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Unda Maris


Guest Andrew Butler

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I wonder, rather, what the logic is of naming a "straight" rank after a known undulating stop - unless it was to impress simple villagers, all the examples quoted being in villages....? :blink:

 

 

If you mean 'why call a stop something it isn't?' I'm afraid you could be opening a can of worms here! There are so many of these, some relatively innocent: quite often I come upon Carabellas called Stopped Diapason and vice versa. Also Double Open Diapasons which consist of stopped pipes etc. but some (possibly pretentious) come to mind. My personal favourite: to keep up with fashion, in the 1960's R&D rebuild at Chester Cathedral the Solo boasted a 4' Koppleflote. Instead of stopped metal pipework with inverted conical canisters it was a second-hand, open wood clarabella. Frankly, not even close! The kindest you could say was that, yes, it was a flute.

 

Returning to your question: Vox Angelica translates as Angelic Voice - which doesn't necessarily suggest an out-of-tune rank. Agreed, builders have sometimes used it this way. The word Celeste has (invariably in my experience) always been used to describe the beating rank.

 

Someone ought to run a topic on pretentious* stops - you know the sort of thing

'My Terz Zimbel's higher than yours'

'We've got a 16' Krummhorn we can't use, you've only got an 8' one!' etc. etc.

 

*also pernicious, or merely highly unsuitable

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In Germany, the Vox angelica was formerly a reed stop of the Vox humana species.

It is under this form -and as a free-reed!- that Pierre Schyven built it for the Antwerps Cathedral organ as late as the 1880's. ("Voix angélique", Positif).

Strangely, the french builder Moitessier seems to have built.....Undulating stops under this name as early as the 1840's in southern France.

Isabelle Fontaine, titular of the Soissons Cathedral organ, has met with one still existing in southern France. She says it is a very mild string stop, undulating with a kind of Dolce stop.

The only "fairly represented standard" for the Vox angelica seems to be the Willis one, that is, an undulating stop of the Salicional type, which normal place is in the Swell.

 

Pierre

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...  My personal favourite: to keep up with fashion, in the 1960's R&D rebuild at Chester Cathedral the Solo boasted a 4' Koppleflote. Instead of stopped metal pipework with inverted conical canisters it was a second-hand, open wood clarabella.  Frankly, not even close!  The kindest you could say was that, yes, it was a flute.

 

Now that I never knew! I suspect that there were others, too, on this instrument. I cannot help wondering what it would be like if RF and R&D had exercised rather more restraint and simply restored the Whitely/Hill organ, as opposed to messing around with what was probably a really good Romantic sound. I would certainly have not gone without the GO 16p Diapason - yes, I know that it was re-instated some years ago. Pity about the Solo Organ, too.

 

Someone ought to run a topic on pretentious* stops - you know the sort of thing

'My Terz Zimbel's higher than yours'  

'We've got a 16' Krummhorn we can't use, you've only got an 8' one!' etc. etc.

 

*also pernicious, or merely highly unsuitable

 

 

I have a 16p Crumhorn which I can* use - it makes wonderfully bucolic noises on the Pedal Organ.

 

I rather like my Cymbal (29-33-36), too. Whilst it does not have a tierce rank (thank goodness), it does impart a glorious sheen (and much excitement) as the cap to the choruses.

 

*I should have liked this word to be italicised, but the board software just makes the entire sentence italic, instead. I have no idea why - I selected carefully two or three times. Ah well....

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I posted the original question in a hurry, and didn't express my thoughts at all well. I know of at least 1 other example - afraid haven't got NPOR url to hand, but  Peasmarsh church, East Sussex; either the Vox A or Voix C is the straight tuned rank - can't remember which. And I do understand the implications of a grooved bass (I sincerely hope they are all rooved, Tony, to avoid water ingress!!)

