PipeChat Digest #1286 - Wednesday, March 1, 2000
 
Re: Too much stop information
  by "Robert Horton" <gemshorn@ukans.edu>
Re: Stops and how to handle 'em
  by "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net>
specifications
  by "Carlo Pietroniro" <concert_organist@hotmail.com>
Re: Stops and how to handle 'em
  by <Quilisma@socal.rr.com>
Holtkamps
  by <Quilisma@socal.rr.com>
Re: Stops and how to handle 'em
  by <Quilisma@socal.rr.com>
Re: specifications
  by "Douglas A Campbell" <dougcampbell@juno.com>
European and American organs
  by <Quilisma@socal.rr.com>
 



(back) Subject: Re: Too much stop information From: "Robert Horton" <gemshorn@ukans.edu> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 23:24:26 -0600   Quilisma@socal.rr.com wrote: > Yeah, but it would be NICE to have a little HELP ... Bud, That's why we have ears! Perhaps I approach the instrument differently,= but all these silly names just serve as a very rough guide and are essentiall= y meaningless beyond the vaguest associations. When presented with a new s= top on a foreign instrument, the nomenclature might get you into the ballpark= , but in the end you have to use your ears and judge for yourself. The only conceivable exception is the French Classic organ, videlicet th= e Grands-Orgues de Poitiers. The uniformity of disposition and tonal palet= te during the Grand Siecle make (made) it possible to sit down at any instru= ment COLD and draw what you want. Composers knew this and were very precise a= bout registration instructions.   > on an organ of any size you DO need to > be able to differentiate between the basic types of flute stops, to wit= : <snip> Says who? One needs to differentiate between different sounds, but shou= ldn't musicians be using their ears instead of their eyes? The word "Trompette= " occurs no fewer than eight times in Cavaill=E9-Coll's specification for S= t. Denis. He obviously felt no need to elaborate beyond that, if the musici= an wanted to know more he (sorry ladies) would draw the stop and listen. Each organist begins his or her study on a different instrument. We all approach the bench with a radically diverse range of preconceptions about particular stop names. Different builders have widely disparate opinions= over what makes a good chimney flute. Even individual builders (particularly = the large factory gigs) produce drastically different stops bearing the same = name within their own oeuvre! Your idea of a Gedackt is completely different from mine and those of everybody else on the list. Since the process of "getting acquainted" wi= th a new instrument inevitably involves a LOT of trial and error (Bruce can te= stify to the amount of time Gloria and I spent on his bench registering our due= t concert in Gainesville), why even bother the organist with such designati= ons? Finally, how many instruments are large enough to merit such distinctive names? Most organs sport only one 8' Flute per division. The Atlantic C= ity behemoth, with ten 8' Principals on the Great alone, certainly merits SOM= E distinguishing terminology--but a 20-someodd-rank organ in a local church= with only 3 open 8' stops across the whole instrument?   > Agreed, agreed, agreed ... but I DO need SOME information other than ge= neric "Flute 8', > Flute 4'", etc. ... and I wouldn't expect a "Harmonic Trumpet" in the S= well to behave the > same way as a "Cornopean". In abstract discussions of paper stoplists, fine...But when you're actua= lly sitting on the bench I maintain that it's irrelevant. Perhaps we'll have= to agree to disagree on that point.   Thinking about this problem has led me to realize that North American organists are in a particularly funny position when it comes to organs an= d organ sounds. Ever since the Walcker went up in Boston Music Hall, we've= been more than deferential to our colleagues over in Europe. As a result, the modern canon of organ literature is overwhelmingly European. (no value judgement there...that's a whole other can of worms!) To negotiate the European canon, we have at our disposal a motley assort= ment of confused "eclectic" instruments built according to the whimsical and inartistic dictates of personal fancy and parish finances. In order to d= o justice to the canon, serious musicians are essentially required to make pilgrimages to Europe to experience the original sounds first-hand...and = then to use those tonal models when negotiating American instruments. Sure, there are some exceptions on this side of the pond. The folks at McGill University have a splendid French Classic organ. The authentic combination pedals on the French Romantic Jaeckel in Duluth, MN are an eye-opener in the works of Franck. Wellesley College and Stanford Univer= sity also jump to mind, I'm sure we could name others. The bottom line howeve= r, is that performance in America almost requires previous knowledge of the Eur= opean models, and the ears to turn the instrument inside-out and upside-down to= get the right sounds. Let's then take it as given that we're locked into this game of trial-and-error comparison, why even bother with words like "Trompette"? = If faced with a new instrument and a score of Grigny, I'm still in for a scavenger's hunt to find just the right combination to sound the "P=E9dal= le de Trompette"--regardless of the builder's good intentions. One could hope that organ builders might get their acts together and sta= rt doing justice to these models, but the dictates of parish finances practi= cally guarantees that we'll see a steady stream of knock-offs (viz. the whiny, quasi-French Trompettes at l'Eglise St-Jean Baptiste in Montr=E9al) which= simply disgrace the names of Thierry, Cliquot, and Cavaill=E9-Coll. As a teache= r I find these stops doing a terrible disservice to my students--leading them= on a wild-goose chase through a linguistic hell that simply distracts from mus= ic-making. Who knows, abandoning the world of fanciful stop names might actually fo= rce some builders to give up the "one Flute fits all" approach!   --=20 Robert Horton - GTA, University of Kansas http://falcon.cc.ukans.edu/~gemshorn/   "Why do they call it lipstick if you can still move your lips?"  
