PipeChat Digest #3008 - Monday, August 5, 2002
 
My annual Netherlands dash
  by <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk>
Re: PipeChat Digest #3000 - 08/03/02
  by "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
Re:Pipechat List #3000 Ross and Linda
  by "Roy Redman" <rredman@imagin.net>
Re: PipeChat Digest #3000 - 08/03/02
  by "jch" <opus1100@catoe.org>
Re: Pipechat List #3000 Ross and Linda
  by "Stanley Lowkis" <nstarfil@attbi.com>
Organ Service; pipe and electronic
  by <Wurlibird1@aol.com>
Re: Cost of new pipe organs
  by "John Foss" <harfo32@hotmail.com>
Birmingham Symphony Hall
  by "John Foss" <harfo32@hotmail.com>
A slice of Klais...Wood be nice
  by <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk>
 

(back) Subject: My annual Netherlands dash From: <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk> Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 03:26:25 +0100   Hello,   The next few days mark the point in the year when I take a very short = break from my busiest time of year....always to Holland to meet up with = friends, enjoy the delights of Holland and, of course, some of the = spectacular organs to be heard there.   The great thing about Holland is the compact nature of the = country....barely three hours to anywhere from Rotterdam, where I = usually slum it in the Hilton.   I am delighted to learn from my other half that there is a recital at St = Laurent's, Alkmaar this time around, and by a celebrity organist. This = should be quite special, considering that the organ has now been fully = restored and I have not heard it since I last played it. What a very = different instrument this is from Haarlem!   Although I will be staying in Rotterdam, I very much doubt that I will = hear the magnificent Marcussen at the Cathedral, but as I played this = instrument for quite a while some years ago, I shall not weep if I = don't.=20   Of course, Haarlem is something VERY special....in fact, IMHO the finest = organ anywhere in the world.   Looking backwards to the time I spent playing it for a couple of hours, = and looking forward to hearing it again, I suddenly realised that the = very special quality of the Haarlem instrument is to do with tonal = finishing.   In a recent thread/posting, there was discussion of this very subject, = and of course, we all jumpoed on the bandwagon with various opinions = about various organs. The general concensus seemed to suggest that = romantic organs (especially those by Harrison & Harrison or Skinner) = were carefully regulated. However, at least one source suggested that in = modern organ building (presumably Baroique style?) some builders told = the voicers to "leave it a bit rough" as an aid to imparting tonal = character.   When I investigated the superlative Muller/Flentrop organ of St.Baavo = and went through every rank; prodding at keys and listening to the = voicing and regulation with great interest. As some of you may = appreciate, when this organ was restored....actually more like = "restored".....quite a significant number of changes were made to the = instrument. New action was fitted, much of the pipe nicking was erased = and additional upperwork added. Worst of all, the wind pressures were = dropped to a level which "experts" regarded as "authentic".   This calamity aprt (from a historical viewpoint), the end result is an = instrument of unique beauty and sonority; greatly assisted by a massive = acoustic in a big building with a very tall nave....the organ famously = climbing almost to the roof, perhaps 80ft or more above the nave floor.   When testing that instrument before launching into some big organ works = in private (well....maybe 500 tourists in church!), I was astonished at = the evenness of the voicing and regulation.......absolutely meticulous; = even the reeds regular and very closely matched. This is no mean feat = considering the fact that open foot voicing is employed and all the = regulation was carried out at the flue and without a trace of nicking = left in place.....so far as I am aware.   To this day, the organ has critics.....many offering the opinion that = the organ is no longer the sound created by Christian Muller.   Nevertheless, the immaculate regularity of the voicing and the carefully = matched additions, surely make this a unique instrument famous = throughout the known world.   Even more remarkable is the tonal flexibility of this particular = instrument, as anyone who has heard Saint-Saens or Liszt played on this = instrument will tell you. Of course, romantic works require the services = of assistants to draw the appropriate stops quickly and to create shades = of loud and soft. It really is quite remarkable to hear big romantic works played on a = large Baroque instrument to such outstanding effect.   I shall report back with any items of interest and perhaps my = impressions of what I saw and heard on my all too brief, "Dutch Dash".   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK            