 

I wonder, rather, what the logic is of naming a "straight" rank after a known undulating stop - unless it was to impress simple villagers, all the examples quoted being in villages....? :huh:

 

Hi

 

Sorry for the slip of the word processor! Although I lived in the area, I never got to Peasmarsh Anglican Church - I did preach at the Methodist church at times, and we had friends who lived in the village. There are some VERY weird stop names out there - I often see strange things on NPOR surveys!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Andrew Butler
Hi

 

Sorry for the slip of the word processor!  Although I lived in the area, I never got to Peasmarsh Anglican Church - I did preach at the Methodist church at times, and we had friends who lived in the village.  There are some VERY weird stop names out there - I often see strange things on NPOR surveys!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

The present organ is a recent transplant - I don't know what happened to the old one. i think the Methodist Church is closed now .

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As a point of interest, on some of the earlier `Christie' cinema organs there was a `Strings II rks' unit. This was in fact a double rank of fairly mild string pipes but was intended for one rank to be tuned slightly sharp and the other slightly flat to the main string unit.

 

If properly tuned one got a wonderful `mushy' sound.

 

FF

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  • 2 years later...

When we restored the Ginns Bros organ at Shipton-under-Wychwood (I'd better not say who the organ builder was although he did a great job for us, in case the Organ Police go after us because it was cone tuned)) we discovered that the Celeste - a lovely Willis style Vox-Angelica as one would expect given the original builder's background - was tuned randomly sharp or flat! I asked for it all to be tuned sharp on the basis that flat celestes don't help the Choir to stay up to pitch. I can't say that it sounded much different as a result.

 

These Willis celestes are just the best, aren't they? The Swell Vox Angelicas and those fabulous Solo strings at Salisbury, roaring around the vaulting like crazy sonic angels. When I was a schoolboy in the late 60s all the experts were telling us we shouldn't have these things and I thought 'Hang on a minute - why is that every time I go into a Cathedral the organists just can't keep their hands off them?. Thank goodness that common sense has returned.

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The undulating stop is an invention that goes back to the Renaissance, though.

Halas, in the 1970's, when you dared remind that, in a time when they were

sawned to make Doublettes, the guys runned after you with a shovel. And the

surviving baroque examples where behind the iron curtain. (Which was probably

a good thing, because the Neobarokkies would have destroyed them as surely

as they did with Görlitz just before WWII....Disturbing, subversive baroque organs!

Better build new ones, as Lawrence Phelps said).

 

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis

Ah yes! "Waves of the Sea".

 

IMHO the finest example of a Unda Maris is that at Liverpool Cathedral. An incredibly fine stop, which really has to be heard to be believed. :rolleyes:

 

R

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Guest Echo Gamba
Ah yes! "Waves of the Sea".

 

IMHO the finest example of a Unda Maris is that at Liverpool Cathedral. An incredibly fine stop, which really has to be heard to be believed. :rolleyes:

 

R

 

Getting back to the original question asked when this topic started, is the Liverpool Unda Maris of Salicional, Dulciana, or Flute tone?

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Getting back to the original question asked when this topic started, is the Liverpool Unda Maris of Salicional, Dulciana, or Flute tone?

 

Really ?

Apologies I did not read it in the first postings.

 

The Unda-Maris 8', from F, of the original Liverpool Cathedral organ

was intended to work with the Dulciana 8'.

(Source: "Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der Orgelbaukunst", Emil Rupp, page 434).

 

By the way, the Dulciana chorus on this manual was gorgous, a dream for any

organ historian, though possibly not for Pcnd -but nobody would be enforced to draw

those stops, so a reconstitution might be interesting anyway-:

 

Contra-Dulciana 16'

Dulciana 8'

Unda-Maris 8'

Dulcet 4'

Dulciana 2'

Dulciana Mixture 5 ranks: 3 1/5'- 2 2/3'- 1 3/5'- 1 1/3'- 1'

 

.....And it is quite interesting to note we still have, there, this re-interpretation of the

baroque english Sesquialtera Willis named "Mixture" (the famous 17-19-22), here extended

to 16' partials.

When are you beginning the reconstitution, ladies and gentlemen ?