(back) Subject: Re: Stops and how to handle 'em From: "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 21:41:49   At 10:19 PM 2/29/2000 -0600, you wrote:   >Then I wondered who first put stoptabs on an organ? >I assumed it would have been one of the innovators of electro-pneumatic >action. Someone familiar with designing electric circuits knew all that= was >needed to operate a stop was a simple switch instead of a large,= cumbersome, >space-consuming knob.<snip>   You almost answered your own question. The answer is Robert Hope-Jones, the wayward telephone engineer-cum-organ innovator. This was but one of his positive contributions, others being the beginnings of Wurlitzer's lightning-fast EP action, spring-loaded regulators, and miscellaneous electrical appliances for the console. On the negative side were his tonal ideas and that of total unification. One happy side effect of these otherwise errant exploits was the Hope-Jones/WurliTzer "Unit Orchestra", which became an instrument in its own right, and provided a much better medium for popular music.   >Then the thought occurred to me: Who missed drawknobs on EP, DE, and >electric organs so much that they made electric ones?<snip>   I think you'll find this to be the province of reactionaries to Hope-Jones' ideas in general, even though these same folks availed themselves of many of his better innovations in the field of EP action and wind regulation. Hope-Jones worked for awhile for Ernest M. Skinner, a relationship that didn't last long, and after which, Skinner denigrated anything Hope-Jones ever did, although he gladly used his sprung regulators. No Skinner instrument ever utilized Hope-Jones' tongue tabs, and Skinner was wont to publicly mock them. M=F6ller had a fling with full tilt tab controls on its smaller organs, but stuck with EP drawknobs on bigger installations, mirroring Skinner's product, their closest competitor at the time.   I remember, especially in the '60s, that EP drawknobs seemed to carry an air of legitimacy with the organ cogniscendi of the times, and tongue tabs were looked upon with disfavor as being "theatrical", "cheap" or "gauche". Utter nonsense. One cannot deny the impressive view of a large, modern drawknob console, however, even though logic dictates that tabs are the smarter way to go, both economically and ergonomically. As I've said earlier, logic is a virtue that often escapes the organ world! The Hammond Museum organ has a very large tongue tab console with angled jambs, and ScottFop's "Grande Kilgen" in Michigan has Kilgen's unique "squared-off" adaptation of the more common horseshoe design, all tabs being comfortably in reach of the organist. Both are, by any stretch, quite legitimate instruments!   DeserTBoB  
(back) Subject: specifications From: "Carlo Pietroniro" <concert_organist@hotmail.com> Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 00:44:14 -0500   Greetings everyone,   anyone know where I can get the stop lists for the following organs?   5-manual at Riverside Church 4-manual at West Point 3-manual at St. Bavo in Harlem, Holland 4-manual at St. Jacobikirche   Thanks in advance.   Carlo  
(back) Subject: Re: Stops and how to handle 'em From: <Quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 22:07:42 -0800       VEAGUE wrote:   > Beside theatre organ consoles, my next fave is the Aeoline cascading > side-rocker tab consoles- with the roll-player box in the middle. > > Rick >   I played a forty-something stop (NOT rank, of course .... I think it was about 25 ranks) Aeolian (now gone to a hobbyist) all thru high school at = the Methodist Church in Bartow, FL in the '50s ... those sideways rocker tabs in "cascading" jambs were REALLY easy to manage ... good thing, since = there were only three fixed pistons for each manual. You could just slide your hands up and down them to change stops ... wonder why nobody else ever picked up on that design?   Aeolian consoles were ELEGANT ... intricate carving, often rosewood or other exotic woods ... this organ had originally been in the Bok mansion = ... the dude who built Bok Tower, the carillon and the gardens in Lake Wales, FL.   It was poorly installed in the church, and never really got a chance to speak ... it was shoehorned into chambers with small tonal openings, and = the pedal basses spoke into a well in the sacristy below the main chamber, so there wasn't enough 16'. It never really recovered from the hurricane that took the roof off the north transcept (the main chamber) and brought down the spire of the north tower.   It was an extremely refined, gentle sound nonetheless ... EXCEPT for the five-rank Choir Organ, which consisted of SNARLY unboxed Vox Humanas at 16-8-8-8-4 (!), and THEY were all independent ... there were SEVEN Voxes total ... one each in the Main and Echo organs as well.   Cheers,   Bud    
