PipeChat Digest #1570 - Wednesday, August 23, 2000
 
An OHS Boston Weekend
  by <ManderUSA@aol.com>
Re: PianoDisc
  by <OrganMD@aol.com>
Re: PC Organ Stoplist Advice (Long!)
  by <MickBerg@aol.com>
Re: PC Organ Stoplist Advice
  by <MickBerg@aol.com>
RE: PC Organ Stoplist Advice
  by "Ian B. McLean" <solotibia@bigpond.com>
Re: PC Organ Stoplist Advice (Long!)
  by "Paul F. Stapel" <pstapel@stny.rr.com>
 


(back) Subject: An OHS Boston Weekend From: <ManderUSA@aol.com> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 02:00:37 EDT   After a fairly energetic and busy Friday, the prospect of a somewhat more relaxed convention weekend seemed a good one, and I rather took advantage = of the more relaxed schedule possibilities. Saturday began with Jonathan Ambrosino's lecture entitled: Ernest M. Skinner & G. Donald Harrison, Retrospective and Review. I had heard Jonathan do something akin to this = at the Denver OHS Convention, and while knowing that much will have been = added to his research by now, I nonetheless felt I needed to continue my policy = of catching up by missing the lectures. Jonathan is President of the Society, =   bringing to us a distinguished background in both communications and organbuilding, and he is making his strengths very much felt throughout = the organization.   Therefore, for me, the first concert of the day was that of Richard Hill = at First Parish in Arlington, one of the truly great recitals of the = convention, on one of its very best organs - an 1870 Hook (opus 529) of fifteen stops, =   moved into First Parish's fine modern building from a church in = Philadelphia. I actually wrote on the top of my program: "This organ rocks, and so does this organist!" We began with a hymn that rather set the tone for the rest = of the program - "Stand up, stand up for Jesus," to the tune Webb. Well supported by the organ(ist), we filled the place with sound, and it bears remembering that we were only one third of the convention, as were divided =   for the early afternoon. The organ is tucked in a corner in the front of = the church, and has facades on two sides, and the whole thing resonates like = one big soundboard - it really is rich and full, and beautiful besides. Worthy = of note was the fact that the previous day, we had been lectured by one of = the recitalists before the hymn on the subject of Amens, and how they were now =   considered "declasse." Sorry about the accent-challenged Internet. Well, = this was going to be a program of the good old way of doing things, meaning = good organs, good acoustics, good music, and good solid playing, so just for = fun, we had a good, solid, AMEN. The Lord won't mind one bit - trust me.   On my own personal scale of taste, which may be irrelevant to anyone else, =   the first piece, the Triumphal March of Dudley Buck (Spoonerize again) is just above the centerline of acceptance, on the good side just a bit, but that spirited if questionable stuff can really take on goodness in the = hands of a strong and sure player with spirit to match, so the preformance = really was good fun. We then heard what I believe Richard said was the only organ =   piece by Amy Beach, a lovely work called "Prelude on an Old Folk Tune," = very Irish sounding, I thought. The next piece, Richard suggested, was the kind = of thing that would keep a congregation around for the postlude; Toccatina by =   George E. Whiting (1840-1923). The beginning was a bit reminiscent of the Lemmens Fanfare.   This program was developing into a clean sweep - not one piece I have ever =   heard before, or even heard of!! Next, David the King, based on a theme of =   William Billings, by Gardner Read - a lament on the death of Absalom. Finally, the grand finale, Allegro comodo, from Suite in D by Arthur = Foote. Foote was from Salem Mass., on the water, and Richard suggested that the = work is redolent of the sea, and much like a schooner in a fresh breeze, moving =   right along without ceasing. This work might have suffered from a lesser performance, but there was nothing lesser about what we heard - a great ending, to much applause and a quick stand up!   On to Follen Community Church, the oldest church in Lexington, boasting as =   one of its ministers Ralph Waldo Emerson. What a beautiful place and beautiful instrument, both to look at and to listen to. E. & G.G. Hook = Opus 466 of 1869 was originally in a church in Stoneham, but was given as a = gift and moved to Follen Church in 1995. This was my first chance to hear Erik Suter, of whose adventures and successes I have heard through a number of mutual friends. Erik, with degrees from both Oberlin and Yale, is now Assistant Organist and Choirmaster at Washington National Cathedral. He = began his program with another fine and accessible work by Dan Pinkham, "Festive =   March" from "Music for a Quiet Sunday." This was commissioned by the = church to celebrate the instrument. We then heard the Mendelssohn Third Sonata, = and in the Andante Tranquilo, Erik used the Great 16' Bourdon up an octave, a most