PipeChat Digest #4498 - Thursday, May 13, 2004 Re:Disney Hall Organ newspaper article by "Richard Huggins" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder by "bobelms" <email@example.com> RE: Desiree - "NU organ/church music program...what's the deal?" by "Fran Walker" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder by "John L. Speller" <email@example.com> small organs by "quilisma" <firstname.lastname@example.org> RE: "absolute truths" in organ-builder by "TheShieling" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Re: OT - John Kerry; red academic hood by <email@example.com> Re: small organs by <Gfc234@aol.com> Re: small organs by <Keys4bach@aol.com> changes in Bach by <firstname.lastname@example.org> Re: small organs by "Scott Montgomery" <email@example.com> Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder by "bobelms" <firstname.lastname@example.org> St. Anne and the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn Heights by <TubaMagna@aol.com> absolute truth by "Andy Lawrence" <email@example.com>
(back) Subject: Re:Disney Hall Organ newspaper article From: "Richard Huggins" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 08:25:04 -0500 > From: "Peter Rodwell" <email@example.com> > Quoting Stan Lowkis: > >> This is a link to a New York Times article regarding the voicing >> titled: "Pipes Askew, It Still Needs to Sing" > > Does anyone else find it odd that this article is in the > "Science" section? I speculate that the philosophical slant for the story is regarding the cause-effect of design and sound, of metal vs. wood, of shape vs. function...that sort of thing. Also the cause-effect of the various tuning methods required or implemented for the pipes, and how they affect the movement of air and thus the sound. All sounds like science stuff to me. --Richard Huggins
(back) Subject: Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder From: "bobelms" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 22:11:51 +0800 I am not being in anyway critical in this but it amazes me the difference = in perception of what makes a big organ in the USA compared to Australia. In = my state of over one million square miles there is only one 4 manual organ, comprising a grand organ and a choir organ playable from a four manual or = a two manual console. - 109 stops available. This is arguably the largest church organ in Australia. There could be maybe three five manual organs = in the entire country - maybe; only the Sydney Town Hall and Opera House = spring to mind at present but there may be another.. Even four manual organs are = a rarity, possibly a dozen or so, and most three manual organs would have = less than 40 stops. Many would have less than 20. These are large organs in = this country and the whole repertoire of organ music is played on them. St = Paul's Cathedral London has but 12 or 13 stops? The average organist in = Australia would love to have 13 stops on the swell organ. but would be more likely = to have at most seven or eight. Yet they handle the whole repertoire.You play according to whatever resources you have available. Again, I am NOT criticising quilisma, just making a comparison between perceptions in our two countries. Bob Elms. ----- Original Message ----- From: <email@example.com> To: "PipeChat" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 6:22 AM Subject: "absolute truths" in organ-builder > First, go to the LITERATURE (my perennial plea) ... what does the > LEGITIMATE organ and choral literature require? > > I never cease to be amazed at what English organs are able to do in the > service, relative to their size. The Swell at St. Paul's Cathedral in > London has but 12-13 stops. >
(back) Subject: RE: Desiree - "NU organ/church music program...what's the deal?" From: "Fran Walker" <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 09:09:47 -0500 Desiree, Re: "NU organ/church music program - Gone or not?" - The NU dept was officially cut this spring. A group of alumni/friends are gathering ideas about setting up a foundation/endowment (12 million) for = a new interdisciplinary organ/church music program proposal to plop down on NU's lap. Email me if you want to help. --Fran Frances Walker, M.M. Northwestern University Organist, North Shore United Methodist Church 213 Hazel Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022-1775 847-835-1227; fax 847-835-1243 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.gbgm-umc.org/northshoreumc/
