PipeChat Digest #2959 - Thursday, July 11, 2002
 
Re: GOOD ORGANS IN LOUSY ROOMS
  by "douglas morgan" <dkmorgan76209@yahoo.com>
RE: GOOD ORGANS ...with a twist
  by "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org>
Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music
  by <TubaMagna@aol.com>
The well-preserved Colin Mitchell
  by "Robert Lind" <Robert_Lind@cch.com>
RE: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music
  by "Storandt, Peter" <pstorandt@okcu.edu>
bagpipes etc, lamentably off topic
  by "Jonathan B. Hall" <jonathan@jonathanbhall.com>
RE: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music
  by "Robert Lind" <Robert_Lind@cch.com>
Re: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music
  by "Arie Vandenberg" <ArieV@classicorgan.com>
Re: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music
  by <DrB88@aol.com>
Ooops!
  by <DrB88@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Re: GOOD ORGANS IN LOUSY ROOMS From: "douglas morgan" <dkmorgan76209@yahoo.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 06:02:11 -0700 (PDT)   Dear Ron:   Thanks for your e-mail regarding the Seattle organ.   I have written a few messages to Pipechat regarding GOOD ORGANS IN LOUSY ROOMS, but after three attempts, I still can't make the pseudo-intellectuals and "experts" understand that I'm not saying that you can't have a good organ in a lousy room, so I'm just going to step out of this debate.   I'm therefore sending this reply directly to you instead of putting it on Pipechat, because it has become a pissing contest in which nobody wins and everybody gets wet.   D. Keith Morgan     --- RonSeverin@aol.com wrote: > Dear D. Keith: > > A good example of what I'm talking about is the new > Reuter in the > Presbyterian Church in Seattle. John Weaver did his > level best to make > this huge organ sound well. The fault was not with > the organ, but the > acoustical treatment of the church. The walls were > covered with what looked > like indoor-outdoor carpeting clear to the ceiling. > A long time parishoner > sat just in front of me for the concert, and opined > that this organ didn't > sound any better than the old one! OUCH! The seats > were padded, the > floor covered in carpet, and the ceiling acoustic > tiles. The voicing team > must > have been tearing their hair out by the roots. Here > is a nearly $2M > instrument > that will never be able to sing in an invironment > like that. This organ in > St. James Cathedral would have been magnificent, but > not in a deliberately > over dead room. I was very frustrated trying to > reconcile "what could have > been." The organ's too loud group won on this round. > Extremely disappointing! > > Ron > > "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 >     __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Sign up for SBC Yahoo! Dial - First Month Free http://sbc.yahoo.com  
(back) Subject: RE: GOOD ORGANS ...with a twist From: "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 09:32:44 -0400   As I said before, a good organ will make itself known even in a louzy room. =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D First, the list monitor is right, you really ought to clean up the long messages before sending something. It's ridiculous to have these silly = long things back and forth. Or is it a contest to see who's is longer!   That said, I've been following this thread for the duration and had = another thought, almost from the initial installment of it and so decided, = finally, to make the twist having read the above line. Does an organ, good OR bad, make an acoustically "perfect" room lousy? and !!!!!! This has been the claim for decades, and longer with regard to Carnegie Hall, in NYC where only one of the (and the smallest one at that, ATH) = three major concert halls has an organ. Yes, folks, the "Big Apple" the = "cultural center of the world" (pheh, not my words) the city of cities (my deduction from the self-praise it gives) and the "Big Deal," yes folks, the " = WHAAAAT? Who cares?" city. The city where ORGAN is second rate. Now don't get your backs up folks, I'm not talking about our very we-can-hold-a-candle-to-anyone organists, and I'm certainly not talking about the magnificent instruments (and not only just a few) that dot the city in ALL it's five boroughs. I'm talking about the attitude of = supporters of the music community, stated verbally or not, that the organ is a second rate music maker. I don't know, does ignoring something make it second = rate? Ask and you'll find that most of those bearers of fur who put out the big bucks to support and attend the magnificent music munificence everywhere = and always throughout the