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Thread: Theatre Pipe Organ

  1. #1
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Theatre Pipe Organ

    Are there any other theatre organ enthusiasts lurking in these hallowed halls? Tell us about some of these great instruments in your area
    Kh ~~.
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  2. #2
    Ensign, Principal Jeffrey Hall's Avatar
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    LOL, well, you know which one I'm going to mention! I have a friend who lives in Mesa and is a regular at Organ Stop, and he very kindly got me an autographed Lew Williams CD. The Mulet Carillon-Sortie and Tu Es Petra practically shake the house down, but another really nice surprise I had never heard was John Weaver's Toccata, a delightful if rather straightforward piece. I don't get down there to hear the Wurlitzer nearly often enough.

  3. #3
    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster AllanP's Avatar
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    The best installation in the Pacific Northwest that I have heard is the original installation Seattle Paramount Wurlitzer. This instrument has not been altered from the original design and has a GREAT sound. I heard Jonas Nordwall play a few weeks ago.

    Another installation is the Elsinore theatre in Salem, OR. Concerts are played there periodically. Silent films are every week. This Sunday afternoon is a concert at 2 pm.

    I play on my Style D Wurlitzer (at home) every day when possible. The Wurlitzer is very adaptable for all kinds of music. It works equally well with and without trems. I play mostly light classics along with some Bach.

  4. #4
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi Jeff ...

    Well, you beat me to it listing OSP in Mesa. We try to get there every 3 months or so. Indeed, Lew does a splendid performance - Charlie does, too - I have most all the CD's from both.

    Kh

  5. #5
    Ensign, Principal Simon Jansfort's Avatar
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    Yeah well, in one of the conservatories in Denmark we recently (within the last 6 years) got a new concert organ. Here's a link:
    http://www.vmk.dk/3/default.asp?Page...5&VersionID=78

    Unfortunately it's in Danish, so here's a rather bad translation:

    ------->
    The Organ:

    West Jutland Conservatories is unique in having a big concert organ. An organ with 44 stops built by one of Denmarks lead organ builders, Marcussen and Son.

    The construction of the organ is inspired by 18th century middle-/southgerman organ building, hence a typical Bach organ, but also with the possibility of playing romantic and newer organ music.

    The latest years advances in organ building is combined with the earlier works. (A lot of tech talk I can't translate)

    The organ is both used in daily teaching, for exams/tests and for concerts and masterclasses.
    The concert organ provides the students with the opportunity of participating in student concerts on the conservatory, both as soloists and chamber musicians and will thus be able to, in much greater extend, to be a part of the conservatories environment.
    As usual the organs of the city will also be used for teaching and student concerts.

    The Disposition:

    Hv (Great)
    Principal 16, Præstant 8, Bordun 8,
    Viola 8, Oktav 4, Åben fløjte 4,
    Quint 2 2/3, Oktav 2, Cornet, Mixtur,
    Trompet 8, Clarin 4

    Ov
    (Fernwerk?)
    Bordun 16, Præstant 8, Rørfl. 8,
    Quintadena 8, Oktav 4, Gedaktfløjte 4,
    Waldfløjte 2, Terts 1 3/5, Quint 1 1/3,
    Mixtur, Dolcian 8, Vox Humana 8

    Sv (Swell)

    Spidsfløjte 8, Salicional 8, Unda Maris 8,
    Gemshorn 4, Nasat 2 2/3,
    Oktav 2,
    Cornet, Fagot 16, Corno 8

    Ped
    (PEdals)
    Subbas 32, Præstant 16, Subbas 16,
    Oktav 8, Gedakt 8, Oktav 4, Nathorn 2,
    Mixtur, Basun 16, Trompet 8, Zink 4



    <-------
    http://www.jansfort.com - A work in progress.
    http://blog.jansfort.com - my blog. Quite new.
    Both in danish

  6. #6
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Wurlitzer in Australia Residence

    Here's a neat short story about an organ installed in a home ... rather the home was built around the organ ...

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcMdygVHGe4] Wurlitzer Pipe Organ [/youtube]

  7. #7
    Apprentice, Piano AeroScore's Avatar
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    Hi, I'm brand new to these forums, and am I glad I found this thread!

    Until a month ago, I was the organist at Angelino's Restaurant in San Jose, CA. Open since 1972, the eatery featured a surprisingly lush 3/13 Wurlitzer/Hybrid organ. I started there 1985, and was the last regular organist from 2001 'til it closed almost a month ago. The "pizza pipe organ" is now extinct on the West Coast.

    Here in San Jose, the fully restored Fox California Theatre has been featuring the newly-installed 4/22 WurliTzer. It's a hybrid organ, although assembled from exclusively Wurlitzer components by a buddy of mine named Ed Stout. The four manual console came from the Uptown Theatre in Chicago! I've listened to the organ in this wide, tall, slightly shallow, and accoustically live auditorium from several postions in the orchestra and balcony, and I gotta tell ya: they don't come much better than this. Just a gorgeous, full on, hit you on in the face Worlitzer sound.