(back) Subject: Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder From: "John L. Speller" <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 10:19:45 -0500 ----- Original Message ----- From: "bobelms" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "PipeChat" <email@example.com> Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 9:11 AM Subject: Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder > I am not being in anyway critical in this but it amazes me the = difference in > perception of what makes a big organ in the USA compared to Australia. Coming from the UK to the US twenty years ago the difference amazes me = too. Most parish churches in England have one- or two- manual organs, in the majority of cases with fewer than twenty stops. In most large towns the principal churches have three-manual organs with perhaps around three = dozen stops. Only very large city churches or cathedrals would have four manual instruments. One of the problems in America is that people have come to expect large organs and have never been taught how to deal with smaller instruments. One of the marks of a good organist is the ability to play a large repertoire of interesting music on the smallest of instruments and = to obtain the maximum versatility from a small organ. Similarly, one of the marks of a good organ designer is to be able to design a good multum-in-parvo instrument -- an small organ that can gain the maximum versatility from relatively few stops. Today most people either settle = for large digital instruments, or fill out a pipe organ specification with masses of digital ranks. If people were only taught to listen with their ears, they would find that some small pipe organs are worth listening to = for hours on end without much change in registration, and that many large ones are not even worth listening to for a short time. John Speller
(back) Subject: small organs From: "quilisma" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 11:19:34 -0700 (PDT) My test of a good organ, large or small, is if you can listen to = individual stops (particularly the Great 8' Principal) for hours without becoming = tired of it ... there are a handful of organs in the US (mostly 19th-century) = that meet that criterion ... Frescobaldi toccatas played on the Great 8' Open Diapason (perhaps with a soft Swell stop with tremulant coupled, if the tremulant doesn't affect the whole organ) that soar and sing, even in a = dead room. Another test is a Bach Prelude and Fugue played on the (coupled) plena = with no manual changes from start to finish ... does the organ BREATHE and make its own crescendos and decrescendos as Bach alternately thins and thickens the texture (the Prelude and Fugue in b minor is a good test piece for that). A third test: is EVERY stop useful, and does it blend with every OTHER = stop? The Fritts-Richards in All Souls' Episcopal Church Point Loma (San Diego) = is a PRIME example of that: the Pedal 16' Prestant (the only 16' flue in the Pedal) will fit under anything from the Brustwerk 8' flute to Organo = Pleno; the Pedal 16' Posaune will do virtually the same (!), but at the same time make itself felt in plenum combinations. You can play a c.f. on the Hauptwerk 8' Trumpet, accompanied by any 8' flue; but you can ALSO do the REVERSE. There are NO "throw-away" stops on that organ. There is a MARVELOUS one-manual Ott in Founders' Chapel at University of = San Diego (the Roman Catholic university) ... the spec is something like this: MANUAL (divided stops) 8' Principal - full compass 8' Flute 4' Octave 4' Flute 2' Octave Mixture (in the bass) becomes Cornet (in the treble) 8' Oboe PEDAL 16' Bourdon Manual to Pedal coupler The ONLY thing one would wish for is an 8' stop in the Pedal when one is using the 4' Flute in the bass and the Oboe in the treble for = accompaniment and solo ... there's no way to get an 8' sound in the Pedal in that case. = I imagine it would have been simple enough to make the 16' Bourdon play at 16-8-4 by transmission, as Beckerath and others did in their small organs. But aside from that, the amount of literature one can play is AMAZING, and that organ fills a not-small chapel which has indifferent acoustics. There is a 1m Johnson in a UCC in National City just south of here that fills a large German hall-church (a former Evangelische Kirche) ... it has approximately the same spec, maybe with the addition of a 12th. I think part of the problem is that in America the study of organ has been divorced from church music. A recital organ is NOT required in the AVERAGE parish church, no matter WHAT the denomination. The organ's PRIMARY = function is to accompany the SERVICE, whether hymns, chants, solos, or anthems. = There is a