(back) Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #3000 - 08/03/02 From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 15:15:14 +1200       >No, you are not offending anyone, other than perhaps the Allen company. >Why is it when people talk digital the name Allen always comes up.   I mentioned the Allen company because Allen electronic instruments are in the churches I am a parishioner of now I'm retired. Others in the past = I've played regularly wouldn't sound much better than 4-letter words now: Farfisa, Livingstone-Burge, Miller, Hammond, Conn.   I do agree that the price of organbuilding in the USA, judging from what I've seen on this List, is obscene. Too, if I was Vicar I could not agree with the prices, thinking that the same amount of money invested and the income used to pay extra staff (for example, a youth worker) would be = better for the mission of the Church than a 5-manual tracker something costing multi-million dollars. That's always the dilemma: my ears tell me one = thing, but then realism has to creep in somewhere, as also the fact that we are called to be churches, not concert halls.   When I see frightfully-expensive case carvings and so on, I wonder then as well what justification there can be for this? It looks great, and I love it, but does it add anything to most people, does it help people to be = more Christian, does it advance the mission of the church, does it make the congregational accompaniment any better?????   And then I think of expensive things that have been done that would have been better not to have been done. Wellington Cathedral here, for example, used to have phenomenally successful 32ft Acoustic Bass on the Pedal, = which was the 16ft open wood at suboctave pitych down to TenC, then the same octave repeated for the bottom octave with the SubBass quinted in as well. An utterly magnificent 32ft in all parts of the building. Then someone suggested a 2nd-hand 16ft open wood stoppered to make it = speak 32ft pitch. This was done, at some expense. The result? A very weak sound for most of the compass, and the bottom 6 or 7 notes completely ands toitally inaudible. In other words, all that money and the end result no use. I've suggested to the new Director of Music that they give away that 32ft useless Bourdon and switch, art no cost, back to the 32ft Resultant.   And I can think of another waste of money, where a local church, with a congregation a quarter what it was 50 years ago, is investing in a massive amount of money on sequencing pistons and all that kind of stuff, which they've never needed in the past and don't now either.   And what about the churches that spend a great amount of money on stops = that ar really very little use for accompanying singing? You know, extra Celestes, extra manuals, antiphonal divisions, horizontal reeds, families = of harmnonic flutes - all those things that a musical use can be found for = but are not really anything but toys for the organist who is there to lead and accompany singing as a prime requirement.   Some of these things need to be looked at, I'm sure.   I'm not trying to offend anyone, believe me, and I'm as greedy as anyone when it comes to organ size and design, but I wonder if organists aren't helping to kill the organ industry by demanding too much.   My ears are very sensitive to tone, as I've hinted at, but probably 98% of the people in the congregation I'm in now think the electronics we have sound exactly like pipe organs and are stunningly beautiful. In that = sense, my "educated and sensitive ears" are an irrelevance and of no account whatever. That hurts to say it, but it's true in practice.   Others agree/disagree?   Ross    
(back) Subject: Re:Pipechat List #3000 Ross and Linda From: "Roy Redman" <rredman@imagin.net> Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 22:20:29 -0500   If it hurts to say it, why say it? However, I think you are only thinking of today's cost and not the long term cost per year of owning a pipe organ.. Roy Redman      
(back) Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #3000 - 08/03/02 From: "jch" <opus1100@catoe.org> Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 22:22:38 -0500   At 08:27 PM 8/4/02 -0500, you wrote: >Dear Stan, > >I have no idea what is in Chicago Stadium>   >Chicago Stadium was an egregious example of the nonsense that = salespersons > from electronic organ companies sell to unwitting consumers.   Although I am no fan of the current United Center organ installation (The Chicago Stadium no longer exists)..Stans comment is patently unfair. The organ company sold the consumer what they asked for...the blame for the loss of the Stadium Barton should go mostly to the organist who advised = the owners to replace the pipe organ and not move it across the street to the new building. The United Center tried to get by on the cheap side by pumping the organ through the house PA system (complete with low pass cut-off needed to = clean announcements, but not friendly to the bottom of the organ range). The organ company furnished lots of speaker cabinets which are picked up by = two microphones in the speaker room. The United Center is unwilling to spend the money to upgrade the system with sufficient direct speaker coverage = for the organ. Who'se fault is it...depends on who you listen to...but I do know that the house organist was involved with the planning and purchase = of the organ.   jch      
