find definitive evidence of mixture compositions in instruments at which Bach held tenure, I have found the following:

 

Steinkirchen: (Arp Schnitger, 1685-87)

 

HAUPTWERK

 

Mixture IV-VI

 

C 22-26-29-33

c 19-22-26-29

c' 15-19-22-26

c#' 15-19-22-26-26

c'' 8-12-15-15-19-19

 

BRUSTWERK

 

Scharf III-IV

 

C 26-29-33

c 22-26-29

f# 19-22-26

c' 15-19-22-22

f#' 12-15-19-19

 

There were tierce ranks - but in separate compound stops. The Hauptwerk possessed a Sesquialtera II, which began at 19-24 and on the Brustwerk there was a Terzian II (17-19).

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For the record, a Franck organ without an Hautbois:

 

l'orgue de l'eglise de Saint-Jean-François du Marais (Cavaillé-Coll, 1843)

 

PÉDALE ORGUE (20 notes: C - g)

 

Flûte Ouverte 16

Bombarde 16

 

GRAND ORGUE (54 notes)

 

Montre 8

Bourdon 8

Salicional 8

Prestant 4

Nasard 2 2/3

Doublette 2

Plein jeu III

Trompette 8

Clairon 4

 

RÉCIT-EXPRESSIF (37 notes)

 

Voix Céleste 8

Flûte Harmonique 8

Flûte Octaviante 4

Octavin 2

Cromorne 8

Cor Anglais 8

Trompette 8

 

César Franck was Organiste Titulaire at this church from either the end of 1851 or the beginning of 1852, until shortly before the end of 1857.

The difference between a C-C Hautbois and a C-C Cor Anglais can't be that great, can it? Interesting spec. anyway: is the Voix Céleste two ranks or does is undulate with the Flûte?

 

6 reed stops out of 18; only 5 of the 11 manual flues are at 8'.

 

Apart from the short compass of the Récit I think I'd love this instrument.

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The difference between a C-C Hautbois and a C-C Cor Anglais can't be that great, can it?

 

This may have to remain conjectural, since I do not know whether the instrument still exists in its original state. However, given the clearly audible difference in timbre between an Orchestral Oboe and an Hautboy on an English organ (and the difference between the Cor Anglais, the Orchestral Oboe and the Hautboy on the organ of Salisbury Cathedral, for example), I would have to disagree.*

 

Interesting spec. anyway: is the Voix Céleste two ranks or does is undulate with the Flûte?

 

I suspect that it consisted of two ranks, but I have no documentary evidence to prove this claim.

6 reed stops out of 18; only 5 of the 11 manual flues are at 8'.

 

Apart from the short compass of the Récit I think I'd love this instrument.

Franck certainly did. As he remarked in 1853: "My new organ? It's an orchestra!".

 

 

 

* There is also a clear difference between the several types of reed stops on those instruments by Cavaillé-Coll which I have either heard or played.

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Whilst I am unable so far to find definitive evidence of mixture compositions in instruments at which Bach held tenure, I have found the following:

 

Steinkirchen: (Arp Schnitger, 1685-87)

 

(Quote)

 

But this one is as remote from Bach's area as London is from Paris....

Stephen Bicknell was a gentleman; he would have not disturbed the

people so much as I do with exotic things !

When I was young, it was customary to believe "Poor Bach had not the

good (read: northern) organs he deserved, and had to content himself

with bad ones"......Like if a said something like "Poor Tournemire, he had

to do with St-Clothilde, had he only had a good Arthur Harrison..." So, we say

what we want to be true is the "Truth"; but the facts, halas, are there.

Have a look a that thread in french, Pcnd.

 

Here is a book that might be interesting:

 

http://www.orgel-information.de/catalog/pr...roducts_id=1095

 

Pierre

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But this one is as remote from Bach's area as London is from Paris....

Stephen Bicknell was a gentleman; he would have not disturbed the

people so much as I do with exotic things !

 

I realise that Steinkirchen is not an ideal example- I shall keep searching.

 

I must confess that I am not sure what you mean by your comment regarding Stephen Bicknell - do you suggest that he was mistaken? He was categorical in his denial of the supposed link between the Trost organ at Altenburg or the Hildebrandt at Naumburg, describing them as (at best) 'treacherously tenuous'.

 

I am interested to read your description of organs in the time of Bach being 'rich, heavy and fat'. It would be useful to see contemporary descriptions of some instruments.

 

When I was young, it was customary to believe "Poor Bach had not the

good (read: northern) organs he deserved, and had to content himself

with bad ones"......Like if a said something like "Poor Tournemire, he had

to do with St-Clothilde, had he only had a good Arthur Harrison..." So, we say

what we want to be true is the "Truth"; but the facts, halas, are there.

Have a look a that thread in french, Pcnd.

 

Here is a book that might be interesting:

 

http://www.orgel-information.de/catalog/pr...roducts_id=1095

 

Pierre

 

It does look interesting; however, my German is not remotely good enough to be able to read the text - but thank you for the link.

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" must confess that I am not sure what you mean by your comment regarding Stephen Bicknell - do you suggest that he was mistaken? He was categorical in his denial of the supposed link between the Trost organ at Altenburg or the Hildebrandt at Naumburg, describing them as (at best) 'treacherously tenuous'."

(Quote)

 

I mean Mr Bicknell took care of what he said, as an expert involved

in the organ world.

How sad you cannot read in german ! the book I linked to is crammed

with data about the organs Bach played, up to specifications by himself,

and receptions reports. We have much documentation, but it is in german,

and as nobody will ever pay me to translate such uninteresting things, it

will stay in german...

The evidences about Bach organs are rather blatant, but as they are disturbing,

many people prefer look to something else...

 

"I am interested to read your description of organs in the time of Bach being 'rich, heavy and fat'. It would be useful to see contemporary descriptions of some instruments."

(Quote)

 

This you will find on Organographia -I cannot give the direct link here since you need to be registered-, with comments

from french organists (not all amateurs...!)

 

http://organographia.cultureforum.net/

 

Pierre

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