PipeChat Digest #4484 - Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Simon Preston at St. Ignatius 5-4-04
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Don Thompson Plays Rochester Wurlitzer Saturday (cross-posted)
  by "Kenneth Evans" <kevans1@rochester.rr.com>
Re: Simon Preston at St. Ignatius 5-4-04
  by "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@swbell.net>
Re: VERY bad organ!(somewhat long but still interesting)
  by "Tom R" <trackeraction@theatreorgans.com>
Re: bad organ
  by "Tom R" <trackeraction@theatreorgans.com>
Re: Simon Preston at St. Ignatius 5-4-04
  by "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk>
My thoughts
  by "Scott Montgomery" <montre1978@yahoo.com>
"bad" organ and three famous sisters
  by "james nerstheimer" <enigma1685@hotmail.com>
Creston Kilgen and Kimball
  by "Richard Hazelip" <rhazelip1@yahoo.com>
RE: bad organ and sheet protectors
  by "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com>

(back) Subject: Simon Preston at St. Ignatius 5-4-04 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 14:42:08 -0400   Simon Preston at St. Ignatius, NY 5/4/04     My affair with St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan had a bad winter. I have = seen one wonderful musical event go by after another, without me. Twice = it was snow, a feature of living at a high altitude, as do I. Several = times, it was a pile of work that needed to be satisfied. And, for one = looking closely at 70, albeit from below for now, there have been some = bouts of ill health. So now, while I have your sympathy, let me tell you = about my re=EBntry into this glorious church and its music. If, like = Commander Data or some other fabled Android, I could attach a couple of = wires to you, and put into your brain the substance of all the Organ = recitals I have heard at St. Ignatius, you could perhaps comprehend what = enrichment has come my way. With extra heavy-duty cable, I could perhaps = also send across as remarkable a collection of great choral works, some = with Organ, many with orchestra, as you will ever see.   Tonight, I attended the final concert in this season's Organ Recital = Series. Simon Preston was the artist of the evening, a man with a long = and honorable pedigree, mostly well known to all reading this. The first = two items on his program really want to be played by someone British. = There is a special aesthetic that is not available to many of us = Americans. The notes get played, to be sure, but there are particular = nuances that are lost to anyone that has not grown up regularly hearing = those steeped in the tradition. So we began with the ever so fine Choral = Song and Fugue of Samuel Sebastian Wesley. I had to do some serious = aural adjusting - it was quite quick, and the registration was big, not = at all what I have been used to hearing or playing. Andrew Henderson, in = his thorough program notes for the evening says the following: " . . . = he composed three works for 'chamber Organ.' The Choral Song, with its = attached Fugue, was included in the first book." One could make a case = for adjusting the performance style for the instrument at hand. It's = just that the big reedy sound with mixtures got rather lost in the = reverberant space, and one needed to listen very closely. I think also, = the touch needed to lighten up considerably - some small space between = notes might have added clarity. The spirit of a "chamber Organ" did not = pertain. The Fugue, however, was truly magnificent, building to a grand = climax.   With a British Organist in place, how about the Elgar Sonata? Quoting = Andrew Henderson quoting John Butt, " . . . the work is one of the most = successful 'Organ symphonies' of the late 19th century, easily rivaling = the vast symphonic works from the Parisian Organ school of Franck, = Widor, and Vierne." And back to Andrew again: "It was composed in the = space of one week." This is a large, four movement work! In any case, = tonight's performance certainly had that very British snap to it - I = wish I could describe it better - and my only cavil had to do with the = registration, which I found to be thin. I wanted to reach up and add = some more foundational tone. I do believe there were some broad stops as = yet unused. I have a big thing for Organists who commit the music they = play to memory. To me, the Allegretto and the Andante espressivo did not = cohere - I felt the performer was rather wedded to the page, and lost = spontaneity thereby. Perhaps some of the problem with coherence has to = do with the composition itself. I thought not, but have been wrong = before. The final movement, the Presto, made for a satisfying ending, = and the audience responded with great enthusiasm.   