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Thread: Smallest and Biggest you've played?

  1. #16
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Largest instrument: The Wanamaker.
    Smallest: 3-rank portatif by Beckerath.

    I have sat at the 7-manual console of the Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ but there was no *juice* available at the time I was there


    Cheers,

    Giovanni

  2. #17
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    I guess they don't get much bigger than Atlantic City, Giovanni! You've topped us all! LOL

  3. #18
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Hi Tom,

    As you know, my *favorite* is at St. Sulpice. Not the biggest but the best I know, I'm starting to sound like Stephen Bicknell's gushing about St. Sulpice: http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~oneskull/3.6.65.htm

    I have heard the blast of the Ophicleide on 100" W.P. at Atlantic City plus most of the other *party horns* and yes, they are truly novelties but my ears grow tired of such *Blare-eons.*


    Cheers,

    Giovanni

  4. #19
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    I have never seen St. Sulpice in person, but from recordings I agree with you about that organ. I think it really is one of the finest ever made.

  5. #20
    Commodore con Forza
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    The sound of the tutti of St-Sulpice is certainly more "unique" than, say, that of St-Ouen (Rouen) or of St-Sernin (Toulouse). Among all of CC's instruments still in original condition, it's the one you'd recognize most immediately.

    Do you have Daniel Roth's recent Vierne recording? As far as recording technique is concerned, it's probably the best among the ca. 20 St-Sulpice CDs I've got, being both of the highest technical quality and the most faithful to the real thing. If you're far from Paris and really want to know what that organ sounds like, this is the recording to get.

    (My own preference goes to the more "idiomatic" sound of St-Ouen or St-Sernin, but that's just a matter of personal taste.)

  6. #21
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    Hi acc, and thanks for the information! Yes, I REALLY want to know! so I think I'll be checking this one out!

    Do you have any other suggestions of good Cavaille-Coll recordings, especially of the instruments you especially like?

    (And besides that, do you know of some good recordings of French Classical instruments? Cliquots?)

  7. #22
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    The recent Vierne recording by Maitre Roth is stunning. He does interpretive magic with the symphonies - adopts very musical tempi and performs with a seriousness of purpose. Insofar as idiomatic sound is concerned, there is a gem of a CC at St. Etienne in Caen - 3 manuals/pedal with 50 stops.

    A link for those interested:

    http://abbaye-aux-hommes.cef.fr/index2.htm Click on culture, scroll down left side of page to *musique*, click on *grand-orgue Cavaille Coll* and then *page suivante*.


    Cheers,

    Giovanni

  8. #23
    Commodore con Forza
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Dressler
    Do you have any other suggestions of good Cavaille-Coll recordings, especially of the instruments you especially like?

    (And besides that, do you know of some good recordings of French Classical instruments? Cliquots?)
    I'm currently ca. 70 miles away from my CD collection, but from the top of my head, I'd say Ben van Oosten playing Widor #5 & #6 at St-Ouen (MDG L 316 0403-2) and Frédéric Blanc's 1989 improvisations at St-Sernin (Motette 11451). (Blanc also recorded a second impro CD for Motette in 1992, but the sound is not that great on that one.)

    As for French classical CDs, the sound of Jean-Baptiste Robin playing Marchand at Poitiers Cathedral (Triton TRI 331118) is particularly good, but I must confess I never heard this Cliquot organ in situ.

  9. #24
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Kind of a coincidence to surf in on this forum.
    Smallest : I guess that was a newly built 3-stop I/P study organ at the Delmotte organbuilders workshop (Tournai, Belgium).
    Biggest : not quite sure ; could have been the V/P at the Speyer Dom (Germany), Gedächtniskirche Speyer (V/P), St. Baafs Cathedral Gent (Belgium), all V/P but can't remember number of stops.

    I see that the III/P Schyven organ at Notre-Dame de Laeken (Brussels, BE) was mentioned in several posts. I have played 5 recitals there on this organ over the last 5 years (in the recital series mostly), together with a second organist on the II/P Van Bever in front of the large church. The audience was in-between the two organs. Great experience every time. Possibly a repeat in 2007 depending on organisation there.

    On the size of organs, I'd say this parameter is by far inferior to the quality of the instrument. Sometimes "the larger, the worst". Difficult to keep a large organ in good shape, and expensive too.

    My usual organ is a 46/III/P Schyven organ (1886). As the church is 80m deep there and quite high, the size is very well measured. For most work, 46 (good) stops are an ideal orchestra.

