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Tracker Action


Phil T
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The merits of tracker action vice electrical/pneumatic action have been heavily discussed within this forum. One of the limits of tracker action is the size of organ that can be built. My question is: -

 

What is the largest Tracker action ever built?

 

:(

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The merits of tracker action vice electrical/pneumatic action have been heavily discussed within this forum.  One of the limits of tracker action is the size of organ that can be built.  My question is: -

 

What is the largest Tracker action ever built?

 

:(

 

Sydney Opera House?

 

JJK

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
That’s larger than I thought.  I thought Chichester with 4 man and 48 speaking stops was about as big as could be comfortably made/played.

 

:(

 

 

Of course, the Hill organ at Sydney Town Hall is also an enormous tracker job from the real heyday of British organ-building. Sorry, I don't know how to give you an e-link.

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Of course, the Hill organ at Sydney Town Hall is also an enormous tracker job from the real heyday of British organ-building. Sorry, I don't know how to give you an e-link.

 

Peachtree Road, Atlanta and St Ignatius Loyola, NYC are both detailed on this Mander site at 72 and 68 stops repectively. Not as big as Sydney Opera House but certainly much larger than Chichester. I didn't realise Sydney TH hadn't had its action "improved" :D

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Peachtree Road, Atlanta and St Ignatius Loyola, NYC are both detailed on this Mander site at 72 and 68 stops repectively. Not as big as Sydney Opera House but certainly much larger than Chichester. I didn't realise Sydney TH hadn't had its action "improved"  :D

 

 

The fault is mine. I should have made it clear that this was a huge five-manual all-tracker organ when built. I'm not speaking from personal experience either...merely responding from a memory bank of sorts!

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The fault is mine. I should have made it clear that this was a huge five-manual all-tracker organ when built. I'm not speaking from personal experience either...merely responding from a memory bank of sorts!

 

 

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

 

No it weren't!

 

The confusion arises from the fact that this organ uses trackers to various touch-boxes and mechanical key coupling action.

 

In all other respects, it is a tubular-pneumatic action, but a complex one involving both pressure and exhaust pneumatics.

 

Aprt from restoration, the action remains as it was when it was built.

 

MM

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Peachtree Road, Atlanta and St Ignatius Loyola, NYC are both detailed on this Mander site at 72 and 68 stops repectively. Not as big as Sydney Opera House but certainly much larger than Chichester. I didn't realise Sydney TH hadn't had its action "improved"  :D

 

....and of course St John's Cambridge - 4m 64 stops. A bit heavy, this one, I'm told...

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5m, 131 stops, 200 ranks (lots of mixtures!)

JJK

Sydney Opera House has an equal then in the Liepaja (formerly called by its German name Libau) organ. It has 131 stops on four manuals and pedal.

 

When I first heard about this organ I was quite baffled. It has been sitting almst forgotten in Latvia for almost a century. It was inaugurated in 1885, and the builder was the pomeranian Barnim Grueneberg from Stettin (Szczecin, today Poland). Grueneberg used a front, soundboards and some pipework from an older Compenius organ, added two facades in the side aisles and windchest upon windchest. There are some classical choruses in the organ, but also ranks upon ranks of the most beautiful romantic flutes and strings.

 

The Hauptwerk alone has 42 stops. The organ is still in playable condition but apparently needs work. A recording with Martin Rost was taken in 1993 and issued on the Thorofon label (CTH 2193).

 

See details about the organ and some pictures at

 

http://tinyurl.com/rr76c

 

and marvel.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Sydney Opera House has an equal then in the Liepaja (formerly called by its German name Libau) organ. It has 131 stops on four manuals and pedal.

 

 

See details about the organ and some pictures at

 

http://tinyurl.com/rr76c

 

and marvel.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

 

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

 

Indeed.....and like the magnificent Walcker organ at Riga, as well as the superb Engler/Rieger Kloss organ at Olomouc (Cz), something very special indeed.

 

What a joy it is to be able to go to these places and discover them for ourselves, after so many years behind the Iron Curtain.

 

The history books really need to be re-written.

 

MM

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Since I did not find it on the web, here is the stoplist of the instrument.

