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The Finest Five Organs In The World?


MusingMuso

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

 

 

 

I wouldn't, however, limit European greatness merely to Cavaille-Coll!

 

MM

 

Of course MM. If we limit ourselves to Cavaillé-Coll's contemporaries, we might think

of Wilhelm Sauer, Friedrich Ladegast, Josef Merklin, Georg Stahlhuth, Bätz, Adema,

Jehmlich, Mauracher,Eberhard Friedrich Walcker, Friedrich Haas, Friedrich Goll, Kuhn,

Jacquot, Dalstein & Haerpfer,Didier, Bartholomae & Blési, Walker, Willis, Schulze, Hill, Schyven and Kerkhoff, Gebrüder Link, Carl Weigle, Steinmeyer, Loret, Schlimbach, Anneessens, Stolz, Beuchet, plus the many ones I do not have in mind now, and of course omitting those who started their careers after ACC's death.

 

Now I could take some books in one of the two rooms here that are dedicated to books only (at least we pay our houses relatively cheap in rural Belgium) and copy the worthwhile names out of the 19th century in America. It would be as long.

 

Pierre

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Another five for fun (perhaps in a parallel Universe....) no particular order:

 

1) St Bavo, Haarlem

 

2) Notre Dame de Paris (but using a time machine to go back prior 1992 changes)

 

3) St Maximin de Thionville (love the tierce cymbale underpinned by the 32'  

    Basson)

 

4) St Albans Cathedral

 

5) Montpellier Cathedral

 

I am not sure if this thread has run its course (and several other courses, too....).

However, Mark makes at least one interesting choice - Nôtre-Dame de Paris before the 1990-92 rebuild. In other words, in the Cochereau era. I could not agree more, Mark! Never since then has this organ sounded so alive, so vital. Now it just sounds like a slightly French version of King's, Cambridge.

 

For the record (and if we have finished commenting on Carlo Curley, etc....) my all-time favourite organs (in no particular order, save for the first):

 

1) Nôtre-Dame, Paris - around 1975

 

S. Sulpice, Paris

 

Bamberg Cathedral

 

Exeter Cathedral

 

Coventry Cathedral

 

Bristol Cathedral

 

 

:rolleyes:

 

My choices are probably a little off the beaten track, in some cases. I decided to limit it to instruments which I have played and those which I have heard in the flesh ('up close and personal', in both cases).

 

Sydney Town Hall organ may be wonderful, but I confess that I have never heard it, either live or on a recording. Likewise, I am sure that the Willis/H&H at Westminster Cathedral is exceedingly fine, but I have only heard it on recording. St. Paul's I like (and have played), but I think that this organ is too much of a particular case to be wholly satisfying. This is particularly true with regard to the layout.

 

Insofar as organs in the US are concerned, I have only heard a number of them through the medium of good-quality recordings. I regret to say that, so far, nothing really grabs me. I have heard Yale, but it neither impressed through its power, nor delighted in its quieter registers.

 

Incidentally, I am aware that there are six instruments in my list. Since when have organists been known for counting accurately....?

 

B)

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Of course MM. If we limit ourselves to Cavaillé-Coll's contemporaries, we might think

of Wilhelm Sauer, Friedrich Ladegast, Josef Merklin, Georg Stahlhuth, Bätz, Adema,

Jehmlich, Mauracher,Eberhard Friedrich Walcker, Friedrich Haas, Friedrich Goll, Kuhn,

Jacquot, Dalstein & Haerpfer,Didier, Bartholomae & Blési, Walker, Willis, Schulze, Hill,  Schyven and Kerkhoff, Gebrüder Link, Carl Weigle, Steinmeyer, Loret, Schlimbach, Anneessens, Stolz, Beuchet, plus the many ones I do not have in mind now, and of course omitting those who started their careers after ACC's death.

 

Now I could take some books in one of the two rooms here that are dedicated to books only (at least we pay our houses relatively cheap in rural Belgium) and copy the worthwhile names out of the 19th century in America. It would be as long.

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

You are absolutely right Pierre!

 

I knew that five organs was a ludicrous figure when I started.....but....isn't it interesting how Alkmaar, Haarlem and Sydney TH come up again and again?

