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Welcome John Boody


Barry Jordan
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  • 3 months later...
Guest Roffensis
I've just noticed that our newest member is John Boody. Are you that John Boody, of Taylor and..... ?

 

If so, nice to see you here, John. And if not, welcome anyway!

 

Barry

 

 

Who's he? I have not heard of him. Is he famous?

 

R

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Very smart website http://www.taylorandboody.com/home.htm proves that not all American organs are 300 stop monstrosities.

 

 

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

 

 

Where DO people get this idea from?

 

Granted, there are a LOT of very large instruments in America, and I forget exactly where, but in one town in America where there are 12 major churches, the AVERAGE organ is a four-manual with over 200 ranks: some being considerably larger, and a few considerably smaller of course.

 

However, if you wish to hear some of the very FINEST organs built since around 1970 then America would be a very good starting point. Not only that, there are some very specialised replica instruments; including at least one "old" Italian organ built recently for a university, a number of Schnitger replicas and many other (for lack of a better term) "classical" organs; a number of which have been built by our hosts to almost universal acclaim.

 

In addition to a number of Flentrops and Marcussens, you would be able to seek out instruments as diverse as modern-day Walckers, Otts, Rieger-Kloss and other European built or inspired examples.

 

I hate taking people to task, but if you want to hear seriously good organ-playing and some seriously good church-music, and perhaps a lot of seriously good organs, then America "may just be" somewhere near the top of the heap.

 

They also tend to PAY their organists and other musicians well.......don't knock it!

 

 

I suspect that British ignorance allied to misplaced self-satisfaction should really get the backs of the Americans up, but they have a way of shrugging it off as being "old and quaint."

 

 

MM

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

However, if you wish to hear some of the very FINEST organs built since around 1970 then America would be a very good starting point.

 

Yes, indeed. The interesting thing is the wide range of styles evident in American organ building, which are not however slavishly copied but serve as models for flights of creativity and imagination. One of the most beautiful organs I have ever had the joy of playing a recital on was certainly this one:

http://www.frittsorgan.com/opus018.htm

 

Look at that case work, clearly based on Stellwagen, St. Marien, Stralsund - but note the swell. The whole thing is unbelievably versatile, colourful and singing, with a stunningly responsive action, crisp, but not hard.

 

If anyone's interested, you might like to read an article I wrote for piporg-l which concerns itself mainly with organ building in America today; you can find it at:

http://www.albany.edu/piporg-l/FS/bj.html

 

On Sunday I played a recital on the 6-year-old Marcussen in the cathedral in Wesel on the lower Rhine. Nowhere near the same quality, I'm afraid. Sloppy voicing, slow electric couplers, non-functional slider motors and a very temperamental combination system - and worst of all, 60 stops in a case which has room for 45 at the most. An expensive mistake.

 

However - America not only has possibly the best organs being built today, it also has the worst.

 

Cheers

Barry

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Yes, indeed. The interesting thing is the wide range of styles evident in American organ building, which are not however slavishly copied but serve as models for flights of creativity and imagination.

 

<snip>

 

However - America not only has possibly the best organs being built today, it also has the worst.

 

Cheers

Barry

 

Barry is right.... we have a wide range of quality here in the USA. I've played organs of all kinds in my 42 years, and there are good, bad and mediocre in that lot. One thing most folks across the pond fail to realize about the USA is the staggering amount of LAND it covers - I can leave my house and drive east 2400km and be about in the middle of the country(!). What that means for organbuilding is that there is less tendency to have a "national style" (yes, I know the term "American Classic", but it is far from ubiquitous). There are regional tendencies, but ALWAYS exceptions to that.

 

We do have quite a number of fine builders, some of which are making VERY exciting instruments that are inspiring to play. We also have a fair number of older instruments that time has proven their worth... MM mentioned the fine old Skinners - when "unimproved" (read:left alone) by the Orgelbewewewewewegung crowd, they are among our finest musical treasures, and most English organists would feel quite at home on them, I think.

They do have some wonderful sounds in them - herewith a link:

http://evensongmusic.net/audio/GotchVaronAdeste.mp3

(14mb 192kbps)

or

http://evensongmusic.net/audio/LQ/GotchVaronAdeste.mp3

(2.96mb 32kbps)

 

~~~~

 

I've not played a Fritts, but I heard one in recital a number of years ago, and it was a stunning sound. It _was_ a north-German inspired, but had been built purposely in that style for a university setting (where there is also a fine romantic organ as well).

 

I'd mention also Dobson - I played a fine 3m tracker in Calvin College - console quite detached and action was still light and responsive (and the SOUND was wonderful!).

 

