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New Beckerath At Marlborough College


riddler67

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However, I find it difficult to understand the thinking behind some of the design. Perhaps the voicing differs widely from the sounds normally associated with ranks of these names; although, if this is the case, perhaps it would be better to re-name the stops.

 

* In any case, this combination is available on the Positif clavier.

 

Now come along, you are far too intelligent to be so parochial. First of all, there is not really such a thing as a "sound normally associated with a name" - compare a Willis "Lieblich Gedackt" with one by Sauer, for example.

 

The mixture is probably 2' and in any case this is an instrument which is meant to gain completeness by coupling - no "Werkprinzip" or anything of that nonsense here. The traditional GO has been split up over two manuals in order to allow for more colour stops. The "Nasard" is often found on the HW of German organs too; the name being applied to any Quint stop not of principal scale (for example, even quite a narrow chimney flute, or a conical stop). The combination 8 (4) 2 2/3 is common.

 

This might be a perfect organ for Alain, if a bit small for some of the more splashy pieces.

 

Cheers

B

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Indeed, a rather strange instrument, but fun to see and compare (thanks for the link Pierre) - and the 'vision' of it stacked up against the West end something to behold! What is the luminous appendage embracing it around the middle? It is so Star Wars.

That 8 4 Quint is a delicious combination, and well voiced, one of the most moving given the right fingers and notes.

The differences between the House Organ and the Church perhaps explain a certain number of the aforementioned idiosyncrasies . Nomenclature can go adrift when transplanting specifications and organs. I think the extra Pedal reed is attached somewhere at the back to add oomph to the church situation - also the manual Reed. But oh! That Cymbale on the Récit - and in a home. That would sound just like the butler dropping the Aperitifs as he walked down those stairs. Perhaps another topic on the Board about whether Principals are for homes or not. (Have I seen a picture of an American house organ with chamades? Perhaps my ageing brain plays tricks on me.......)

 

Best wishes,

N

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As an historian I never "judge" a specification, I welcome it and try to understand.

 

It should be obvious we should not see the Gonzalez-Von Beckerath tradition

-because it is one- in the view of our own tastes.

These people created something distinct, it is up to us to search and understand

it.

Rather than a means "to play all the repertoire", I prefer to see these organs as

belonging to a style of their own; in this sense, the reference to Alain is quite

interesting. We may add Duruflé, Litaize, Messiaen...

Pierre

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As an historian I never "judge" a specification, I welcome it and try to understand.

 

It should be obvious we should not see the Gonzalez-Von Beckerath tradition

-because it is one- in the view of our own tastes.

These people created something distinct, it is up to us to search and understand

it.

Rather than a means "to play all the repertoire", I prefer to see these organs as

belonging to a style of their own; in this sense, the reference to Alain is quite

interesting. We may add Duruflé, Litaize, Messiaen...

Pierre

 

Yes, Pierre - but it needs to have a clear purpose. On an organ of this size, I would view three Nasards (at the expense of chorus stops, etc) as a luxury which I would be happy to forego.

 

If an instrument is not to have a clear sense of style - or to be 'good' at coping with at least some aspect of major repertoire, then what is it for? Is it just to satisfy an organ builder's desire to produce an unusual scheme - or is it an instrument on which it is possible convincingly to play beautiful music, as opposed to just dooding on three slightly similar Nasards?

 

I just wonder, that is all!

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The problem is: should any organ have a "clear purpose" to our eyes today,

then we would need to scrap 90% of the existing organs, the historical ones

in the first place.

Which comes first: the organ or the organist?

The heritage or the "needs"?

 

No simple questions indeed!

But the way we deal with them is nothing less than a

civilization issue.

 

Pierre

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The problem is: should any organ have a "clear purpose" to our eyes today,

then we would need to scrap 90% of the existing organs, the historical ones

in the first place.

Which comes first: the organ or the organist?

The heritage or the "needs"?

 

Pierre

 

I think you'll find that as no organ music was ever written without an organ in mind, it follows that all organs were made to play organ music. Therefore the two go hand in hand and I don't quite understand what the alternative is - eclecticism?

