Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)




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VII. The Organ Revival, 1930–70


‘Organ Revival’ is a term used increasingly often as an English equivalent to Orgelbewegung (coined about 1930 as a simplified form of Gurlitt’s Orgel-Erneuerungsbewegung proposed at the Freiburg congress, B1926). The movement was concerned with ‘reviving’ some of the ‘historic principles’ of the organ, because it was thought in German musicological circles of the 1920s that the ‘true purpose and nature’ of the organ had ‘declined’ and required ‘regeneration’. Although such words were much used in Germany, considerable activity also occurred in other countries, notably the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland.

During the 1920s, not least in the light of current political movements, many aspects of German cultural life were re-examined, and before 1933 there were more or less formulated movements in folk music, youth music, church music, and the music of particular composers (e.g. the Schützbewegung). These movements had certain aims or assumptions in common, for their followers:

(i) reacted negatively to a previous period. In the Orgelbewegung this was done in the form of a protest against the thick, loud sonorities of the orchestral organ, the factory organ, the ‘expressive’ or symphonic organ, the organ as an engineered machine rather than an apparatus or ‘tool of music’. As such, reacting against late 19th-century organ ideals is equivalent to reacting against late 19th-century music, and insufficient explanation has been given for why an organ of Sauer is less worthy of revival than, say, Wagner’s Parsifal.

(ii) assumed that criteria could be determined. In 1906 Schweitzer’s test for an organ, ‘the best and sole’ standard, was its fitness for playing J.S. Bach’s music. Unfortunately, that ideal in the 1820s had already deflected the French and English organs from the better features of their native paths; and it is not per se a reliable criterion, since not only do opinions differ as to the ‘nature of Bach’s organ’ but the composer himself played organs of quite opposing aims. To the reformers, the ‘Bach organ’ was more a generic term, merely signifying instruments built and voiced ‘in the Baroque manner’. Schweitzer’s rallying-cry was perhaps not to be taken too literally, although several builders in Alsace and south Germany met under its banner and adopted stop-lists (if nothing else) conducive to Bach registration. The resulting ‘Alsatian Organ Reform’ has been seen as the precursor of the Organ Revival.

(iii) attempted in general to lead to standardization. Schweitzer’s views expressed at the Vienna Congress of the IMS in 1909 and at the Third Organ Conference at Freiberg, Lower Saxony in 1927 aimed at a general return to old ideals. Although in 1909 it may have been reasonable to equate tonschön with alt, a blanket equation of the two leads to over-uniformity and a kind of lazy norm often to be heard as simple anonymity in the tone of hundreds of neo-Baroque organs built in Germany and elsewhere since the mid-1930s.

1. Early indications.

2. German developments in the 1920s.

3. Old organs.

4. Scandinavian and Dutch organs.

5. The Organ Revival in the USA.

6. England, France and Italy.

7. Some German developments since World War II.

Organ, §VII: The Organ Revival 1930–70

1. Early indications.


Schweitzer’s book J.S. Bach, le musicien-poète (1905) and his pamphlet Deutsche und französische Orgelbaukunst (B1906) were highly formative, and still influential in some quarters at the end of the 20th century. A precursor in the workings of the Alsatian Organ Reform has been seen in Emil Rupp, for whom Walcker built a ‘reformed organ’ at St Paul, Strasbourg, in 1907. But equally indicative of the inevitable change in direction were works of more general musical scholarship. For example, Guilmant’s series of old French organ music (begun in 1901 under the title Archives des Maîtres de l’Orgue) was much in advance of Karl Straube’s ‘editions’ of old German composers (1904) with their anachronistic expression marks and improbable registrations. Also important was the pioneering work in the interpretation of old music published by Arnold Dolmetsch and others. Dolmetsch no doubt owed much to a favourable musical climate in England where Charles Salaman, Carl Engel and A.J. Hipkins had already reintroduced the harpsichord to public music-making. But, as in France and Germany, renewed interest in harpsichords did not necessarily lead to enlightenment with regard to organs. Nevertheless what Dolmetsch wrote in 1915 reflected his views over the past decades and summed up the situation admirably for anyone wishing to heed them:

Church organs had that power based on sweetness which constitutes majesty. The change came on, and for the sake of louder tone, pressure of wind was doubled and trebled. The same pressure acting on the valves which let the wind into the pipes made them too heavy for the fingers to move through the keys. A machine was then invented which did the work at second hand [and] the music of the organ dragged on after the player’s fingers as best it could. Personal touch, which did so much for phrasing and expression, was destroyed.