~~~~

 

We _do _ have our share of excessively large pipe organs - I think it's part of our national psyche to worship "bigger as better". Frankly, I've played very few organs over 100rks that were finished well... it seems the larger the organ, the more difficult it is to get it all properly finished B) Give me 60-70 at most over 3 or 4 manuals (with the correct stops on each manual so the LITERATURE can be played well!). I'd also just as soon forgo the obligatory Honk-en-chamade unless it is voiced well... most of them sound like a blast from a diesel train horn instead of a musical stop... [children run screaming in terror, pacemakers stop, elderly parishioners lose control of their... umm... (well, you get the picture) ]

 

~~~~

 

In the last 10 years, I have played some of the BEST organs I have ever heard, most of them rather newly built, some of them from US builders, some from across the pond (a fine Glatter-Götz comes to mind). Come to America - if you're in my neck of the woods (S. California) I'll show you around....

 

Cheers,

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I haven't actually seen or heard any organs in the US in the flesh, but I've heard from good authority that the top end of the organbuilding craft in the US is unbelievably good. The quality is absolutely stunning and hardly ever been rivalled. It is also said that some of the latest American offerings are unprecidentedly loud but it is clear that if you want the very best, the states is definately the place to go!!

 

I liked the sound clip: some wonderful sounds, as you say. Can you enlighten us which organ it is? Many thanks for posting it.

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Barry mentioned the Fritts organ at PLU in Tacoma.

VH will, I am sure, remember another organ by the same builder in the same city, where (IMHO) authenticity for its own sake was taken to extremes with counter-productive results. It would be interesting to hear his views.

(While he's at it, he might also like to comment on other good, and less good, examples of American organ-building that we have encountered over the last few years.)

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Barry mentioned the Fritts organ at PLU in Tacoma.

VH will, I am sure, remember another organ by the same builder in the same city, where (IMHO) authenticity for its own sake was taken to extremes with counter-productive results. It would be interesting to hear his views.

Ah, yes, this little jobby. Not my finest moment, I recall - I'll never get the hang of straight pedalboards. Actually I thought it was a rather fine instrument - very good at doing what it does, though you wouldn't want to be accompanying Howells on it.
(While he's at it, he might also like to comment on other good, and less good, examples of American organ-building that we have encountered over the last few years.)
I can certainly vouch that there are plenty of modest-sized instruments over there. The only downright bad one was a small IIP extension job by Reuter in Blowing Rock NC; the accompaniment to Britten's Jubilate sounded more like the squeaking mice in Noye's Fludde than an organ. One or two others have been undistinguished, notably a small IIP (Moller??) at St John's Episcopal, Olympia WA, but the vast majority have really been rather good if not excellent. Hardly any would fall into the behemoth category. Even the four-manuals have mostly had entirely reasonable specs by British standards. To our eyes they might sometimes seem extravagent for the size of church, but they do not sound that way - though they do often have a rather more hard-edged (even strident) tone than you would expect in England. As I think MM mentioned somewhere, the Skinners and Aeolian-Skinners have been exceptionally good and I greatly enjoyed the voicing of the three Austins I played in NH - one a typical American spec, the second rather Frenchified and the third a classical instrument (albeit on electro-pneumatic action).
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I haven't actually seen or heard any organs in the US in the flesh, but I've heard from good authority that the top end of the organbuilding craft in the US is unbelievably good. The quality is absolutely stunning and hardly ever been rivalled. It is also said that some of the latest American offerings are unprecidentedly loud but it is clear that if you want the very best, the states is definitely the place to go!!

 

I liked the sound clip: some wonderful sounds, as you say. Can you enlighten us which organ it is? Many thanks for posting it.

 

<chuckle>

 

Yes, we do have some loud beasts here....

 

I think also that some organists have the mistaken notion that Tutti means you must use every stop, even if the resulting sound pressure causes ears to bleed...

 

~~~

 

The organ in that recording was the E.M. Skinner at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Chicago, Illinois. It is about 57 ranks, but that's plenty. It's original Skinner except for an added Chamade (and maybe a 32' pedal reed, IIRC) The piece was arranged by a friend of mine, David Gotch.