city, ask them to name ONE "great" organist ( these are the terms they think in) and I will bet you a large sum that they cannot. I'm not about to go into why that is because I'm not quite sure other than to say for whatever reason there is no real enthusiastic crowd willing to support organ and speak up and our for it. The wonderful Ms. Alice Tully, being the exception, did and now she's dead. She fought to get that organ = in that hall, I read the records when I temped at the Lincoln Center Archives 10 years ago. But back to my point. The argument against organs in the = other two halls (Philharmonic which you call Avery Fischer and Carnegie, down = the road a bit) is that they, the organs, would corrupt the magnificent acoustics. Those of you who were Virgil Fox fans might remember that when = he recited at Carnegie they installed a 5 manual Rodgers. I don't even know = if it's still there. But why would it be, they don't offer organ recitals. = And, of course, the Virgil Fox recital was to have Virgil Fox show his = masterful performance abilities it wasn't a double bill, i.e., "newly completed masterpiece ... pipe organ perfomance by masterful artist" billing. So, do organs destroy acoustics? Or are symphony hall builders that incompetant that they cannot design a space that can accomodate both near perfect accoustics and include a preferably magnificent organ? I guess in the case of Carnegie I should add hall builders who can adjust or remake a space that can accomodate...?  
(back) Subject: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music From: <TubaMagna@aol.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:58:27 EDT   Dear PipeChatters:   I'm sure if we really did some evaluation, we'd come up with a = formidable list of wonderful pipe organs in rooms with less-than-"ideal" acoustics. = Then again, what is ideal? Three seconds? Five and a half? There are dozens of =   surviving small instruments, from Green to Snetzler to Tannenberg, that = were probably never conceived for resonant rooms. Every organbuilder, voicer, or tonal finisher on this list has = probably encountered more acoustical challenges than acoustical wonders, since most =   American church and synagogue buildings are "deader" than their European counterparts, which are the rooms for which most of the literature is conceived. Good organbuilders know how to manipulate scaling, mouth dimensions, = and wind pressures along with voicing and finishing techniques to overcome = many of the challenges posed by a poorly designed room. However, some organbuilders are so locked into one particular way of approaching an = organ, that they build the SAME organ regardless of the room, without thinking laterally or inventively about what must be done. They build according to their set philosophy and blame the room. NOW: Haven't we all heard some of that 1880-1940 French repertoire played in a deader-than-"perfect" room, and suddenly had voice leading and =   phrasing nuances revealed to us because they WEREN'T smeared by the vast acoustic? The inner movement of voices in a Reger fugue finally seem like well-woven fabric rather than a tangled mess? For the first time we = realize that two themes are actually superimposed in the final section of a piece, = a cyclical feature of the work that was never apparent before? This begs the question, do we NEED eight seconds? Do we need six? = Just as organists tend to think they need four times the instrument they have, shouldn't we evaluate what type of acoustic we need? At what point does reverberance obscure, rather than support, the sound of a pipe organ? Do overly resonant rooms make pipe organs sound sluggish and boring to =   the "uninitiated"? Remember, the close microphone placement of a = recording, with ambient room sound, is VERY different from how an organ is = experienced in real time. How many of us have been in a highly resonant cathedral and been unable to make sense of Bach or anything ELSE because it became a jumbled mass of reverberation and echo? The key lies in educating young people, who will become the next generation that sits on organ and worship committees. Now if we could only =   stop alienating them, that's the first project.   Sebastian Matthaus Gluck New York City  