After the intermission, we had L'Ascension of Messiaen, and it was = lovely to hear those sonorities and harmonies in this building again, = evoking memories of Olivier Latry's six concerts comprising the complete = works. I must say, however, that having suggested that a bit of English = blood helps in performing Wesley and Elgar, I would suggest that a drop = of Red Wine - ah, sorry, I mean French blood (same thing) may be = required to invest Messiaen with its mystic nature. I found these = performances just a bit dry, and dare I say it, distracted by dependence = on the printed page. I do not suggest that anyone playing these works = with the music is not able to go beyond the paper. M. Latry played with = music throughout, but it was, for me, a very different experience.   Well now, on to happier experiences. Some years ago, on the radio, I = heard Simon Preston deliver a fun filled performance of the Ives = Variations on America. I had, by that time, become weary of the piece = and its various and obvious machinations, but this performance, recorded = at a concert for the Calgary International Organ Competion, in Calgary, = reminded me that, played with verve and imagination, there was yet some = life in this musical oddity. Last night, we heard it live, and it had = the same lovely sparkle. At a live performance of this work, one can = easily spot members of the audience who have never heard it before. They = shake with laughter at all the right places, and I shake with laughter = watching them shaking with laughter. It was good clean fun, and the = audience showed its appreciation powerfully.   To me, the last work on the program was a revelation. Franz Schmidt's = Toccata in C was written in 1924, and I would like to quote again Andrew = Henderson's notes: "The piece is relentless in its unending sense of = motion with long chains of sixteenth notes, surely a nod to the Baroque = toccatas he admired, including those composed by J. S. Bach. . . . . . = The piece is organized in sonata form, the four main sections of the = piece being clearly laid out: exposition, development, recapitulation = and coda." Those who have been members of PipOrg-L, the Pipe Organ = mailing list on the Internet for any length of time, have had lots of = exposure to discussions of Franz Schmidt, his music and his politics. = This Toccata certainly raised his significance as a composer in my mind, = and judging from the audience reaction, others had the same experience.   When Mr. Preston put the Schmidt work up on the music desk, there was = another piece he seemed to place behind it. I assumed this meant there = was an encore ready if needed. The audience, which rapidly stood up and = clapped and cheered, easily could have done with more, but I think the = performer was ready to call it a night. There was a quite good audience, = although less than is usual. I think the available New York pool of = Organ recital goers was somewhat diluted by the fact of another recital = at Riverside Church last night. This does happen in the big city. If it = was an OHS convention, both recitals would have been played again, and = the buses would have taken us to the next venue.=20   About 12 years ago, one guy with a big vision began to present concerts = in a wonderful, big old church (1898), built of all the right materials, = possessed of a superb acoustic for music of all kinds. Kent Tritle, = saddled with an undistinguished AFKAT* but with a fierce musical = determination, began giving concerts in a series now known as Sacred = Music in a Sacred Space. Through the consistent quality of what was = done, both on Sunday mornings and in concerts, a grantor came along with = a gift of enough money to proceed with planning for a new Organ, an = instrument installed ten years ago. Nothing has happened in all those = years that could compromise the sacredness of the place and of the music = presented there. I feel a tremendous attachment to the building, and to = the people who toil to make it all happen, uninterrupted. In writing = about a few things that concerned me about last night's concert, I felt = a sort of uneasiness, but they are honest opinions, and I have examined = my thoughts several times over, and also tried them on a few people last = night, people of musical intelligence and discernment. I have to say = that those people really did not feel as I did, so either I am = incredibly perceptive, or possibly for external reasons, was not always = positively receptive of what I was hearing. I hope someone else that was = there will provide a rebuttal.   