 

Cheers,

 

Giwro

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The organ in that recording was the E.M. Skinner at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Chicago, Illinois. It is about 57 ranks, but that's plenty. It's original Skinner except for an added Chamade (and maybe a 32' pedal reed, IIRC)

The 32ft Bombarde was borrowed by Brett Milan from a nearby Casavant.

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So have we been listening to the real thing, or the Hauptwerk version? (DHM might say "both"!)

 

MM mentioned the fine old Skinners - when "unimproved" (read:left alone) by the Orgelbewewewewewegung crowd, they are among our finest musical treasures, and most English organists would feel quite at home on them, I think.
This English organist, at least, agrees wholeheartedly.
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I haven't actually seen or heard any organs in the US in the flesh, but I've heard from good authority that the top end of the organbuilding craft in the US is unbelievably good. The quality is absolutely stunning and hardly ever been rivalled. It is also said that some of the latest American offerings are unprecidentedly loud but it is clear that if you want the very best, the states is definately the place to go!!

 

I have never seen or heard any US organs in the flesh either, but with the advent of technology, YouTube provides a glimpse into the world of American organs. Just a quick search for "Skinner organ" came up with two good examples. To play the video in full screen mode, click on the bottom right corner of the video control bar.

 

 

Here is the text written by the person who posted the video:

 

The Organ at Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral was built by the Skinner Organ Company of Boston in 1931 as their Opus 820 and dedicated with great fanfare with a recital by Professor Palmer Christian of the University of Michigan, and a performance of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius. Ernest Skinner designed and oversaw the construction and installation of the organ at the Cathedral during his final years at the company he founded in 1901 before being forced out in 1936.

 

It is remarkable to think of all of the Skinner Organs that once were to be found in Toledo. However, with time and changing fashions, some people wanted to try to improve Skinner organs, but only managed to compromise their integrity. Mr. Skinner's organs are like the string instruments of Stradivarius; no improvements are needed! In the city of Toledo, after a time many of the "improved" and renovated organs were removed, leaving only two original Skinner Organs; the one at Rosary Cathedral and the newly restored organ at the Toledo Art Museum, Opus 603.

 

I first recorded Stuart Forster at Rosary Cathedral in 1998, and then later Todd Wilson and Ken Cowan. This organ is always a joy to visit, and the staff and clergy of the Cathedral are a joy to work with. This is a short video I made of Stephen Tharp recording the Rosary Cathedral organ on the night of August 31, 2006. The resulting CD will be a collection of much-loved hymns played on this organ. I hope you enjoy these video samples of the CD that will be issued in the winter of 2007. I'm certain that you will agree with me that this organ is truly an American treasure.

 

You will note better sound on these videos. I took the audio files from the sound I recorded for the CD and synchronized it with the video. I think you will appreciate the improvement. If you, my loyal and valued patrons, buy more of my Cds, this will allow me to buy a better camera and some lighting! I genuinely enjoy making these videos, especially for those of you who cannot share in the hair-raising thrill of hearing these spectacular instruments in person.

 

I am a firm believer in the majesty and beauty of the world's greatest pipe organs, and in the need to preserve and document them, as well as promote the incredibly gifted performers who know how to play them so effectively. These instruments and players deserve to be recognized, and I am pleased to serve as their advocate. With your help, we can assure the future of the great pipe organs of the world. My thanks to you for your continued support!

 

Visit the JAV Webstore at www.pipeorgancds.com; there you will find over 70 different titles of organ recordings from around the world

 

Now get ready to enjoy my latest video!

 

Joe Vitacco - JAV Recordings, Inc.

http://www.pipeorgancds.com

 

 

From the organist:

 

Tonight I finished a CD recording of hymns, both familiar and unfamiliar, at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Toledo, Ohio. This is the first full-length hymn disc that I have done, and having the opportunity to bring it into fruition on this particular Skinner organ made for an incredibly artistic result and a most memorable experience.

 

On this video, I play Comfort, comfort Ye my People and The Strife is O'er. The sound from the recording session itself is matched up here with the video made during actual takes. This will be my fourth disc for JAV Recordings, and my thirteenth CD recording-to-date. I am very grateful to Joe Vitacco and JAV for asking me to make this recording on such a rare, beautiful and noteworthy instrument.

