PipeChat Digest #5011 - Friday, December 17, 2004
 
Crystal Cathedral music director commits suicide
  by "Liquescent" <quilisma@cox.net>
Re: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall
  by "Arie Vandenberg" <ArieV@ClassicOrgan.com>
Conductor Kills Self Inside L.A. Cathedral [x-posted]
  by "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com>
Pipe Organ Horror Stories
  by "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com>
REAL organs
  by "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com>
RE: Downes-land memories
  by "alantaylor1" <alantaylor1@members.v21.co.uk>
Re: Who is the real builder?
  by "Peter Rodwell" <iof@ctv.es>
RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall
  by "alantaylor1" <alantaylor1@members.v21.co.uk>
Christmas Eve at Grace Lutheran, Lancaster PA
  by "Karl Moyer" <kmoyer@marauder.millersville.edu>
Christmas tree el Greco?
  by <Seedlac@aol.com>
Greeks bearing Christmas trees, etc.
  by "Liquescent" <quilisma@cox.net>
Re: Christmas tree el Greco?
  by "Arie Vandenberg" <ArieV@ClassicOrgan.com>
PipeChat IRC this evening,
  by "Bob Conway" <conwayb@sympatico.ca>
 

(back) Subject: Crystal Cathedral music director commits suicide From: "Liquescent" <quilisma@cox.net> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 11:08:45 -0800   Crystal Cathedral gunman kills self   Friday, December 17, 2004 Posted: 8:10 AM EST (1310 GMT) LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A nine-hour standoff between police and a church worker, who opened fire in the Crystal Cathedral complex, ended early Friday when the man shot and killed himself, police said.   Lt. Mike Handfield with the Garden Grove Police Department said that Johnnie Wayne Carl, 57, a church musical director, committed suicide in one of the bathroom areas at 1:58 a.m. (4:58 a.m. ET).   Police called in a SWAT team and set up a perimeter around the sprawling Orange County complex after shots were fired in the building Thursday afternoon, Handfield said.   Handfield said that Carl made suicidal comments throughout negotiations with police as officials tried to get him to surrender and that he had a history of mental illness.   Carl fled the office where he had been holed up throughout the night as police approached, barricading himself in a bathroom before taking his life, Handfield said.   Televangelist Dr. Robert Schuller, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral, had come to the church earlier and tried to help resolve the situation, police said.   During the holiday season, the cathedral hosts a live Nativity pageant, "The Glory of Christmas," that draws a large number of visitors. However, the shooting incident took place nearly two hours before the first show of the night.   The church, with a sanctuary that seats nearly 2,900 people, opened in 1980 and features more than 10,000 windows of silver-colored glass that give the cathedral its name.   Schuller broadcasts his weekly "Hour of Power" television show from the facility in suburban Garden Grove.   CNN's Erika Snider contributed to this report.    
(back) Subject: Re: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall From: "Arie Vandenberg" <ArieV@ClassicOrgan.com> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 14:07:25 -0500   At 12:37 PM 2004-12-17 -0500, you wrote: >Dear John: > >I agree with you whole heartedly on Ralph Downes. At RFH he was >dealt an exceedingly bad room for an organ. The other thing is that >the building was under construction at the same time the organ >was built. The room is part of the organ. Nobody could predict >what the end result would be, even with promises otherwise. I >wonder if they will retain those pudgy flower pot fake pipes in the >facade. They look like way overgrown tibias. Did the architect >get any heat for a job gone totally wrong, or the acoustical >engineer? Probably not. Blame the organ consultant as the scapegoat. >Well you have to blame somebody. That's totally wrong. > >Ron Severin   Ron,   That is interesting. Same thing happened here in Toronto 20+ years ago. = A concert hall was designed, an organ was contracted for. So the hall and the organ were built at the same time. The result - a less than happy organ sound, in a less than favourable acoustic.   The organ was contracted to Gabriel Kney, who I believe is Swiss (or German), who was active in S. Ontario. He generally built German sounding =   church organs. Even though he used larger scales than he had ever used before, the scaling just is not large enough. So wind pressures were brought up about 3 times, some re-voicing was done, but that was the = limit, as the whole thing started vibrating too much.   A couple of years ago, they spent $25 million (Can. bucks) renovating and improving the hall. Put wood on the surfaces, reduces the cubic volume of =   the hall by 25%, etc. The organ still does not sound great in there, although it is somewhat better now.   It is a tragedy here in Toronto, as it is the main concert hall, the only one that has a large pipe organ in it. This organ is 4 manual and pedal, 72 stops, about 100 ranks. It sounds like it would be a great organ in a church, not a concert hall.   Arie V.      