Then fashion decreed that the organ should be an imitation of the orchestra. … The organist, if he is clever, can give a chromo-lithograph of the Meistersinger Prelude; but he has not the right tone with which to play a chorale, if his organ is up-to-date. Modern compositions are intended for this machine, and all is well with them; but it is a revelation to hear Handel’s or Bach’s music on a well-preserved old organ.

There is nothing here about ‘the Baroque organ’, and the word was only later taken over from art historians to evoke an organ type more imaginary than real.

In England practice did not reflect enlightened theory. The ideas of organ advisers like Thomas Casson (1842–1910) and, during a particularly critical period, George Dixon (1870–1950) kept early 20th-century organs from the worst excesses; but they were still only insular compromises. As with so many English writers of the period 1875–1975, their emphasis on stop-lists and imaginary ‘ideal organs’ was not basic enough to lead to radical rethinking. Factions in organ building are common, and in France the polarization of conservative ‘Romanticists’ versus German-influenced ‘Reformers’ meant that a modern organ could have one of two totally opposed characters depending on what the builder and his adviser favoured. But in England, many organists had only a compromise instrument of mixed lineage going back to William Hill and taking in a few non-establishment influences from Hope-Jones on one hand and later continental ‘reform’ builders such as D.A. Flentrop on the other. Grove5 (‘Organ’) gives the specifications of several such organs, often built well and at great expense. Until the 1930s the situation in the USA was much the same as in England, although Willis’s influence on Ernest Skinner prompted him to reintroduce the Great principal chorus in some of his organs in the 1920s. The increasing interest in Bach’s music (as shown in the popularity of W. Lynnwood Farnam’s recitals of the complete organ works of Bach in 1929) was an early sign of coming change.

Organ, §VII: The Organ Revival 1930–70

2. German developments in the 1920s.


A practical step was taken in 1921 when Oscar Walcker, with the collaboration of Wilibald Gurlitt, designed and built the Freiburg Praetorius-Orgel, inaugrated by Karl Straube. This was the first attempt at reconstructing the tonal character of a so-called Baroque organ according to some of the details given by Praetorius in De organographia (Syntagma musicum, ii).

Compromises were evident: suitable casework was not made, the stop-list was modified, the pipes were placed not on a slider-chest but a ‘stop-channel chest’, wind was supplied by an electric blower and the action was electro-pneumatic. Nonetheless, the organ was significant, not least in the publicity it gained during the organ conference held at Freiburg in 1926 before 600 members. The instrument was destroyed in 1944, and a second, less compromising one was made in 1954–5. The change in approach indicates clearly how German organ thinking had developed over 30 or so years: Gurlitt was still the adviser, but the organ was built by Walcker-Mayer with the collaboration of acoustic and technical experts (Lottermoser, E.K. Rössler) and closely modelled on the first specification in Praetorius’s De organographia, with data taken from extant pipework by Praetorius’s friend Esaias Compenius, and with mean-tone tuning, a slider-chest, mechanical action and a thorough Werkprinzip structure; the stop-lists is given in Table 35. Were a third ‘Praetorius’ organ to be built, one could expect that all compromises away from his specification would be dropped and an early 17th-century casework and wind system incorporated, being integral parts of the total sound-production.



TABLE 35



























Freiburg University, ‘Praetorius’ organ II




W. Walcker-Mayer, 1954–5






















Oberwerk




Rückpositiv










Principal

8




Principal

4




Gedackt

8




Quintadena

8




Oktave

4




Hohlflöte

4




Gemshorn

4




Nachthorn (wood)

4




Gedackt (wood)

4




Blockflöte

2




Nasat

22/3




Oktave

2




Scharfquinta

4 (?11/3)




Quinta

11/3




Superoktave

2




Zimbel







Mixtur III

2




Schalmei

8



















Brustpositiv




Pedal










Krummhorn (wood)

8




Untersatz (open wood)

16




Quintetz

11/3 (?4)




Posaune (Sordun)

16




Zimbel

II




Dolcan

8




Sifflöte

1




Bauerflötlein

1













Singend Cornet

2

Zimbelstern




Tremulants (Oberwerk, Rückpositiv)




Couplers: Rückpositiv to Oberwerk; Oberwerk to Pedal;







Rückpositiv to Pedal

































Although both Schweitzer’s and Gurlitt’s views were directed towards certain music – that of J.S. Bach on the one hand and that of Scheidt and Schütz on the other – results were seen only gradually in organ building. After Rupp and Walcker visited Mutin, Cavaillé-Coll’s successor, one or two organs were built with the express purpose of combining the musical potential of the German and French organ. One such instrument was at the Reinoldikirche, Dortmund, inaugrated in 1909 by Schweitzer and attracting the attention of Reger, for whom a festival was held at Dortmund in 1910. The dual polyphonic-homophonic nature of Reger’s mature style would in theory gain much from the character of an Alsatian Reform organ. The type of eclecticism aimed at in such organs was considerably ahead of its time and not fully understood; but it led to giant organs such as that at Passau Cathedral (Steinmeyer, 1930; 208 stops) in which one section serves as a ‘German Romantic organ’, another has a ‘French character’ (reeds, Cornet), and yet another provides a ‘Baroque department’. While in north Germany such firms as Ott and Kemper remained closer to a single orderly tradition, the influence of Steinmeyer was wide, and a harbinger of things to come.