In the next little while, I want to write a posting about next year's = concerts at St. Ignatius. Yes, we were handed with our programs a = complete listing for next year, not of the Organ recitals yet, but of = the five major, and I do mean major, concerts scheduled. One is with an = early music orchestra, three are with full orchestra, and one is an <a = cappella> concert. At that point, I want to pay tribute to the = incredible music staff that Kent Tritle has gathered around him. They = were all hard at work last night in various capacities. Most notably, = Andrew Henderson and his very fine and exhaustive program notes, and = Christine Hoffman for her program designs that grow increasingly lovely = with each event. Ms. Hoffman is also marketing director. I had a phone = call yesterday morning from a member of my parish in Connecticut who was = very excited about last night's concert, having heard a promotional spot = on WQXR, the New York Times station. He was upset because he was unable = to be there, and hoped there might be a recording made. I said he would = have to settle for my review of the proceedings! I did not hear the QXR = commercial, but it was clearly effective. In any case, more about the = dedicated music staff at this church next time around.   *AFKAT. Perhaps you have been wondering what that is all about. Well, it = has been not uncommon for those devoted to the Pipe Organ to refer to = electronic instruments as Toasters. As the old electronic Organ at St. = Ignatius had two large consoles, each with four manuals, I once referred = to it as an Eight Slice Toaster. Those on Internet Organ mailing lists = who like electronic Organs have always expressed displeasure at the use = of the term Toaster, and I certainly heard about my use of it then. = Rodney, a member of PipOrg-L, in attendance at most St. Ignatius Organ = recitals including that of last night, came up with a compromise. = Apparatus Formerly Known as Toaster - AFKAT. Easy to say and remember. = The gentleman's last name is withheld to protect the innocent.   Cheers,   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com =20 =20        
(back) Subject: Don Thompson Plays Rochester Wurlitzer Saturday (cross-posted) From: "Kenneth Evans" <kevans1@rochester.rr.com> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 14:52:11 -0400   The Rochester Theater Organ Society is pleased to remind you of Don Thompson's ninth performance on our Auditorium Theatre Wurlitzer 4/23 this Saturday, May 8 . Don will play starting at 8 PM at the refurbished Auditorium Theatre, 875 East Main Street in Rochester, NY 14605. = Admission is only $15 each with tickets available at the Box Office during the hour preceding the concert.   For information about the concert, Don Thompson's biography, driving directions, organ specifications and lots of pictures and more please = visit the RTOS website at http://theatreorgans.com/rochestr/ . Please join us = for a memorable springtime evening of musical enjoyment.   Submitted by, Ken Evans, RTOS Director    
(back) Subject: Re: Simon Preston at St. Ignatius 5-4-04 From: "John L. Speller" <jlspeller@swbell.net> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 14:55:42 -0500     ----- Original Message ----- From: Malcolm Wechsler To: Pipe Chat ; Pipe Organ List Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 1:42 PM Subject: Simon Preston at St. Ignatius 5-4-04     > So we began with the ever so fine Choral Song and Fugue of Samuel Sebastian Wesley. I had to do some serious aural adjusting > - it was = quite quick, and the registration was big, not at all what I have been used to hearing or playing. Andrew Henderson, in his > thorough program notes for the evening says the following: " . . . he composed three works for = 'chamber Organ.' The Choral Song, > with its attached Fugue, was included in the first book." One could make a case for adjusting the performance style for the > instrument at hand. It's just that the big reedy sound with mixtures got rather lost in the reverberant space, and one needed to > listen very closely. I think also, the touch needed to lighten up considerably - some small space between notes might have added > clarity. The spirit of a "chamber Organ" did not pertain. The Fugue, however, was truly magnificent, building to a grand climax.   I have two editions of the Choral Song which are quite different. The first, which I take to be the original version, is for manuals only and is written for G-compass organ. The second, which is the version I think = most people use today, is for manuals and pedals and is arranged for C-compass organ. I had not realized it was originally written for chamber organ, = but if so the pedal-less version makes a lot of sense.   John Speller      