(back) Subject: Conductor Kills Self Inside L.A. Cathedral [x-posted] From: "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 11:06:21 -0800   Conductor Kills Self Inside L.A. Cathedral   By LAURA WIDES, Associated Press Writer   GARDEN GROVE, Calif. - The longtime conductor of the Crystal Cathedral's orchestra shot himself to death Friday at the landmark church after a nine-hour standoff that began when he opened fire as congregants prepared for a Christmas pageant.   No one else was injured.   Conductor Johnnie Carl, 57, had barricaded himself in a bathroom and shot himself at about 2 a.m. as police officers tried to talk to him. Carl, who had also made records with Celine Dion and others, had grappled with depression, authorities said.   He had fired about four shots in his office, and it did not appear he was trying to hit anybody, police said. Children in a day care center were rushed to safety.   The cathedral, a huge, sprawling structure of glass and steel not far from Disneyland, is home to the Rev. Robert Schuller's international Crystal Cathedral Ministries and claims a congregation of more than 10,000 members. The internationally televised "Hour of Power" is broadcast from there.   The first shots were fired shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, less than two hours before the scheduled start of the cathedral's annual "Glory of Christmas" holiday show, for which Carl had arranged the prerecorded music. The two Thursday shows were canceled.   The 78-year-old Schuller, who was at home when the shooting happened, came to the command post police set up near the cathedral and taped a message for Carl. Police did not have the chance to play it or another message from the Carl's wife, but they did play one from a friend who had helped Carl in the past, police said.   Schuller spokesman Michael Nason said Carl, who had been conductor for 29 years, had arranged or recorded music for artists including Dion, John Tesh, Michael Crawford and the London Symphony. Among the records he contributed to were Dion's "These are Special Times" and Tesh's "Live from Red Rocks."   Nason said Carl had talked to him in the past about feeling despondent =97 "just a sense of personal pressures, job, and things around him, dealing with people around him."   In a statement, Schuller hailed his friend as "a creative genius whose beautiful arrangements and superb conducting set new levels of excellence for sacred music. His music brought joy to the millions of viewers around the world who watch the Crystal Cathedral's 'Hour of Power' television program each week."   The cathedral's Christmas pageant draws visitors from around the world. It includes Christmas carols, live animals and special effects such as flying angels.   Schuller arrived in Garden Grove in 1955, founding a local Reformed Church in America congregation. He gained international fame when he rented the Orange Drive-in theater and began conducting Sunday services from the roof of the snack bar.   As his congregation grew rapidly, he launched plans to build the cathedral, which was designed by the architect Philip Johnson and his partner, John Burgee. The cathedral, 128 feet high and 415 feet long, was completed in 1980.   His son Robert Anthony Schuller is also an ordained minister and preaches at the cathedral. Schuller has designated him as his successor.   Carl is survived by his wife, Linda, and three children.      
(back) Subject: Pipe Organ Horror Stories From: "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 11:19:48 -0800   =3D-> .... David Wood ... was obliged to have new windchests made after only 35 years! I also recall the Middleton Hall organ at Hull University (Walker), which was terribly unrealiable electrically, with very unpredictable piston action etc. <-=3D       Hmmm.... I'll bet THAT cost a pretty penny. And after only 35 years, eh. Isn't that about the average lifespan usually estimated for electronic instruments?   And my goodness, all these horror stories about unreliability, lousy sound, etc. I thought pipe organs were supposed to have fabulous, glorious sonorities and "last for hundreds of years without trouble."   "We are such stuff as dreams are made on..."   [Don't mind me -- just playing the "Devil's Advocate" here]   ~ C    
(back) Subject: REAL organs From: "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 11:22:21 -0800   =3D-> This has nothing to do with the fact that Hope-Jones knew absolutely nothing about REAL organs. <-=3D     Hmmmm. Here again... I thought "REAL organs" were organs with pipes. Is the above to imply that some pipe organs (presumably those that do not meet with the writer's favor) are not "REAL" ??????     ~ "D.A."      
