PipeChat Digest #3888 - Tuesday, August 19, 2003
 
The annual Dutch dash (2003) part four
  by "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk>
The annual Dutch dash (2003) part five
  by "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk>
Re:  White and Parmentier recordings
  by <MUSCUR@aol.com>
Re: Methuen Memorial Music Hall
  by "catspaw" <catspaw@ntelos.net>
Re: The annual Dutch dash (2003) part five
  by <RonSeverin@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: The annual Dutch dash (2003) part four From: "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 13:10:08 +0100 (BST)   The annual Dutch Dash (part 4)     I just knew it was Saturday!   Mark was dressed in the brightest of bright yellows tops, brilliant white trousers, red trainers and wearing a wrist band.   "Aha!" I thought, "The Heineken Dance Parade!"   This ghastly but colourful event snakes its' way through the streets of Rotterdam, every window-pane rattling as it passes and traffic at grid-lock. Everyone on the floats seemed to be wearing as little as possible, and I saw more flesh in one afternoon than I really wanted to see. Mark was off like a jack-in-the-box; dancing his little heart out. Cynically trying a little bit of musical analysis on the hip-hop, garage and acid-house "music", I was not overly impressed by the repetitive sequences and total lack of real instruments.   Still, there were old and young Dutch people writhing away, so I guess they don't have quite the generation gap problems of elsewhere.   Mercifully, the parade passed after a couple of hours, and I was able to remove the ear-plugs and resume normal life; at least when the effects of passive smoking wore off. I wonder who makes those cigarettes about 7 inches long which smell like a bush-fire?   A trip to Delft had to replace a planned recital attendance elsewhere, due to the fact that cycle race in Rotterdam prevented movement of the car. Delft is a typically attractive Dutch town, and of course the place where Bas de Vroome is organist of the Niuwe and Ouder kerks. Sadly, we were unable to hear the fine Batz organ (restored by Sanders and Flentrop) built in 1837-9. Equally sadly, it was not possible to hear Bas de Vroome during our stay, for he gave a stupendous recital at Haarlem the previous year. In fact, dare I make the prediction that he might yet be the next town or church organist at the Bavokerk, Haarlem when a vacancy arises?   Without the slightest doubt, the highlight of our stay was the next day, when we attended a highly romantic concert consisting of Reger, Frank Bridge, Alphonse Mailly, Flor Peeters and Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, with but one work each from the pens of Bach and Matthias van den Gheyn.   Now, there is a lot of Reger played in Holland, which is one of the principal reasons why I go there as often as possible. Elsewhere in the world but Holland and perhaps Germany, Reger might as well never have existed.   So where could this great romantic programme take place? The Cavaille-Coll organ in the Concertegebouw at Haarlem? The four manual romantic organ in the RC cathedral at Haarlem? Perhaps back at Doesburg?   Erm....not quite!   Gaping at the programme in disbelief and then feasting my eyes on that majectic organ case, I wondered how on earth anyone could attempt this sort of programme on an organ such as St.Bavo, Haarlem. After all, there are no celestes, no swell boxes, no registration aids, no big reeds.....just a collection of unenclosed Principals, huge Mixtures, chorus reeds, flutes and an extensive number of mutation ranks. The very idea of this programme was an affront to common-sense and musical integrity....I hadn't come all this way to hear romantic music murdered on a baroque instrument.   I should, of course, have known better, for the organist was none other than the Stadorganist (Borough organist) at Haarlem, Jos van der Kooy; one of the finest registrants I know of, and an organist possessed of a formidable technique.   Could he pull this musical miracle off?     To be continued......             ________________________________________________________________________ Want to chat instantly with your online friends? Get the FREE Yahoo! Messenger http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com/  
(back) Subject: The annual Dutch dash (2003) part five From: "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:12:31 +0100 (BST)   The annual Dutch Dash (Final part)     What is a romantic organ?   That was the question which sprang to mind as Jos van der Kooy opened his highly romantic programme of organ music at the Bavokerk Haarlem.   Quite clearly, a romantic organ is one which should have a wide range of colour, a grand sound, quieter registers and mechanisms which permit gradation of expression. The French had given us the orchestral sounds, powerful reeds and effective swell boxes, whilst in Germany, the development of the romantic organ had chosen a different path; that of tonal homogeneity and the deployment of rapid stop changes as a means of dynamic control. Only a handful of names are associated with the most successful of these two types of instrument; those of Cavaille-Coll in France, and perhaps Schulze, Ladegast and Steinmeyer in Germany.   Quite clearly, a late baroque organ (even a somewhat altered baroque organ) such as Haarlem does not fit into either category on paper, and yet, as I was to find out, it is infinitely more romantic and expressive than the genuine and largely unspoiled 1914 Walcker organ I had heard at Doesburg just a few days before.   One thing which always strikes me about Dutch organs is the full-bodied quality of the flute registers: generously scaled flutes with quite a flood of sound as compared to the thinner, chiffier and edgier sounds of, say, Schnitger. The Mixture registers often include the various tierce ranks, sometimes including the sub and super octave tierces also. The trumpet tones could easily have been imported from the best reed voicers in England during the mid-19th century; except that they were a century and a quarter later. The pedal reeds are robust and rounded in tone; not thin or rattly as their German counterparts tend to be. The Principal ranks, usually of generous scale with moderate cut-ups, sing beautifully, with just a hint of stringiness. The non-imitative reeds are, by and large, just absolutely beautiful, whether of the nasal sounding Dolcan class, or the richly hollow sound of the Schalmei.   