attractive stop. He had warned us to listen for it. Next, the = Sweelinck "Variations on Balletto del granduca," for which organbuilder John Bishop operated the hand pump, which really did make a noticeable difference. The =   wind was rather gentle and supple. Erik chose to end quietly with the Paul =   Manz "Aria," which I first heard played by Tim Smith at The Riverside = Church for a group I had taken to hear the Riverside organ. The piece stayed with =   me, and Erik has now made me realize I must buy and learn it (the second = does not always follow the first). The Melodia was the solo stop, living up to = its name, and toward the end of the piece, we heard it an octave up, where it = was just totally ravishing. The final hymn: Come down, O Love Divine (Down Ampney), in which we got to wallow in a harmony verse, ending then in = unison to a Bruce Neswick reharmonization. At hymn's end, Erik launched into a = quite cathedral-like improvisation on Down Ampney which sent us all out very cheerfully indeed. Erik is a very fine player, and a modest and pleasant = man.   Sometimes food claims a place amongst the list of OHS Convention memories. = On this Saturday evening, we had an example of this, and what an example! At 5:30, in the beautiful evening light, we boarded a large and very fast = boat for Thompson Island, the history of which is complex and off topic here, other than to say it is a quite large, hilly, and scenic place from which, = in the right spot, one neither see nor sense the presence of the big city so near. I have been to one clambake in my life, a small, private affair, memorable for the wonderful seafood I love and for good company. This was this experience writ large. My goodness, there was no end to the wonderful =   food. There were various salad things, baked beans, a wonderful piece of steak, a large pile of steamed clams (O Rapture) and an enormous lobster = on a separate plate (O Rapture Doubled). We were seated in a great tent, with = some outside places for those who enjoy Mosquitos. They clearly like organists = a whole lot - the affection was not returned! This is the kind of stuff the =   OHS tries to do at each convention - some extra pleasant touch - and it = was much appreciated. At the end, we hiked down to the dock through the cool darkness, and after a bit of a wait, our boat appeared to take us back to = the mainland, giving us a gorgeous moonlit ride back to Boston Harbor - no tea = in evidence! At this convention, as at others, the day ends in the exhibit = hall, where there is a bar, much good conversation about the day's events, or = about other conventioneers! Lots to say on both subjects!   Sunday morning, the Annual Meeting of the Society was scheduled for 8:30. Achieving a quorum of the full membership of the OHS is required for doing =   any binding business, which means that a large number of those attending = the convention are needed at this meeting. It speaks of the devotion of the membership that I have never been at one of these meetings that was less = than really well attended. There are reports from all the committees carrying = on the work of the Society, including the Historic Organs Citation Committee, =   the superb OHS Archives in a new home in Princeton, the Biggs Fellowship Committee, the Convention Committee, the Publications Committee, and so = much more. At this convention, about a half-dozen plaques were presented to churches that have recognized the historic significance and musical importance of their instruments, and have continued to maintain them properly. This recognition, plus the very presence of several hundred musicians in their church coming to hear the instrument, sends a strong message of support and encouragement. The Biggs Fellowship is a great program, and its ability to assist interested people in attending a convention, when they might not otherwise be able to do so, has been = greatly enhanced by a major gift from the estate of Peggy Biggs, the wife of E. Power, who died recently. This year, our convention has been enriched by = the presence of four Biggs Fellows: Daniel W. Hopkins of Lockeport, Nova = Scotia, Ted Kiefer of Franklinville, NJ, Tony Kupina of Montreal, Quebec, and = Daniel B. Sanez of Hollywood, CA. A visit to the OHS Archives in Princeton finds = you in a place where you know you could happily stay for days on end, = exploring the amazing riches, holdings unequaled by any other resource anywhere in = the world. Most of the important books about many aspects of our instrument = were written with help from visits to the Archives. Many have studied there = helped by one of the research grants available through OHS. The Archives were bursting at the seams in the old space in the Westminster Choir College Library, and through gifts from business and arts organizations and individuals, the sum of $85,000 was collected to make possible the move to =   new and spacious quarters. Confident in the knowledge that OHS is = important to all its members, important enough that they are willing to help the organization financially over and above the membership fees, a new fund = has been established and announced at this year's annual meeting. This = endowment fund will help stabilize the finances of the organization, and enable it = to expand its work in a number of areas where money has been a bit tight. The =   goal is a half-million dollars, and amazingly, a small group of officers = and close friends of the Society has already pledged the sum of $58,000. I = hope anyone reading this who is not a member of OHS will consider now joining. Try: < www.organsociety.org >. By the way, next summer's convention will = be in Winston-Salem, NC from June 21-28.   