(back) Subject: RE: Downes-land memories From: "alantaylor1" <alantaylor1@members.v21.co.uk> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 19:27:33 -0000   Now Christie's certainly did build good cinema organs. The ex Granada Walthamstow is still in place.   And I can most certainly agree that the Victorians most certainly built better concert halls. We also agree about Birmingham and Manchester.   However, we will never agree about the RFH organ. Maybe we will be able = to, after the hall and the organ have been rebuilt.   As for Downes. I would have knighted him alright. If only I could have had him kneeling at my feet with a sword in my hand.   Alan London   Hee! Hee! Alan has style, when he wrote:-   > I suggested the organ lacked two > things. The first being a gallon of petrol, the > second a match.   I know nothing about the Oratory organ other than the fact that it sounds splendid, but from what Alan states, it sounds to be a bit of a nightmare to maintain.   Isn't this typically Walker at that time?   The use of dreadful materials such as chip-board was quite common at this time, and David Wood, who recently re-built the organ at Blackburn Cathedral (Walker - 1969) was obliged to have new windchests made after only 35 years! I also recall the Middleton Hall organ at Hull University (Walker), which was terribly unrealiable electrically, with very unpredictable piston action etc.   In fact, Stephen Bicknell has stated in a lecture, that British organ-building post-war, was in a terrible state and that quality had fallen through the floor; though whether this ever applied to Harrison & Harrison or Compton, I do not know.   I doubt that Ralph Downes ever had much to do with technical design, and in this respect, he probably was a rank amateur. His contribution was, I suspect, purely tonal.   Moving rapidly backwards to Hope-Jones, I "think" I disagree with Alan, but maybe not. I take his point about blend.....what blend? There was never an attempt to build an organ....merely a strange collection of totally unrelated orchestral effects. However, Alan misses the point I suspect. The individual ranks can be very, very good. Hope-Jones strings are excellent examples, his flutes are beautifully voiced, his diapasons (always at 8ft) have a nice edge and fullness of tone (as do those of Wurlitzer) and his Tubas are very, very good. Weren't the Hope-Jones interests taken over by Norman & Beard, who finished the organ at Battersea Town Hall?   This has nothing to do with the fact that Hope-Jones knew absolutely nothing about REAL organs.   Norman & Beard were, of course, the company who were responsible for the Christie Unit cinema organs, and who built to a very high quality. I seem to recall that they inherited the voicer(s) and interests from the bankrupt Hope-Jones, and consequently produced some extraordinarily fine orchestral reeds and major reeds.   So if old Downes liked the Hope-Jones Diapason at Worcester, I can well understand why; especially since it sat among other diapasons at higher pitches, to make a real organ sound.   I think we both agree that Compton made some outstanding church and concert instruments and employed some excellent staff. The quality of the components was fantastic.   Strange though it may seem, some of the Grant, Deegens and Bradbeer (Rippen?) men were ex-Compton, and I agree that, in many instances, they produced organs unsuited to the buildings in which they were placed. St.George's, Letchworth is another example. Locally to me, there is a Philip Wood organ on which it would be possible to accompany 500 with just the Great Gedact Flote! I think there was a "learning curve" with many builders, when they tried to adopt what they regarded as "classical voicing" techniques.   But who do we blame....the organ-builders or the musicians? I suspect the latter have much to answer for.   As for the Royal Festival Hall instrument, I just do not agree that it is a screeching sound. Bright it certainly is, but if the upperwork didn't have real punch, it would never be heard in the hall. IMHO, they should (a) never have built the hall and (b) never attempted to install an organ in it.   One thing I can tell Alan, having played it, the organ in de Dolen concert hall, Rotterdam (Marcussen I "think", but it might just be a Flentrop.....so long ago) speaks into a very similar acoustic to that found in the Festival Hall. It sounds far, far worse than the Harrison/Downes organ!   I'm not impressed by the Marcussen at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, and as for that thundering beast by Klais at Birmingham....well....what sort of organ is it supposed to be?   It seems to me, that modern concert halls are just very, very poor places in which to install an organ, because the acousticians have this idea that good acoustics can be built into a hall containing 5,000 softly cushioned seats. In the old days, people sat on benches, wooden chairs or thinly covered metal affairs, and the sound was fine.   Bring back the Victorian architects. They didn't know too much, but they got it right!!!   Finally (at last!) who the hell would want four independent choruses on a four manual instrument....what a silly idea!   I just can't imagine what Schnitger was thinking of at Zwolle.   Let's just agree to have our friendly differences of opinion Alan, or we could probably die having this conversation. The British organ community are STILL talking about the Festival Hall organ fifty years on.   All you have to do is accept the FACT the Ralph Downes was a great man who deserved a knighthood at the very least.   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK       -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by AVG Anti-Virus. Version: 7.0.296 / Virus Database: 265.5.4 - Release Date: 15/12/2004    
(back) Subject: Re: Who is the real builder? From: "Peter Rodwell" <iof@ctv.es> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 20:40:07 +0100   > I think the answer to this is quite simple. > > Where an organ has been changed radically, then it > should be stated clearly.   Yes, I should have said that in these cases, we always try to document the history.   > Have fun cataloguing!   Well, it's certainly not my idea of fun, but with almost 3000 organs catalogued now, hopefully it's starting to become a useful resource.   Peter.    