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The problem is: should any organ have a "clear purpose" to our eyes today,

then we would need to scrap 90% of the existing organs, the historical ones

in the first place.

Which comes first: the organ or the organist?

The heritage or the "needs"?

 

No simple questions indeed!

But the way we deal with them is nothing less than a

civilization issue.

 

Pierre

 

If, for example, one is thinking of a church organ (as opposed to a concert instrument), of course it should - normally balancing between the needs of liturgical accompaniment and the ability to cope with a reasonable amount of repertoire. If not, then arguably, at best, all one is left with is a curious instrument - and at worst, a scheme in a vaccuum.

 

Leaving aside questions of building a Caviallé-Coll copy, or a replica FHW, I think that an instrument needs a clear identity - without becoming merely a bland representation of some firm's house-style.

 

I do not agree that it would be necessary to scrap ninety percent of existing instruments. Certainly, many instruments in this country have a recognisable identity - and a clear purpose. Whilst there are a good number which seem equally ill at ease with both service and recital use, there are a considerable number of instruments which manage both with aplomb. To take even the FHW at Truro - there is a great deal of music which can effectively be played on this instrument - in my view, rather more so than the scheme quoted earlier. Despite my own preference for not liking the larger-scale works of Bach played at Truro, this instrument appears to have a more generally useful scheme. I am unconvinced that the organ music of Duruflé, Alain and Messiaen requires three Nasards and some fractional-length enclosed reeds in order to be performed effectively. It is interesting to note the Duruflé occasionally calls for a separate Doublette on both the G.O. and Positif (in addition to mixtures).

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I think you'll find that as no organ music was ever written without an organ in mind, it follows that all organs were made to play organ music. Therefore the two go hand in hand and I don't quite understand what the alternative is - eclecticism?

 

Of course they all were, no doubt.

The problem is, the "proper" way to play organ music

changes from time to time; what we think correct today

will be "wrong" tomorrow (and correct again later, etc).

All generations believed to "know the Truth", fact is,

we know very little.

 

Pierre

 

 

"a scheme in a vaccuum."

(Quote)

 

Aaaah, that is interesting!

Saint-Denis, for example, was just that, Görlitz too.

We should dare for such vacuums, while preserving

what we have from the past. Only then would future generations

remind of something from this second Middle-age we are now

living at the beginning of the 21st century, a quite barbarian period.

Pierre

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Of course they all were, no doubt.

The problem is, the "proper" way to play organ music

changes from time to time; what we think correct today

will be "wrong" tomorrow (and correct again later, etc).

All generations believed to "know the Truth", fact is,

we know very little.

 

Pierre

 

I would venture a guess that the amount of organ music about where the composer has either written with a specific instrument in mind, or has been extremely specific about registration, is now in the majority. A hundred years ago this probably wasn't the case. I think that should have some bearing on whether we choose to go the style-specific route or the characterful-but-general purpose route, as well as the function the organ has to perform.

 

Organ designers working in a vacumn like this, and saying we shouldn't be beholden to the music, are the cause of most of the neo-baroque excrescence you so abhor. That's what I find so difficult to understand about you - I'm not quite sure what you do actually like, if you don't like neo-anything and eclectic instruments, but also fight vigorously when anyone suggests that some part of a varied body of music ought to be a basis for designing a suitable and stylistically identifiable instrument.

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"a scheme in a vaccuum."

(Quote)

 

... Aaaah, that is interesting!

Saint-Denis, for example, was just that ...

Pierre

 

Surely this instrument was revolutionary and designed by its maker to be more adept at playing a wider repertoire than was its predecessor - leaving aside questions of changes in perception of 'historical accuracy'. It is interesting to note that the present Titulaire, Pierre Pincemaille, has felt it necessary to add but one stop (a 1p Piccolo on the Positif). I have a number of recordings of this instrument, on which is played a wide repertoire, together with several excellent improvisations. The organ and its guardian manage superbly.

 

http://www.pierrepincemaille.com/ - the stop-list can be found on one of the links. Apart from the lack of a string and an undulating rank, this organ lacks little in order to be able convincingly to present repertoire embracing the French Classical period, through to the great symphonic works. It is also versatile enough to be able to cope with the works of more recent composers, such as Messiaen. It does, in my view, also play Bach rather nicely.

