PipeChat Digest #5437 - Saturday, July 2, 2005
 
RE: Why New Organ at Bryn Mawr Presb.?
  by "Larry Wheelock" <llwheels@mac.com>
Apology
  by "Larry Wheelock" <llwheels@mac.com>
Re: Why New Organ at Bryn Mawr Presb.?
  by "Karl Moyer" <kmoyer@millersville.edu>
Re: Why New Organ at Bryn Mawr Presb.?
  by "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com>
Re: ministry vs. job
  by <DERREINETOR@aol.com>
Re: the instrument is not to be sampled without the builder's express con
  by "Russ Greene" <rggreene2@shaw.ca>
RE: Conference Center Organ, Salt Lake
  by "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com>
RE: Request to rank service music
  by "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com>
Re: the instrument is not to be sampled without the builder's express con
  by "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk>
 

(back) Subject: RE: Why New Organ at Bryn Mawr Presb.? From: "Larry Wheelock" <llwheels@mac.com> Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 13:36:45 -0500     I wish to lay some basis for the esteemed Dr. Moyer to understand why=20 Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania would replace=20=   its 30-year-old Reiger organ so soon after its installation. This is a=20=   long and rambling post with lots of personal history so if this does=20 not interest you, skip it.   I am calling this information =93gossip=94 because, while some of it is=20=   first-hand knowledge, some of it comes to me from a personal friend of=20=   the Director of Music at BMPC, Jeffrey Brillhart. Although I know and=20=   trust my friend and his/her information, none of you do, so for=20 purposes of this list, it is just gossip.   Although the Reiger at BMPC was a groundbreaking instrument for the=20 Philadelphia region at the time the instrument was at-best minimally=20 successful in the room.   I was studying at the time of it=92s purchase with Robert Plimpton, who=20=   was organist at BMPC and I heard a few of the problems encountered in=20 the original installation. I had to take my lessons on a small 3-manual=20=   Moeller in the chapel because the large 4-manual Welte which was=20 installed in the tower and spoke thru tiny openings into the gallery=20 was all-but unplayable -- it was still being used, but it was=20 next-to-useless. The walls of the nave were covered with Acoustolith=20 plaster and the floor was covered in cork. The finest sound-engineers=20 of the early twentieth century had gone to work with the architects to=20=   create what was considered at the time to be =93ideal=94 acoustics -- = that=20 is -- the ambiance of entombment in a fuzzy blanket within a woolen=20 quilt, and they had been successful.   The first major hurdle, however, wasn=92t the acoustics, but rather,=20 getting the organ out of the tower and into the gallery. There was a=20 huge stained-glass window between the gallery and the facade of the=20 building and it=92s donor or part of the donor=92s family were still=20 around. It could not be covered -- that was a given. In the end the=20 donor paid to have the window moved to a side gallery and, disturbed by=20=   the lack of symmetry, gave another window for the gallery on the=20 opposite side to restore the balance.   It is not that people were unaware of the acoustical problems with the=20=   nave, and some minor attempt was made at sealing the cork floor in a=20 portion of the room, but Plimpton felt he had gone as far as was=20 politically possible at the time in gaining the changes to the building=20=   and getting the organ installed. He was no dummy -- he would have=20 preferred that the acoustics be changed, but anyone who has ever been=20 involved in a project such as this knows that one can go only so far --=20=   accomplish so much at a time, and Plimpton went as far as he felt=20 possible at that time. Seeds were planted and plans made for=20 improvements, but the congregation, clergy and TPTB (the powers that=20 be) had reached critical mass at that moment in time.   The action was a disappointment from the get-go. While I was still a =20 struggling student at the time, I had a comparison to make, as I had=20 just arranged the installation of a II/10-stop/14-rank Steiner tracker=20=   at the small Lutheran Church where I played (Tabernacle Lutheran, 59th=20=   & Spruce, Philadelphia). I knew that, even given the huge size=20 difference, the action at BMPC bore no resemblance to the sensitive=20 action and nuance available on the Steiner. I didn=92t know why the=20 Reiger was such a knuckle-buster, but I thought, even at the time, that=20=   it shouldn=92t have been so.   