WEALTH of voluntaries for the small organ, if one will take the time = to ferret them out. I keep begging people to GO to the Hooks, Erbens, Johnsons, Appletons, = etc. and SEE what 19th century builders COULD do with a small organ, even in a dead room. It ain't rocket science: strengthen the 16 and 8 sound, and = rein in the trebles. THAT was the great mistake people made in building 4' principal-based organs with high-pitched mixtures in dead rooms. Look at the "catalog" organs from the 19th century -- even a 1m organ of = 10 stops had an 8' Open Diapason and a STURDY Pedal Bourdon ... there was one Koehnken and Grimm in Cincinnati that had an OPEN WOOD 16' as the ONLY = Pedal stop (you could couple down the Gt. 16' Bourdon if you needed a REALLY = soft 16', but the Open Wood fit under MOST things) ... again ... voicing, voicing, VOICING. Hinners might have been the Wicks of their day, but those little = workhorses are TREASURES, and they're like the Energizer Bunny ... they just keep going, and going, and going. Ditto the early TP Estey catalog organs. I grew up on one in Mulberry Methodist Church, Mulberry FL with the following spec: SWELL 8' Stopped Diapason 8' Salicional 4' Harmonic Flute Tremulant (affected Swell only) GREAT (exposed 8' Open Diapason (facade) 8' Dulciana 4' Octave PEDAL 16' Bourdon Swell to Pedal Great To Pedal Swell to Great Swell to Great 8va (4') I played several full recitals on that organ ... Bach, Franck, Langlais, etc. There was a '20s Moller in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bartow FL (an EXCELLENT acoustical setting) with the following spec: SWELL 8' Violin Diapason 8' Stopped Diapason 8' Viole 8' Viole Celeste 8' Aeoline 4' Flute 8' Cornopean 8' Oboe 8' Vox Humana GREAT 8' Open Diapason - facade 8' Violin Diapason - sw 8' Doppel Flute 8' Viole - sw 8' Stopped Diapason - sw 8' Dulciana (sw Aeoline) 4' Octave (ext. Violin Diapason) 4' Flute (sw) PEDAL 16' Bourdon 16' Lieblich (by two-pressure valve) 8' Flute (ext. Bourdon) electro-pneumatic action full couplers 4 adjustable pistons to Swell and Great Gt/Ped reversible crescendo pedal full organ reversible Granted, it depended on the couplers for brilliance (that's why they were THERE), but it was a THRILLING sound in that room. I never wished for a different organ in either instance ... instead, I learned to exploit what those organs WOULD do well, and avoid the things they WOULDN'T do well. I played Bach on both ... not authentically, to be sure, but MUSICALLY. Younger organists aren't taught how to APPROACH these kinds of = instruments, for the most part. They don't know the literature that was played on them .... most of which is available from OHS and Organ Literature Foundation, = or in any public library of any size. There are far too many emasculated romantic organs in this country that = have been spoiled by organists attempting to turn them into North German = baroque instruments. OK, let's look at that ... once again, go to the FUNCTION and the LITERATURE. North German baroque organs didn't accompany CHOIR *or* CONGREGATION for the most part ... they played preludes and fugues, and preluded on the chorales, which were sung unaccompanied in most places. There aren't many American churches whose liturgies fit that description. It would seem to me that the model SHOULD be the modest sized English = parish church organs, or the smaller French orgues du choeur ... Schoenstein has built some MARVELOUS versions of the latter ... both are primarily ACCOMPANIMENTAL organs. I understand the desire to have a recital organ that can play big pieces, but that isn't what's wanted or needed in the AVERAGE parish church ... = the PRIMARY place where pipe organ builders have to compete with off-the-shelf electronic substitutes. The difficulty in getting that point across is that most organ departments have done away with their Sacred Music degree; we all know of SCANDALOUS examples of organists with multiple degrees who can play the stuffing out = of the literature, but whose service-playing is coma-inducing (grin). That wasn't true a generation ago ... most of the fine organists of David Craighead's generation were SUPERB service-players as well, and the generation of students they taught ... McNeill Robinson comes to mind. The future of organs and organ-building and ORGANISTS still lies PRIMARILY with the CHURCHES and TEMPLES, the recent spate of concert-hall organs notwithstanding. A FEW young recitalists have emerged ... Felix Hell, Ken Cowan, etc. ... but a whole rising generation of organists can't expect to make a living on the concert circuit or in academia, not at the rate organ departments are closing. The CHURCH and the TEMPLE are still our primary patrons. It would seem to me that our training and the organs we build should REFLECT that. Cheers, Bud