Yet returning to full Werkprinzip design was also only gradual. Like the 1921 Praetorius-Orgel, the influential organ of the Marienkirche, Göttingen (Furtwängler & Hammer, 1925), was a compromise with pneumatic action, but in its specification and scalings, prepared by Christhard Mahrenholz, it pointed the way to future development:

Less recognized is the broader Swiss approach, as expressed in Jacque Hanschin’s paper in Tagung für deutsche Orgelkunst: Freiburg, Lower Saxony, 1927, and Kuhn’s French-influenced Rückpositiv at Berne Minster (1930). The ‘Hindemith organ’ – that thought ideal for the performance of his sonatas – was itself a mean between extremes, and in fact revelatory of the real meaning of the movement to many, including ‘neo-Baroque’ composers such as Distler and Pepping. But important work was begun on technical aspects of organ building, and a climate of opinion was being created with regard to acoustics (Akustische Zeitschrift, 1936; AMf, 1939), slider-chest and their influence on tone (H.H. Jahnn: Der Einfluss der Schleifenwindlade, 1931), pallets (ZI, 1933), casework (W. Supper: Architekt und Orgelbau, 1934) and scaling (Mahrenholz, C1938). In Italy questions concerning old organs had been discussed for many years (e.g. Musica sacra, 1901–3), and even large electric organs like that in the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra (Rome, 1933) had never shaken off certain traditional features. But in France technical achievement lagged behind historical research: the documents and archives published by Raugel and Dufourcq led to the discovery of many old organs, as a result of which almost all were rebuilt over the next few decades, and many altered beyond recognition in an effort to make them suitable for German Baroque music.

Organ, §VII: The Organ Revival 1930–70

3. Old organs.


The position of surviving old organs in the Organ Reform was a difficult one. Important though the Schnitger organ in the Jacobikirche, Hamburg, or the Lübeck Totentanzorgel were to a writer like H.H. Jahnn (Deutsche Musikgesellschaft: Kongress I: Leipzig 1925), or the Silbermann in Freiberg, Lower Saxony, to E. Flade (Tagung für deutsche Orgelkunst III: Freiberg, Lower Saxony, 1927), in practice they were, obviously, not suitable for all the organ repertory. They would not allow, for instance, the gradual crescendo demanded by Reger and obtained on one manual by piling up three or four 8' stops before the first 4' was added. Oversimplified claims were often made – for instance, that ventil-chests are by nature ‘bad’. It is probably true that, compass apart, an organ of 1700 is in certain respects more versatile than one of 1900; but no valid doctrine can be formed on the basis of such a generalization.

Nevertheless, the beauty of the Freiberg Cathedral Silbermann organ was not questioned, and the publication in facsimile of treatises by Werckmeister, Praetorius, Bédos de Celles, Mattheson, Adlung and Schlick heightened interest in the few extant remains of organs they described. One result, however, was that much-altered instruments were over-respected, and an organ like that at Amorbach (1774–82) or the Totentanzorgel gave, over the years, many misleading impressions, due, at least in part, to imperfect analysis. Enlightened opinion may no longer claim that ‘it is the large Schnitger organ that best corresponds to the demands made by J.S. Bach’s music’ (Klotz, D(i)1934), but it is still almost impossible to be sure what kind of sound Schnitger was aiming at, since none of his instruments remain in wholly unaltered condition.

As examples of ill-conceived restorations, many organs in England, Ireland, France, Spain and Germany could be described, and as much damage was done during the 30 years following World War II as at any other period. The organ of Herzogenburg Abbey, Austria, can serve as an example. By 1964 most of its original character had either survived or was fairly easily ascertainable; but the ‘restoration’ of that year resulted in major changes based on unhistorical or oversimplified concepts. The main chests were enlarged to give a modern compass of C–f'–g''', thus discarding the original short octaves, the incomplete (but characteristic) pedals and most of the original chests; the action was discarded and newly made; manual and pedal Mixtures were changed in content; new ranks and stops of a kind unsuitable to an Austrian organ of 1749 were made; the instrument was revoiced throughout; and the original detached console was discarded and replaced by a new oak console. This organ would need a radical rebuild if it were ever again to give an organist anything like a true impression of the instruments known to Mozart.