On this Sunday afternoon, there were some opportunities to visit Cambridge =   organs which I already knew, and also the astonishing beauties of Mount Auburn Cemetery, which for American organists and organbuilders, might be = a rough equivalent to an Englishman visiting Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. Some recitals were played in Cambridge, and some churches held = special musical events for conventiners. I am afraid I chose to stay close to the hotel to write, to read, and even to nap a bit in some catch-up sleep = before the great evening event, a concert about which I almost fear to write, so controversial was it. Catching all the buzz on the walk back to the hotel, =   and in the exhibit room later, there seemed to be no agreement whatever = about the instrument, the player, her registrations, the music she chose - even what she wore! That Cherry Rhodes is the consummate concert artist can not = be in dispute. Nor can one deny the historicity and significance and = (arguably) beauty of the enormous 1952 AEolian-Skinner organ, much upgraded and = changed both mechanically and tonally over the years, but still bearing the stamp = of the makers, working under consultant Larry Phelps. Beyond that, I heard = those things that I thought I rather liked being roundly condemned by some, and those things that I thought I did not like being roundly praised by = others. If nothing else, the organ is a great amusement. There is much to gaze = upon, with all manner of pipes mounted in all kinds of arrangements. There is nothing to suggest the historic structure of the Pipe Organ, perhaps even less so than in some of the exposed organs of Papa Holtkamp. Looking at those, you usually knew what was where. Not so here in the First Church of =   Christ, Scientist, known familiarly as The Mother Church. The great heaps = of pipework are not identifiable without some sort of guidance. The exposed pipework speaks into an enormous space, seating about eight thousand people, and amazingly, it projects fairly well, coming to the listener's ear, I think, with the aid of the various domed shapes in the building. It is capable of gentleness and also of bombast, all sounding to my ears just a = bit on the thin side, and looking at the pipework, one does have the = impression of thin. I am sure I will pay for this in some way, but I have to say that = at the end of the first piece, a large plenum with tons of mixture ranks in = play caused me to say that I thought it all sounded incredibly electronic.   Quickly changing the subject, the program (12 pieces, only two of which I = had ever heard) began with a piece that made use of the spacious layout of the =   organ, a work by Frank Ticheli (b. 1958) dedicated in its organ = arrangement to Cherry Rhodes. Pacific Fanfare (1999) began very softly and finally did =   build up to live up to its name, or our expectations of its name, = exploring the many reeds of various volumes on this instrument. To me, quite an interesting work. This was followed by the Sweelinck Bergamasca, using = what is called the Continuo division of the organ. This certainly was possessed = of no intimacy, which I think is wanted by this music. I did not know the "Deuxieme Legende" of Bonnet, a beautiful work I am glad to have heard. = Then, from the Vierne "Pieces de Fantaisie," Impromptu, a terrifically fast and difficult work played with seemingly no effort whatever. Gabriel Dupont (1878-to 1914 - living only 36 years) was an organ student of Widor. We = heard Meditation. Before the intermission, we heard a work by a Yugoslav = composer: Deszo d'Antalffy-Zsiross (1885-1945), who studied, among others, with Max Reger. "Sportive Fauns" was dedicated to Marcel Dupre.   After Intermission, we sang our obligatory hymn, "I love thy way of = freedom, Lord" to a Hubert Parry tune, "Heavenward," which I had not heard. The accompaniment was unusual, being almost a gentle wash of sound much in the =   manner of some English Psalm accompaniments, very much in the background, = and from where I was sitting, quite indistinct, making it quite hard to get = any leadership from the organ. The activity was not a great success, but there =   were some that very much liked it, opposed to others who thought it made = it clear that Cherry Rhodes does not play in church. We then heard Four = Pieces for the Mass of the late 18th, early 19th century Spanish composer, Jose Lidon. I well remember his Sonata on the First Tone (for Harpsichord or = Organ with Trompeta Real) bursting into our world via a recording from St. = John's College, Cambridge, showing off the then new en chamade Trumpet. The = second of the four pieces we heard was very reminiscent of that Sonata, almost = like an upside down version of it. Fun stuff, and the final of the four pieces, =   Allegro, made use of some wonderfully blazing reeds from somewhere in the organ.   