(back) Subject: Re: VERY bad organ!(somewhat long but still interesting) From: "Tom R" <trackeraction@theatreorgans.com> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 16:43:29 -0400   I do agree with most of what you've said here. However, the problem is = not that it would be impossible to turn what is there into a decent = instrument. The problem is convincing a pastor who knows very little = about organs, and who generally doesn't like to listen to anyone else's = opinion about such matters, especially since i'm only an associate = organist there, that extra money should be spent on doing such things to = really make the instrument sound good. The way he sees things, as long = as it works and accompanies the hymn singing to a modest degree, it's = good enough. I did have a conversation about the combination action = with the repairman about a year ago, and they told me that they had no = plans to solid-state the combination action, or the stops themselves. I = told them that there was a problem with it and they said that it had = something to do with a bar that was rusty and easily gets knocked out of = position. He fixed it but it must have gone out of whack again. Also, = I spoke with them about the trumpet. Apparently, there was a water leak = in the ceiling above the rank and it had fairly significant rust damage = on the reeds themselves. He tried to clean them up as best as he could, = but he said that the tuning would likely be rather unstable. I doubt = that there would be anything they could do to salvage that rank, short = of nearly rebuilding the pipes. What I would like to see is the = existing rank discarded and a used rank in reasonably good condition be = purchased that is less agressive and more closely matches the tone color = of the instrument. It would also be nice if a seperate swell box could = be constructed around it to increase it's versatility in both chorus and = solo work. As far as the added upperwork is concerned, it's not even so = much a matter of blending as it is the particular pitches chosen. There = needs to be either a mixture or a mutation there instead of octaves. An = off-unison rank would add a much greater amount of tone color and could = help make up for the general lack of reeds. An unenclosed, open or = harmonic flute at 8' pitch on the great voiced rather generously would = also help to add richness to the overall sound. I would also like to = see some of the manual stops borrowed to the pedal to give it a greater = degree of independance. Add to that a thorough revoicing and = reregulating of all pipework, a new, multilevel, solid state combination = action, perhaps an entirely new drawknob console, and definitely midi = in, out, and thru ports to bring it up to today's standards and you'd = have a nice little organ. I doubt that I could convince them that even = one such improvement would be worthwhile, however.   Tom Rishel ----- Original Message -----=20 From: TRACKELECT@cs.com=20 To: pipechat@pipechat.org=20 Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 8:13 AM Subject: VERY bad organ!(somewhat long but still interesting)       Sorry to hear about the deteriorated state of your Austin. But it = sounds as if you could have a rather nice organ with some attention. Ten = days sounds very acceptable to releather a primary. It does sound as if = you are on the right track. The organ needs three things. Lots of = releathering, a good set of solid state controls and attention. The = buzzing Diapasons pipes are easy to fix with a few pieces of felt. The = Bourdon and Stopped Diapason will come right back with repacked stoppers = and the strings just need re-regualtion possibly due to sagging languids = or dirt in the flues. The Gross Flute most likely needs a few new tuning = scrolls and the caps forming the lower lips have probably loosened over = the years and need to be tightened. The trumpet that laid mute is simply = full of dirt. If the pipes are taken out and given a good cleaning then = re-regulated to a softer volume it will probably be much more stable and = usable. The screechy upperwork is a problem that may be made more = tolerable by simply some judicious revoicing. Nicking the flues to allow = them to match the Austin Diapason will certainly help. Klann consoles = from that era have rather notorious plastic parts that break and cause = the problems that you described. With the solid state controls they = should be fitting electric stop action magnets so all of the combination = action problems will disappear and you should be able to get many = goodies like multiple levels, transposers, manual transfer, and all = kinds of couplers. One more thing, make sure that you get a new = rectifier in the process. The old "Selenium Stack" rectifiers are = notorious for drooping voltage and AC leakage. Good rectifiers have = gotten pretty cheap and the AC leakage can play havoc with solid state = components. Keep your chin up. There is hope. One of my customers has a = similar Austin with similar problems but unfortunately there was much = more "hack work" done and the universal chests were badly damaged and = leak like a sieve. They will eventually need all new chests.=20   All the best:=20   Alan B "Tech"=20   Alan A. Binger Organbuilder Inc.=20 Freehold, NJ.  
