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Mander Organs

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58 minutes ago, Damian Beasley-Suffolk said:

Re: sitting (almost) inside an organ, the Wood organ in the chapel of St Edmund's Hall, Oxford is odd. The facade is placed on the wall just to the left of the chapel entrance, with no visible console. I read very recently, but of course cannot now retrieve, that the console is at the back of this organ, in an adjoining room,. The organist apparently peers through the organ to see what's going on. Odd, but not unknown here in the Netherlands where some organs have consoles at the back of the instrument, the organist either looking through the instrument, or relying on a couple of very large mirrors.

Newcastle Cathedral has its console (both the old one and the temorary electronic) in a kind of wooden cubicle next to the choir division, I think the organist peers through a gap in the panelling because I didn't see a video screen when I looked. It must feel very remote.

My booklet on the history of Durham Cathedral's Willis organ says that it wasn't finished for the dedication, so the cathedral organist sat at the console playing the manuals, while HW himself actually sat inside the organ at a makeshift bench and pedals playing them when needed.

If only people really knew what organists get up to when we think nobody's watching ...

I think it was St. Paul's, not Durham, where Father Willis played the pedals while John Goss played the manuals.  The occasion was a service of thanksgiving for the recovery of the Prince of Wales after a serious illness.

Southwark must be one of the most awkwardly placed cathedral consoles, although that's partly because the organ itself is oddly positioned.  The Choir Organ was moved in Willis's rebuild and is adjacent to the present console position, so it can easily drown out the main organ as far as the player is concerned.  It used to be customary to couple everything to the Choir Dulciana so as to overcome the time lag from the main organ.

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On ‎3‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 04:23, ajsphead said:

Seeing this reminds me whether St Paul's is the only organ with an en chamade 32' reed on the pedals.

The 32' reed at Holy Trinity, St. Andrews (added in 1974) is slung from the roof of the chamber.  If you look at the picture on NPOR, you can see bits of this rank peeping over the front pipes. http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=A00533

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I played the pedals by hand for the first (Christmas) service on the rebuilt Conacher at Gresham's School, Holt in the late 1960s.

Paul

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On 27/03/2018 at 22:43, John Robinson said:

Yes, I too find Weingarten a fascinating organ.  A couple of other interesting things about it are that whereas most of the instrument is played by tracker action (which must be quite complicated in layout), the Kronwerk section is connected to the Oberwerk by (presumably lead) conduits.  The other think that comes to mind is that there is one rank of pipes, I think a Vox Humana in the Rückpositiv, that is made of ivory.  Not too many of them around these days, I'm sure!

The Vox Humana is one of the most interesting, I'd almost say lifelike, that I've heard.  I was so fascinated by it after a first hearing that I'm analysing its harmonic structure to see how closely its resonant formant bands might correspond (or not) to those of the human vocal tract, and will post a link to the results in due course if anyone is interested.  (I did this for a Wurlitzer vox rank some while ago and the results explained to some extent why it sounded 'humanoid').  According to legend Gabler sold his soul to the devil in return for the secrets of making this stop.  I don't think the pipes are ivory though - I've seen a photo of this stop and it has conventional-looking metal pipes from what I could see.  Was not the ivory stop a Flageolet? 

Apparently Gabler had major problems in getting enough wind to the Kronwerk, so had to reduce his original ambitions regarding the size of this department.

It certainly is an incredible instrument.

CEP

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Yes, the ivory stop is the flageolet, I think.  The Vox is certainly a superb voice - really vocal.  I used to have an LP of the organ (I gave away all my vinyl when we moved to Canada - something had to go!), which demonstrated all the special "effects".  Weingarten certainly majors on colour, with so many interesting sounds and combinations, but the chorus work is also quite stunning.  It's not so very loud, compared with some, but for richness and depth I can't think of another to match it.  One might perhaps draw a parallel with the church itself, which is not nearly so ornate as some of the other South German minsters, such as Ottobeuren, but is nevertheless as impressive as any of them, but in its own peculiarly dignified way.  In the context of the church interior, Gabler's organ case looks perfect - really a part of the building rather than something added to it.

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On ‎28‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 14:44, Colin Pykett said:

Found it!  I knew there was a youtube somewhere of the Weingarten Vox.  I'm very envious of David as he's actually played it.  How wonderful it must have been.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cHwsMWksSw

Enjoy.