 

 

Pierre

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An undulant-related anecdote, which might amuse those members who knew either or both the gentlemen involved.

 

Father Willis left his organ at Lincoln with 2 undulating ranks: a rather quiet Vox Angelica on the Swell and a gorgeous Voix Celeste on the Solo, the VA was tuned flat and the VC sharp.

 

During the 70s Laurence Elvin (author of 'The Harrison Story' and several other organ books) who lived in Lincoln used to visit the organ loft for the Sunday Choral Matins. Laurence was extremely knowledgeable and endlessly enthusiastic about organ matters.

Philip Marshall (O&C at the time) did not like the flat Vox Angelica, saying that it encouraged flat singing. So, Julian Paul was asked to retune it sharp (Julian who worked for Cousans also lived in Lincoln and saw to any minor problems with the organ, as well as visiting the organ loft for Saturday Evensong).

The job was done, and the following Sunday Laurence Elvin appeared at 11.00 as usual. PM took every opportunity to use the Vox Angelica + Salicional during the service and steered the conversation towards 'Willis tuning practice', I of course had been primed as to what was going to happen and duly kept schtum!

 

Needless to say, Laurence did not spot the retuning, next Sunday; the scenario was played out again. Laurence never spotted the difference and PM never told him. I wonder if anyone ever tuned the Vox back to flat?

 

The present Lincoln incumbent: Colin Walsh, has created a 3rd undulant. The Swell Open Diapason No.2 has been retuned to undulate with the No.1 (don't know which direction though), at York too the same change on the Swell has been made.

 

DT

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The undulating stop is an invention that goes back to the Renaissance, though.

Halas, in the 1970's, when you dared remind that, in a time when they were

sawned to make Doublettes, the guys runned after you with a shovel. And the

surviving baroque examples where behind the iron curtain. (Which was probably

a good thing, because the Neobarokkies would have destroyed them as surely

as they did with Görlitz just before WWII....Disturbing, subversive baroque organs!

Better build new ones, as Lawrence Phelps said).

 

Pierre

 

The 'Neobarokkies' were certainly a change in direction, but there have been many shifts in direction, some more experimental than others.

 

The one question you never quite seem prepared to answer was whether any other era was better than our own at preserving the old. Did not these hallowed organs of old also replace or modify something? Did not the builders of the 1700s and 1800s also change instruments to suit modern tastes, often brutally? Do not the differences imported by them seem less radical with the passing of time? Do we not, for instance, consider the retrospective work of Builder B in 1820 just as valid a historical document as the work of the original Builder A before him, and often in historical reconstructions choose to take an instrument back to its second or third incarnation rather than the first? Is it not reasonable to presume therefore that in 2150 we will be treasuring any remaining Neo-Baroque instruments as being relics of a bold step to create a new vision and to re-invigorate a craft which was felt by some to have lost sight of its roots, whatever we may personally think of the results?

 

Or, put another way, why are there so few of these truly historic instruments remaining? Because they have been at risk of change by every single generation, not just our own and the last. It seems hypocritical therefore to revere Arthur Harrison and Hope Jones and the old Worcester organ as being brave visionaries, as you have done on these pages, conveniently forgetting that they too were changing and discarding what was there already in the same way as Phelps, Marcussen et al a century later.

 

For Diaphones and Roosevelt chests and beating strings and any kind of development to exist, it is generally necessary to discard or alter something there already; the amount of money and religious fervour around at the time tends to dictate which of those paths is taken. The nature of development is of course to gain commercial advantage and new business; there's no sense in inventing something and then not attempting to make a name by applying it as often as possible, or refusing to apply a new device on the grounds of preservation. Therefore it is a fortunate instrument indeed which lasts for three or more generations proudly defended from tinkering hands. And just because what was there before doesn't happen to be within living memory shouldn't distance it in the historical mind and permit us to regard it as anything other than the fundamental change it was. Personal preference and taste shouldn't enter into a balanced historical argument.