 

Libau (Liepaja), Lettland/Latvia

Kirche zur heiligen Dreifaltigkeit / Church of the Holy Trinity

Barnim Grueneberg, Stettin, 1885

 

Hauptwerk, II, C–f'''

 

1. Abteilung (Ventil C)

Geigenprincipal 32' ab G

Principal 16'

Trompete 16'

Principal 8'

Trompete 8'

 

2. Abteilung (Ventil :D

Salicional 8'

Gemshorn 8'

Doppelflöte 8'

Octave 4'

Gemshorn 4'

Octave 2'

Waldflöte 2'

Cornetti 2–4f.

 

3. Abteilung (Ventil A)

Viola 16'

Clarinette 16'

Viola 8'

Geige 8'

Gedackt 8'

Portunal 8'

Flöte harmonique 8'

Quintatön 8'

Clarinette 8'

Geige 4'

Gedackt 4'

Portunal 4'

 

4. Abteilung (Ventil E)

Flauto major 16'

Bordun 8'

Flauto 8'

Principal 8'

Oboe 8'

Clairon 4'

 

5. Abteilung (Ventil D)

Gedackt 8'

Quinta 5 1/3'

Octave 4'

Terz 3 1/5'

Quinta 2 2/3'

Septime 2 2/7'

Octave 2'

Terz 1 3/5'

Octave 1'

Mixtur 2–6f.

Scharf 3–4f.

 

 

Brustwerk, III, C–f'''

 

1. Abteilung (Ventil A)

Untersatz 32' ab c°

Geigenprincipal 16'

Viola di Gamba 16'

Fagott 16' Contius

Viola di Gamba 8'

Hohlflöte 8'

Gedackt 8'

Gedackt Quinta 5 1/3'

Viola 4'

Hohlflöte 4'

 

2. Abteilung

Bordun 16' Contius

Principal 8' Contius

Spitzflöte 8'

Füllflöte 8'

Flauto amabile 8'

Trompete 8' Contius

Octave 4'

Spitzflöte 4'

Quinta 2 2/3' Contius

Octave 2' Contius

Spitzflöte 2'

Terz 1 3/5'

Cornetti 4f. Contius

Mixtur 3–5f. Contius

 

 

Oberwerk, IV, C–f''' im Schwellkasten / enclosed

 

1. Abteilung (Ventil A)

Salicional 16'

Gedackt 16'

Geigenprincipal 8'

Salicional 8'

Rohrflöte 8'

Doppelflöte 8'

Harmonica 8'

Liebesgeige 8'

Vox coelestis 8'

Schalmey 8' Contius

Octave 4' Contius

Rohrflöte 4' Contius

Nasatt 2 2/3' Contius

Flautino 2'

Mixtur 2–4f. Contius

 

2. Abteilung (ohne Ventil)

Aeoline 16'

Aeoline 8'

 

 

Echowerk, I, C–f'''

 

1. Abteilung (Ventil A)

Harmonica 16'

Zartflöte 8'

Viola d'amour 8'

Vox angelica 8'

 

2. Abteilung (Ventil :D

Quintatön 16'

Viola 8'

Fugara 8'

Traversflöte 8'

Lieblich Gedackt 8'

Vox humana 8'

Geigenprincipal 4'

Zartflöte 4'

Traversflöte 4'

 

 

Pedal, C–d'

 

1. Abteilung (Ventil :D

Contrabass 32'

Untersatz 32'

Bombard 32'

Majorbass 16'

Posaune 16' Contius

Offenflöte 8'

Füllflöte 4'

 

2. Abteilung (Ventil A)

Principal 16' Contius

Octave 8' Contius

Posaune 8'

Quinta 5 1/3' Contius

Octave 4' Contius

Clairon 4'

Quinta 2 2/3'

Octave 2'

Clairon 2'

 

3. Abteilung (Ventil D)

Violon 16'

Dulcian 16'

Violoncello 16'

 

4. Abteilung (Ventil C)

Subbass 16' Contius

Quinta 10 2/3'

Gedackt 8' Contius

Dulcian 8'

Terz 6 2/5'

Septime 4 4/7'

 

5. Abteilung (Ventil E)

Viola di Gamba 16'

Quintatön 16'

Bordun 16'

Viola 8'

Flöte 8'

Bordun 8'

Gedackt 4'

Dulcian 4'

Flautino 2'

Dulcian 2'

 

 

Koppeln / Couplers

IV/III, III/II, I/II, II/P

 

Einschaltung Pneum. Maschine (schaltet Barkermaschine II ein / activates Barker lever for 2nd manual)

 

15 Sperrventile / ventils

 

3 Calcantenglocken / calcant's bells

3 Evacuanten

Glocke Kirchendiener / church warden's bell

 

Schleifladen mit mechanischer Traktur / slider-and-pallet chests, mechanical action

Barkerhebel zum II. Manual / Barker lever for 2nd manual

eine Kegellade (Pedal, 5. Abteilung) / one cone-valve chest (Pedal, 5. Abteilung)

 

Quelle:

CD "Romantische Orgeln III", Thorofon CTH 4193

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Since I did not find it on the web, here is the stoplist of the instrument.