(back) Subject: RE: Downes and the Royal Festival Hall From: "alantaylor1" <alantaylor1@members.v21.co.uk> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 19:53:14 -0000   Any organ advisor, who actually knew what they were doing, would have = either refused to put an organ in the hall. Or suggested that changes must be = made to the design of the hall first. They would not have taken and used public money to enable them to play at building organs.   All of the above would mean that the skilled, experienced advisor would = have to know a great deal about how concert halls needed to be constructed to achieve the best musical sound.   John Birch is the curator of the organ at the Royal Albert Hall. He has = had the position for 30 or so years. He has an extensive knowledge of organs. = He has know the RAH organ inside out for decades. However, when it came to = the rebuild of the organ an organ consultant was employed. This consultant had been an organ builder and designer for 30 or more years. He actually knew/knows what he is doing. If such a person had been employed at the RFH in the 1950s the result, in my view, would have been very different to = that which currently resides there now. Just read Downes own account of the building of the organ in "Baroque Tricks" He was just thrashing about in = the dark.   When it came to the rebuilding of the organ in St Paul's cathedral, = London. The same process was gone through. Yes, St Paul's did have expert organist on their staff. However, happily the organists knew that they were = organists and made no pretence to be organ designers. The result was a stunning rebuild. If RD had been called in, most of the organ would probably have ended up in a skip. As did the Gloucester cathedral organ.   Horses for courses will now be my motto.   Alan London     Dear John:   I agree with you whole heartedly on Ralph Downes. At RFH he was dealt an exceedingly bad room for an organ. The other thing is that the building was under construction at the same time the organ was built. The room is part of the organ. Nobody could predict what the end result would be, even with promises otherwise. I wonder if they will retain those pudgy flower pot fake pipes in the facade. They look like way overgrown tibias. Did the architect get any heat for a job gone totally wrong, or the acoustical engineer? Probably not. Blame the organ consultant as the scapegoat. Well you have to blame somebody. That's totally wrong.   Ron Severin         -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by AVG Anti-Virus. Version: 7.0.296 / Virus Database: 265.5.4 - Release Date: 15/12/2004    
(back) Subject: Christmas Eve at Grace Lutheran, Lancaster PA From: "Karl Moyer" <kmoyer@marauder.millersville.edu> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:39:43 -0500   Hi, if you're free and in the area, a heads-up about 10 p.m. Eucharist at Grace Lutheran, Lancaster PA:   I. it's ELCA, and there is "open communion"   II. Murray Foreman, Grace's new organist/director as of last June, has planned the following:   A. a chamber orchestra to accompany the congregation carols and liturgy, play some of the prelude music, and accompany some of the choir music   B. the choir:   1. The Holly and the Ivy =8B Ron Jeffers' setting   2. Lovely Child, Holy Child - the "Bethlehem" shape-note tune, set by David N. Johnson, and with strings from the orchestra added.   3. an Introit: "Hodie Christus Natus Est" in plainsong. [Yeah, it's really an antiphon. :-) ] =20 4. Glory to God (_Messiah_) with its into recits, sung within the reading of the Gospel   5. He Is Born - arr. Robert Wetzler, and old 1965 Augsburg publication   6. Now Glad of Heart Be Everyone - Michael Praetorius   7. A Savior From On High - Stephen Paulus   The congregation will be invited to join with choir, organ and orchestra at the very conclusion of the service to sing the "Hallelujah" from _Messiah_, with music in the worship folder   The congregational carols, all with orchestral accomp:   Processional: Adeste Fideles   Gradual: Of the Father's Love Begotten   Hymn of the Day (after the sermon): Hark! the Herald Angels Sing   Offertory Carol What Child Is This (Greensleeves)   Candlelighting carol: Stille Nacht   Recessional: Angels We Have Heard On High   The organ, choir and orchestra are in the rear gallery with excellent sound advantage throughout the nave.   I thought you'd like to know> :-)   Fr=F6he Weihnachten. :-)   Karl E. Moyer Lancaster PA    
(back) Subject: Christmas tree el Greco? From: <Seedlac@aol.com> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 16:25:09 EST   I was tuning the organ in the Greek Cathedral, Baltimore, when my key = holder exclaimed that the noise I heard was the Sextons bringing in a Christmas = tree. I looked down from the balcony and saw they had brought in a sizable tree. =   I am puzzled I thought that pine trees and Christmas originated in the Germanic countries. I also have never seen any form of popular culture, = especially a western semi religious custom in an Orthodox Church. Any thoughts? I asked =   the secretary and she seem puzzled by my question. Said they always have = one. Steve  
