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Thread: Bach -Organ Sinfonia - Cantata number 169

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Bach -Organ Sinfonia - Cantata number 169

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJLK_eEcZ9s

    footnotes:Has anyone noted that there is an organ playing witht he strings and such. Now take a look at the organ console - No one is there. Imagine building an organ with two console, one is electric. So why did anyone waste time building a tracker organ if it is played with pull down magnets? 2 years ago
    newtrinitybaroque (uploader) Indeed the organ behind is a tracker organ, but the organ that is played is a [pipe] chamber organ built by Robin Jennings who also built "Bach Organ" for John Eliot Gardiner and two chamber organs for Robert King (of The King's Consort). The small organ was used here because we perform at Baroque pitch A=415 Hz, which is 1/2 step lower than today's modern pitch. The big organ behind is built to play at 440 Hz, and it would be difficult to play it 1/2 step lower. 2 years ago
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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    I understand the desire for "authenticity" for the strings to play at A 415, but it wouldn't have really hurt anything for them to tune to the existing instruments A 440 pitch - certainly the audience wouldn't have been the wiser ... and, where are the pipes for the chamber organ? The organ being played doesn't sound like a pipe ... the flutes are much too "pure" to my ears.
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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Let's just clear something up ... 415 is NOT authentic, it's a convenient invention of the late 20th century. Sure, there may very well have been an area where that pitch was used to define A. There was NO standardised pitch in Europe before the early part of the 1900s.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    That's an interesting point, David ...

    Still, I wonder why 415 was chosen for that presentation. Surely JSB would not have rolled over in his grave if they had chosen 440.
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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    JSB was accutely aware of pitch variation as he allegedly had perfect pitch, although perfect pitch in his day was rather more flexible than now as there was, as I state, no standard.

    I think being a travelling baroque musician would have been a bit of a nightmare, especially if you were playing outside your local Principality where your woodwind makers made your oboe d'amore, oboe da caccia and so forth to the pitch of the town.
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

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    Commander, Assistant Conductor Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contratrombone64 View Post
    Let's just clear something up ... 415 is NOT authentic, it's a convenient invention of the late 20th century. Sure, there may very well have been an area where that pitch was used to define A. There was NO standardised pitch in Europe before the early part of the 1900s.
    Errr .... true in a way, but I once read that in France, during the 17th century, instrument makers remodeled the entire woodwind family, using the more or less 'general' French organ pitch of about a' = 415 (a semitone below a' = 440).
    In Germany, this new pitch (or Baroque pitch, as indeed we use to call it since about the fifties/sixties of the last century), became known as Kammerton ("chamber pitch"). This pitch was one tone below the old Renaissance woodwind pitch, or Chorton ("choir pitch"). And many German organs were tuned in this choir pitch .... imagine the problems of the average Baroque composer.
    Last edited by Marc; May-11-2010 at 21:23.

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