(back) Subject: Re: Pipechat List #3000 Ross and Linda From: "Stanley Lowkis" <nstarfil@attbi.com> Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 00:23:19 -0400   Yeah, but it sounds better!! And it takes more space than the speakers artfully and shamefully played in churches today.   MEDIOCRE   Tune it and releather it every couple of decades, or buy a synth and a few guitars...   That will fill the worship space with musical sound.   My HI-FI with fewer speakers can differentiate between a pipe organ vs those phoneys foisted on our ears.   I guess you know where I stand on this issue and I'll leave the list alone for awhile.   Glorified synths!   hrumph, Stan   Thank you Jon: for your thoughful post RE: Chicago Stadium aka United Center.   We had a similar tragedy in Boston when the Hammond went down with the building as the Boston Garden fell.   luv ya all! Stan               Roy Redman wrote: > > If it hurts to say it, why say it? However, I think you are only > thinking of today's cost and not the long term cost per year of owning a > pipe organ.. > Roy Redman    
(back) Subject: Organ Service; pipe and electronic From: <Wurlibird1@aol.com> Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 00:37:18 EDT   Repeating what has been previously stated seems a waste of bandwidth and = also unnecessary. You know what you posted or read without prompting from me. =   There was one item that is worth repeating as it is the subject of this = post:   > In summary, the electronic organ technician is facing a declining job > market. (Sorry, but I admit to being surprised by that.) The pipe organ > technician is in (slow)/growth mode. <<   As one until recently engaged in servicing both pipe and electronic, I = find this to be a true statement. Why it is true in the electronic industry = will probably not curry favor with proponents of the other industry. Digital/electronic organs of today are simply built better and require = less service than the old analogs. Discrete circuitry of days gone by kept = many a serviceman busy replacing failed caps, resistors, transistors, and = associated components. Even with the introduction of LSI's there were problems which =   needed to be addressed. Modern digital organs simply do not require the frequency of service that we experienced with analog units. Apart from occasional voicing changes, they just rarely fail. It is with this in = mind that I chuckle at the proposed demise of digitals in ten to fifteen years. = I find this to be a thing hoped for by the pipe purists but as yet there is nothing to sustain this speculation. It can be stated that there is = nothing programmed into their ops codes which will cause them to magically "die" = at the appointed hour.   It is understandable that pipe organ technicians have not experienced the same results from the instruments they service. The size and complexity = of pipe organs simply present more things to go wrong ~ or at the very least = ~ require attention. Tuning, regulation, perishable parts, electromechanical devices, foreign objects and substances, along with environmental concerns all affect pipe organs. Another factor which affects pipe organs are alleged = "technicians" who have neither the knowledge nor experience to work on them -- but they = do, much to the detriment of the organ. This in and of itself can keep many qualified pipe organ technicians employed for years just correcting = mistakes and butchery from the hands of those who are not skilled in the craft.   Considering the ratio in proportion of digitals to pipes sold annually, it =   would seem that digitals are increasing in greater numbers than pipes. If =   service work on digitals is declining, it speaks well for those who design =   and build these instruments. Such cannot be said of organs built prior to =   1990, but even of those many have operated for years without a visit from = a service tech and they may continue in faithful service for several more = years without need for repair.   My comments are centered squarely on the above quote and in no way should = be construed as a political stump speech for either pipes or digitals. They both have their place and both will survive, much to the chagrin of the = other.   Best wishes, Jim Pitts    
(back) Subject: Re: Cost of new pipe organs From: "John Foss" <harfo32@hotmail.com> Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 05:24:12 +0000     >I hope that that the 70 emails weren't from your Employer, John? Thanks Stan! I'm self employed! John Foss   _________________________________________________________________ Join the world=92s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail. http://www.hotmail.com    