(back) Subject: Re: bad organ From: "Tom R" <trackeraction@theatreorgans.com> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 16:56:00 -0400   I'm not really calling the organ 'bad' because of the mechanical problems. I'm calling it 'bad' because even if everything worked as it ought to, the tonal design doesn't have a leg to stand on. There are too many ranks = that are so soft that they hardly contribute, for example: a dulciana and an = echo salizional on an organ with around 14 ranks! The trumpet was never enclosed, which reduces it's usefullness to special occasions, rather than an integral part of the ensemble. And finally, the organ has not a = mutation nor mixture to be found when it really needs one, the other or both to = make up for the lack of reeds, especially in the swell. The swell doesn't even have that great of an effect, due to the fact that there isn't anything in there that is really that loud. Back when the swell did work somewhat, = when it was closed most ranks were nearly inaudible. Open, you could just = barely start hearing most of them. Really, it's more of an echo division than a swell, which is a rather interesting idea, but it isn't very inspiring for leading hymns when you need power that you just don't have. That's just my take on it. I'd welcome anyone to come and try it out and see what they think. Maybe I just expect too much from this old pipe organ.   Tom Rishel ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Lawrence" <andy@ablorgans.com> To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 11:28 AM Subject: Re: bad organ     There seems to be a lot of mixing around here of bad organs due to bad = tonal design, and bad due to wear and tear. Don't confuse these! This is how good organs get thrown away! Sure, many organs have both problems, but = the wear and tear (rattling pipes, dead notes, unreliable actions, voicing out of regulation) can be dealt with readily. Don't call an organ "bad" for these issues! They can be fixed! Changing a tonal scheme is why many restorations cost a lot of money. The aforementioned Austin has some = tonal issues but almost everything cited for calling it a "bad" organ are things that are very fixable, without major changes. Also true of the "mongrel" mentioned below. Mechanical problems constitute an organ that needs attention, not a bad organ! Sure, there are organs that are better off being burned to heat organ shops, but just please don't throw away organs that would be ok with TLC... it ends up costing so much more to start = over! And this just convinces the public at large ever more permanently that organs are just plain too expensive to be practical.   Andy          
(back) Subject: Re: Simon Preston at St. Ignatius 5-4-04 From: "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 14:31:13 -0700 (PDT)   Hello,   An interesting take on S S Wesley's "Choral Song & Fugue" from both Malcolm and John.....I also had no idea it was written for a chamber organ.   I wonder if the C compass version was also contemporary with Wesley?   The reason I ask, is the knowledge that S S Wesley was involved in the provision of pedal organs (Wesley/Willis pedalboard) and, at the time, they were not many pedal organs around; and almost none in the average parish church.   Most organists still preferred the G compass, and there was considerable hostility to independent pedal organs.   I don't expect that Wesley would have minded a larger registration, for he was, after all, involved with some fairly substantial instruments in his life and had evolved a very respectable pedal technique.   IMHO, the smaller registrations would be preferable in this sort of period work, for the English sound was, at the time, that of Snetzler and his successors rather than Hill/Willis/Schulze.   Just my tuppence worth! (3.5 cents?)   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK           __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs http://hotjobs.sweepstakes.yahoo.com/careermakeover  
(back) Subject: My thoughts From: "Scott Montgomery" <montre1978@yahoo.com> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 15:32:46 -0700 (PDT)     I went up to Chicago on Sunday with a group of organists to see Cameron = Carpenter. We met Desiree and had a real blast. She and I had a great = deal of talking about electronic and pipe organs.   Most churches are in bad circumstances with money, and as I have seen with = some of the chats on here, that electronic organs seem to be the best = substitute. After all, last night at a concert at the Krannert Center of = Performing Arts in Champaign, Illinois, they wheeled in an electronic = organ for an organ symphony. The same situation happened at my church. = The organ at my church fell into to dire repair, and since the organ was a = collection of circuits, pipes, and keys from other various junk organs, we = decided to purchase an electronic organ as a fix to our problems. I have = been very happy with the sound this instrument makes as a subsititue for = real pipes. We have always had plans and always will have plans to = purchase a pipe organ, that has been our goal all along.   