The BMPC organ was greeted by (most) of the organ community with high=20 praise even though it was well-known that if you wanted to actually=20 HEAR the instrument, you=92d better be seated in the gallery or at least=20=   in the rear third of the nave. Publicly, Josef von Glatter-Goetz=20 actually made an appropriate but unflattering remark about the=20 acoustics of the room at the dedication ceremony. I will refrain from=20 commenting on the stoplist or style of voicing used as I assure you=20 that both were reflective of the best-thought at the time and of the=20 highest quality and careful consideration. Tonally, the organ was,=20 rightly, a product of its era and no apologies need be made for that.   In all fairness -- what organist, having just completed a gargantuan=20 organ project like this is likely to pronounce the results=20 unsuccessful? Realistically, the organ had many, many good points and=20 was light-years removed from the old Welte behemoth in the tower. It=20 formed a basis for a revitalized music program at BMPC which -- after=20 Plimpton took his leave -- Jeffrey Brillhart built into one of the most=20=   artistic and successful in the country. In fact, it is a tribute to=20 Brillhart=92s success that he was actually to tech the congregation=20 enough to permit this replacement of the first Reiger so soon. By=20 building a first-rate program and gaining the trust of the congregation=20=   and TPTB he was able to lay the groundwork for correcting the problems=20=   of the first installation.   When the 21st century dawned, the congregation was finally prepared to=20=   seriously address the acoustics of the room, it was realized that=20 half-measure had not worked and that major steps must be taken. They=20 removed all the Acoustolith plaster -- stripping the room back to=20 bare-brick outer-walls. and re-plastered the entire Nave. I am not=20 privy to the details of this, but I am given to understand that they=20 committed themselves to doing it right this time.   OK, here comes the juicy gossip part. The story goes that the Reiger=20 firm was in transition at the time it built the first BMPC organ,=20 having just lost its chief engineer and that the designs for the action=20=   at BMPC were fundamentally flawed -- and Reiger came to know this very=20=   early -on.   With this major acoustical transformation taking place there was no=20 doubt that the organ, which had been voiced for the worst-possible=20 conditions, would require major alteration. They didn=92t have to=20 investigate very long to realize that the action-problems were integral=20=   to the flawed design and when Reiger was approached about the project,=20=   they did the noble thing -- they bought it back. Yes -- that is what I=20=   am saying -- that was not published in the Diapason -- Reiger=20 re-purchased the original instrument (at its 1970s cost of course)=20 against the cost of the brand-new instrument. Apparently they saw an=20 opportunity to correct past errors and have another go at building a=20 first-rate organ for a very important church in America. Personally, I=20=   think this makes good business sense, but I can also see why they=20 wouldn=92t want to make a big fuss about it. It is said that =93Doctors=20=   bury their mistakes but Organbuilder=92s mistakes go on forever...=94 = In=20 this case, at least, the Reiger firm saw a chance to correct a past=20 mistake (I refer to the action -- not the rest, which was the result of=20=   poor acoustics and contemporary design philosophy) and at the same=20 time, show-off their skill in a major US venue with the best acoustics=20=   possible.   Given that the decision was taken to replace the organ, it is natural=20 that the new instrument represent current design philosophy concerning=20=   stop choices, scaling and even case-design. Why not -- it=92s an = entirely=20 new organ.   I suppose my point in writing this is to say that they didn=92t merely=20=   replace the organ on a whim because its design and tonal philosophy was=20=   outdated, but that a new design had to follow the decision to replace=20 the instrument. A subtle difference but I hope I hope that my meaning=20 is clear.   I don=92t know just how public this information is -- I wasn=92t sworn = to=20 secrecy or anything, but I think it is significant that it was not in=20 the Diapason article.   Although I have not addressed the stewardship issues which were raised=20=   (and addressed) in this group, I hope this adds some understanding to=20 the underlying issues surrounding this unusual saga.   Larry Wheelock Director of Music Ministries Kenwood United Methodist Church Milwaukee, Wisconsin musicdirector@kenwood-umc.org=  