Clarence Mader was a well-loved California organist, composer, and = teacher. "The Afternoon of a Toad" left me rather cold, I am afraid, contrived, and = to me, simply not humorous, as it was, I think, meant to be. The final work = on the program is, I feel, a work of great importance. Jiri Ropek (b. 1922 in =   Prague) wrote Variations on "Victimae Paschali Laudes" in 1963, and it was =   featured by Ropek in his first recital tour of England in that year. There =   are eight sections to the work, each with its own verse of the Sequence, = and we were given the text of the eight parts.   Whatever misgivings people might have had about the concert, at the end of =   the Ropek, there was a spontaneous and essentially unanimous standing ovation, and it kept going long enough that it was clear an encore was needed. We heard the lovely and quiet "Salve Festa Dies" by Marius Walter, =   about whom I know nothing. Hailing the festival day was a very gentle = affair, but beautiful. And thus ended Sunday.   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com    
(back) Subject: Re: PianoDisc From: <OrganMD@aol.com> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 02:05:09 EDT   The model with MIDI runs about $7,000 installed here in Salt Lake City. I = do not know what they go for in other parts of the country.   There is also a similar unit built by Baldwin.   Bill  
(back) Subject: Re: PC Organ Stoplist Advice (Long!) From: <MickBerg@aol.com> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 02:56:51 EDT   Thanks for your comments, DesertBob. Very Interesting. I'll put this on Pipechat so everyone can absorb your wisdom.   Today the Pedal Lieblich got booted out to make way for a 16' harpsichord. = I always wanted a harpsichord, and now I have a two-manual and pedal one!   Swell-wise, certainly I will replace the Salicet with a 4' Principal. And yes, the Regal could certainly give way to a Mixture. The only reason to actually swap things is to preserve the engraved drawknobs that I have. Anything can be anything sound-wise.   Great; ( I mean The Great...) we're in agreement with the Larigot and the Nazard changing places. I was well on the way to doing that one. The Great =   tremulant has made way for a nice Cornet V.   Choir; Ehrzahler is one of the samples I don't have. The other one is = Chimes. Where can I get a good Chimes Soundfont? I do have a Tierce, the stop name = is Terz. Maybe you missed it.   Echo; the Trem for the Vox Humana is built into the sample. Very strong = and very fast. Anyway, the 8' and 4' Harpsichords are on the Echo, as they can = be coupled to the Great and Choir to give me my two-manual harpsichord. So = I'm all out of drawknobs on the Echo. The Fern Flute (yeah, really........) and other quiet Echo stops could be = put through antiphonal speakers. I can just pan some stops left, and some = right, and position either the left or right speaker at the other end of the = room. The possibilities are endless!   Thanks a lot, Mick Berg.  
(back) Subject: Re: PC Organ Stoplist Advice From: <MickBerg@aol.com> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 02:56:58 EDT   Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. See the notes I made in my reply = to DesertBob's post. One of the very cool things about the PC Organ project = is the ease with which things can be moved about! And I didn't make one thing =   clear, the Vox Humana sample is already very well tremmed, so that's why I = am happy to lose the Echo Tremulant. Tremulants soak up a lot of the = computer's resources, so I'm very willing to get rid of them! Mick Berg.  
(back) Subject: RE: PC Organ Stoplist Advice From: "Ian B. McLean" <solotibia@bigpond.com> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 17:39:12 +1000   >Tremulants soak up a lot of the >computer's >resources,   Which I believe is but one reason why the "digital" TPO's before the most current batch couldn't hold a candle to the analogue instruments of old in this area (like the Rodgers 340).    
(back) Subject: Re: PC Organ Stoplist Advice (Long!) From: "Paul F. Stapel" <pstapel@stny.rr.com> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 04:06:59 +0100   Mick You will find that good chimes are almost impossible to re-produce without incredible amounts of memory to handle the tens of thousands of per second samples to make them effective. > > Choir; Ehrzahler is one of the samples I don't have. The other one is Chimes. > Where can I get a good Chimes Soundfont?   Paul Stapel, Binghamton,