(back) Subject: Holtkamps From: <Quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 22:15:37 -0800       Bob Scarborough wrote:   > Where I do differ is that his organs > are "out of date". I disagree. Walter's organs were built upon sound > tonal principles and sound as good and fresh today as they did then. = Sure, > they don't give you that "MushMaster Deluxe" turn-of-the-century dreck = that > is ominously creeping back into popularity nowadays, but they are indeed > well-designed and voiced instruments. >   PFFFT! (grin) ... I said out of FASHION, not out of DATE ... the Holtkamp = in St. Paul's, Cleveland Heights (the Holtkamp family church) is one of the = finest organs I've ever heard ... and the big neo-French one in the Roman = cathedral in Cleveland is spectacular, while at the same time TOTALLY different = tonally. Somebody should go thru the Holtkamps in Cleveland and write a book, while they're still there, from the all-8' three-manual in old St. Joseph's to = the one in the Polish church on the East Side with sunflowers painted on the pipe = mouths to the first church rueckpositiv in St. Philomena's to the very first = DETACHED positiv in St. James Anglican Catholic Church on East 55th Street with "Et = Non Impedias Musicam" polychromed on the front of the chest. Oh, and then = there's the pinnacled Gothic case Holtkamp in St. Stephen Hungary on the West Side = with the tiny little Dulcians en-chamade right above the organist's head ... that = one was restored not too long ago. And then there's the Wurlitzer theatre organ he rebuilt for St. Mary's Seminary (grin) ...   It was a REAL shock the first time I saw a Holtkamp on Alan Laufman's = redundant organs list ...   Cheers,   Bud    
(back) Subject: Re: Stops and how to handle 'em From: <Quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 22:23:38 -0800   Wicks and Austin have always used stop-tongues, as far as I know, though = they did and do build drawknob consoles for large organs. There was a turn-of-the-century Hook and Hastings in old St. Paul's in Cincinnati that = had rocker tabs above the Swell for the couplers, but pneumatic action = drawknobs for the stops ... the key action was (original) electric, but everything else = was either pneumatic or tracker, including the swell pedal.   I would suspect we have Hope-Jones to thank for stop-tongues, for the most = part.   Then there were the little pneumatic Esteys with a miniature "chime" = keyboard above the top manual to control the stops ... depressing the natural (with = the stop name on the key front) brought the stop on; depressing the sharp next = to it released the stop.   Probably the WEIRDEST experience I had was playing the organ in Dr. = Willan's church (St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto) during the period after his death = when the rebuild was stalled ... the console was all torn up, and a few stops = were hooked temporarily to unmarked metal toggle switches so the organ could be played ... you had to GUESS, and ONE of them was the Choir TUBA (grin).   Cheers,   Bud   Brent Johnson wrote:   > Regarding drawknobs & tabs... > This exact topic was in my head this morning. I was wiring stoptabs, > thinking how much easier they are to deal with on the backside compared = to > drawknobs, although I do prefer the look and feel of a drawknob console. > Then I wondered who first put stoptabs on an organ? > I assumed it would have been one of the innovators of electro-pneumatic > action. Someone familiar with designing electric circuits knew all that = was > needed to operate a stop was a simple switch instead of a large, = cumbersome, > space-consuming knob. > Then the thought occurred to me: Who missed drawknobs on EP, DE, and > electric organs so much that they made electric ones? > ??? > Brent Johnson > The Organ Web Ring > http://www.organwebring.com > brent@organwebring.com > > Another Random Thought: A hammond with sidejambs and labeled drawknobs = that > function exactly like drawbars! > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Tim Bovard" <tmbovard@arkansas.net> > To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> > Sent: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 7:08 PM > Subject: Re: Stops and how to handle 'em > > > Dear Bud, and Bob (et al) -- > > > > What better reason does one need to design and build a drawknob = console > but > > for the elegance thereof? Is there no common sense involved in the = idea > of > > "making an organ *look* like an organ"? After all, this is an = instrument > > with its basis in centuries-old tradition (of mechanism, design, > > literature, tonality, etc)...I can't for the life of me understand why > > anyone would want it to look differently. (especially someone laying = out > > hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase one!) In the realm of = the > > theatre-organ, the horseshoe console was developed to fill a need = quite > > different than that of a church or concert organ -- and it does so, as > > intended. > > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org    