(back) Subject: The well-preserved Colin Mitchell From: "Robert Lind" <Robert_Lind@cch.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:04:54 -0500   Wow ... Colin heard Marchand (1669-1732) play! Please give us the lowdown on French Baroque performance practice--tempi, agrements, the whole 9 yards. If you can remember :-)   Bob Lind (who heard Marchal play on the Schlicker at Valparaiso University just about that long ago, give or take a couple of centuries or so)         cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk 07/10/2002 03:55 PM Please respond to PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org> To: PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org>@SMTP@cchntmsd cc: Subject: RE: Good organs in lousy rooms       It is actually a very, very fine instrument for the building and, it was on this organ during my formative years, that = I would travel home on a proverbial cloud after hearing the likes of = Germani, Dupre, Marchand and Flor Peeters.....performances which etched into my memory.               "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: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music From: "Storandt, Peter" <pstorandt@okcu.edu> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:07:50 -0500   Are you saying that a deader-than-perfect room enhances the performance of the literature? And that we, at least initially, react against same = because the sound isn't as sumptuous as we have trained ourselves to believe it should be? Is this different from what, say, pianists and symphony-orchestra musicians worry about?   Peter   -----Original Message----- From: TubaMagna@aol.com [mailto:TubaMagna@aol.com] Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 9:58 AM To: pipechat@pipechat.org Subject: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music     Dear PipeChatters:   I'm sure if we really did some evaluation, we'd come up with a formidable list of wonderful pipe organs in rooms with less-than-"ideal" acoustics. Then again, what is ideal? Three seconds? Five and a half? There are dozens of =   surviving small instruments, from Green to Snetzler to Tannenberg, that = were   probably never conceived for resonant rooms.  
(back) Subject: bagpipes etc, lamentably off topic From: "Jonathan B. Hall" <jonathan@jonathanbhall.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 08:10:52 -0700 (PDT)   >
(back) Subject: RE: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music From: "Robert Lind" <Robert_Lind@cch.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:42:39 -0500   It's great to visit a church with six seconds of reverb and play for hours. I wonder, however, if I could take = it as a regular diet. As a young player in a room that maybe had a bit less than half that amount, I developed some bad habits in playing and over-articulating rapid passages, but they were crystalline if nothing = else.   Certainly musicians in other fields don't hanker after reverb the way we do. I get a kick out of reading reviews of orchestral and chamber music in which the critic complains of cavernous acoustics obscuring everything. I want more than the usual reviewer wants, and I tend to like, e.g., Chandos recordings because they give me the acoustical setting I crave. IMHO, way too many recordings are far too dry, and the music and instrumental effects suffer. I heard a clarinet/piano CD the other day featuring Richard Stoltzman. There was no bloom to the room, and the music slunk to the floor and died, warts and all. Surely, a = recital venue should not be a cathedral space and a cathedral space is generally wrong for an orchestra, but a broom closet ain't even good for a licorice stick or a fipple flute.   And look at the ruination of the acoustics in Orchestra Hall, Chicago, during the Martinon tenure. Go back and listen to Kubelik and Reiner recordings and compare them to Solti and right up to the present day (despite a massive attempt at renovation recently).   How could Toscanini record in Studio 8-H? He wanted to hear everything (and by then he was probably so old that his hearing was failing him pretty badly), but I hate the results.   I'm rambling and don't know where I'm going with this, but "we" probably idealize our church venues and want more = reverb than is good for both music and the spoken word. Concert and recital = venues are another matter, and these days one can tune the room to the ensemble = and audience in some newer, more sophisticated halls. Do any churches have = this?   Bob Lind         "Storandt, Peter" <pstorandt@okcu.edu> 07/11/2002 10:07 AM Please respond to PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org> To: PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org>@SMTP@cchntmsd cc: Subject: RE: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music     Are you saying that a deader-than-perfect room enhances the performance of the literature? And that we, at least initially, react against same because the sound isn't as sumptuous as we have trained ourselves to believe it should be? Is this different from what, say, pianists and symphony-orchestra musicians worry about?        