    Personally, I'd say anything above 100 stops is not much to my liking but let that be just a personal statement.

    Jan - organist-recitalist

  10. #25
    Commodore con Forza
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    Hi Jan,

    I guess everybody, here and elsewhere, will agree to favour a beautiful small organ over an ugly big one. (But big can be beautiful - for what I've heard on CD, I like Wanamaker's in Philadelphia a lot.)

    However, 46 stops can sometimes still be a bit small. I'm thinking of German romantic organs here - in particular, they need many stops (in particular many 8' foundations - the "standard four" per manual not being enough) to make nuances between ppp and mf work well, especially in works by Reger or Karg-Elert. Good examples are here and here. The way the sound "builds up" is conceptually very different from French/Belgian romantic instruments (although Schyven has a somewhat mixed heritage - even his Antwerp organ may have French stop names, but really is somewhat half way between French and German. A few weeks ago, Michael Schönheit has given us a superb demonstration of this).

    (P.S. I've looked at this year's Laeken programme: when did you play?)

  11. #26
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    Good topic theme!
    The smallest one which I played is in Halle Marktkirche, Germany, built by Georg Reichel in 1664. Very famous organ, because on it practised the young Handel under his tutor, Zachow, the later was the organist of the church. Unfortunately I don't remember the stoplist well. It has only 6 registers, no pedal.
    The dispositions is something like this:
    Bordun 8'
    Floete 4'
    Spitzfloete 2'
    Sesquialtera
    .......
    .......
    The old instrument is in original condition, with meantone temperament.
    It's small but has a real penetrating sound. Very remarkable instrument for me.

    Unfortunately I didn't find a good website of this organ... :-(

    Cheers,
    T

  12. #27
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    Hi !
    I agree with your point that 46 stops can sometimes be a bit small. Of course, one needs to make do with what one has. In this country (Belgium) organs with +/- 50 stops belong to the 'upper class', so to speak. We only have a very limited amount of instruments going beyond that (exceptions like Antwerp Cathedral are really exceptions). I have however experienced how nice it can be to have a substantial amount of extra stops on some foreign instruments. But that, also, is an exception to play. So over here we have come to define +/- 50 stops as 'big'. But it deals with most of the repertoire. In that way, I'm very much into French/Belgian sound idioms so these instruments would deal well with most of that.

    I don't play in Laeken this year. Have played there in all programmes from 2001 to 2005. I was amazed (in a nice way) to be asked every time again (together with co-organist Paul De Maeyer who was then playing the choir organ). We may be in the programme again in 2007, but that of course depends on the organising committee.
    Our programme was an improvisation recital for 2 organs (interactive and simultaneously). Perhaps it was the exceptional nature of this that brought us back to Laeken more than the usual number of invitations for the same organist(s).
    Jan.

  13. #28
    Commodore con Forza
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aristide View Post
    In this country (Belgium) organs with +/- 50 stops belong to the 'upper class', so to speak. We only have a very limited amount of instruments going beyond that (exceptions like Antwerp Cathedral are really exceptions).

    Let's see - from the top of my head, I can think of Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels Cathedral, Brussels Flagey (out of service), Brussels St-Servais, Brugge, Ghent, Mechelen, Namur, and Tongeren. That's already 10, and I've probably missed a few more.

    So I'm not sure that the ratio (# of 50+ stop organs)/(total # of organs) would be that much higher in, say, France than in Belgium.

  14. #29
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
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    In percentage that will be so, but in this case we need to consider absolute numbers. Then minus the inaccessible ones.
    Then, importantly, need to consider some smaller organs which outperform some larger ones. But that's a long discussion. Sheer size is so often insignificant, because a number of stops are often insignificant. Adding to the size, but barely to the colour palette. Compare St Sulpice (Paris) to St Baafs (Ghent). More or less same number of stops. But look at the composition.
    Haven't had the honour of playing St Sulpice yet, sorry to say. 'Perhaps later'.

  15. #30
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    hello one of the smallest organs i have played is in a villiage in leicestershire england at norton juxta twycross. A 1832 j c bishop will a nice gold leaf pipe front 6 stop up to 15th with a 4 octave and a bit manual from g-f with an octave pedal board from g to g. A complete pain at first but fun after a while. at the moment I play an old makin at beeston notingham with 48 stops. Not played much bigger but it's enough!

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