(back) Subject: Re: specifications From: "Douglas A Campbell" <dougcampbell@juno.com> Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 01:26:43 -0500       On Wed, 1 Mar 2000 00:44:14 -0500 "Carlo Pietroniro" <concert_organist@hotmail.com> writes: > Greetings everyone, > > anyone know where I can get the stop lists for the following > organs? > > 5-manual at Riverside Church > 4-manual at West Point   http://www.blackiris.com/organs/iof/uscat/dat/03600001.htm   > 3-manual at St. Bavo in Harlem, Holland > 4-manual at St. Jacobikirche > > Thanks in advance. > > Carlo > > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related > topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org >  
(back) Subject: European and American organs From: <Quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 22:44:54 -0800       Robert Horton wrote:   > Quilisma@socal.rr.com wrote: > > Yeah, but it would be NICE to have a little HELP ... > Bud, > That's why we have ears!   Oh BOTHER, Robert! My ears are in order, making allowances for age. I = don't tune mixtures without a strobe anymore; I don't set temperaments from a tuning fork = anymore; but I can HEAR (grin). I can also READ ... stop names, which should be FULL of meaning. = If they aren't, it's the builder's fault.   > The only conceivable exception is the French Classic organ, = videlicet the > Grands-Orgues de Poitiers. The uniformity of disposition and tonal = palette > during the Grand Siecle make (made) it possible to sit down at any = instrument > COLD and draw what you want. Composers knew this and were very precise = about > registration instructions.   Three cheers for the French. They STILL tell you exactly what they want, = and, (agreement here) if you've heard the Cavaille-Colls in France, you also know the SOUND they = want.   > > on an organ of any size you DO need to > > be able to differentiate between the basic types of flute stops, to = wit: > <snip> > Says who?   Me. (grin)   > > Agreed, agreed, agreed ... but I DO need SOME information other than = generic "Flute 8', > > Flute 4'", etc. ... and I wouldn't expect a "Harmonic Trumpet" in the = Swell to behave the > > same way as a "Cornopean".   > > In abstract discussions of paper stoplists, fine...But when = you're actually > sitting on the bench I maintain that it's irrelevant. Perhaps we'll = have to > agree to disagree on that point.   'K.   > Thinking about this problem has led me to realize that North = American > organists are in a particularly funny position when it comes to organs = and > organ sounds. Ever since the Walcker went up in Boston Music Hall, = we've been > more than deferential to our colleagues over in Europe.   I really wasn't aware that it (or the Steinmeyer in the cathedral in = Altoona) had all THAT much influence on American organ-building. GDH and the younger Steinmeyer were = friends, but I don't see Steinmeyer-style choruses in any of GDH's instruments. And the Walcker = was pulled down and moved to Methuen after not many years, so it couldn't have been THAT = popular in Boston.   > As a result, the > modern canon of organ literature is overwhelmingly European. (no value > judgement there...that's a whole other can of worms!) > To negotiate the European canon, we have at our disposal a = motley assortment > of confused "eclectic" instruments built according to the whimsical and > inartistic dictates of personal fancy and parish finances. In order to = do > justice to the canon, serious musicians are essentially required to make > pilgrimages to Europe to experience the original sounds first-hand...and = then > to use those tonal models when negotiating American instruments. > Sure, there are some exceptions on this side of the pond. The = folks at > McGill University have a splendid French Classic organ. The authentic > combination pedals on the French Romantic Jaeckel in Duluth, MN are an > eye-opener in the works of Franck. Wellesley College and Stanford = University > also jump to mind, I'm sure we could name others. The bottom line = however, is > that performance in America almost requires previous knowledge of the = European > models, and the ears to turn the instrument inside-out and upside-down = to get > the right sounds.   There are two of the finest 19th century organs in the world sitting in = Boston ... one relatively unknown, and the other saved from demolition at the hands of = evil Jesuits (grin) by the skin of its reservoir. I'm speaking, of course, of Holy Cross = Cathedral and Immaculate Conception. They may owe a conceptual debt to France and Germany, but they = owe no apologies. Either one of those organs can play anything any lage French or German = organ of the same period can play, and play it as well, if not better. It's too bad that the = excellence they represent was ignored by American builders for a hundred years ... maybe some day we'll see a HOOK copy, or a JOHNSON copy (grin). AND get over our European complex.   Cheers,   Bud