 

I feel sure that if I picked you up and deposited you back on earth 1, 2 or 300 years ago, you would walk around tutting and criticising recent changes just as much, if not more. Harrison (and Willis, and Walker for that matter) were just as brutal in their treatment of earlier work. A little earlier, G&D were very rude about the work of H.C. Lincoln, for example, and Bishop was a great one for doing away with Cornets in favour of a Clarabella. So why is that OK, but not the reverse scenario a hundred years on? An enthusiasm for preservation and history is naturally a good thing, but such total condemnation of one generation as barbarians, vandals and philistines mimics too closely the evangelistic zeal of the people you condemn.

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Dear David,

 

The difference with former times is the fact we have learn to appreciate

the music, and styles, of the others epochs and areas than our own.

 

This was enforced by the neobarokkies......Who "sold" us a completely

new style -in itself worth preserving like any other- for something else:

It was mandatory to reckon it as "true baroque", otherwise you lost your job

if it were anything close to the organ matters.

It is as simple as that...

 

So we took them seriously, and began to study the history of the

baroque period with some scrutiny.

I myself drove to Worcester (several times) on a 50cc Honda C 50 "step-through" Moped, but also

to Angermünde, for example, Saint-Maximin du Var, Alkmaar... ( I won't detail the routings!)

 

Needless to say, there is very little in common between those ancient organs and the modern

ones, be them "neo" or not.

Many preserved (at least partially) baroque organ have been....Neo-baroquized!

 

So the problem started because people said one thing while doing another one.

 

All the successive generations were busy destroying the work of the previous one,

it is clear.

But is it a good reason to continue to do so ? In a time when we, at least, understand that ?

 

Why would it be mandatory to destroy ancient organs to build new ones ?

Suffice to observe what the good modern builders do: they do more restoration jobs,

and less new organs.

Had Cavaillé Coll built only 50 organs, we would have dozens of splendid french

baroque organs more......And 50 intact Cavaillé-Coll organs, if the followers

had worked the same way. Had we lost something ?

 

The fact is, we have very few baroque organs left, very few romantic organs left,

near to nihil post-romantic ones, and 80% of 1960-1970 neoclassic and neo-baroque

organs on which you can neither play Bach, nor Couperin, nor Franck in a credible manner.

 

This is the state of affairs in Belgium today.

Any takers to follow suit ?

 

Wouldn't it more interesting to try another game, which would consider the instruments

like pieces of Art, to appreciate and protect its diversity, exactly the way we commence to understand

what "Biodiversity" is, and why we need it.

 

If someone tries a new organ style, and that it works, that is fine indeed. But why should it be

reproduced 100 times, at the perils of all the others ?

 

Next time you travel to the Netherlands, have at least a glance, en route between Haarlem and Alkmaar,

to all those *different* organs our excellent neighbourgs also preserve!

 

30 years ago, many belgian ancient organs -baroque and romantic- went to the Netherlands, in order

to make room for those 80% of "neo" ones we have today.

 

Today they import organs from.......Guess where?

Food for thought ?

 

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis
Getting back to the original question asked when this topic started, is the Liverpool Unda Maris of Salicional, Dulciana, or Flute tone?

 

 

Flute. It's like a soft purr, very dark, with slow beats.

 

R

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Flute. It's like a soft purr, very dark, with slow beats.

 

R

 

Yes, that's a fantastic description.

 

Pierre's post about the Liverpool Dulcianas is a little bit misleading because the Unda Maris is a flute rank. Like the Dulciana Mixture it is in the enclosed section (of the Choir) and they both belong with the other enclosed stops. I doubt that either was envisaged to be part of a chorus with the unenclosed Choir section and even less likely on a practical level, given the physical separation of the two sections. As the Dulcianas were removed fifty years ago I am left wondering exactly who can say how effective they were, with any accuracy anyway. I also wonder why they were replaced with different kinds of stops altogether? There was probably a good reason at the time. :rolleyes:

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Yes, that's a fantastic description.