(back) Subject: Apology From: "Larry Wheelock" <llwheels@mac.com> Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 13:52:46 -0500   Please accept apology for forgetting to set my email to "plain text" before sending my last message. I hope that not too many of you are inconvenienced.   Larry Wheelock Director of Music Ministries Kenwood United Methodist Church Milwaukee, Wisconsin musicdirector@kenwood-umc.org    
(back) Subject: Re: Why New Organ at Bryn Mawr Presb.? From: "Karl Moyer" <kmoyer@millersville.edu> Date: Sat, 02 Jul 2005 15:29:24 -0400   Larry's comment is very helpful, and my warm thanks for same. It's fun to sense that one has so blindsided even respectable persons like him to cause him to use the word "esteeemed" before my name. Certain close friend= s of mine might choose other words! :-) Thanks for that, too, Larry.   I played the Rieger in its early days but had forgot until the various responses to my inquiry here how sluggish some of the action seemed. It wa= s a rather long tracker run to the top of the case, of course, though perhaps it could have been done better.   Having heard the organ at the 1977 International Congress and at the Phila. AGO convention, I never found the tonal spectrum a problem, but that's not anything as detailed a sense of the instrument as one gets after playing it repeatedly for years. I do recall all too well, however, how disappointing the building made the organ to sound.   At any rate, I feel my question has been well answered by several persons, to whom I am grateful, one and all. I'll be eager to return there some day to see/hear and perhaps briefly to play the new instrument.   Cordially,   Karl   On 7/2/05 2:36 PM, "Larry Wheelock" <llwheels@mac.com> wrote:   >=20 > I wish to lay some basis for the esteemed Dr. Moyer to understand why > Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania would replace > its 30-year-old Reiger organ so soon after its installation. This is a > long and rambling post with lots of personal history so if this does > not interest you, skip it. >=20 > I am calling this information =B3gossip=B2 because, while some of it is > first-hand knowledge, some of it comes to me from a personal friend of > the Director of Music at BMPC, Jeffrey Brillhart. Although I know and > trust my friend and his/her information, none of you do, so for > purposes of this list, it is just gossip. >=20 > Although the Reiger at BMPC was a groundbreaking instrument for the > Philadelphia region at the time the instrument was at-best minimally > successful in the room. >=20 > I was studying at the time of it=B9s purchase with Robert Plimpton, who > was organist at BMPC and I heard a few of the problems encountered in > the original installation. I had to take my lessons on a small 3-manual > Moeller in the chapel because the large 4-manual Welte which was > installed in the tower and spoke thru tiny openings into the gallery > was all-but unplayable -- it was still being used, but it was > next-to-useless. The walls of the nave were covered with Acoustolith > plaster and the floor was covered in cork. The finest sound-engineers > of the early twentieth century had gone to work with the architects to > create what was considered at the time to be =B3ideal=B2 acoustics -- that > is -- the ambiance of entombment in a fuzzy blanket within a woolen > quilt, and they had been successful. >=20 > The first major hurdle, however, wasn=B9t the acoustics, but rather, > getting the organ out of the tower and into the gallery. There was a > huge stained-glass window between the gallery and the facade of the > building and it=B9s donor or part of the donor=B9s family were still > around. It could not be covered -- that was a given. In the end the > donor paid to have the window moved to a side gallery and, disturbed by > the lack of symmetry, gave another window for the gallery on the > opposite side to restore the balance. >=20 > It is not that people were unaware of the acoustical problems with the > nave, and some minor attempt was made at sealing the cork floor in a > portion of the room, but Plimpton felt he had gone as far as was > politically possible at the time in gaining the changes to the building > and getting the organ installed. He was no dummy -- he would have > preferred that the acoustics be changed, but anyone who has ever been > involved in a project such as this knows that one can go only so far -- > accomplish so much at a time, and Plimpton went as far as he felt > possible at that time. Seeds were planted and plans made for > improvements, but the congregation, clergy