Above all, the various stops blend each with the other....no separation of flutes and principals in Dutch organs by and large. Even a romantic Open Diapason no.1 springs into life with an 8ft Principal and a 8ft Roerfluit combined. This homogeneity of tone is further assisted by those rich, reedy tierce mixtures, which somehow act as tonal binders in the whole tonal palette.   So, echoing my original question, is Haarlem a romantic organ?   The short answer has to be, "no"....or is it "yes?"   No one person could sit at the console of St,Bavo and make it sound like a romantic organ, unless, of course, one cared to electrify the action, employ a modern detached console and include a rollschweller pedal!! (Perish the thought)   As a performer, whenever I hear romantic music at the Bavokerk, I am acutely aware of just what is going on behind the facade of the rugpositiv. The registrands work faultlessly as a team, using carefully prepared registration notes, and when they get it right (as they always do) the effect is as romantic as romantic can be.   Without x-ray vision, I don't know exactly how the effect of a full swell and a closing swell box is achieved by Jos van der Kooy, but no one knows that organ better than he. It's a neat illusion, as not only the dynamics are changed, but also the timbre of the sound, as foundation tone is dropped, the softer 16ft manual reed imperceptibly added and the more powerful one pushed in....utterly seamless!   Both the Parry and the Frank Bridge pieces sounded as Anglican as when played in Southwark Cathedral or York Minster....in a word, I was stunned!   If Bridge and Parry convinced me enough to transport me briefly home, then the big Reger work, the f-minor Intro and Passacaglia (Opus 63) took me mentally back to Doesburg, except that it was a whole lot better at Haarlem, played on an organ which safely pre-dates Walcker and Schulze by a century and a quarter!! A big, robust sound, with just enough clarity for the complex counterpoint to be heard.....pure magic.   Fortunately, as I mentally floated on a tour of Europe, the music of Bach reminded me that this really WAS a late baroque instrument. Using only the chorus stops, mixtures and pedal reeds, Haarlem was at its most magnificent and inspiring; all traces of romantic sleight of hand left far behind.   As the last chord of the recital rolled away into silence, and with three very musically educated bats happily flying about in the church (their home?), it was time to thank Jos van der Kooy for a fabulous recital. It was a long wait, with enough time to take in the faces around me and look for anyone I might know. I knew no-one, but then chuckled to myself. I came to the conclusion that Dutch organists and organ enthusiasts fall into two categories, and only two.   There are those with closely cropped hair like Jos van der Kooy; smartly but casually dressed, who look like spectators at the gay Mardi Gras. Then there are those who are anonymous, with so much facial hair that they resemble bonsai trees wearing wire-frame spectacles. This is the Ton Koopman school of fashion.   Of course, being in a rather cool little number fashioned by the Savoy Tailor's Guild, with a blue shirt and a silk tie, I didn't want to stand out from the crowd. So when the bonsai tree spoke and said, "Halo, you might yet be from England", I was a bit taken by surprise.   There was no point asking how he knew such a thing.....I might well have hoisted a Union Jack and sung the national anthem!!   "By Gad Sir! You may have the organs, but at least we have the tailors!"       Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK                   ________________________________________________________________________ Want to chat instantly with your online friends? Get the FREE Yahoo! Messenger http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com/  
(back) Subject: Re: White and Parmentier recordings From: <MUSCUR@aol.com> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 14:06:03 EDT   Hi List-   I'm just back in from some fruitful antiquing . . . apparently there was a =   blind 78rpm theatre organ record collector up here in Tacoma for I found = and purchased a trove including:   WHEN DAY IS DONE - Lew White, Organist, MGM Records 4 record set   OLD FOLKS AT HOME & BEAUTIFUL DREAMER - Lew White at the Organ, Veronica Wiggins, Contralto RCA Victor   DICK LEIBERT AT THE ORGAN - Dick Leibert, RCA Victor 4 record set   DON BAKER ORGAN MUSIC- Don Baker, Columbia 4 record set   CASCADE OF MELODY - Collin H. Driggs on the Novachord, Victor records 4 record set   Some interesting stuff there! By the way, I had a several month series of =   lessons with Dr. Parmentier back in 1967-68. He and his wife would drive = down from New York and stay at the Allen-organ equipped home of Mary Bowles. = One legacy of that time is a trove of his original compositions published for accompanying silent films with which we spent hours going over his = particular performance practices and scoring techniques. Most impressive of these = are "exotica" pieces, such as "Sunset in Damascus" (dedicated to Rawls = Hampton) and "Desert Caravan" (dedicated to Woodman Scantlebury). He also relayed a = number of charming anecdotes from the New York t.o. scene- such as the night of the opening at the Roxy (where Doc P. was one of the three staff organists = playing the Stars & Stripes together at the three Kimball consoles) and the audition = day at Radio City Music Hall. Such marvelous days!   DJ    
(back) Subject: Re: Methuen Memorial Music Hall From: "catspaw" <catspaw@ntelos.net> Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 18:23:48 -0400   Very nice to hear about my hometown. As a child I played in countless = piano recitals in that hall. The sculptures and paintings were terrifying! = And, of course, I went to the Searles School, now the town offices but built as = a minature castle. An oddly interesting place.   Now I live in Afton, Virginia and go to church in Greenwood where he are hoping to have a Richard Howells tracker organ installed sometime soon. = I'd be very interested in talking to other people in the area, but beware - = I'm a chorister, not an organist, just very interested in the instrument.   Catspaw, who does know the proper pronunciation of Staunton.    
(back) Subject: Re: The annual Dutch dash (2003) part five From: <RonSeverin@aol.com> Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 00:16:14 EDT   Hi Colin:   What is the temperment used in St. Bavo's. organ? I have a recording of this instrument by another organist last name Von Marion. It had a warm romantic flavor. It gave a totally different impression from the close mic'd Biggs recordings. The organ sang. Tierce's in the mixtures wouldn't sound right in modern tuning, would they?   Ron Severin