(back) Subject: Greeks bearing Christmas trees, etc. From: "Liquescent" <quilisma@cox.net> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 13:51:31 -0800   The Greek Orthodox Church in the US is the most "westernized" of the Eastern Orthodox Churches in the New World. The fact that they have an organ at all indicates that (grin). I imagine they also have pews and robed choirs.   Such things are unknown among the rest, particularly the Russians and the Serbs.   MOST Eastern Orthodox don't CELEBRATE Christmas on Dec. 25th, but rather "Old Christmas" on Jan. 6 (also known as Theophany, Three Kings' Day, or Epiphany).   Some Uniates (see below) might ... they are more westernized than their Orthodox cousins.   When the Latin Rite Roman Catholic bishop of Cleveland died in the 1960s, the night before the funeral, he was laid out in the cathedral, and all the Uniate Churches sang Divine Liturgy for him throughout the night. (Uniates acknowledge the authority of Rome, but follow the Eastern liturgy). We had intended to get to the Pontifical Byzantine Liturgy, but we had the schedule wrong. We ended up instead at the Ruthenian Rite liturgy.   Now, there were only two SMALL Ruthenian Rite parishes in Cleveland, but when the liturgy began, we were overwhelmed by a HUGE flood of sound from the choir loft. When I turned around to look, there were HUNDREDS of singers in the balcony. I don't know if they were all members of the Ruthenian choirs ... possibly they called in help from other Uniate parishes, but man, could they SING. Two and a half hours, a cappella, in eight parts, perfectly on pitch and in tune, with nary a peep from the cathedral's large Holtkamp organ.   I didn't know much about Eastern Orthodox music at the time, but looking back, I suspect it was the Rachmaninoff setting of Divine Liturgy.   There IS a custom among the Russians of bringing in boughs of WILLOWS on Trinity Sunday.   Cheers,   Bud   Seedlac@aol.com wrote: > I was tuning the organ in the Greek Cathedral, Baltimore, when my key = holder > exclaimed that the noise I heard was the Sextons bringing in a Christmas = tree. > I looked down from the balcony and saw they had brought in a sizable = tree. > I am puzzled I thought that pine trees and Christmas originated in the > Germanic countries. I also have never seen any form of popular culture, = especially a > western semi religious custom in an Orthodox Church. Any thoughts? I = asked > the secretary and she seem puzzled by my question. Said they always have = one. > Steve > > ****************************************************************** > "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 > List-Subscribe: <mailto:pipechat-on@pipechat.org> > List-Digest: <mailto:pipechat-digest@pipechat.org> > List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:pipechat-off@pipechat.org> > >    
(back) Subject: Re: Christmas tree el Greco? From: "Arie Vandenberg" <ArieV@ClassicOrgan.com> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 16:47:31 -0500   At 04:25 PM 2004-12-17 -0500, you wrote: >I was tuning the organ in the Greek Cathedral, Baltimore, when my key = holder >exclaimed that the noise I heard was the Sextons bringing in a Christmas >tree. >I looked down from the balcony and saw they had brought in a sizable = tree. >I am puzzled I thought that pine trees and Christmas originated in the >Germanic countries. I also have never seen any form of popular culture, >especially a >western semi religious custom in an Orthodox Church. Any thoughts? I = asked >the secretary and she seem puzzled by my question. Said they always have = one. >Steve   Steve,   Most of what surrounds Christmas, is actually imported from various pagan cultures. Certainly the symbol of the evergreen tree is, and it the evergreen grove was considered a sacred place to pray and worship, especially around the winter solstice. It was around and after the time = of Constantine, when the Christian religion was legitamized, that Christmas, and it's various symbols were brought in. I believe that there is a story =   of Martin Luther popularizing the evergreen tree in and around Christmas = time.   Arie V.      
(back) Subject: PipeChat IRC this evening, From: "Bob Conway" <conwayb@sympatico.ca> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 16:59:41 -0500   All members of PipeChat are invited to join us in the PipeChat IRC any Friday and Monday evening - beginning at 9.00 PM Eastern Time.   To find out more about the Chat room, or how to get into it, go to PipeChat-L web page at http://www.pipechat.org/   You will find out all you need to know to join us.   Tonight at 9.00 PM, - I hope that we will see you there.   Cheers,   Bob Conway