 

Pierre's post about the Liverpool Dulcianas is a little bit misleading because the Unda Maris is a flute rank. Like the Dulciana Mixture it is in the enclosed section (of the Choir) and they both belong with the other enclosed stops. I doubt that either was envisaged to be part of a chorus with the unenclosed Choir section and even less likely on a practical level, given the physical separation of the two sections. As the Dulcianas were removed fifty years ago I am left wondering exactly who can say how effective they were, with any accuracy anyway. I also wonder why they were replaced with different kinds of stops altogether? There was probably a good reason at the time. :rolleyes:

 

The organ has been changed... I gave the data Rupp provided in his book.

A "good" reason to remove the Dulcianas ? Probably not "better" than 150 years ago,

when Cornets were replaced with Gambas. There can obtain no "good" reasons

to damage works of arts. Or should I want the "Joconde" rebuilt with modern cloths ?

 

This has all to do with Ego matters...

 

Pierre

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The organ has been changed... I gave the data Rupp provided in his book.

A "good" reason to remove the Dulcianas ? Probably not "better" than 150 years ago,

when Cornets were replaced with Gambas. There can obtain no "good" reasons

to damage works of arts. Or should I want the "Joconde" rebuilt with modern cloths ?

 

This has all to do with Ego matters...

 

Pierre

 

Unfortunately your source seems to have been inaccurate. You would probably have done better to find out the information from the cathedral or the organ builder. There is no reason for anyone to believe that the Unda Maris and Dulciana Mixture have been altered, physically or in purpose, since the organ was built. They were always in the enclosed section and my understanding is that the Unda Maris has always been a flute stop.

 

You are probably right - it may well be a shame that the beloved Dulcianas were taken away and replaced with other stops. But perhaps the problem was insufficient room - room for both sets of pipes and room for the stop knobs and mechanisms associated with them. And perhaps these stops were barely, if ever, used. The work was done by the original organ builders and the organist at the time had known the instrument for a long time. Or perhaps we know better?

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Here is the complete specifications of the Choir organ clavier, first manual,

as given by Emil Rupp, same order, same numbers:

 

1 Contra-Dulciana 16'

2 Contra-Gamba 16'

3 Open Diapason 8'

4 Violin Diapason 8'

5 Rohrflute 8'

6 Claribelflute 8'

7 Gamba 8'

8 Dulciana 8'

9 Unda-Maris 8' from F

10 Flute ouverte 4'

11 Suabe-Flute 4'

12 Gambette 4'

13 Dulcet 4'

14 Flageolet 2'

15 Dulciana 2'

16 Dulciana Mixture 5r

17 Bass-Clarionet 16'

18 Double Vox humana 16'

19 Corno di Bassetto 8'

20 Cor anglais 8'

21 Vox humana 8'

22 Trumpet (orchestral) 8'

23 Clarion 4'

 

Pierre

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Here is the complete specifications of the Choir organ clavier, first manual,

as given by Emil Rupp, same order, same numbers:

 

1 Contra-Dulciana 16'

2 Contra-Gamba 16'

3 Open Diapason 8'

4 Violin Diapason 8'

5 Rohrflute 8'

6 Claribelflute 8'

7 Gamba 8'

8 Dulciana 8'

9 Unda-Maris 8' from F

10 Flute ouverte 4'

11 Suabe-Flute 4'

12 Gambette 4'

13 Dulcet 4'

14 Flageolet 2'

15 Dulciana 2'

16 Dulciana Mixture 5r

17 Bass-Clarionet 16'

18 Double Vox humana 16'

19 Corno di Bassetto 8'

20 Cor anglais 8'

21 Vox humana 8'

22 Trumpet (orchestral) 8'

23 Clarion 4'

 

Pierre

 

But Pierre you appear to be relying on an inaccurate source. The published specification in Sumner (1952 edition) gives:

 

Choir Organ (23 stops) Partially enclosed

 

Choir (unenclosed section)