 

MM

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I am not sure if this thread has run its course ...............

 

 

Sydney Town Hall organ may be wonderful, but I confess that I have never heard it, either live or on a recording.

 

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

 

 

B)

 

Stop whatever you are doing at this very moment "pcnd"..........go straight to the first of the following links, do not pass "Go" and do not collect your £200.

 

http://sydneyorgan.com/SYDNEYTOWNHALL.html

 

http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Busines.../GrandOrgan.asp

 

http://theatreorgans.com/sydney/

 

http://www.frederickhohman.net/2000PhotoArchive.html

 

:rolleyes:

 

 

MM

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Thank you pcnd5584 for your support with regard to my 'time machine' version of Notre Dame de Paris. I do actually remember listening to the organ live many times through the late 70s and into the early 80s. I attended one of PCs last recitals, early in 1984. And of course I have the Philips recording of Toccatas, made in 1973 I believe, so this nearly coincides with your date of 1975. This recording alone must rank with the finest ever made (of any organ). The silvery quality of the Cliquot pipework can still be heard, and the Boisseau chamades are of course dramatic. Then of course the genius of PC on top of it all.

 

I really must get to work on that time machine....

 

Also, I'm in Sydney in December, anyone any ideas if the Sydney Town Hall Organ may be heard during the second half of the month?

 

 

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

 

Faster than a speeding Kangaroo........

 

December 29th....Young Organist's Day at Sydney Town Hall.

 

MM

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

 

Faster than a speeding Kangaroo........

 

December 29th....Young Organist's Day at Sydney Town Hall.

 

MM

 

 

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

 

 

Well isn't it just marvellous?

 

Here I am stuck in Britain, and what should I find under "Recitals at Sydney Town Hall" but the following programme/recital list:-

 

October, Monday 23rd, 2006 - PAVEL KOHOUT (Czech Republic)

 

Versetti per il Gloria (Petrali), Vigília (Martinu), Impetuoso (Wiedermann), Concert Fantasy (Klicka), Bugatti-step (Jezek), Allegro con fuoco from "The New World" (Dvorák)

 

I'm quite intrigued by the "Bugatti-step," but I'm not sure whether it would involve a lot of running around on the pedal-board, or quite a lot of pedalling-about on the running-board! :rolleyes:

 

Incidentally, the "Concert Fantasy" by Josef Klicka, is a magnificent romantic work.

 

MM

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

Bugatti-step (Jezek

 

I'm quite intrigued by the "Bugatti-step," but I'm not sure whether it would involve a lot of running around on the pedal-board, or quite a lot of pedalling-about on the running-board!  B)

 

 

MM

 

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

 

Apparently, the work was written in homage of a famous Czech racing-driver who took part in the infamous, and rather deadly "Targa Floria" race in Italy, which claimed many, many lives.

 

It was written for four hands, and here is the link to the piano version:-

 

http://www.matous.cz/detail.php?id=MK%200055&jazyk=en

 

I think someone should write a similar tribute to Sir George Thalben-Ball, who drove an ERA racing-car with team-mate Billy Cotton, the bandleader.

 

:rolleyes:

 

MM

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

:o

 

Stop whatever you are doing at this very moment "pcnd"..........go straight to the first of the following links, do not pass "Go" and do not collect your £200.

 

http://sydneyorgan.com/SYDNEYTOWNHALL.html

 

http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Busines.../GrandOrgan.asp

 

http://theatreorgans.com/sydney/

 

http://www.frederickhohman.net/2000PhotoArchive.html

 

:)

MM

 

 

Thank you "MM" ( B) ) - I have had a brief look (although I know what it looks like). I shall have a listen tomorrow.

 

If I can find a recording of Thomas Heywood (or someone else equally au fait with its idiosyncrasies) playing some decent repertoire (i.e. for my taste no transcriptions of well-known orchestral works and no pot-boilers) * I shall check out the sound, too.

 

* No, I am not attempting to start a sub-thread (or even a super-thread....) through goading or antagonism - I just want to hear it play something I actually like. Listening to an organ to see if I like it as an instrument is not the time to start experimenting with the far corners of the repertoire!

 

:rolleyes:

 

Incidentally, my apologies for the proliferation of parentheses in this post ....

