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What Is A Portunal?


Malcolm Farr
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Hi All

 

I recently noticed a stoplist that includes a "Portunal". However, I've never seen one or (to my knowledge) heard one. What is it?

 

(And why can't it go by a more common name, which even a duffer like me can understand? Unless of course it's something entirely uncommon ...)

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Hi All

 

I recently noticed a stoplist that includes a "Portunal".  However, I've never seen one or (to my knowledge) heard one.  What is it?

 

(And why can't it go by a more common name, which even a duffer like me can understand?  Unless of course it's something entirely uncommon ...)

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

"An open wood stop of medium scale, of 8' and 4' pitch. The finer examples have bodies with a slight outward taper and a slight reediness in their voices. The stop is occasionally found in German organs". (From "The Organ", W.L. Sumner).

 

See also http://www.organstops.org/b/Bordunalflote.html

 

Graham

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"An open wood stop of medium scale, of 8' and 4' pitch. The finer examples have bodies with a slight outward taper and a slight reediness in their voices. The stop is occasionally found in German organs". (From "The Organ", W.L. Sumner).

 

See also http://www.organstops.org/b/Bordunalflote.html

 

Graham

 

I think it is something different to this when used in recent instruments by Bernard Aubertin (Aberdeen etc.) in that it seems to be a metal stop that is sometimes used in the facade - as a sort of all purpose foundation voice (the Aberdeen one is 16' on the 'Great') I have a feeling that this topic has come up before but vaguely remember that there is also some sort of variation in construction throughout its compass. Nigel Allcoat will know.

 

AJJ

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Hi All

 

I recently noticed a stoplist that includes a "Portunal".  However, I've never seen one or (to my knowledge) heard one.  What is it?

 

(And why can't it go by a more common name, which even a duffer like me can understand?  Unless of course it's something entirely uncommon ...)

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

 

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

 

There are numerous organs in Poland with Portunal registers.....(the things you learn on this board!)

 

Apparently, the respect 19th century German organ-builder Schlag used the term quite extensively, and they did much work in the part of Poland snatched by the Prussians.

 

Apparently, it's just another fancy name for Bourdon, but there may be differences.

 

MM

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

 

There are numerous organs in Poland with Portunal registers.....(the things you learn on this board!)

 

Apparently, the respect 19th century German organ-builder Schlag used the term quite extensively, and they did much work in the part of Poland snatched by the Prussians.

 

Apparently, it's just another fancy name for Bourdon, but there may be  differences.

 

MM

 

Trost called all his Gedackts "Portun", the only reason being, that Saxons talk funny, would have said "Portun" when they meant "Bordun" and ended up spelling it like that too.

 

The organ builder Rühlmann used the the name a lot; I will try to see if I can find any particular characteristics - the ones I've seen all have arched mouths, but then so do most of his flutes.

 

Cheers

B

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Graham Powell is right: an inverted conical open Flute with a somewhat

reedy tone.

According to Hamel, the Clarabella would have been derived from it by trials

with Stopped Diapason pipes whose stoppers were removed in order to imitate

it (I think it was Bishop). A typical german baroque stop.

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Graham Powell is right: an inverted conical open Flute with a somewhat

reedy tone.

According to Hamel, the Clarabella would have been derived from it by trials

with Stopped Diapason pipes whose stoppers were removed in order to imitate

it (I think it was Bishop). A typical german baroque stop.

 

The information re. Trost in my previous post was incorrect and leaves me wondering where on earth my memory got it from. Please excuse this.

 

I have discovered that some South German /Austrian builders used the time for the main, rather fluty principal of the "Q´Werk". Meanwhile, Rühlmanns catalogue says it is a conical (one would probably rather want to say "tapered") Gedackt, 8 half-tones wider than a normal principal. The cone is 1:2, mouth 1/5, cut-up straight and 1/3 of the mouth width. The caps are "Normal". He also built an "Offene Portnalflöte", the pipes Cylindrical, with a taper in the upper portion, but the cylindrical portion is longer than the cone. The cut-up here is 1/4.

 

Sorry about the misinformation.

 

Cheers

B

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I think it is something different to this when used in recent instruments by Bernard Aubertin (Aberdeen etc.) in that it seems to be a metal stop that is sometimes used in the facade - as a sort of all purpose foundation voice (the Aberdeen one is 16' on the 'Great') I have a feeling that this topic has come up before but vaguely remember that there is also some sort of variation in construction throughout its compass. Nigel Allcoat will know.