 

A vaccuum? No, sorry, Peirre - not this organ!

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Let us go back to the new Von Beckerath organ now.

 

"I take it you've never met our Bursar???! To ask for one new organ was risky, to ask for two would have been ill-advised, rash, dare one say lunacy?"

(Quote)

 

They did it in Arnstadt, though, in order to reconstitute the Wender organ Bach played, while

preserving the big post-romantic Steinmeyer, ending up with two extremely valuable organs,

and an example of true, genuine expertise.

See here:

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

And here, at the bottom of the page, the Specifications of the two organs:

http://www.preller-gottfried.de/html/bachkirche.htm

 

Of course this is not possible everywhere, no doubt; but it is an ideal that could be aimed at

"whenever/ wherever possible".

As Von Beckerath belongs to an already long tradition, with firm roots, in a kind of eclectic

style with an accent on the north-german tradition, maybe this organ should be seen as

a Beckerath, a modern organ, not a "device for playing all schools perfectly"; a piece of art, not a device (that's the correct definition for "toasters").

In France this kind of organ has indeed been used to play Bach, Buxtehude etc, less for the french baroque, a few in Franck etc; but where it revealed itself, was when modern composers of their time were played on them; there are no better mediums for Alain -as mentionned already by someone else here-, Messiaen, Duruflé, among others.

We know today a Gonzalez Chorus Mixture, for example, has absolutely nothing in common with any baroque one like Bach or Couperin knew. They were vaguely inspired by Schnitger -that is, nor Couperin nor Bach's organ-. But hear what Messiaen's music made of it!

So: this is a style of its own, above all. If it permits eclectic recitals -and that such organs can do; not a complete Clérambaut Suite, but at least parts of it, which is enough in a Recital- the best.

But it can do even better...

 

Pierre

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Let us go back to the new Von Beckerath organ now.

 

"I take it you've never met our Bursar???! To ask for one new organ was risky, to ask for two would have been ill-advised, rash, dare one say lunacy?"

(Quote)

 

They did it in Arnstadt, though...

 

Pierre, I thought you wanted to get back to the new Von Beckerath???

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This is an Open Invitation to any interested organ enthusiasts to come to Marlborough on Saturday 24 February 2007 to meet, play and explore our Beckerath.

 

I suggest that we meet in the College Chapel at 2.00pm. I am happy to provide more detailed directions/instructions if required.

 

If you would like to join us I would be grateful if you could contact me on tjwr@marlboroughcollege.org so that I can get an idea of numbers. I hope that this can be a friendly, interesting day. No doubt it will provoke reactions and opinions, but I would be grateful if we could keep the day non-combative! We're very proud of our new instrument and welcome the opportunity to share it with other musicians. Discussions on this board can become quite heated - and while I quite accept that one invites criticism in the course of informed debate I would hope that this day can be viewed as more of a day of celebration and discovery.

 

I can read what you really think afterwards on this board!!

 

Finally, a further reminder of the Simon Preston opening recital at 8.00pm on Sunday 4 Feb, free admission but contact musicsec@marlboroughcollege.org for a ticket.

 

Tim

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
This is an Open Invitation to any interested organ enthusiasts to come to Marlborough on Saturday 24 February 2007 to meet, play and explore our Beckerath.

 

I suggest that we meet in the College Chapel at 2.00pm. I am happy to provide more detailed directions/instructions if required.

 

If you would like to join us I would be grateful if you could contact me on tjwr@marlboroughcollege.org so that I can get an idea of numbers. I hope that this can be a friendly, interesting day. No doubt it will provoke reactions and opinions, but I would be grateful if we could keep the day non-combative! We're very proud of our new instrument and welcome the opportunity to share it with other musicians. Discussions on this board can become quite heated - and while I quite accept that one invites criticism in the course of informed debate I would hope that this day can be viewed as more of a day of celebration and discovery.

 

I can read what you really think afterwards on this board!!

 

Finally, a further reminder of the Simon Preston opening recital at 8.00pm on Sunday 4 Feb, free admission but contact musicsec@marlboroughcollege.org for a ticket.