and TPTB (the powers that > be) had reached critical mass at that moment in time. >=20 > The action was a disappointment from the get-go. While I was still a > struggling student at the time, I had a comparison to make, as I had > just arranged the installation of a II/10-stop/14-rank Steiner tracker > at the small Lutheran Church where I played (Tabernacle Lutheran, 59th > & Spruce, Philadelphia). I knew that, even given the huge size > difference, the action at BMPC bore no resemblance to the sensitive > action and nuance available on the Steiner. I didn=B9t know why the > Reiger was such a knuckle-buster, but I thought, even at the time, that > it shouldn=B9t have been so. >=20 > The BMPC organ was greeted by (most) of the organ community with high > praise even though it was well-known that if you wanted to actually > HEAR the instrument, you=B9d better be seated in the gallery or at least > in the rear third of the nave. Publicly, Josef von Glatter-Goetz > actually made an appropriate but unflattering remark about the > acoustics of the room at the dedication ceremony. I will refrain from > commenting on the stoplist or style of voicing used as I assure you > that both were reflective of the best-thought at the time and of the > highest quality and careful consideration. Tonally, the organ was, > rightly, a product of its era and no apologies need be made for that. >=20 > In all fairness -- what organist, having just completed a gargantuan > organ project like this is likely to pronounce the results > unsuccessful? Realistically, the organ had many, many good points and > was light-years removed from the old Welte behemoth in the tower. It > formed a basis for a revitalized music program at BMPC which -- after > Plimpton took his leave -- Jeffrey Brillhart built into one of the most > artistic and successful in the country. In fact, it is a tribute to > Brillhart=B9s success that he was actually to tech the congregation > enough to permit this replacement of the first Reiger so soon. By > building a first-rate program and gaining the trust of the congregation > and TPTB he was able to lay the groundwork for correcting the problems > of the first installation. >=20 > When the 21st century dawned, the congregation was finally prepared to > seriously address the acoustics of the room, it was realized that > half-measure had not worked and that major steps must be taken. They > removed all the Acoustolith plaster -- stripping the room back to > bare-brick outer-walls. and re-plastered the entire Nave. I am not > privy to the details of this, but I am given to understand that they > committed themselves to doing it right this time. >=20 > OK, here comes the juicy gossip part. The story goes that the Reiger > firm was in transition at the time it built the first BMPC organ, > having just lost its chief engineer and that the designs for the action > at BMPC were fundamentally flawed -- and Reiger came to know this very > early -on. >=20 > With this major acoustical transformation taking place there was no > doubt that the organ, which had been voiced for the worst-possible > conditions, would require major alteration. They didn=B9t have to > investigate very long to realize that the action-problems were integral > to the flawed design and when Reiger was approached about the project, > they did the noble thing -- they bought it back. Yes -- that is what I > am saying -- that was not published in the Diapason -- Reiger > re-purchased the original instrument (at its 1970s cost of course) > against the cost of the brand-new instrument. Apparently they saw an > opportunity to correct past errors and have another go at building a > first-rate organ for a very important church in America. Personally, I > think this makes good business sense, but I can also see why they > wouldn=B9t want to make a big fuss about it. It is said that =B3Doctors > bury their mistakes but Organbuilder=B9s mistakes go on forever...