 

AJJ

 

This name Portunal conjured up all sorts of possibilites when I first encountered it as a 16ft on the first instrument I was led to play of Aubertin by Bernard Légace from Montreal, Canada. It was the first stop I ever drew and played.

 

I feel, for historical purposes and to set the record straight about Aubertin and myself (as I have had a few communications which seem to be askew) I can set the scene, so to speak about the early French connection and myself.

 

It was in 1990 when I was with the jury of the Glasgow/Paisley Organ competition. At lunch one day - B L came from France and was telling everyone on the table about a new builder he had discovered after playing a new organ in Sarrable (1987) in Eastern France. He was so impressed with what he had played (one of the best organs he had ever played, he said) that he made enquiries about the builder Bernard Aubertin. He then travelled to the workshop and found an almost completed instrument there ready for the church of St Louis in Vichy. He produced some little booklet publicity from Aubertin with pics and drawings and specifications. He found him utterly hospitable and charming and urged any of us sitting around the table to contact him if ever we were travelling in that area of France around Besançon.

 

My mother had a hip replacement in the June 1990 and went to stay for a time in Kent. It seemed so simple to carry on to France and have a holiday after dropping her off there. So I wrote to Bernard Aubertin and told him about my encounter in Scotland with his namesake. I was given a 5 day tour of organs and was a guest at the workshop/Priory for a few days. I saw the vast organ destined for Vichy almost in its completed state. Amazing sight. And then to Sarralbe and other places to see the finished products.

 

Sarralbe had this 16ft Portunal on the Grand-Orgue. It was a sound quite unlike any other and was an experimental stop, as far as I could ascertain at the time. Bourdonish at the bottom, Gemshornish in the tenor and middle rising to a singing Principalish sound at the top. It was the first Aubertin sound I ever played as I too was intrigued by the name.

 

It is a stop (from Aubertin's workshop) that embraces the two functions of a Flute and Principal at 4ft on little Positive designs as well as at 16ft and 8ft on others. It is a sound the marries completely with either Principals or Flutes and takes on a totally different personality when used with them. Their sound is totally musical and captivating. The organ at Sarralbe - his first new commissioned instrument and not a restoration - is still a 2 manual tour de force of youthful inventiveness both in sound, size (full length reeds 32,16,8,4,2 on the Ped) and craftmanship (the wood carvings are a sensation). I was hooked from the first. (Hear the glorious recording of Norbert Petry playing the Orgelbüchlein). I was brought back from the brink by these instruments to play the organ again. His free spirit and genius (a word I use quite in the proper sense) is recognized by some other players in the world. Time will tell, of course. But I give thanks that my mother's hip has produced a few organs now in the UK** as well as made me purchase a house in the shadow of his instrument in Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye! Jenkin's ear began a war. My mother's hip has created a little artistic revolution. Vive le NHS!

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

** Aberdeen's new instrument came about through Dr David Smith who was a Post-Grad student of mine at Wadham College, Oxford before joining the University in Scotland.

The instrument for Oxford (St John's College) is because of Ryan Wigglesworth (a past OS of New College and a student for some years at Saint-Antoine). Both places had professional Committees (of which I am not a member) to adjudicate the tenders.

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This name Portunal conjured up all sorts of possibilites when I first encountered it as a 16ft on the first instrument I was led to play of Aubertin by Bernard Légace from Montreal, Canada. It was the first stop I ever drew and played.

 

 

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

 

 

Well, isn't this absolutely typical of organ-builders?

 

One builder uses a name in the 19th century, then very much later, another one uses the same name to mean something totally different.

 

It's enough to drive an organist to digitals......they all sound the same!

 

:blink:

 

MM

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is confusing, or perhaps I am just being stupid. I still can't entirely discern whether this is wood or metal, open or stopped. Or is it simply that different builders at different times have used the same name to denote entirely different stops?

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This is confusing, or perhaps I am just being stupid.  I still can't entirely discern whether this is wood or metal, open or stopped.  Or is it simply that different builders at different times have used the same name to denote entirely different stops?

 

 

You are probably closest to the truth here!!

 

AJJ

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  • 2 weeks later...
The information re. Trost in my previous post was incorrect and leaves me wondering where on earth my memory got it from. Please excuse this.

 

 

Sorry about the misinformation.

 

Cheers

B

 

Looking at the Waltershausen page referred to in the "Porsche organ" thread reassures me that I was not wrong after all........ there they are, all those "Portuns"!

 

B

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