 

Tim

 

 

Dear Tim,

Thankyou for this splendid invitation. Would that all possessors of new organs extended such a brave, open and good-hearted invite! I would love to come down, it remains to be seen whether I will manage such a distance with church duties back in the frozen north on the following day...but I will certainly try.

 

I'm sure you will get a good number of us. That in itself could be interesting, I know five or so regular members of this forum by sight and more than twenty by electronic communication of one kind or another. Seriously, name tags could come in useful!

 

I don't think you will need referees or special constables on standby.

 

Best wishes,

Paul D.

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Now come along, you are far too intelligent to be so parochial. First of all, there is not really such a thing as a "sound normally associated with a name" - compare a Willis "Lieblich Gedackt" with one by Sauer, for example.

 

Indeed - but I am fairly certain that there is rather more difference between a Double Trumpet and a Ranquette than in your comparison above!

 

. The "Nasard" is often found on the HW of German organs too; the name being applied to any Quint stop not of principal scale (for example, even quite a narrow chimney flute, or a conical stop).

Cheers

B

 

However, this is not usually at the expense of more useful chorus registers. Particularly when there is a brace of Nasards on the other two claviers.

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This is an Open Invitation to any interested organ enthusiasts to come to Marlborough on Saturday 24 February 2007 to meet, play and explore our Beckerath.

 

Excellent stuff. If anyone's coming from south of Salisbury (i.e. London to Devon) then I can fit 3 passengers in comfort and 4 who are friendly. Subject to weddings and getting the boss's permission we can probably look over Romsey and other local organs in the morning, go for a pub lunch then be knocking on Marlborough's door on the stroke of 2. Let me know by PM.

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This is an Open Invitation to any interested organ enthusiasts to come to Marlborough on Saturday 24 February 2007 to meet, play and explore our Beckerath.

 

I suggest that we meet in the College Chapel at 2.00pm. I am happy to provide more detailed directions/instructions if required.

 

If you would like to join us I would be grateful if you could contact me on tjwr@marlboroughcollege.org so that I can get an idea of numbers. I hope that this can be a friendly, interesting day. No doubt it will provoke reactions and opinions, but I would be grateful if we could keep the day non-combative! We're very proud of our new instrument and welcome the opportunity to share it with other musicians. Discussions on this board can become quite heated - and while I quite accept that one invites criticism in the course of informed debate I would hope that this day can be viewed as more of a day of celebration and discovery.

 

I can read what you really think afterwards on this board!!

 

Finally, a further reminder of the Simon Preston opening recital at 8.00pm on Sunday 4 Feb, free admission but contact musicsec@marlboroughcollege.org for a ticket.

 

Tim

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This is an Open Invitation to any interested organ enthusiasts to come to Marlborough on Saturday 24 February 2007 to meet, play and explore our Beckerath.

 

I suggest that we meet in the College Chapel at 2.00pm. I am happy to provide more detailed directions/instructions if required.

 

If you would like to join us I would be grateful if you could contact me on tjwr@marlboroughcollege.org so that I can get an idea of numbers. I hope that this can be a friendly, interesting day. No doubt it will provoke reactions and opinions, but I would be grateful if we could keep the day non-combative! We're very proud of our new instrument and welcome the opportunity to share it with other musicians. Discussions on this board can become quite heated - and while I quite accept that one invites criticism in the course of informed debate I would hope that this day can be viewed as more of a day of celebration and discovery.

 

I can read what you really think afterwards on this board!!

 

Finally, a further reminder of the Simon Preston opening recital at 8.00pm on Sunday 4 Feb, free admission but contact musicsec@marlboroughcollege.org for a ticket.

 

Tim

 

What a magnificent achievement the new Chapel organ is. I was fortunate enough to attend both the Festal Evensong and Recital. Despite sitting well down the Chapel the organ sounded clear and precise throughout which the old HN&B would not have managed. Yes there was an unfortunate and persistent cypher but this did not marr the occasion, nor Simon Preston's performance which was as electric and exciting as I recall his previous appearance was in 1965. He declared the Beckerath a very fine instrument indeed and a complete joy to play. I would have thought that for the player, placing the console back under organ case would have been a retrograde step but SP said that Beckerath had managed to make the instrument speak clearly to player and congregation alike. I know I have a thing about pedal quints (a la StLaurensKerk Alkmaar) so cannot quite understand why a 10 2/3 stop was not included. Was there not a 5' quint on the HN&B?