(back) Subject: RE: "absolute truths" in organ-builder From: "TheShieling" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 07:17:00 +1200 >If people were only taught to listen with their ears, they would find that some small pipe organs are worth listening to = for hours on end without much change in registration, and that many large ones are not even worth listening to for a short time. Hi, folks, I'm back on Pipechat after some months away. I agree 102% with the above. Small organs can be utterly beautiful, where every pipe is a musical delight in itself, so one-stop registration can be common. In an organ I know well, there is a stop labelled 16 Bourdon on the Swell. It is an entirely wooden stopped rank, goes down to TenC only and was made by NZ builder Edgar Jenkins about 120 years ago. Well, it's the most fabulous sound: rich and warm, though soft, below MidC, gradually becoming perkier as you ascend the scale and getting crisper and then quite chiffy speech. By about E an octave above MidC, the sound becomes very definitely = a Quintaton. A glorious rank. Now, I've used that stop on its own many many times, usually played up an octave to be sure, in combination sometimes = with the flutes (also all wood) at 8, 4 and 2ft. With small organs, I can think of the Harrison & Harrison in the parish church on Holy Island, Lindisfarne. It is unenclosed and has about three stops - an 8 Open Diapason, an 8ft flute of some kind, and a Ped.16ft Bourdon of generous scale and a deep warm purr right down to CCC. The Open sounds rather like a T.C.Lewis stop - about 6.5" scale, very wide mouth, low-cut-up, pressure about 3", of heavy spotted metal. A gloriously rich stop of amazing clarity, the rank sounds like a chorus and easily accompanies a congregation of 100 and more, yet it is neither harsh nor loud. Mind you, it is a stone church and the organ backs onto a stone = wall, the sound thus "radiating" superbly throughout the building. Please, yes, quality in scaling and voicing outweigh sheer size, any day. Ross --- Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). Version: 6.0.682 / Virus Database: 444 - Release Date: 11/05/2004
(back) Subject: Re: OT - John Kerry; red academic hood From: <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 14:12:05 -0700 it seems to me that the annual "Red Mass" for lawyers was called that both on account of it being a Votive of St. Thomas More (Martyr) and on account of the color for the law degree. Cheers, Bud DERREINETOR@aol.com wrote: > Is it not possible that the color, as it showed up on television or in a = > newspaper color photograph (which are usually three-color separations, > rather than the four-color used most often in magazines) looked > different than what it would have looked like to the naked eye? I can > imagine purple coming off as red both on television and in a newspaper > photograph. In my two modest (and strictly local) appearances on > television, the ties I wore bore very little resemblance to their actual = > color when viewed on the tube. > > Just a thought. > Bill H. > Boston
(back) Subject: Re: small organs From: <Gfc234@aol.com> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 17:24:31 EDT Right on Bud! Yes yes yes! gfc Gregory Ceurvorst M.M. Organ Performance Student Northwestern University Director of Music and Organist St. Peter's U.C.C. Frankfort, IL 847.332.2788 home 708.243.2549 mobile firstname.lastname@example.org
(back) Subject: Re: small organs From: <Keys4bach@aol.com> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 17:30:10 EDT In a message dated 5/12/2004 2:04:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time, email@example.com writes: Another test is a Bach Prelude and Fugue played on the (coupled) plena = with no manual changes from start to finish But dearest seteemed fellow Cinti baby, WHY would you even do this? grinning at you from the Walcha/Mulbury corner of the internet.... dale in florida