I made a comment last week that I would rather have a 5 rank organ then = deal with an electronic organ. I made this comment because I am a purist, = and for me, I would rather play on a handful of ranks. This is my = personal opinion. (Although I do think its fun to go in and voice an organ = each day with a couple buttons on an electronic organ!)   If I have offended anyone on this list, I am truly sorry. We all get = frustrated and say things that might come across as bad to another person = in the heat of the moment.       Scott Montgomery 619 W Church St Champaign, IL 61820 217-390-0158 www.scottmontgomerymusic.net --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs  
(back) Subject: "bad" organ and three famous sisters From: "james nerstheimer" <enigma1685@hotmail.com> Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 17:56:56 -0500   I agree with you, Andy. Pipes in any sort of condition can be = resurrected. It's the infrastructure they stand on that can rob them of their = potential. This particular instrument did make a decent sound in a fine room and the specification could have made for a most versatile organ. It was in the gallery of a nice working-class Catholic parish seating some 400. The builder's plate indicated that this organ had been cobbled together in 1970=97when the Church was deep in the throes of Vatican II. It was = probably done on a "budget". They must've had a few spare guitars around to cannabalise for "contact" wire!     I was not aware that the Titanic ever had a pipe organ. However, her = sister ship, the Britannic, which originally was named "Gigantic" until it was changed after the disaster, was to have a pipe organ installed over her Grand Staircase=97where Honour And Glory Crowning Time stood on Titanic. = No sooner had Britannic arrived at the fitting basin of Harland & Wolf, WWI broke out and Britannic was fitted out as a hospital ship. Modifications had been made to the lifeboat system after Titanic=97extra-large davits = which could hold several boats at once, and a double-hull which increased her = beam by some 6 feet, making her the largest liner yet built. She met her premature end after striking a mine in the Aegean. Titanic's other = sister, the Olympic had a phenomenal carreer, serving reliably until 1935 when she =   was broken up for scrap. A true shame indeed! She was identical to her famous sister in nearly every way, just not as plush, and the forward part =   of her 1st Class Promenande was not enclosed as it was on Titanic. Leaded =   glass windows and wainscoting from the 1st Class Smoking Room were = salvaged by a hotelier in England and installed in his establishment where they can =   be seen today.     Any pipe organ plans for the new Queen Mary II?   jim   O):^)   _________________________________________________________________ Express yourself with the new version of MSN Messenger! Download today - it's FREE! http://messenger.msn.com/go/onm00200471ave/direct/01/    
(back) Subject: Creston Kilgen and Kimball From: "Richard Hazelip" <rhazelip1@yahoo.com> Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 16:50:49 -0700 (PDT)   Greetings, O august assembly of assorted assiduous audiophiles! In my never-ending search for trivia, I have come across the existence of = a Kimball and a Kilgen at St. Malachy's New York. Since the church was = founded in 1902, and the Kilgen was installed in the downstairs chapel in = 1929, the Kimball must have been installed very early in the century in = the main auditorium. I have made two phone calls to Kimball companies and = have been disappointed. Do any of you have any idea of whether there are = any Kimball archives and how I might find them? (Or do you have a = stoplist or access to one?) BTW I have a call in to Stephen Pinel to see if the OHS gods can be of any = help here. I appreciate any help you can offer! Richard Hazelip    
(back) Subject: RE: bad organ and sheet protectors From: "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 19:12:40 -0500   Bought heavy glare-free sheet protectors today. Registrations are set and written down. Hymns, anthems and service music are selected and e-mailed and left at church for church secretary, with phone message on her answering machine.   Now when the organ cuts itself on full registration suddenly and unsolicited, the general cancel button will not work. I have to turn the whole organ off and on. That will sound particularly good with this week's selections.   I'm wondering if I'll electrocute myself if I stash a bottle of Stolis next to the pedalboard.   Thanks to all for the advice - am preparing witty and stinging repartee with the former incumbent and counting down.   Glenda Sutton gksjd85@direcway.com RULE #3 FOR LAWYERS: Same as Rule #1.