PipeChat Digest #5191 - Wednesday, March 2, 2005
1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post)
  by <ScottFop@aol.com>
RE: Benoit "Ubi Caritas" vs. Benoit "Where Charity and Love"
  by <RSiegel920@aol.com>
  by <Gfc234@aol.com>
Re: 1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post)
  by <BlueeyedBear@aol.com>
What would Bach do (or have done)?
  by <TubaMagna@aol.com>
Re: 1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post)
  by <ScottFop@aol.com>
Re: 1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post)
  by <ScottFop@aol.com>

(back) Subject: 1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post) From: <ScottFop@aol.com> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 19:26:10 EST   This past Sunday evening we were treated to a recital on the 1928 W.W. Kimball pipe organ formerly housed in the Auditorium-South Hall of Ellis = Auditorium in Memphis. First a bit of history on the instrument...   The instrument was part of the huge concert organ designed by Charles Courboin and installed in the massive municipal hall, now razed. The = organ had a total of 115 ranks and was divided between North Hall and South Hall = instruments. The 8000-seat North Hall had 74 ranks played from a 5 manual console = which also controlled the 2500-seat South Hall organ, which contained 41 ranks playable from its own separate console.   The stagehouse had an acoustic fire wall which, when lowered, separated = the two auditoriums. When open, the South Hall made an INCREDIBLE Antiphonal division for the North Hall. The North Hall was a vast room with a = triple-tire horseshoe balcony that wrapper around three sides of the room and went all = the way up to the proscenium on either side of the stage. It also had = variable acoustics via louvres in the ceiling which opened and/or closed. When = opened there was acoustical tile which absorbed sound. When closer completely, = the room had 7-8 seconds. Needless to say the organ(s) sounded absolutely = incredible.     The North Hall chambers were immediately above the stage house and spoke directly down onto the stage and out into the hall via a slight = sound-directing baffle. One could stand on the metal catwalk in front of them and see the =   entire expanse of expression shades as every pipe of both organs was under =   expression. Needless to say when the organ was being played and you stood = out on that catwalk, it was a terrifying yet very exciting experience, and when the = high pressure reeds and pedal 32's came on, especially the full length = Bombarde, you had better hold on to those guard rails for dear life! This was = especially true if you forgot and looked down right onto the stage about 75' directly =   under your feet!!   The South Hall chambers backed up to the North Hall chambers but spoke directly into the uppermost balconies and ceiling of the auditorium = through four huge square "windows." In fact, you could sit in the upper balcony and = watch the swell shades flap open and closed. It was really cool. The South = Hall resembled an opera house, albeit not as decorative, but it has the = orchestra level, loge with box seats which were actually only slightly off the main = floor, a mezzanine and then the grand tier in two sections- upper and lower. = Though smaller, it still had quite resonant acoustics. There was a huge hallway = which wrapped around the entire building on the main floor, and from which one = could access all areas of either auditorium and the wings to the massive double stage on either side. The old Auditorium was right across the street from = the Cook Convention Center, an ugly, beige behemoth of a building built in the = early 1970's and attached to the Auditorium via an over-street glassed-in = walkway on the North Hall side on the second (mezzanine) floor.   It was a MASSIVE building and a real part of Memphis history. Along with = the Orpheum, concerts were held there, the Memphis Symphony and Ballet, MANY graduations and other such special occasions. I cut teeth on those = Kimball organs playing for graduations and some other special events when I was a = teenager and well remember the organ, now with much sadness. I would go downtown = on Saturday mornings and meet the late Bill Oberg and Marlin Mackley as we = worked on that organ and the Wurlitzer at the Orpheum up Main Street from the Auditorium. It was great fun and I learned so much. I will say that, = during those years in the late 70's and 80's, all three of the organs played well and everything worked beautifully. Bill kept them in excellent tune and = repair, and they were just incredible. I even remember going down there on off times such = as during the day and on Sundays sometimes when the building would be = unlocked or after a show, they could do that in those days. I would play for hours = and hours after going upstairs and throwing the kniofe switch which would send = power to the blowers. I even have pictures of me at those consoles and in the various pipe chambers. But, I also remember the organs with much profound =   sadness...read on...   