 

.... and for the alliteration.

 

B)

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Thank you "MM" ( B) ) - I have had a brief look (although I know what it looks like). I shall have a listen tomorrow.

 

If I can find a recording of Thomas Heywood (or someone else equally au fait with its idiosyncrasies) playing some decent repertoire (i.e. for my taste no transcriptions of well-known orchestral works and no pot-boilers) * I shall check out the sound, too.

 

* No, I am not attempting to start a sub-thread (or even a super-thread....) through goading or antagonism - I just want to hear it play something I actually like. Listening to an organ to see if I like it as an instrument is not the time to start experimenting with the far corners of the repertoire!

 

:rolleyes:

 

Incidentally, my apologies for the proliferation of parentheses in this post ....

 

.... and for the alliteration.

 

  B)

 

Try 'Music for a Grand Organ' STH organ played by David Drury on ABC Classics.

 

AJJ

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Try 'Music for a Grand Organ' STH organ played by David Drury on ABC Classics.

 

AJJ

 

Or to my mind even better, "Pomp and Circumstance" - David Drury at the Sydney Town Hall organ - ABC Classics as well.

 

1. P and C no. 1 Elgar

 

2. Air on a G string JSB

 

3 and 4. Canzona and Scherzetto from C minor Sonata Whitlock

 

5. F and F on "Ad Nos" Liszt

 

6. Nimrod Elgar

 

7. Impro on a Theme of Peter Sculthorpe Drury

 

8. Trumpet Minuet Hollins

 

9. C de Westminster Vierne

 

It is a cd that I never get tired of and the liszt is wonderful

 

There are about 6 cds out of the instrument, but another good one is played by Willibald Guggenmos on Motette (CD 12591), which amongst many other things he plays the "American Rhapsody" by Pietro Yon. Great Fun.

 

 

As far as I know, Thomas Heywood hasn't recorded on it yet.

 

Peter

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I enjoyed Jane Watt's Priory CD:

 

Thalben Ball: Poema & Toccata Beorma; Elegy

Dupré: Lamento; Angelus; Paraphrase on Te Deum

Best: Concert Fantasia on a Welsh March; Concert Overture; Romanza

 

Can't say Best's music is the best (pardon the pun - oh, very well then), but it is precisely the sort of stuff for which the Sydney organ was designed.

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Mark makes at least one interesting choice - Nôtre-Dame de Paris before the 1990-92 rebuild. In other words, in the Cochereau era. I could not agree more, Mark! Never since then has this organ sounded so alive, so vital. Now it just sounds like a slightly French version of King's, Cambridge.

I have never heard Notre-Dame de Paris live, although I have visited the magnificent cathedral. But on record, it gave me one of the biggest shocks of my life when I first played the LP of Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic performance of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. Cochereau and the Notre-Dame organ were recorded separately and then mixed with the Berlin recording.

 

I was about 10 years old at the time and did not know the Saint-Saens, so got the shock of my life when Cochereau unleashed hell at the beginning of the last movement. Full organ on the instrument as it then was pre-1990/2 rebuild was not a polite sound for sensitive English ears and it sent me running from the room in terror! What a baby I was then. :lol:

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I have never heard Notre-Dame de Paris live, although I have visited the magnificent cathedral. But on record, it gave me one of the biggest shocks of my life when I first played the LP of Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic performance of the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony. Cochereau and the Notre-Dame organ were recorded separately and then mixed with the Berlin recording.
If they were recorded separately then undoubtedly you have the studio balancing to thank for that. I never knew the old organ, but I went to a recital there two or three years ago - an Italian organist playing Liszt and Reubke - and was quite surprised at how gentlemanly the instrument sounded. Having heard it on disc I expected it to lift me out of my seat, but it came nowhere near doing so. Of course I can't be sure how much of the organ the player was using, but it sounded like all of it except the chamades - and I thought it barely adequate for the building. If it had to accompany a cathedral full of Welsh Methodists singing "Cwm Rhondda" I'd put my money on the Welsh winning.
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The Organ at NDdeParis sounds very different today. I defer to pcnd5584 who may provide a more detailed account as to why the organ is so different. I've listened live in person before and since the work completed in 1992. IMOP, the organ is nowhere near the same. It has effectively been tamed, to the point that it almost sounds like an Anglo-American organ (and you can't land up with a worse verdict than that).