CEP

Yes, it was an experience which has remained in my memory all my life (I was only in my teens at the time and I am now - heaven help me! - 62, but I can still hear that sound).  I would underline, though, that although the "fancy" stops at Weingarten are justly famed and extremely musical in their context, the really stunning thing about Weingarten is the pleno, with all those multi-rank mixtures.  Ton Koopman's Great C minor gives some idea:

 

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The various youtube clips of the Weingarten organ provide a great service because there don't seem to be many CDs of it around at present, at least at reasonable prices (some were being advertised on Amazon at over £300 when I looked recently).  However there is a good one by Piet Kee available at 'normal' CD prices of around £12 or so, including on Amazon (Chandos CHAN 0520).  Recorded in 1991, I have it and it is wonderful.  It demonstrates all the 'fancy' stops to which David alluded, though not the Vox Humana to the extent some of the youtube clips do.  Both this disc and the youtube recordings suggest that this incredible creation is still in fine fettle considering its unbelievable mechanical complexity.

I alluded above to a study I'm doing of the acoustical physics of this Vox stop, and have made a little more progress in the last few weeks.  If it's of any interest, I'm reaching a point where I think it's misguided to try to explain its tonal character in terms of the phonetic formants of the human speaking voice as some other researchers have done.  In my view it is better explained in terms of the character of the human singing voice, which is quite a different thing, especially the voice of a trained adult male singer (i.e. not a child or a female).  When you do this there are some features identifiable in the sound of the Weingarten Vox which also appear in the voice of a trained tenor.  This might explain the extraordinary humanoid quality of this stop, at least over part of its compass.  But the most remarkable thing of all is that Gabler was able to capture it in organ pipes at a time when he could not have possibly known about any of the physics stuff which I have been drawing on in this study.

Listening to (and looking at) this instrument has brought a lump to my throat more than once, and I sometimes wonder why we have bothered to build any other sort of organ since when such miracles were around at that time.  For all our knowledge and technology, the only improvement we have been able to provide to Gabler's masterpiece is to have given it a decent, or at least more convenient, wind supply.

CEP

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6 minutes ago, Colin Pykett said:

The various youtube clips of the Weingarten organ provide a great service because there don't seem to be many CDs of it around at present, at least at reasonable prices (some were being advertised on Amazon at over £300 when I looked recently). 

Thanks - tempted to look up the Piet Kee recording.  There is also a good disk of Krebs by Gerhard Gnann on Naxos (£8 on Amazon UK - might also be on Spotify etc?); it was my introduction to the Weingarten organ if that's of any interest to anyone.

SC

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6 hours ago, SomeChap said:

Thanks - tempted to look up the Piet Kee recording.  There is also a good disk of Krebs by Gerhard Gnann on Naxos (£8 on Amazon UK - might also be on Spotify etc?); it was my introduction to the Weingarten organ if that's of any interest to anyone.

SC

It certainly is of interest, and when I went on Amazon just now there was one seller offering it at just over £6 incl postage (new).  Can't go wrong at that price.  The demo clips sounded very good so I've ordered it.  Many thanks for the tip.

CEP

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There are several other recordings made at Weingarten which haven't yet been mentioned:

1.  André Isoir recorded three volumes of JSB works there in Oct 1988 and 1990 on Calliope (CAL9710, CAL9715, and CAL9717).

2. Franz Raml recorded music by Justin Heinrich Knecht in Oct 1996 on MDG (MDG 614 0764-2)

3. Franz Raml recorded music by Johann Ludwig Krebs in 1999, again on MDG (MDG 614 0971-2)

4. Heinrich Hamm recorded a mixed recital in June 1986 on Audite (Audite 95.408)

5. Ludger Lohmann recorded music by Johann Heinrich Christian Rinck in Sept1996 on Naxos (Naxos 8.553925)

I don't know whether any of them is currently available.

Kind regards

Oscar

 

 

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Another one, which I am fortunate to possess, is one LP in a set of five: OR-EX 71 featuring pieces by Fischer, Froberger, Kerll, Muffatt and Kolb.  Very helpfully, it includes detailed registration information for each of those pieces.

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