 

Libau (Liepaja), Lettland/Latvia

Kirche zur heiligen Dreifaltigkeit / Church of the Holy Trinity

Barnim Grueneberg, Stettin, 1885

 

 

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

 

Which, even with 131 registers, makes it considerably smaller than the Ronald Sharp organ in the Sydney opera House.

 

MM

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

Which, even with 131 registers, makes it considerably smaller than the Ronald Sharp organ in the Sydney opera House.

MM

 

Counting ranks, you mean? True; but still a 131-stop slider chest tracker.

 

In Germany, as well as in France, usually only stops are counted, not ranks. The rank count as a measure of the organ's scale is well open to debate: What makes one organ larger than the other? The number of choruses in a Scharf, or the number of manual 16- and 32-foot ranks? And what about all the beautiful foundations that wouldn't begin to fit into Ronald Sharp's case?

 

Perhaps one might say that the Liepaja organ has one impressive belly, while the Sydney instrument sports some spectacular hairdo. :D

 

Best,

Friedrich

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The ranks vs. stop no. argument seems to be the same stalemate surrounding the Wanamaker/Atlantic City comparison.

 

I heard the SOH organ in the Saint-Saens 3rd a few weeks ago - The first time I've ever managed to hear the Sharp competing with the Sydney Symphony. During the final movement, of course I was wishing they would do it at the Town Hall, however it was during the second movement that the SOH organ really came into its own - a really spell-binding performance. I could barely believe how quiet the 2000+ audience was as everyone listened in on the pianissimo strings over that wonderful 32'.

 

Just a couple of pics to remind just how big this tracker organ is.

m_img_chall_big.jpg

SOH1.jpg

SOH4.jpg

SOH2.jpgSOH3.jpg

SOH5.jpg

SOH7.jpg

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

A propos - a question. Someone out there will know!

 

I heard a story once from a (now-retired) top muso along the lines of ...at some point the Opera House's 'Opera space' had to be switched in the plans with the 'concert space'. Any truth in this?

 

He said something along the lines of the resulting Orchestra pit being one of the least comfortable places to play that have ever been designed.

 

Mind you, whatever has happened to the Opera space, the organ is presented in a stunning way. None of this 'well actually, nobody really wanted an organ' stuff!

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Just a couple of pics to remind just how big this tracker organ is.

Thanks for the stunning photos which I enjoyed seeing. As a short person this looks like a console where I would find the music desk uncomfortably high up, but more to the point, it looks to me as if it would be impossible for anyone to reach all of the stop knobs while seated on the organ bench. I'm not sure quite what the point is of a stop knob that can't be reached.

 

Also its interesting to note that there are no labels for the different divisions on the stop jambs.

 

All in all it looks like an instrument that could have been designed by our former american friend.

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Thanks for the stunning photos which I enjoyed seeing. As a short person this looks like a console where I would find the music desk uncomfortably high up, but more to the point, it looks to me as if it would be impossible for anyone to reach all of the stop knobs while seated on the organ bench. I'm not sure quite what the point is of a stop knob that can't be reached.

 

Also its interesting to note that there are no labels for the different divisions on the stop jambs.

 

All in all it looks like an instrument that could have been designed by our former american friend.

 

I think that the consultant was Peter Hurford; I seem to remember that the cost of the organ was 10M A$. I would be wary of making any sort of ergonomic judgement from photos; much better to sit at the console. Of course Hurford is a tall man and so the console dimensions might suit him well.

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Several people are mentioned in the link Barry posted on the previous page, but Hurford isn't credited, so I wonder how big a part he played. I don't think the lack of department names is unusual in Europe and, when I look at the straight pedalboard and the spacing of the stop knobs (something that we discussed with Barry Jordan's new organ at Magdeburg), I'm prompted to wonder whether we have Hradetzky rather than Sharp to thank for the console design.

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