The organ

Discussion in 'Comedy & Tragedy' started by AdamSmith, Sep 7, 2016.

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  1. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    Somewhere above I termed the Valois CD transfers of Chapuis (from Telefunken vinyl) to be "vivisections" of the original sound. And said the vinyl sound was far closer to in-person organ performance sound than the CDs.

    I just recalled one exception. To show us some point or other about sonic qualities (can't recall exactly what), Fenner had each of us in turn climb one of the maintenance ladders affixed to the Flentrop's back case, and stick our head through an open maintenance door and into the organ chamber.

    Then he, seated at keyboard, blasted out some music on that division that our head was inside of. :eek:

    THAT sound, I just realized, is what the Valois CD sound might be closest to. :confused:
     
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  2. whipped guy

    whipped guy Regent

    Years ago I was in a small rehearsal hall as an orchestra was rehearsing a recently composed composition by a local composer. It was the mid eighties when audiophiles were bemoaning the new digital medium and extolling the virtues of analog and vinyl. What I heard sounded like the harsh sound of an early digitally recorded CD. I could literally hear the bows of the stringed instruments scraping across the strings. It was your typical early digital metallic violin sound where even the sound of gut strings made one want to run out and buy earplugs. So perhaps digital is more accurate, or in the early days the microphone placement picked up more than musical sounds?!?! Or the recordings were masteted according to principles that did not jive well with the digital medium...

    In any event, the sound of a full orchestra in a small room was quite overpowering and nothing compared to the sound of an orchestra in a larger hall where the sound would bounce off what sould probably be a much kinder acoustic environment.
     
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  3. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    Recalling scaling those ladders several different times to inspect up close one or another aspect of the instrument set in train the thought of how physically demanding is the whole task of organ performance.

    Not just the considerable energy expended operating the often heavy key action of a big tracker with many stops pulled. And frequent vigorous pedal passages in most of the literature starting as soon as pedal mechanisms evolved past their early Spanish toe-stud origins meant for long-held pedal point only.

    But also all the physical ministrations required to get the machine ready, well beyond just turning on the blower. Turning off interior lights the maintenance tech inevitably left on. Refilling the bowl of water into which the U-shaped rossignol pipe chirps if there is one of those. Locking or unlocking the "winkers" if the organ happens to possess these intermediate bellows (that let the wind supply toggle between the pre-Romantic situation where each rank competes audibly in pitch variation in robbing wind pressure from other ranks being played at the same time, vs the Romantic expectation of rock-steady unlimited wind for any number of ranks).

    All of which typically require multiple trips up and down those case-back ladders.

    And the organist is entreated please not to spill water all down the instrument when refilling the rossignol reservoir, typically located up in the very topmost division of course. In the Duke organ you have to scale the first ladder, step onto a platform running the width of the instrument about halfway up its total height, then climb a second ladder that takes you to within not very many yards of the Chapel ceiling :eek: to reach that stop.

    [​IMG]

    Thank goodness my acrophobia had not yet begun to emerge. Today I could manage the first ladder but no way that second one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  4. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

  5. sync

    sync Count

    I'm out!
     
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  6. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    One is strongly advised to look neither down nor up, but only straight ahead! :confused:
     
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  7. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

  8. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming.

     
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  9. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco


    Ansermet.
     
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  10. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    Hah! @whipped guy, here is that Ansermet Ninth you mentioned possessing in youth:



    Mein Gott! I see what you mean. The pitch is FUBAR. :confused:
     
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  11. whipped guy

    whipped guy Regent

    LOL! Of course I got that as a Christmas present when I was all of 12. It shaped what I considered the Ninth to be seemingly forever. Of course I had no clue about the pitch and I read about it years later as London Records wanted to get the whole thing on one LP. To achieve that the third movement was split over two sides and as I recall it was not even at the most opportune time either. Plus I doubt that the turntable that my dad had purchased at Radio Shack was even spinning at the correct 33 1/3 revolutions per minute. So I was probably listening in E-flat minor which with six flats ain't exactly the most common key.

    In any event, compared to the overly inflated interpretations by many conductors who specialized in the German repertory at the time Ansermet was actually closer to many of the present day HIPster conductors. Just listen to the final movement's Turkish March tenor solo and the final minute of the performance and one finds a certain lightness that is foreign to conductors of the German school... no this ain't Wihelm or Herbert at the podium!

    Also, this was the first time that I heard the voice of Joan Sutherland, who for all of her flaws became one of my favorite singers. It was the first recording that I owned that featured operatic voices. Still even at the age of twelve I realized that Beethoven really did not totally understand the human voice be it for soloists or chorus... and that troubled me.

    When I finally discovered the operatic Mozart and the Bel Canto composers who really understood and knew how to write for the voice things fell into place and the rest was history. That would not happen until the ripe old age of 14-15 or so.

    Heck I knew I liked flogging well before that... like when I was still in the single digits.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
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  12. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    On advice given here several years ago, I have put myself through the considerable ordeal of listening to, and earnestly trying to understand and internalize, Cameron Carpenter.

    My apologies. He is a Virgil Fox, with a technically very capable brain.

    But still with zero genuine aesthetic apprehension.
     
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  13. whipped guy

    whipped guy Regent

    There used to be a Pizza Joint in Groton, CT called Pizza, Pipes, and Pandemonium. It featured an organ and they hired various orgsnists to play during the busy hours. I can imagine that if it were still in existence that Cameron Carpenter would most likely be appearing there. Unfortunately we will never know...

    I never got there, but a cousin was an organist and played at the place on occasion. The pizza was god awful, but the large pipe organ was set up in the middle of the room and you could see the various components of the mechanism. That was the main feature of the place. Of course you had to supply your own pandemonium...

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    An only too apt anecdote!
     
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  15. sync

    sync Count

    Very interesting, I never knew of the Pizza, Pipes, and Pandemonium. It would have been a perfect stop after I toured the Nautilus Submarine.
     
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  16. whipped guy

    whipped guy Regent

    Well we're even. While I got up close to the Nautilus and even took a pic, I never got to the Museum. Incidentals PP&P closed in about 1985.
     
  17. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco



    I love how this conductor gives the orchestra precisely the information it needs from moment to moment, not a particle more or less.

    It strikes me as how Oppenheimer or Dirac or Feynman would have conducted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
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  18. whipped guy

    whipped guy Regent

    One of my favorite Beethoven moments. That last movement is built on just a couple of motives... and Beethoven is able to produce a whirlwind of sound. Still it shows how the greatest composers were able to build an entire movement on simplicity and make it sound complex while giving things a sense of coherence. Lesser composers usually produce mumbo-jumbo with too many ideas that go nowhere.

    Ludwig does the same in the symphony's second movement with a similar if even more powerful effect. Talk sbout so little material (some simple repetitions on the same note!) achieving so much!

     
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  19. AdamSmith

    AdamSmith Count de Crisco

    That movement truly is a miracle!

    Yet another How did he do that? instance.
     
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  20. Nvr2Thick

    Nvr2Thick Count

    LOL. This "The Organ" thread has been around since September, and yet every time it shows up in the "New Posts" section of the forum portal I think it's gonna be about something else.
     
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