(back) Subject: Birmingham Symphony Hall From: "John Foss" <harfo32@hotmail.com> Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 06:00:53 +0000   Dear list, While clearing out one of my bookshelves yesterday I came across an = unopened sample copy of The Organ - Nov 2001 - January 2002. It includes an article =   on the new Klais organ in Birmingham's Symphony hall. It looks a fine instrument. Would anyone who has heard or played it like to make a = comment? The articles do cover this point - The editor, Brian Hick, says that it it =   "the best possible instrument for the finest concert hall in the country." =   Following up aspects of a current thread, I'm interested to know how much = it cost and who paid for it! The article states that it was paid for by a few =   large donations and many small ones. It would seem to be a somewhat more successful tribute to the millenium than the disastrous dome - so were the =   large donations industrial, individual, government or "anonymous" or a mixture of all four? John Foss   _________________________________________________________________ MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos: http://photos.msn.com/support/worldwide.aspx    
(back) Subject: A slice of Klais...Wood be nice From: <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk> Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 09:19:06 +0100   Hello,   I don't know quite what to think about the Klais organ at = Birmingham....I found myself interested by it but, afterwards, quite = unable to recall its "personality".   A big noise certainly, with heavy foundation stops, I just got the = impression that it was a German instrument masquerading as an English = one but with awful reeds....as they all have! It's the organ equivalent = to "Through the key hole"......."Now WHO plays and composes for an organ = such as THIS?"   In fact, I would go further.......   I cannot think of a single Klais organ in the UK which actually thrills, = excites or even uplifts.....but at least THIS one is intimidating. It is = the musical equivalent to a modest "A" bomb.....lots of boom, maybe = destruction of property within the vicinity and an after effect which = leaves one not so much "inspired" as "glowing in the dark". It's a = sort of modern day equivalent to the Harrison re-build at the Royal = Albert Hall....."Father" Willis with attitude, lying in the gutter.   Interestingly, the only organ to which I can draw comparison is the = rather more successful instrument at St.Paul's Hall, Huddersfield = University, close to me in Yorkshire. A big mechanical instrument which, = on paper, promises a neo-classical experience, but which actually = delivers a mid-channel "Baroqmantic" one. This latter instrument, by a = local builder Philip Wood & Sons, pre-dates Birmingham by a few decades = and probably cost a fraction of the Klais........and it sounds a lot = better.   I just think that, yet again, Klais have produced an organ of no great = distinction. So it really doesn't matter from whence the money = came.....they were duped!   I cannot help but think that Mander would have produced a far, far = better instrument.   It makes one wonder if someone isn't being bribed to to ensure that UK = builders never again get the chance to build a big concert hall organ. = Of course, I don't KNOW anything..........   I cannot imagine why the names of "Father" Willis and the "Briberies and = corruption act" spring to mind. I'm sure that this is just a passing = thought of little consequence........   I just hope that next time they build a fine concert hall, they get a = good organ builder from England or the USA to build an organ with = personality.   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK             -----Original Message----- From: "pipechat@pipechat.org" <pipechat@pipechat.org> on behalf of "John = Foss" <harfo32@hotmail.com> Sent: 05 August 2002 06:00 To: "pipechat@pipechat.org" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Subject: Birmingham Symphony Hall   Dear list, While clearing out one of my bookshelves yesterday I came across an = unopened=20 sample copy of The Organ - Nov 2001 - January 2002. It includes an = article=20 on the new Klais organ in Birmingham's Symphony hall. It looks a fine=20 instrument. Would anyone who has heard or played it like to make a = comment?=20 The articles do cover this point - The editor, Brian Hick, says that it = it=20 "the best possible instrument for the finest concert hall in the = country."=20 Following up aspects of a current thread, I'm interested to know how = much it=20 cost and who paid for it! The article states that it was paid for by a = few=20 large donations and many small ones. It would seem to be a somewhat more =   successful tribute to the millenium than the disastrous dome - so were = the=20 large donations industrial, individual, government or "anonymous" or a=20 mixture of all four? John Foss   _________________________________________________________________ MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos:=20 http://photos.msn.com/support/worldwide.aspx     "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