=B2 In > this case, at least, the Reiger firm saw a chance to correct a past > mistake (I refer to the action -- not the rest, which was the result of > poor acoustics and contemporary design philosophy) and at the same > time, show-off their skill in a major US venue with the best acoustics > possible. >=20 > Given that the decision was taken to replace the organ, it is natural > that the new instrument represent current design philosophy concerning > stop choices, scaling and even case-design. Why not -- it=B9s an entirely > new organ. >=20 > I suppose my point in writing this is to say that they didn=B9t merely > replace the organ on a whim because its design and tonal philosophy was > outdated, but that a new design had to follow the decision to replace > the instrument. A subtle difference but I hope I hope that my meaning > is clear. >=20 > I don=B9t know just how public this information is -- I wasn=B9t sworn to > secrecy or anything, but I think it is significant that it was not in > the Diapason article. >=20 > Although I have not addressed the stewardship issues which were raised > (and addressed) in this group, I hope this adds some understanding to > the underlying issues surrounding this unusual saga. >=20 > Larry Wheelock > Director of Music Ministries > Kenwood United Methodist Church > Milwaukee, Wisconsin > musicdirector@kenwood-umc.org > ****************************************************************** > "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> >=20 >=20    
(back) Subject: Re: Why New Organ at Bryn Mawr Presb.? From: "Jim McFarland" <mcfarland6@juno.com> Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 15:49:03 -0400     On Sat, 2 Jul 2005 13:36:45 -0500 Larry Wheelock <llwheels@mac.com> writes: > > I wish to lay some basis for the esteemed Dr. Moyer to understand > why > Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania would > replace > its 30-year-old Reiger organ so soon after its installation.       Dear List:   Mr. Wheelock is better than 95% accurate in everything he spelled out in his response.   I was half of the two-man team continuously involved in the warranty work at Bryn Mawr during the 70's. I know the instrument's problems from the inside, and was privy to a lot of what JVGG had to say about it behind the scenes. (I still have several boxes full of action parts that we replaced because they were breaking under the stress! We actually replaced EVERY square and tracker pendulum in the entire organ!) **   The most amazing aspect of this thread is the sheer number of respondents who wrote, in an authoritative tone, what the reasons were, and they were all wrong!   This list is continuously cheapened by the ranting of those with "False Authority Syndrome," but then, it seems the whole world is. I really love mankind, it is the people I can't stand. (Well, at least a whole lot of them)     Jim     ** I am an inveterate pack-rat, as if you couldn't tell.  
(back) Subject: Re: ministry vs. job From: <DERREINETOR@aol.com> Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 16:04:54 EDT   Try reading the Daily Offices from the BCP. At least in our Yank version = of the BCP, you'll get through a great deal of scripture--painlessly--in = about two years.   BH  
(back) Subject: Re: the instrument is not to be sampled without the builder's express consent From: "Russ Greene" <rggreene2@shaw.ca> Date: Sat, 02 Jul 2005 15:24:18 -0500   Paul, Software companies "make that stick" every day. You're wrong.   Russ Greene     On Jul 1, 2005, at 8:56 PM, Paul Valtos wrote:   > "These are the soprt of conditions taht are imposed in most > commercial transactions". Agree to disagree. I spent close to 30 > years as a sales engineer and I have yet to see that stick when you > phsically move a product from the ownership of the manufacturer to > the end user. Let it rest. >    
(back) Subject: RE: Conference Center Organ, Salt Lake From: "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> Date: Sat, 02 Jul 2005 15:46:39 -0500   I don't know why I am in a writing mood this week. But in response to Randy, I don't think a recording is the best means of judging the instrument. And as someone has already said, the Tabernacle and the Conference Center, and their organs, are an apple and an orange, respectively.   The Conference Center is a larger and drier acoustic, and the Schoenstein is not a Skinner. I personally prefer the Tabernacle's warm sound, but liked the Conference Center too. There are some awfully good sounds therein. It is my utter and complete guess that the Schoenstein was designed as a response to the ascendancy of the use of the orchestra, whereas the Tabernacle organ seemed to thrive in an era promoting its more frequent solo and accompaniment use.   And if for no other reason, the Conference Center wins hands-down for the number of restroom stalls, and boy, are they pretty!   Glenda Sutton gksjd85@direcway.com     -----Original Message----- From: pipechat@pipechat.org [mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org] On Behalf Of Randy Terry     I listened to PIPEDREAMS with the Salt Lake organs last night after someone mentioned there was a program up.   I have to say that for me, you can't compare the Tabernacle instrument with the Conference Center one, for the Tabernacle is far more successful.        