Well, to make this short, Memphis City administration in its infinite = wisdom and knowledge decided that the Auditorium needed to be history and torn = down, despite that it was built like a brick you-know-what. So, down it came = and a new concert hall built in its place. Yes its nice, yes its modern and = pretty, but there was not ONE INCH of space provided for the organ DESPITE the = heroic efforts of OHS, AGO and other such people as Lamar King, Emily McAllister, =   David Ramsey, Diane Meredith Belcher and countless others. The city just = didn't care. Organ? What organ? That was the attitude, despite the fact that = that instrument roared along the banks of the Mississippi Rover for 60 years. = And roar it did, it was a massive sound that rolled around the ceilings of = those massive auditoria and would literally bring on chills and goosebumps. So, = the North Hall 74 ranks and its 5 manual console got stored in the basement of =   the Convention Center where it is now SEVERELY water damaged, heavily = laden with mice "products" and chewing, unheated in winter and uncooled in summer. = To see it brings on a feeling beyond anger and sadness. It's actually rather =   indescribable.   Thankfully, however, the South Hall's 41 ranks and console were purchased = by Bartlett United Methodist Church. Beginning in July 2001, the Milnar = Organ Company of Eagleville, TN removed the South Hall organ from the bowels of = the Cook Convention Center and began to rebuild it for installation in the = Bartlett UMC. It was opened and dedicated by Diane Meredith Belcher April 27, = 2003. Thankfully, the Church realizes what they have and values it highly. The = organ is safe from "tinkerers" and sounds forth heroically in a vast Sanctuary. =   The four chambers are arranged at the front, speaking directly out into = the room from behind a sound-transparant grill. From what I could tell, they are arranged left to right: Choir, Great, Swell, Solo. Augmented Pedal is interspersed throughout.   Sunday's recital featured the church's organist Karen Strawhecker in a program of mixed repertoire that ably showed off the organ's colors and = power. Ms. Strawhecker obviously loves her instrument and it showed! She and her congregation are indeed VERY fortunate, believe me! The program included:   Prelude for Organ (Fannie Mendelssohn)   Concerto for Organ, No. I (J.S. Bach) Allegro - Grave - Presto   Suite Gothique (Leon Boellmann) Introduction Choral - Menuet - Priere a Notre Dame - Toccata   Pomp and Circumstance No. I (Edward Elgar)   Three Preludes on Hymn Tunes -Hyfrydol (Paul Manz) -Assurance (Dale Wood) -Pedaling Through CHINA, Pedal variations on "Jesus Loves Me" (Ron Boud)   Distant Chimes (Albert W. Snow)   Symphony No. 3, Op. 28 (Louis Vierne) V. Final   The organ sounded MAGNIFICENT!!!!!!! Upon it's installation and at the dedication in 2003 it was obvious that future work would continue to even = further improve its operation. Sunday showed no problems at all! The winding problems, from the additions of very select ranks of upperwork, that were = rather evident at Diane Meredith Belcher's 2003 recital have obviously been well = addressed and were completely gone. Now, even as much of an "original" fanatic as I =   am, the additions that were made make the instrument much more flexible, = as seen in the stops below. The 1928 ranks have not been butchered or revoiced beyond their original timbre at all save for discreet smoothing out and = regulation at the installation in the church.   I will say, for the record and having spent so many hours playing it in = its original home, that I was VERY VERY PLEASED INDEED with the way it = sounds!!! I do wish the church had better acoustics as it is rather dead for such a = large room (1000+ seats) but the instrument blends extremely well, is as full throated as I ever remembered and sounds pretty damn exciting! The = clarity between ranks is there while, at the same time, a blend and expression that is = truly amazing. I cannot wait to get over there and reacquaint myself with it in =   person, and have been invited by Mr. Strawhecker to do so! If anyone ever = stops through town, I would be very happy to arrange to take them over to try it = for themselves.   