(back) Subject: Re: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music From: "Arie Vandenberg" <ArieV@classicorgan.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 11:54:17 -0400   At 10:58 AM 7/11/2002 -0400, you wrote: >Dear PipeChatters: > > I'm sure if we really did some evaluation, we'd come up with a > formidable >list of wonderful pipe organs in rooms with less-than-"ideal" acoustics. = Then >again, what is ideal? Three seconds? Five and a half? There are dozens = of >surviving small instruments, from Green to Snetzler to Tannenberg, that = were >probably never conceived for resonant rooms. > NOW: Haven't we all heard some of that 1880-1940 French repertoire >played in a deader-than-"perfect" room, and suddenly had voice leading = and >phrasing nuances revealed to us because they WEREN'T smeared by the vast >acoustic? The inner movement of voices in a Reger fugue finally seem like >well-woven fabric rather than a tangled mess? For the first time we = realize >that two themes are actually superimposed in the final section of a = piece, a >cyclical feature of the work that was never apparent before? > This begs the question, do we NEED eight seconds? Do we need six? = Just >as organists tend to think they need four times the instrument they have, >shouldn't we evaluate what type of acoustic we need? At what point does >reverberance obscure, rather than support, the sound of a pipe organ? > Do overly resonant rooms make pipe organs sound sluggish and boring = to >the "uninitiated"? Remember, the close microphone placement of a = recording, >with ambient room sound, is VERY different from how an organ is = experienced >in real time. How many of us have been in a highly resonant cathedral and >been unable to make sense of Bach or anything ELSE because it became a >jumbled mass of reverberation and echo? > The key lies in educating young people, who will become the next >generation that sits on organ and worship committees. Now if we could = only >stop alienating them, that's the first project. > >Sebastian Matthaus Gluck >New York City Hi list,   Sebastian, makes a point that I thought would have been pointed out earlier, that recordings of pipe organs are quite divorced from what they really sound like in their settings. I remember once being in the Oratory =   in Montreal, when it was empty, except for an organist going to town on = the great VonBeckerath. I remember standing right under the dome, and all you =   could hear was the organ being played. I had no idea what was being played. The reverberation was maybe 8 or 9 seconds, but the sound was so blended, as to totally confuse the mind (or the brain). Give me more moderate reverberation any day.   I think the biggest problem of late (20 to 30 years ago), has been the installing of neo-baroque squeeze-boxes in relatively dead rooms. These organs had overbearing upper work, rather slight foundation stops, and consequently sounded un-musical. They irritated, and dissatisfied, most everybody, except those who really thought this was the way to build a = good organ. I think recently there has been a return to higher wind pressures and more generous scaling.   Don't get me wrong, I think a good acoustical setting is stop #1, I have heard some nice organs in moderate sized rooms that were acoustically not great.   Arie Vandenberg, Toronto    
(back) Subject: Re: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music From: <DrB88@aol.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 12:24:53 EDT     --part1_167.10828378.2a5f0b55_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   I play in a church with about 3 seconds of reverb when empty. The organ = is an 81 rank Berghaus...second rebuild of an E.M. Skinner that had been = rebuilt first in the '50s by Schilicker. It's a marvelous instrument and an = acoustic to kill for! Choral and orchestral music work well in the space. I have heard a couple of brass players complain about the room being "too live"...but congregational singing is spectacular, and even speech is not terribly obscured.   The only element of the services for which we use electronic amplification = is the speaking. The room "sings" with the soloists and choirs, and all = other balances are "natural". Having come from 20 years of working in churches with dead acoustics and being at the mercy of a sound system for many = musical ventures, it is a paradise. Practicing is always a pleasure...... and = there is enough clarity in the room that articulations need not be overstated.     > Concert and recital venues > are another matter, and these days one can tune the room to the ensemble =   > and > audience in some newer, more sophisticated halls. Do any churches have > this?     I have heard of at least one church in the south west that can be acoustically "tuned" by means of "clouds" that can be moved electronically =   even during a service... so that the music can be experienced in a reverberant space and the preaching can be heard and understood in a = nearly "dead" acoustic. Excessive? Maybe... Enviable? If it works, definately... = Many/perhaps most of us deal with music making in less than ideal environments, and work with congregations that are more interested these = days in how "warm and welcoming" the church looks than they are concerned with = its functionality. I consider myself so blessed for this time to be in a situation that is an exception to the rule of acoustical mediocrity.   --part1_167.10828378.2a5f0b55_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" = FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0">I play in a church with about 3 seconds of = reverb when empty.&nbsp; The organ is an 81 rank Berghaus...second rebuild = of an E.M. Skinner that had been rebuilt first in the '50s by = Schilicker.&nbsp; It's a marvelous instrument and an acoustic to kill = for!&nbsp; Choral and orchestral music work well in the space.&nbsp; I = have heard a couple of brass players complain about the room being "too = live"...but congregational singing is spectacular, and even speech is not = terribly obscured.&nbsp; <BR> </FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" style=3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" = SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"><BR> </FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" style=3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" = SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0">The only element = of the services for which we use electronic amplification is the = speaking.&nbsp; The room "sings" with the soloists and choirs, and all = other balances are "natural".&nbsp; Having come from 20 years of working = in churches with dead acoustics and being at the mercy of a sound system = for many musical ventures, it is a paradise.&nbsp; Practicing is always a = pleasure...... and there is enough clarity in the room that articulations = need not be overstated.&nbsp; <BR> <BR> </FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" style=3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" = SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"><BR> </FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" style=3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" = SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"><BLOCKQUOTE = TYPE=3DCITE style=3D"BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; = MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px"> Concert and recital venues<BR> are another matter, and these days one can tune the room to the ensemble = and<BR> audience in some newer, more sophisticated halls. Do any churches have = this?</BLOCKQUOTE><BR> </FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" style=3D"BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" = SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"><BR> <BR> I have heard of at least one church in the south west that can be = acoustically "tuned" by means of "clouds" that can be moved electronically = even during a service... so that the music can be experienced in a = reverberant space and the preaching can be heard and understood in a = nearly "dead" acoustic.&nbsp; Excessive? Maybe... Enviable? If it works, = definately...&nbsp; Many/perhaps most of us deal with music making in less = than ideal environments, and work with congregations that are more = interested these days in how "warm and welcoming" the church looks than = they are concerned with its functionality.&nbsp; I consider myself so = blessed for this time to be in a situation that is an exception to the = rule of acoustical mediocrity.<BR> </FONT></HTML> --part1_167.10828378.2a5f0b55_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Ooops! From: <DrB88@aol.com> Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 12:28:49 EDT     --part1_11e.136d814a.2a5f0c41_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   In a message dated 7/11/2002 11:24:53 AM Central Daylight Time, DrB88 = writes:   Sorry...I forgot to sign the previous posting before I clicked on "send"! =     David Brackley ...in Chicago   > Subj:Re: Good Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music > Date:7/11/2002 11:24:53 AM Central Daylight Time > From:<A HREF=3D"mailto:DrB88">DrB88</A> > To:<A HREF=3D"mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org">pipechat@pipechat.org</A> > > > > I play in a church with about 3 seconds of reverb when empty. The organ = is > an 81 rank Berghaus...   --part1_11e.136d814a.2a5f0c41_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" = FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0">In a message dated 7/11/2002 11:24:53 AM Central = Daylight Time, DrB88 writes:<BR> <BR> Sorry...I forgot to sign the previous posting before I clicked on = "send"!&nbsp; <BR> <BR> David Brackley ...in Chicago<BR> <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=3DCITE style=3D"BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; = MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">Subj:<B>Re: Good = Organs, Bad Rooms, Clear Music </B><BR> Date:7/11/2002 11:24:53 AM Central Daylight Time<BR> From:<A HREF=3D"mailto:DrB88">DrB88</A><BR> To:<A HREF=3D"mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org">pipechat@pipechat.org</A><BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> I play in a church with about 3 seconds of reverb when empty.&nbsp; The = organ is an 81 rank Berghaus...</BLOCKQUOTE><BR> </FONT></HTML> --part1_11e.136d814a.2a5f0c41_boundary--