(back) Subject: RE: Request to rank service music From: "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> Date: Sat, 02 Jul 2005 15:46:39 -0500   I would like to make two points in response to Desiree's comments:   "[large snip] Many of them are publishing music that bivocational organists with little training would find accessible."   I would posit that there are not a few bivocational organists on this list with more years' musical training than some of the degree-seeking and -holding organ students. One of the points I have been trying to make recently is that it seems there are as many or more 'credentialed' organists as untrained ones clamoring for the accessible, instead of buckling down and learning some music.   And secondly,   "[snip] Another thing...I would not look at the books a publisher lists s the latest "best picks" in a TAO ad to judge the quality of all of their music. One should take into consideration that the abilities of the ones who are making it the "best seller"."   However, if you will notice, many of the reviews in TAO are signed, and would seem to be a more useful source for determining whether the music reviewed might meet the seeker's criteria. And a great deal of publications end up being reviewed in TAO. I for one would tend to follow the advice of a knowledgeable and trusted organ colleague, Rollin Smith for one, than of some stranger whose name I did not know.   Just a friendly aside to Desiree: I try to overlook all the grammatical and spelling mistakes (we are all guilty of that from time to time), but in order to be treated as a professional (something I sense you are seeking) you really need to work on your writing skills. When you make such sweeping statements as the first quote above, which can easily be interpreted in several ways (some much less than flattering to others), you can really land in trouble, offending whether you intended it or not. I feel certain you did not mean to intimate that all bivocational organists are untrained. But others lurking on the list may not know that.   Glenda Sutton gksjd85@direcway.com       Is it someone with a masters degree from Oberlin, or someone who studied organ as a secondary or minor in college? For example, some people judge the quality of Melbay/Mayhew publications based upon their "Made Playable" pieces. Thats not the foundation on which one should base judgement of their output as medeocre. As said above, some companied are publishing these things for those of lesser abilities. These collections are in addition to collections with more substantive writing, for those who have greater abilities. Even Morning Star and Concordia have lables for their music as "E, ME, M, MD, D" for the level of difficult. For example, many organist love to play the Manz CWM Rhondda setting. I think they catagorize it as MD because it is a fairly respected arrangement. Organists who play this might say that Morning Star has excellent quality music for use as voluntaries for the church service. And organist who has only seen the "E and ME" collections of that company may not be interested in any further output they may have.   TDH   __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com ****************************************************************** "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: the instrument is not to be sampled without the builder's express consent From: "Colin Mitchell" <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk> Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2005 13:55:28 -0700 (PDT)   Hello,   Russ is right, the existence of "intellectual property" is not affected by the sale or transfer of ownership of a finished product or service which utilises it.   Put simply, it means that if (a) designs something original, and sells it to (b), and along comes (c) to copy what (b) ownes; then he is still in breach of the copyright ("intellectual property")resting with (a) as the creator.   Were I a lawyer, which I am not, I think I would want to know how original the design or creation that (a) has made actually is, or whether (a) had, in fact, copied something which was "public domain" in the first place.   In practical terms, I would venture to suggest that in such a legal minefield, it is a lost cause as a source of potential litigation.   Even a bespoke product such as an organ, must follow the broad conventions of "custom and practice," and it would be easy to demonstrate that this is so, and indeed, should anyone copy the work of a living or lately dead organ-builder "substantially," then they would, themselves, be open to litigation or even theft of copyright from that person or the heirs to that person's estate.   Americans may be litigation-mad, but I would hate to see all you guys taken to the cleaners by Europeans.....which opens up a whole new thread..... what bits of an organ are uniquely American?   Could we now, please, "rest our case" or maybe just "switch off the wind?"   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK     --- Russ Greene <rggreene2@shaw.ca> wrote:   > Paul, > Software companies "make that stick" every day. > You're wrong.     __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com