The spec is as follows:   W.W. KIMBALL CONCERT PIPE ORGAN Opus 7035, 1928   * additions 2003   GREAT 16 Dulciana, 8 First Open Diapason, 8 Second Open Diapason, 8 Claribel = Flute,   8 Gemshorn, 4 Octave, 2-2/3 Twlelfth*, 2 Octave*, III Rks Mixture, 8 = Trumpet, Tremolo, Harp, Chimes   SWELL 16 Gedeckt, 8 Open Diapason, 8 Rohr Flute, 8 Viola, 8 Salicional, 8 Voix Celeste, 4 Octave, 4 Flute, 2 Flautino, V Rks Mixture, 8 Cornopean, 8 Oboe = Horn, 8 Vox Humana, 4 Clarion, Main Tremolo, Vox Tremolo, Harp   CHOIR 8 Open Diapason, 8 Concert Flute, 8 Dolce, 8 Dolce Celeste, 4 Traverse = Flute, 2-2/3 Nazard*, 2 Piccolo, 1-3/5 Tierce*, 1-1/3 Larigot*, 1 Principal*, 8 Clarinet (replaced badly damaged rank), Tremolo, Harp, Celesta   SOLO 8 Principal Diapason, 8 Melophone, 8 Solo Cello, 8 Tuba Mirabilis, = Tremolo, Chimes, Harp, Zymbelstern*   PEDAL 32 Acoustic Bass (resultant), 16 Open Diapason (wood), 16 Bourdon, 16 = Violone (Solo ext), 16 Lieblich Gedeckt (Swell), 8 Octave (ext), 8 Flute (ext), 8 Viole (Solo), 8 Still Gedeckt (Swell ext), 16 Trombone (Solo Tuba Mirabilis ext), 8 Trombone (Solo), Chimes   Full intra and inter-manual couplers Peterson Solid State relay Peterson multi-level combination action Full MIDI   A few specific closing comments:   The full Swell is INCREDIBLE! The Tuba Mirabilis is rather heroic and satisfies anyone who knows what Kimball high pressure reeds can do! The = Swell Viola is broad while the Salicional and Voix Celeste are very keen. The Choir Dolces are very beautiful and shimmery, I actually wonder if it may be a = Flauto Dolce Celestes or a cross between a Flauto Dolce and an Erzahler. They = sound like angels singing. The organ has quite a substantial bottom to it due to very large scale = pedal ranks. The Pedal reeds are surprisingly effective indeed, no lacking for sound there, and the Great Trumpet is something to hear. Its timbre and = addition to the full organ are quite notable.   Scott F. Foppiano Organist and Director of Parish Music Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Memphis, TN In te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum.  
(back) Subject: RE: Benoit "Ubi Caritas" vs. Benoit "Where Charity and Love" From: <RSiegel920@aol.com> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 20:07:32 EST   For sake of clarification, and perhaps restating the obvious, these two tunes are separate compositions. Benoit based his organ composition (contained in his Pieces D'Orgue) upon =   the "Ubi Caritas" gregorian chant. His completely separate "Where charity and love prevail" congregational = hymn is a free-composed piece which happens to use an English translation of = the Latin text of the gregorian tune used in his organ composition. I hope I do not make myself perfectly obscure:) Regards Dick Siegel  
(back) Subject: Re: WWBD From: <Gfc234@aol.com> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 20:36:54 EST     In a message dated 3/1/05 6:08:51 PM, mjolnir@ticnet.com writes:     > And I might note that the question cannot be answered in the form posed, > because it needs more background information.=A0 Do you mean, "What would > Bach do if he came back knowing now exactly what he did in the early > 18th century?", or "What would Bach do if he came back today, and had > all of the benefits of the knowledge gained in the intervening two and > three-quarter hundred years?"=A0 The answers to the questions are not > necessarily the same. >=20 > To me, the more interesting points to ponder, are "If Bach came back > today, would he use persist in using pen and paper, use 'Finale (R)', or > use 'Sibelius (R)'?" >=20 > ns >=20 >=20   AND THE POINT IS WHAT!?!?!?!?!?         Gregory Ceurvorst 1921 Sherman Ave. #GS Evanston, IL 60201 847.332.2788 home/fax 708.243.2549 mobile gfc234@aol.com gfc234@nextel.blackberry.net  