(back) Subject: changes in Bach From: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 14:50:01 -0700 Given shove couplers and the location of the stops on most of Bach's organs, the MOST one could do would be to couple or uncouple the manuals between the prelude and the fugue, and/or maybe throw the Hauptwerk Trommet and Pedal Posaune off or on. Somebody (Heiller, I think) made the point in a workshop that when Bach wanted a different sound, he wrote a thinner texture ... the Prelude and Fugue in b minor being a good example. Yes, there ARE some obvious places for manual changes in SOME of the preludes and fugues, but if the pedal part is continuous, that's a good argument for NOT changing, for the reason cited above. Bach himself called for manual changes very rarely (the Dorian T & F). All this is really side-stepping the issue I was trying to get at: on a GOOD organ, the plenum (coupled or uncoupled) doesn't tire the ears, and it's perfectly possible to play a 20-minute prelude and fugue WITHOUT manual or stop changes. I played the F Major Toccata and Fugue more-or-less that way ... the opening of the Toccata sounds silly on Positiv flutes 8-2, or even just the Positiv plenum. I drew the Pedal plenum for the pedal solos in the Toccata, and reduced it somewhat for the episodic sections; I stayed on the same manual sound throughout. For the fugue, I added the 16' Bassoon and 8' Trumpet in the manuals and the Posaune in the pedals. Even on the B & V at Cincinnati, that WORKED. As a general rule of thumb, if it requires complicating "working out" of manual and registration changes (a la Schweitzer's notes), then you probably shouldn't be DOING it. Now, having said that, there are an awful lot of not-so-good American organs, both tracker and EP, where that would be INTOLERABLE. Fine. Go ahead and change, by all means. Don't make the audience suffer <g>. But KNOW why you're doing it. Just because Virgil COULD doesn't mean we all SHOULD (chuckle). Cheers, Bud Keys4bach@aol.com wrote: > In a message dated 5/12/2004 2:04:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time, > email@example.com writes: > > Another test is a Bach Prelude and Fugue played on the (coupled) > plena with > no manual changes from start to finish > > But dearest seteemed fellow Cinti baby, > > > WHY would you even do this? > > grinning at you from the Walcha/Mulbury corner of the internet.... > > dale in florida
(back) Subject: Re: small organs From: "Scott Montgomery" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 14:26:02 -0700 (PDT) I agree totally with small organs. I think of the Wolff up in Chicago, = perfect example. Scott Montgomery Gfc234@aol.com wrote: Right on Bud! Yes yes yes! gfc Gregory Ceurvorst M.M. Organ Performance Student Northwestern University Director of Music and Organist St. Peter's U.C.C. Frankfort, IL 847.332.2788 home 708.243.2549 mobile email@example.com --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Movies - Buy advance tickets for 'Shrek 2'
(back) Subject: Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder From: "bobelms" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 08:29:53 +0800 You hit the nail on the head, John, The organ I play most as a church organist is of six ranks extended with a good chorus reed on the swell.. = We have had top international artists here giving recitals on this = instrument. Among the repertoire I have heard in their recitals are such as Reubke's 94th Psalm, Liszt's work on BACH, Messiaen, Franck's Chorale No. 3, the whole of Widor's Vth Symphony, and other massive works played quite convincingly as well as a range of Bach's Preludes and Fugues and Trio Sonatas. You do not need four or five manuals and a huge array of stops to play any organ music. You use what you have and a good organ will respond providing you have the range of organ tone needed. The actual number of stops and manuals provided don't matter as long as there is the range available.Obviously for some of the music I listed a good chorus reed is = an essential. Different perceptions in different countries. ----- Original Message ----- From: "John L. Speller" <email@example.com> To: "PipeChat" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 11:19 PM Subject: Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "bobelms" <email@example.com> > To: "PipeChat" <firstname.lastname@example.org> > Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 9:11 AM > Subject: Re: "absolute truths" in organ-builder > > > > I am not being in anyway critical in this but it amazes me the difference > in perception of what makes a big organ in the USA compared to = Australia. > Coming from the UK to the US twenty years ago the difference amazes me too. > Most parish churches in England have one- or two- manual organs, in the > majority of cases with fewer than twenty stops. In most large towns the > principal churches have three-manual organs with perhaps around three dozen > stops. Only very large city churches or cathedrals would have four = manual > instruments.