Contra Dulciana 16

Open Diapason 8

Rohr Flöte 8

Dulciana 8

Flute Ouverte 4

Dulcet 4

Dulcina 2

 

Choir (enclosed)

Contra Viola 16

Violin Diapason 8

Viola 8

Claribel Flute 8

Unda Maris 8 (down to FF)

Octave Viola 4

Suabe Flöte 4

Octavin 2

Dulciana Mixture (10.12.17.19.22)

Bass Clarinet 16

Baryton 16

Corno di Bassetto 8

Cor Anglais 8

Vox Humana 8

Trumpette 8 (harmonic)

Clarion 4 (harmonic)

 

Tremulant

 

In 1959/60 Willis removed the unenclosed section and replaced it with:

 

Choir - Positive

Gedact 8

Spitz principal 4

Nasât 2 2/3

Coppel 2

Terz 1 3/5

Spitzflöte 1

Cimbel (29.33.36)

 

I hope that this makes things clearer.

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Rupp gave the Specifications as it was intended.

The organ was erected after WWI, already in a modified state.

I have the Sumner as well (1948-52), the Rupp is 1929,

in which he used pre-1914 Data.

 

The fact the D.M. is enclosed, and the rest of the Chorus not, does not

mean they were not intended to be used togheter.

See Audsley !

If the two sections are wide apart, this is something the specifications writer

did not know about, then, so obvious is the intent to provide a complete

Dulciana chorus.

As for the Unda-Maris, maybe Mr Wyld knows ?

 

Pierre

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Rupp gave the Specifications as it was intended.

The organ was erected after WWI, already in a modified state.

I have the Sumner as well (1948-52), the Rupp is 1929,

in which he used pre-1914 Data.

 

The fact the D.M. is enclosed, and the rest of the Chorus not, does not

mean they were not intended to be used togheter.

See Audsley !

If the two sections are wide apart, this is something the specifications writer

did not know about, then, so obvious is the intent to provide a complete

Dulciana chorus.

As for the Unda-Maris, maybe Mr Wyld knows ?

 

Pierre

 

Pierre, please forgive me if I seem to be a bit rude, but I think you are theorising too much. Whatever was intended (whatever 'intended' means) in the process of building the organ, the version you give is not how it was eventually built. Surely one can only assume, quite reasonably I would have thought, that they considered it all carefully over a period of time in the process of designing the organ and came up with something that was different from the version you describe.

 

So by the time the organ was completed in the early 1920s the theoretical Unda Maris (which may well have been intended at first to be a Dulciana) had become a flute celeste, and the Mixture stop was no longer located with the Dulciana chorus but included with the enclosed section, which is high up inside the north case.

 

You mention in one of your posts that the organ has been changed. And now you have said that the organ was built in a modified state. Surely the latter statement merely suggests that the specification of the organ evolved over a period of time, before and probably whilst it was being built.

 

I took your statement that the organ has been changed to mean that since these stops in the choir organ were changed at a later date (after it was completed in the 1920s), but I honesly believe that this is not the case. The design may have evolved but I do believe that what you have stated is untrue. I feel that it is important to correct that.

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You are welcome, Alsa, no problem, I do not fear any "rudeness",

the ideas and the facts are what count, not the Egos.

 

I am interested with the original design, mainly, because it was extremely

interesting, innovative. This organ should have been a milestone in the

History of the organ, like Görlitz or Saint Denis were.

That between the time of its construction and its erection, several years elapsed,

and that in the meantime, Mr Dupont, Durand or Smith, wanted changes to be made

because the "repertoire" changed, is for me Nebensache, quite unimportant

local stories; I am an historian, not a player involved in the competition between the players

in the context of a dedicated style/ School of playing.

 

And this organ is one of those which really should be returned to their original design,

like Alkmaar was during the last restoration, like *one certain Schulze organ in Britain*,

like *one certain somewhat to the west* should have been, among others.

 

Hence a certain stubborness on my behalf -no doubt-. But it is my job to be stubborn

at times !

 

Pierre

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