(back) Subject: Re: 1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post) From: <BlueeyedBear@aol.com> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 21:05:29 EST   scott, thanks for the report on the organ & recital. i would love to hear = it when i'm there this summer...   before you joined this list i submitted a report on the kimball organs = which i wrote when i was in grad school. i, too, spent a number of hours on it, = but by then it was in pretty sad shape -- the first time i sat down at the 5-manual console, i pressed the SFZ and played the first phrase of = schreiner's transcription of vierne's kyrie from the solemn mass. when i lifted my = hands, there were about a dozen ciphers. also, there was a box of toothpicks on = the right stopjamb, to be used to wedge the right-hand stops in or out. this = was absolutely necessary because if you didn't use the toothpicks, any given = stop would suddenly get sucked back in right when you least expected it.   full organ was, in a word, scary. you could feel the stage walls = literally moving in & out while full organ was played. the tuba mirabilis in the = north hall was even better than the south hall one, and when you added the tuba sonora and french trumpet, it would raise the hairs on the back of your = neck. and that 32' full-length bombarde sounded just like thunder -- with none of = the high-pitched rattle i've heard from newer 32' reeds.   but i think my favorite stop in the north hall was the solo "clear = flute"... every time i heard it, i imagined a huge, white, velvet ball slowly = bouncing around the room (kinda like one of the "rovers" from the 1968 show, "the prisoner"). never heard a sound like it, before or since.   incidentally, when the north & south halls were opened together, the total =   seating was 12,500. the organ was delivered in mid-summer 1928 and = installation was completed in april, 1929. charles courboin, organist of = philadelphia's wanamaker department store, gave the inaugural recital on april 9, 1929. = the crowd numbered a little over 10,000, seated mostly in the north hall. the =   organ also came with a concert grand piano which could be played from the = console. courboin showed it off, as well. (there is a chance that this piano is = the same one that is now in graceland, but i was unable to prove it.)   the organ cost $100,000, of which $25,000 was for installation. so sad = that the city decided not to keep it, but having grown up in memphis, it = doesn't surprise me in the least. if you've ever seen the book "memphis = architecture" you'll see that the city has lost far more breathtakingly beautiful = buildings than it kept. memphis just has this bizarre mindset...   well, my dinner's ready, so it's time to end this.   scot in spokane  
(back) Subject: What would Bach do (or have done)? From: <TubaMagna@aol.com> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 21:39:26 EST   The problem with asking such a question is that it is not asked in the =   spirit of seeking a thoughtfully considered answer, but rather for the = purpose of confirming a deeply personal and admittedly resentful opinion. The REAL fly in the ointment here is that if Bach DID have at his disposal a well-disposed symphonic instrument in the manner of the best of = the second-quarter twentieth-century American organbuilders, he most likely = would have written notably different music. This illuminates the question in dubious, = even silly, light. Therefore, the interpretability of Bach's music, by Bach, as he had written it, is contingent upon an understanding of the instruments he = played and helped design. They were conceived within that context. Had the contextual =   circumstances been different, Bach certainly would have taken advantage of = those differences, and we must acknowledge that somebody of his genius would = have written music APPROPRIATE to the instruments of the time. I contend that if Bach had played a Kimball, Welte, or Skinner on a = daily basis, some very different compositions would have issued from his pen -- which would therefore cry out to be authentically played on THOSE = instruments.   Sebastian M. Gluck New York City http://www.glucknewyork.com/   ..  
(back) Subject: Re: 1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post) From: <ScottFop@aol.com> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 23:19:28 EST   When will you be here? We definitely need to have lunch or dinner (or = both!) Sounds like many stories can be shared here...   Scott F. Foppiano Organist and Director of Parish Music Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Memphis, TN In te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum.  
(back) Subject: Re: 1928 W.W. KIMBALL RECITAL - LONG (x post) From: <ScottFop@aol.com> Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 23:29:46 EST   Oops! I accidentally posted to the list. Anyway, when will you be here? = We definitely need to get together for a nice meal or two and share stories. =   Please let me know   Scott F. Foppiano Organist and Director of Parish Music Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Memphis, TN In te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum.