PipeChat Digest #5352 - Wednesday, May 18, 2005
 
Re: Rollschweller and cone valve chests. - the response
  by "Paul Smith" <kipsmith@getgoin.net>
Re: Sauer Organ - Jahrhunderthalle
  by "Paul Smith" <kipsmith@getgoin.net>
 

(back) Subject: Re: Rollschweller and cone valve chests. - the response From: "Paul Smith" <kipsmith@getgoin.net> Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 09:48:40 -0500   Thank you for this most clarifying and thought-provoking message. So it isn't the console or chest hardware that is the big difference between Romantic German and Romantic Anglo-American instruments. Electro-pneumatic =   chests and crescendo pedals can do a good job of registration for pieces written with cone chests and rollschwellers in mind. But the masses of redundant 8' tone in a late romantic German organ can give an orchestral wave of unison sound that we are not familiar with in Skinners or = Kimballs. Maybe the Wanamaker could do that job well, but that comes from having (literally!) hundreds of 8' stops to employ.   I knew that the 19th Century American builders had followed a mostly = English organ model, but your message shows how we have continued to be part of an =   Anglo- school of organ design, even as we innovated in the 20th = Century. Thanks!     ----- Original Message ----- From: <TubaMagna@aol.com> To: <cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk>; <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 11:21 AM Subject: Re: Rollschweller and cone valve chests. - the response     > > In a message dated 05/16/05 9:29:30 AM, cmys13085@yahoo.co.uk writes: > > << Hello, > > I suppose it's good to be put on the spot; especially > since I wrote of something I have very little > experience of ie:- cone valve chests and > rollschwellers. Thus, in "knowing" something about it, > I really know nothing, since I've never really had the > chance to explore a big German romantic organ built > after 1900. > > I think possibly only "Brindley & Foster" ever used > cone-vale chests here in the UK, but there may well > have been others. Brindley had, of course, worked > closely with the German organ-builder Schulze, and > there was an interchange of workmen between the two > firms whilst Schulze was in England. > > However, not to be daunted, I "think" I know at least > some of the answers to the questions posed. > > Forgive me if I am wrong, but doesn't a cone-valve > arrangement shut off the wind supply to each pipe > individually, using charge and discharge registration > wind supplies within the chest? > > That, of course, would eliminate any sag or "bounce" > in the larger areas of air associated with > slider-chests and ventil chests, and would allow > seamless addition and subtraction of registers. > > Assuming that I am right (!).......the next conundrum > is to explain the essential nature of (say) a German > Walcker organ, and the way in which they differ to > other types of organ. (I think the same can be said of > Sauer instruments and other contemporary German > Romantic organs of the period). > > On my last but one trip to Holland, I heard Reger > performed on the big Walcker instrument at Doesburg; > close to the German border. This was fascinating, > because I heard the type of instrument for which > Reger's music was properly intended. "Amazing" is the > word which springs to mind. > > The impression I got was of hugely heavy bass > registers, a great whirl and swirl of sound from the > great mash of 8ft tones combined, and chorus-work > which only added brightness to the 8ft tones, but > without any real sense of a chorus effect, such as > would normally be found even in French or English > romantic organs (and also, early romantic German ones > too). > > Everything, it seems, is subservient to the intention > of creating an "orchestral" effect rather than an > "organ chorus" effect. > > In England, as in France, we are conditioned by the > absolute dominance of the Swell Organ and an abundance > of other enclosed divisions; capable not only of > acting as a volume control, but allowing a wide > dynamic expressive control of a type virtually unknown > on German organs. To get the expressive crescendo or > diminuendo, the German Romantic organist only has > recourse to the addition or subtraction of stops; made > much easier by the provision of setter-actions and > rollschweller controls, and virtually impossible to > achieve by hand or with normal thumb/toe pistons. > > We move on.... > > I have mentioned that I live quite close to the great > Schulze masterpieces at Doncaster and at Armley; two > very different organs. Armley is all "donner und > blitzen" with a smattering of ethereal effects and a > positively angelic Echo division, but at Doncaster, > there is a veritable wealth of quieter flutes > (exquisite) and mild string tones, subtle mixtures > and, for the most part, (except the replacement Great > reeds and a Solo Tuba by J W Walker in the 1950's) > rather thin reeds which do not add a great deal of > power or weight to the whole. (The Full Swell at > Armley is quite restrained, with no 16ft reed and, in > its original form, no super or sub couplers.) > > HOWEVER, bring on those open-foot, big-scale, > un-nicked Schulze Great Diapasons, and you are soon in > "canned lightning" territory.....wow! It is a sound > like no other, and has made the Armley Schulze > especially famous across the world. (The Doncaster > Great chorus is less strident, but rings around the > building nevertheless). > > That essentially "baroque" Diapason (Principal) type > of chorus was to become heavily suppressed over the > next 50 years, and is not really in evidence in the > Walcker organ at Doesburg. Instead, the emphasis has > shifted towards 8ft tone and very subtle upperwork > which adds just a wee bit of brightness, but more > importantly, and upwardly expanded dynamic which > counteracts the massive 32ft and 16ft pedal tones. > > In fact, ITS ALL ABOUT DYNAMICS rather than terraced > choruses. > > Because the name of the game is expression, each > register can be freely added to another with some > impunity. Thus, Flutes and strings blend, the > Principal (Diapason) registers just add power to the > softer registers, and the whole behemoth is just one > great oozing, seething mass of dynamic sound as a > result......the very thing which brought about the > German baroque organ-revival. > > OK....let's jump on a jet plane and head across > England and Stateside, armed with our Reger tome > which, of course, we have practised to perfection! > > First to a big Harrison & Harrison organ. Impressively > powerful Diapasons, slider-chests, fiery Swell reeds > enclosed in a massively effective swell-box, big Great > reeds, huge Tuba sounds and Pedal basses which have > more rock and roll than Elvis. Then there is a stupid > little enclosed Choir organ, a collection of > attractive Solo stops (all enclosed except the Tuba) > and lots of thumb pistons, swell pedals and pretty > ivory stop heads. > > The seamless increase and decrease in dynamics can > only be achieved by using the very effective Swell > organ coupled through to Great. Even then, the whole > sound is forceful and BRIGHT as compared to a Walcker > organ, for example. The BIG sound is that of Swell > reeds burning through the gloom and bursting out into > the building with impressive effect. > > No matter what one does, it does not, and cannot sound > like a big German organ of the Reger period. Thus, to > achieve any sort of dynamic increase or decrease, we > have to resort to specific "points" in the score to > add or subtract registers or manual divisions. > > Authentic Reger has gone out of the window, and we are > suddenly in the land of TRANSCRIPTION. > > We fly on to Yale University....... > > American organs (even very large ones) are essentially > modelled around the same blend of English style > chorus-work with a French-style dominant Swell,as > their smaller brethren are in the UK. OK, there are > differences in specific detail, but WE would recognise > YOURS, and YOU would recognise OURS. > > Obviously, on such a huge instrument as the Newberry > Memorial organ at Yale, there is a vastly increased > availability of orchestral effect, which moves such an > instrument one step closer to the German romantic > organs of Walcker or Sauer. Nevertheless, without cone > valve chests, it is unlikely that registration changes > would be totally "seamless" even if set up that way on > a General Crescendo pedal. For a start, the reeds, > when brought into operation, would be totally out of > balance and would predominate. There would be the > previously mentioned problems of wind sag and bounce > as ventils open and close.....and this WOULD BE HEARD! > > > It just doesn't happen like that on German organs of > the period.....the changes are so subtle as to be > almost done by magic. > > I cringe to think what great clunks,plops and hisses > would emerge from an organ such as Yale, if the great > dynamic "pulses" found in Reger's music were to be > replicated as if it were a German romantic organ. I > guess that Reger would begin to resemble a Yorkshire > "clog dance." (Apologies to Jarle Fagerheim in Norway) > > However, let's be a little less pessimistic musically. > > Did Reger actually KNOW what he was doing when he > wrote for the organ? > > As I stated previously, his organ-works were a bit of > a committee effort; the chairman of the committee > being Karl Straube, who really DID know what he was > doing. ("The maker of organists") > > Emotionally, Reger was complex, intense, hard-drinking > and melancholic genius....perhaps he was "on the dark > side" of the divide between sanity and madness. I > would argue that unless one can have an extraordinary > empathy with the tortured nature of his inner-being, > then Reger is not for you. > > Perhaps of equal importance, is the fact that he > somehow encapsulated the madness of the age, the > imperial ambitions of Germany and the agony of an > escalating world war. > > He was also a crap organist, apparently! > > Max Reger was a Symphonist and Pianist, where dynamic > control is virtually instantaneous and unlimited; even > in a brief moment of the scoring. The fact that the > rollschweller made this sort of dynamic control > POSSIBLE, does not necessarily mean that it is > DESIRABLE, in my honest opinion. > > Does Reger's wonderful music become less if it is > TRANSCRIBED to a different style of instrument? > > Maybe that's the wrong question? > > Perhaps I should ask, did the music of Bach suffer at > the hands of Virgil Fox? > > Somehow, in spite of all the artistic licence and > romantic/orchestral excesses, the music of Bach shone > through like a beacon, no matter what he did to it. I > believe the same to be true in reverse with Reger. > > Take OUT some of the romanticism and exact dynamic > detail, and the music of Reger still shines through, > and being honest, I think to much better effect very > often. Call me names or throw old wooden trackers at > me, but I suspect that the music of Reger often > IMPROVES with the aid of the eraser pencil and the > less frantic use of dynamic change made possible by > the rollschweller. > > I mentally go back to those early formative years, > when I heard the great Fernando Germani lift the lid > on the inner soul of Reger.....I was 15 years of age, > overwhelmed by the intensity of the music and > virtually speechless by what I heard. > > I have loved Reger's organ music ever since (with a > few somewhat tedious exceptions), and yet, I was > hearing Reger TRANSCRIBED by Germani and played on a > big Harrison organ totally "unsuited" to the music. > > I would also point out, that when I travel to Holland, > I go to hear Bach and Reger, as well as anything else > I may discover. To hear Bas de Vroome or Jos van der > Kooy,playing Reger at Haarlem, is to hear something > extraordinary IN TRANSCRIPTION (a word Jos van der > Kooy uses in describing performances of romantic organ > music on that instrument). The fact that the > performers and assistants plan the registration > meticulously beforehand, says so much about the > integrity of the true artistry of each, and they come > pretty darned close to what Reger intended, I feel > sure, but without a single registrational aid in > sight.....just a lot of hands grabbing at stops, and > replicating the effect of a German rollschweller. > > Wonderful stuff indeed! > > As a final thought, perhaps Reger should have done > what Bach did, and not put any dynamic markings or > other details on the manuscript. That way, we'd not > have to sit for hours worrying about how to play the > music. Instead, we'd sit for hours discussing the > reasons why he left the dynamics out! > > Meanwhile, the REAL organists would just "KNOW" from > the dots what Reger intended! > > Does that answer the question(s)? > > I do hope so..... > > Did I cover everything? > > No, I forgot something! > > Reger belched and farted a lot!!!!! > > However, here's something to enjoy which I bet very > few have yet stumbled across.....a real recording, > done in 1937, of the celebrated 5-manual Sauer > instrument in the "Jahrhunderthalle" at Breslau, on > which can be heard Bach and Reger....fascinating! > > http://www.dra.de/dok_1002.htm > > Enjoy! > > Regards, > > Colin Mitchell UK > I suppose it's good to be put on the spot; especially > since I wrote of something I have very little > experience of ie:- cone valve chests and > rollschwellers. Thus, in "knowing" something about it, > I really know nothing, since I've never really had the > chance to explore a big German romantic organ built > after 1900. > > I think possibly only "Brindley & Foster" ever used > cone-vale chests here in the UK, but there may well > have been others. Brindley had, of course, worked > closely with the German organ-builder Schulze, and > there was an interchange of workmen between the two > firms whilst Schulze was in England. > > However, not to be daunted, I "think" I know at least > some of the answers to the questions posed. > > Forgive me if I am wrong, but doesn't a cone-valve > arrangement shut off the wind supply to each pipe > individually, using charge and discharge registration > wind supplies within the chest? > > That, of course, would eliminate any sag or "bounce" > in the larger areas of air associated with > slider-chests and ventil chests, and would allow > seamless addition and subtraction of registers. > > Assuming that I am right (!).......the next conundrum > is to explain the essential nature of (say) a German > Walcker organ, and the way in which they differ to > other types of organ. (I think the same can be said of > Sauer instruments and other contemporary German > Romantic organs of the period). > > On my last but one trip to Holland, I heard Reger > performed on the big Walcker instrument at Doesburg; > close to the German border. This was fascinating, > because I heard the type of instrument for which > Reger's music was properly intended. "Amazing" is the > word which springs to mind. > > The impression I got was of hugely heavy bass > registers, a great whirl and swirl of sound from the > great mash of 8ft tones combined, and chorus-work > which only added brightness to the 8ft tones, but > without any real sense of a chorus effect, such as > would normally be found even in French or English > romantic organs (and also, early romantic German ones > too). > > Everything, it seems, is subservient to the intention > of creating an "orchestral" effect rather than an > "organ chorus" effect. > > In England, as in France, we are conditioned by the > absolute dominance of the Swell Organ and an abundance > of other enclosed divisions; capable not only of > acting as a volume control, but allowing a wide > dynamic expressive control of a type virtually unknown > on German organs. To get the expressive crescendo or > diminuendo, the German Romantic organist only has > recourse to the addition or subtraction of stops; made > much easier by the provision of setter-actions and > rollschweller controls, and virtually impossible to > achieve by hand or with normal thumb/toe pistons. > > We move on.... > > I have mentioned that I live quite close to the great > Schulze masterpieces at Doncaster and at Armley; two > very different organs. Armley is all "donner und > blitzen" with a smattering of ethereal effects and a > positively angelic Echo division, but at Doncaster, > there is a veritable wealth of quieter flutes > (exquisite) and mild string tones, subtle mixtures > and, for the most part, (except the replacement Great > reeds and a Solo Tuba by J W Walker in the 1950's) > rather thin reeds which do not add a great deal of > power or weight to the whole. (The Full Swell at > Armley is quite restrained, with no 16ft reed and, in > its original form, no super or sub couplers.) > > HOWEVER, bring on those open-foot, big-scale, > un-nicked Schulze Great Diapasons, and you are soon in > "canned lightning" territory.....wow! It is a sound > like no other, and has made the Armley Schulze > especially famous across the world. (The Doncaster > Great chorus is less strident, but rings around the > building nevertheless). > > That essentially "baroque" Diapason (Principal) type > of chorus was to become heavily suppressed over the > next 50 years, and is not really in evidence in the > Walcker organ at Doesburg. Instead, the emphasis has > shifted towards 8ft tone and very subtle upperwork > which adds just a wee bit of brightness, but more > importantly, and upwardly expanded dynamic which > counteracts the massive 32ft and 16ft pedal tones. > > In fact, ITS ALL ABOUT DYNAMICS rather than terraced > choruses. > > Because the name of the game is expression, each > register can be freely added to another with some > impunity. Thus, Flutes and strings blend, the > Principal (Diapason) registers just add power to the > softer registers, and the whole behemoth is just one > great oozing, seething mass of dynamic sound as a > result......the very thing which brought about the > German baroque organ-revival. > > OK....let's jump on a jet plane and head across > England and Stateside, armed with our Reger tome > which, of course, we have practised to perfection! > > First to a big Harrison & Harrison organ. Impressively > powerful Diapasons, slider-chests, fiery Swell reeds > enclosed in a massively effective swell-box, big Great > reeds, huge Tuba sounds and Pedal basses which have > more rock and roll than Elvis. Then there is a stupid > little enclosed Choir organ, a collection of > attractive Solo stops (all enclosed except the Tuba) > and lots of thumb pistons, swell pedals and pretty > ivory stop heads. > > The seamless increase and decrease in dynamics can > only be achieved by using the very effective Swell > organ coupled through to Great. Even then, the whole > sound is forceful and BRIGHT as compared to a Walcker > organ, for example. The BIG sound is that of Swell > reeds burning through the gloom and bursting out into > the building with impressive effect. > > No matter what one does, it does not, and cannot sound > like a big German organ of the Reger period. Thus, to > achieve any sort of dynamic increase or decrease, we > have to resort to specific "points" in the score to > add or subtract registers or manual divisions. > > Authentic Reger has gone out of the window, and we are > suddenly in the land of TRANSCRIPTION. > > We fly on to Yale University....... > > American organs (even very large ones) are essentially > modelled around the same blend of English style > chorus-work with a French-style dominant Swell,as > their smaller brethren are in the UK. OK, there are > differences in specific detail, but WE would recognise > YOURS, and YOU would recognise OURS. > > Obviously, on such a huge instrument as the Newberry > Memorial organ at Yale, there is a vastly increased > availability of orchestral effect, which moves such an > instrument one step closer to the German romantic > organs of Walcker or Sauer. Nevertheless, without cone > valve chests, it is unlikely that registration changes > would be totally "seamless" even if set up that way on > a General Crescendo pedal. For a start, the reeds, > when brought into operation, would be totally out of > balance and would predominate. There would be the > previously mentioned problems of wind sag and bounce > as ventils open and close.....and this WOULD BE HEARD! > > > It just doesn't happen like that on German organs of > the period.....the changes are so subtle as to be > almost done by magic. > > I cringe to think what great clunks,plops and hisses > would emerge from an organ such as Yale, if the great > dynamic "pulses" found in Reger's music were to be > replicated as if it were a German romantic organ. I > guess that Reger would begin to resemble a Yorkshire > "clog dance." (Apologies to Jarle Fagerheim in Norway) > > However, let's be a little less pessimistic musically. > > Did Reger actually KNOW what he was doing when he > wrote for the organ? > > As I stated previously, his organ-works were a bit of > a committee effort; the chairman of the committee > being Karl Straube, who really DID know what he was > doing. ("The maker of organists") > > Emotionally, Reger was complex, intense, hard-drinking > and melancholic genius....perhaps he was "on the dark > side" of the divide between sanity and madness. I > would argue that unless one can have an extraordinary > empathy with the tortured nature of his inner-being, > then Reger is not for you. > > Perhaps of equal importance, is the fact that he > somehow encapsulated the madness of the age, the > imperial ambitions of Germany and the agony of an > escalating world war. > > He was also a crap organist, apparently! > > Max Reger was a Symphonist and Pianist, where dynamic > control is virtually instantaneous and unlimited; even > in a brief moment of the scoring. The fact that the > rollschweller made this sort of dynamic control > POSSIBLE, does not necessarily mean that it is > DESIRABLE, in my honest opinion. > > Does Reger's wonderful music become less if it is > TRANSCRIBED to a different style of instrument? > > Maybe that's the wrong question? > > Perhaps I should ask, did the music of Bach suffer at > the hands of Virgil Fox? > > Somehow, in spite of all the artistic licence and > romantic/orchestral excesses, the music of Bach shone > through like a beacon, no matter what he did to it. I > believe the same to be true in reverse with Reger. > > Take OUT some of the romanticism and exact dynamic > detail, and the music of Reger still shines through, > and being honest, I think to much better effect very > often. Call me names or throw old wooden trackers at > me, but I suspect that the music of Reger often > IMPROVES with the aid of the eraser pencil and the > less frantic use of dynamic change made possible by > the rollschweller. > > I mentally go back to those early formative years, > when I heard the great Fernando Germani lift the lid > on the inner soul of Reger.....I was 15 years of age, > overwhelmed by the intensity of the music and > virtually speechless by what I heard. > > I have loved Reger's organ music ever since (with a > few somewhat tedious exceptions), and yet, I was > hearing Reger TRANSCRIBED by Germani and played on a > big Harrison organ totally "unsuited" to the music. > > I would also point out, that when I travel to Holland, > I go to hear Bach and Reger, as well as anything else > I may discover. To hear Bas de Vroome or Jos van der > Kooy,playing Reger at Haarlem, is to hear something > extraordinary IN TRANSCRIPTION (a word Jos van der > Kooy uses in describing performances of romantic organ > music on that instrument). The fact that the > performers and assistants plan the registration > meticulously beforehand, says so much about the > integrity of the true artistry of each, and they come > pretty darned close to what Reger intended, I feel > sure, but without a single registrational aid in > sight.....just a lot of hands grabbing at stops, and > replicating the effect of a German rollschweller. > > Wonderful stuff indeed! > > As a final thought, perhaps Reger should have done > what Bach did, and not put any dynamic markings or > other details on the manuscript. That way, we'd not > have to sit for hours worrying about how to play the > music. Instead, we'd sit for hours discussing the > reasons why he left the dynamics out! > > Meanwhile, the REAL organists would just "KNOW" from > the dots what Reger intended! > > Does that answer the question(s)? > > I do hope so..... > > Did I cover everything? > > No, I forgot something! > > Reger belched and farted a lot!!!!! > > However, here's something to enjoy which I bet very > few have yet stumbled across.....a real recording, > done in 1937, of the celebrated 5-manual Sauer > instrument in the "Jahrhunderthalle" at Breslau, on > which can be heard Bach and Reger....fascinating! > > http://www.dra.de/dok_1002.htm > > Enjoy! > > Regards, > > Colin Mitchell UK > > ****************************************************************** > "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: Sauer Organ - Jahrhunderthalle From: "Paul Smith" <kipsmith@getgoin.net> Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 09:52:00 -0500   Was this organ built with an electric action, or was it tubular pneumatic? = I have read that Germans built some very large romantic instruments using pneumatics only.     ----- Original Message ----- From: "Charlie Lester" <crl@137.com> To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 11:39 AM Subject: Sauer Organ - Jahrhunderthalle     > Colin Mitchell said, > > > > Reger belched and farted a lot!!!!! > > hahaha yes, that's a well-known anecdote about him. Funny it is how many =   > otherwise refined and artistic people oftentimes revel in crudeness. > Personally, I -never- indulge in such coarseness. [HAHAHA!!!] > > > > > However, here's something to enjoy which I bet very > few have yet stumbled across.....a real recording, > done in 1937, of the celebrated 5-manual Sauer > instrument in the "Jahrhunderthalle" at Breslau, on > which can be heard Bach and Reger....fascinating! > > Thx for directing our attention to this very interesting page. I had > wondered what this "beast" sounded like and, as I suspected, the reality =   > apparently fell short of the fantasy. The organ sounds muffled and > strangled. Even taking into consideration the old recording technology = and > the 3rd-generation digital version. And those very strong tierces in the =   > mixtures are not at all pleasant to most people's ears, especially = today. > The full organ sounds like a giant calliope. > > > ~ > C > > > ****************************************************************** > "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> > > >