    There's also the organ belonging to Nor-Cal ATOS, at the Berkeley Community Theatre, 4/40 Wuritzer, 2 consoles, one from the Toledo Paramount, the organ's nucleus, and the master console is from the Center Theatre in NY, NY. I've recorded this organ, and it's definitely an experience to perform on one of those humoungous "Fox Special" scale consoles.

    The Castro Theatre in SF has an exceptionally fine Wurlitzer (4/21), as does the Paramount in Oakland (4/26 Wurlitzer). Speaking of Oakland, I used to be the sub organist at the Grand Lake theatre, under house organist Jim Riggs, in 1987-88. This is another fine 3 manual Wulitzer-hybrid in a real, neighborhood theatre.

    I hope this gives a quick "taste" of the Bay Area Theatre Organ scene.

    Dean

  8. #8
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    What's this? Did I see Corno's name in an organ stoplist of the Organ at West Jutland Music Conservatory: Corno 8'

    Must be nice to be so popular


    Cheers!

    Giovanni

    ps: Apropos Theatre-Organs: there is a mighty-mouse of an organ at a cemetery in California. Here is a little something about it:

    http://theatreorgans.com/ca/gardena/

    It's only seventeen ranks and around 1500 pipes - compare that to the 7000 plus pipes at Notre-Dame or St. Sulpice in Paris - it is a very small instrument but the pipe scalings(proportions) and voicing create an overwhelming sound canvas.
    Last edited by giovannimusica; Apr-05-2007 at 10:45.

  9. #9
    Apprentice, Piano AeroScore's Avatar
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    Actually, 17 ranks is quite respectable thanks to unification. In 1925, when this organ was shipped from North Tonawanda, NY, 17 ranks was quite large.

    In the '20's, the backbone of the theatre organ industry were organs of 2 manuals and less than ten ranks, often only 6. They could get away with this because a few ranks played at many pitches on all manuals and pedals. "More bang for the buck," as we say now.

    What is unusual about this organ is the rather small 4 manual console, and the uniformly high pressure in the chambers; normally, Wurlitzers of this type would employ 8 inches for the Vox, 15 for the Solo scale Tibia Clausa and Tuba Mirabilis, and 10 inches everywhere else. The chorus reeds extending to 16' was also highly unusual, especially the English Post Horn. This was obviously a very special instrument. This appears to be a Style 260 Special, usually a 3/15 instrument, but the spec appears very similar to Wurlitzer's largest stock 3 manual model.

    They did this all the time, especially back in those heady days in the mid 20's when the Wurlitzer factory was shipping one complete organ a day from the North Tonawanda factory.

    Another example of just this sort of thing, still playing in it's orginal location, is the 4/17 in the Byrd Theatre, Richmond VA. Very similar spec, and execpt for the ebony finish on the console, could be a duplicate of the Mortuary organ.

    Dean

  10. #10
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Hi Dean,

    Thanx for the info on the Byrd Theatre Organ. I should one day make my way there and hear it, maybe even play it if possible. I'd love to see the spec. list on it.

    Regards!

    Giovanni

  11. #11
    Apprentice, Piano Pipequeen's Avatar
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    Yay for the Theatre!!

    Finally someone has the courage to speak the word "Theatre" amongst church organists I frequently go to the Redford Theatre to practice and I'm also getting to know the people at the Senate Theatre where I'll hopefully get to play their beautiful Wurlitzer. I have three organs: Allen, Conn, and Wurlitzer, and I love them all dearly.

  12. #12
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    Here's a neat short story about an organ installed in a home ... rather the home was built around the organ ...
    How much fun is that! Wow. I want a house just like that one! What a toy to play with....

  13. #13
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi Pipequeen,

    I see the Redford uses a Howard Seat - how does one keep their balance? Does it come equipped with a seatbelt? Beautiful intruments there (Redford and Senate Theatres)

    Which models of Allen, Conn & Wurlitzer do you have?
    Kh ~~.
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    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
    Pro
    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


  14. #14
    Apprentice, Piano AeroScore's Avatar
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    When I played at the Grand Lake Theatre in the mid-80;s, the house organist had his personal Howard Seat on the console. When I filled in for him, I had the choice of using the Howard or using the Wurlitzer bench. I opted for the Howard Seat every time, and grew quite accustomed to it. It not only offers unparalelled freedom of movement of the legs when pedaling with both feet, but the audience has a completely unrestricted veiw of the organist's legs and feet.

    Some organists complain that they feel "unbalanced" when taking the right foot off the swell shoes for double pedaling (as if they are about to fall into the keydesk), but I never seemed to have that problem. The trick is to sit a tad further back than one might do ordinarily. I also latched the two halves together, to make it more of a "stool."

    And ya know, all organists like a "firm stool"...:

    Dean
    Oh, I'm an organist and I'm OK
    I play all night and I sleep all day!

  15. #15
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Dean,
    Thanks for the explanation on the Howard Seat. Wonder how it got that name ... I assume the inventor was named Howard . Any history on this?
    Kh ~~.
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    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
    Pro
    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


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