(back) Subject: St. Anne and the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn Heights From: <TubaMagna@aol.com> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 20:55:45 EDT Dear List Members: A great deal of banter has surfaced about this organ, its past, and = its planned future, and although one list member asked me to "weigh in" when = this first started, I held off until now, principally because I was busy = running my own shop, as well as having spent a great deal of time at Disney Hall in = the past week, with MUCH to report. We must accept the fact that the Skinner organ in question CANNOT be restored to its original sound. A bit of investigation might reveal that = one of the rare conservators who specializes in Skinner conservation work turned = down an invitation to bid on the project, based upon their assessment that the = organ had been too radically altered. Therefore, regardless of the = illustriousness of the contractor, the best that can be done is to make FURTHER = alterations that the present practitioner and his circle feel MIGHT be "in the spirit = of the original." The alteration of the Swell chorus reed shallots, tongues, and = resonators that took place nearly half a century ago was done with the very best of intentions. We know better now, and there is no point, with such hindsight = and the great progress we have made in preservation sensibility, in "assigning blame." But even if we were to reconvene all of the protagonists and hope = to re-create what had been altered, we would end up with, at best, an = IDEALIZED version of what they had disliked enough to discard. That is crucial -- we cannot = help but create the things for which we hoped, given the opportunity. This type of conjectural reconstruction is different than restoration, = even if it is highly educated guesswork, and the work carried out by the = few who have devoted their lives and careers to the study and conservation of Mr. Skinner's work. The reinstatement of the (presumably) unaltered Quintadena = or the removal of an added Mixture would be considered truly restorative = procedures, and would bring the flue balance, "good" or "bad," closer to its original configuration. Keep in mind that there are those who would argue that Opus 524 was altered considerably more than mentioned in previous posts. It is unlikely = that the extent of that can be accurately determined. Several people have mentioned the enormous five-manual replacement console, with its added "baroque" resources, its half-and-half combination = action, and the illegible drawknobs so completely contrary to Mr. Skinner's = preference for single lines of clearly readable block letters. A new console which VISUALLY replicates the original may or may not be in the works. = Nonetheless, it is different than a restoration or a true replica. To some this is quite important; to the average organist it is not. But we must know the = difference and not pervert, distort, or misuse terminology. Since none of us has any control over this project, the best we can do = is sit back and watch, hoping for the best. It matters not whether some of us = would have rebuilt the Swell division first, or built a solid-state visual = replica of the original console, or added eight digital 32' stops to the = Pedal. But what we CAN do is undertake further study so that when we use terms such = as restoration, conservation, replication, reconstruction, presumptive = addition, alteration, or reinstatement, we are clear to ourselves and our = colleagues. In the end, true historicists treat pipe organs as people -- they = accept them as they are, including their perceived "flaws." Not all organs are = worth saving, unaltered, as we have discussed many times on both of these lists. = Some organs simply do not fulfill their function well or address the room effectively. This discussion is not about whether or not the organ at = Saint Anne and the Holy Trinity was deserving of alteration, or was unassailable, or terrible. It is simply about describing things accurately. Sebastian M. Gluck New York City ..
(back) Subject: absolute truth From: "Andy Lawrence" <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 20:58:32 -0500 This is a redundancy. If something is true, it is absolute. The question = is, is there truth. I think there is. Some believe there is a God, some don't. Both cannot be right. Either there is a God, or there isn't. One = who believes there isn't a God had best _really_ believe there isn't a = God, and not just say there's a God for those who believe and not for those who = don't. That is absurd reasoning (I don't know if anyone has said that = here, but it is not an uncommon belief). In fact, this is a little bold to say, but I really believe that everyone believes in God and in truth, deep down. Some choose to try to ignore or bury that belief, for various reasons, mainly the reason that you then = have examine your own soul and its standing with God. Hey, _you_ guys brought it up :) :) Andy A.B.Lawrence Pipe Organ Service PO Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 (802)578-3936 Visit our website at www.ablorgans.com