 

Fortunately, I have a comprehensive collection of recordings prior to the changes. With great luck most (if not all) of PCs performances were recorded. The chamades sizzled, the flue work wa beautifully balanced, and together with the artistic brilliance of PC, the whole ensemble was absolutely superb.

 

Hence my time machine....

 

Well I can certainly supply a few details, Mark.

 

This is partly because many of the compound stops were re-cast (or at least re-arranged), wind pressures were adjusted, the GO had the 16p fonds altered and the GO and Positif fonds 8p were also changed in composition and voicing; (in fact on the Positif, one of the 8p fonds was entirely new). The existing chamades were (inexplicably) re-winded * and joined (as you no doubt know) by a further pair, modelled closely on those provided by Cavaillé-Coll for S. Sernin, Toulouse. The Récit lost both its chorus mixtures - this is, incidentally, one of the most obvious differences in terms of the aural effect of the instrument. This department is now, frankly, rather dull. Since there are two blank draw-stops on the new console (and since there are presumably two spare slides on the old soundboards) I fail to see the point of this. One does not have to use stops which were not present in the Cavaillé-Coll rebuild of 1868. Furthermore, Vierne himself wished to add a Fourniture and Cymbale to the Récit. In the event, he only acquired the first of these. The 'restorers' of the present instrument state that scheme of the Pleins-jeux as originally conceived by Cavaillé-Coll has been re-created; however in comparison with recordings of the old instrument (prior to 1957) the present organ still sounds somewhat dull and 'fatter'.

 

Insofar as the basic choruses are concerned, that of the GO (Principal 8p, Octave 4p and Doublette 2p) were re-positioned. In other words, pipes which Hermann and Boisseau (and possibly earlier builders) had moved from one rank to another, or re-scaled, were carefully examined and, according to Cavaillé's markings, returned to their original places. The same treatment was accorded the Diapason 8p and Prestant 4p of the Récit.

 

There was also a great deal of re-balancing and some re-voicing which took place over the one hundred nights of tonal finishing.

 

* God knows why. Formerly they were prompt, stable of speech and very bright. Apart from the fact that I am fairly certain that they were quietly (if that is not a contradiction in terms) tamed, they now wobble slightly and do not seem to fill the vast nave in the same way that they did prior to 1992. Furthermore, the chamades were re-distributed (with regard to their availability). Now, it is not possible to couple the Boisseau 4p chamade to the Tutti.

 

Having said that, if one is leaning up against the case and the Tutti Général is employed, it is quite loud enough!

 

Incidentally, does your collection of recordings include such treasures as Un testament musical (the improvisations to St. Matthew's Gospel which Cochereau provided in the three months prior to his death), the Quinze Versets sur 'Ave Maris Stella', the three-CD set l'organiste à Nôtre-Dame (including some repertiore), the Pierre Cochereau Improvise sur des Noëls, Pâques à Nôtre-Dame (organ solo improvisations) and l'organiste liturgique?

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Has anyone seen this?

 

Peter

 

'Have just bought Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer Choplin playing - Festivo CDs - superb playing & sounds. The organ in S-S seems to be getting quite a lot of recording/videoing at present and can be heard live frequently too. We are over next month and have arranged a visit.

 

AJJ

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QUOTE(Mark Wimpress @ Sep 8 2006, 03:53 PM)

The Organ at NDdeParis sounds very different today.

 

Oddly - last time I heard Notre Dame (from downstairs) - even though it was an 'official' recital there was so much other noise in the place that anything above mf was lost in the acoustic. Everyone else here seems to be able to speak about the various tonal effects but from this point of view (non resident organist playing so I suppose lack of knowlege of the instrument might have been something to do with it) but much of what was being played was difficult to judge till the mixtures and bigger reeds came on. I do have CDs - a small ammount of Cochereau, Latry (French) and Leguay (Liszt) which show it in a different light - I can't help feeling though that these give a somewhat false impression from that which one gets in the body of the building. Maybe it's my age and hearing going!

 

AJJ

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