 

Stephen Tharp

 

 

newhaven_woolseyskinner.jpg

 

Here is the text written by the person who posted the video:

 

The Newberry Memorial Organ in Woolsey Hall at Yale University is one of the most important pipe organs in the United States. Originally constructed by the Hutchings-Votey Company in 1902, entirely rebuilt and enlarged by J.W. Streere & Son Organ Company in 1915, and finally rebuilt and enlarged by the Skinner Organ Company in 1928, the instrument has remained virtually unchanged since that time. Martin Jean is the Director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) and is Professor of Organ at ISM and the School of Music. As a concert artist, Jean has performed widely throughout the United States and Europe and is known for his broad repertorial interests. He has won two of the most prestigious music prizes in the world: He was awarded first place at both the International Grand Prix de Chartres in 1986 and at the 1992 National Young Artists' Competition in Organ Performance. This video was filmed on a Saturday morning sometime ago by Joe Vitacco and edited together by Vic Ferrer. A full stop-list of this organ is available by going to http://www.thompson-allen.com/woolsey.html. A double CD of Professor Thomas Murray -- the University Organist at Yale - playing this organ with an audio narrated tour and a 72-page booklet on the organ is available going to http://jav-inc.stores.yahoo.net/thommurplayw1.html.

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So have we been listening to the real thing, or the Hauptwerk version? (DHM might say "both"!)

Sorry, I can't answer that one. You would need to ask "giwro".

However, if the 32ft reed appeared on the recording, that might rule out one possibility.

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Sorry, I can't answer that one. You would need to ask "giwro".

However, if the 32ft reed appeared on the recording, that might rule out one possibility.

 

 

<chuckle>

 

OK, I confess - this is the HW2 sampleset of the Skinner...

 

I usually refrain from mentioning the source of my recordings if they are "virtual", since the organ world has so many folks prejudiced against such things, and it often spoils the enjoyment of a piece if you are listening to see if it's "fake" rather than enjoying the music. I _have_ played Skinners "in the flesh" and I must say this sample set is a good representation of the sounds one would hear on a high-quality CD recording of a Skinner....

 

Here's another clip, this time strings vs. 1st Open Diapason (egads, I love these strings!)

http://www.evensongmusic.net/audio/LoveDivineBeecher.mp3

 

Enjoy!

 

Giwro

(Jonathan Orwig)

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  • 3 years later...

I see from the front page that Phillipp Klais has joined recently, so far unremarked on the Board.

 

I look forward to his first posting.

 

As a very infrequent poster, I hesitate to welcome Philipp to the Board, yet it seems to fall to me... willkommen!

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I see from the front page that Phillipp Klais has joined recently, so far unremarked on the Board.

 

I look forward to his first posting.

 

As a very infrequent poster, I hesitate to welcome Philipp to the Board, yet it seems to fall to me... willkommen!

 

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

 

 

I noticed that too, but hesitated.

 

I just had a vision of the world's organ-builders gathering on the Discussion Board like phantoms in the Harry Potter movies, and then swooping on our kind hosts without warning.

 

MM

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I'm sure that our kind hosts could look after themselves against a phalanx of phantom pipemakers.

- a welcome with a fanfare of chamades

- a dazzling display of frictionless suspended action

- a Messiaen of shimmering strings

 

Alas, on the internet, all must remain virtual.

(Do you think that 'a Messiaen' is the correct collective noun?) :D

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I'm sure that our kind hosts could look after themselves against a phalanx of phantom pipemakers.

- a welcome with a fanfare of chamades

- a dazzling display of frictionless suspended action

- a Messiaen of shimmering strings

 

Alas, on the internet, all must remain virtual.

(Do you think that 'a Messiaen' is the correct collective noun?) :D

 

 

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

 

 

Well it's better than a Rattle of Organists I suppose.....yes....a "Messiaen" of Organists sounds good.

 

How about a "Messiah" of Soloists?

 

MM

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How about a "Messiah" of Soloists?

 

Elevates them much too far up the pecking order... delusions of grandeur...

 

A "Walton" of trumpets

 

Ooh! on Orgelradio now...

Bewerking over gezang 299 (11:44)

Adriaan C.Schuurman 1904-1998

contains an interesting chorale prelude on "Sine Nomine"

available from a bookshop in Holland

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A correction to my earlier post, if anyone spotted it (I know at least one did). Although my earlier comments were important, I'd also like to welcome Philipp, and we all look forward to his contribution.

 

Jonathan

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