 

Greatly looking forward to the Open day on the 24th Feb. Thanks for making this possible.

 

Peter H

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Having just returned from Marlborough College, on behalf of my guest (Chris) and myself, may I thank our hosts, the two Ian's, for their hospitality and allowing us to see, hear and play their magnificent new Beckereth organ.

 

It is an instrument of quality which already has its own personilty and character, something often lacking in new instruments these days despite the fine quality of the workmanship. Having also attended the Inaugural Service and Recital, I found that it was well able to produce the right tone colours for a variety of different periods of organ music, both for the voluntaries and in recital use as well as accompanying the excellent choir and leading the full congregation. I know the eclectic specification and the use of some old stops has been criticised and of course everyone is entitled to and will have their own opinion, but I feel that the voicer has been able to bring all these elements together and has produced a unified and versatile instrument.

 

It was a delightful idea to bring together many members of the board and good to meet old and new friends and we also enjoyed some fine playing! Perhaps more such visits could be arranged from time to time?

 

Best wishes

Colin

 

 

 

 

I see I should have said Tim and Ian

Apologies!

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I'd also like to add thanks to Ian and Tim for their hospitality yesterday. The organ really is worth hearing and playing, it has character, integrity and is beautifully made. Congratulations!

Meeting and hearing other organists play was also enjoyable: David Coram effortlessly and sylishly playing the first movement of JSB's trio Sonata no. 6, whilst changing the stops to hear new combinations every few bars, and not in his organ shoes, had to be seen to be believed! I certainly intend to go back and hear this organ again in the future.

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David Coram effortlessly and sylishly playing the first movement of JSB's trio Sonata no. 6, whilst changing the stops to hear new combinations every few bars, and not in his organ shoes, had to be seen to be believed!

 

Likewise the Bach from Paul Derrett, the Gade from Vox Humana and your Gigout Paul!

 

AJJ

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Likewise the Bach from Paul Derrett, the Gade from Vox Humana and your Gigout Paul!

 

AJJ

 

 

 

I would like to publicly thank David Coram in addition to the two kind staff from Marlborough College for making yesterday a really splendid day out. Having revelled in the superlative tone at Romsey Abbey in the morning, frankly, I was expecting to be disappointed by the von Beckerath in the afternoon. I most certainly wasn't! It is an instrument of both unique character and real style and I think everyone involved has reason to be delighted with what has been achieved.

 

In particular, I relished the warmth and backbone that this new instrument has. If we have not quite gone full circle since Romsey (1858) this instrument is certainly a most sympathetic instrument for both baroque and romantic music - this blend of styles has often been attempted but rarely achieved this well.

 

 

Changing the subject slightly:

The afternoon was really excellently supported; surely a hint that we should try this sort of thing again. Here's one very strong vote in favour! .... the von Beckerath aside, I reckon I might have made one or two new friends yesterday, which was worth the trip on its own.

 

The idea of interested parties from this forum gathering occasionally to put a new instrument through its paces seems a very good one. BIOS does this sort of thing in its inimitable way, of course, but I think yesterday's more informal set-up seemed to work well too. [This time, the idea actually came from Marlborough.] Do we wait for invitations... do we try (as individuals) to offer ready-packaged days in our home areas off our own bats?

 

Ideas for the future....?

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Just a quick note to add my thanks as well to Ian and Tim for giving up their Saturday afternoon to let us all crawl around the organ (literally). It was a hugely enjoyable experience and it was good to meet some of the faces behind the names on this forum. I can only echo what everyone else has said about the instrument. It makes a wonderful sound whether in Baroque music or Romantic. Even the old Tuba has been made to fit like a glove - amazing! I feel sure that this will quickly come to be recognised as one of the "significant" instruments in the country.

 

Also many thanks to David Coram for his hospitality. The Romsey Abbey organ really is something very special.

 

It all made for a long day, but, boy, was it worth it!

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