By 1971, however, certain builders were attempting closer historical accuracy in their restorations, as is shown in a second Austrian organ, that of the Hofkirche, Innsbruck (seeTable 8 and fig.34). Here the original wind-trunk was preserved, the wind pressure ascertained and voicing recovered; the original short C–a'' compass was restored (though the keys perhaps date from the 18th century); the original pitch level (a' = 445), case, chests etc. were restored; and the instrument was tuned in an unequal temperament. Were the modern bellows to be replaced by one more characteristic of the period, the organ would represent better the late 20th-century ideals of restoration.

Almost wholly overlooked until the 1960s, however, were many noteworthy 19th-century organs in all countries. After World War II large numbers of these continued to be ruthlessly rebuilt or electrified, or, ironically, tonally ruined in misguided attempts to make them conform to neo-Baroque ideals.

Organ, §VII: The Organ Revival 1930–70

4. Scandinavian and Dutch organs.


A more radical rethinking of the organ appears to have been achieved in Scandinavia, but it is more likely that national organ types had been less extremely developed there during the crucial period 1870–1910. It is thus perhaps less a question of revival than of survival of old organ design. On the whole the Swedish organ had become more ‘decadent’ than the Danish, but interest in such things as mutations survived here and there. Naturally, German ventil-chests were found in Scandinavia, and Theodor Frobenius, a German-born builder who settled in Copenhagen, made the first Danish electric action. But the ideas aired by the Alsatian Organ Reform soon became respected in Denmark.

Simpler than the organ at St Mary, Göttingen, yet put in a very imposing contemporary case by builders alert to correct acoustical placing, was the quire organ of the extraordinary Grundtvig Church, Copenhagen (1940), built by Marcussen. In 1920 the head of this firm was Sybrand Zachariassen, who was joined a little later by P.G. Andersen; by the late 1930s the firm was producing almost nothing but mechanical-action organs and doing good formative work in restoration (Sorø Cathedral, 1942). The Grundtvig Churh organ was quite uneclectic ( Table 36).



In the same year (1940) a Rückpositiv was added by Frobenius to the early 16th-century Hauptwerk from St Petri, Malmö, now in Malmö Museum, showing that builders were aware of the practical convenience of Werkprinzip elements. By 1944 the new organ of Jaegersborg, near Copenhagen, had three uncompromising Werkprinzip manuals complete with a Trumpet en chamade, so placed for power rather than for imitations of Spanish tone. (This has remained true of Orgelbewegung reeds en chamade.) Important too were the smaller organs made by the new builders after the war, especially in view of the lacklustre quality of most small organs built in the pre-war period. Flentrop’s eight-stop organ at Schoondijke (1951) was in its way even more influential than his Werkprinzip organ at Doetinchem (1952), which soon became a model for the design of Hauptwerk + Rückpositiv + Pedal towers. (The stop-lists of both are given inTable 37.) Open-toe voicing, mechanical action and encased departments were by now standard among the younger builders, although the importance of wind supply was still not understood. Such instruments went far beyond the theories of the Orgelbewegung, and it is a mistake to regard them as mere 17th- or 18th-century pastiche – they were in fact a new genre. Frequently they serve as practical demonstration of intricate theory and knowledge. Frobenius and Ingerslev’s paper on end correction, for example (C1947), is the most important theoretical work by an organ builder in this field since Cavaillé-Coll.





Organ, §VII: The Organ Revival 1930–70

5. The Organ Revival in the USA.


The main innovators of the early revival in USA were Walter Holtkamp of Cleveland and G.D. Harrison, an Englishman working for the Skinner Organ Co. In 1933 Holtkamp had been contracted to add a Rückpositiv to the large Romantic organ of the Cleveland Museum of Art, but the slider-chest had a multiple-valve system which was later abandoned in his work. Harrison’s influence on tonal design was more important than the structural reforms; he had applied low pressure to a fairly large organ contracted for at Groton School in 1935, but structurally and mechanically it was otherwise no different from other electro-pneumatic organs built by the firm. This organ, like the slightly smaller but more coherent instrument built a year earlier for the Church of the Advent in Boston, was one of the first attempts in the USA at a large, classically influenced eclectic instrument, although its voicing hardly follows classical principles and its general effect lacks articulation. More successful, and certainly more influential, was the small, unencased, two-manual organ built in 1937 as an experiment, and installed in the Germanic (now Busch-Reisinger) Museum at Harvard University, which was heard by a vast audience through the broadcasts and recordings of E. Power Biggs, an early champion of the Reform movement. These and other isolated instruments of the period testify to a growing interest in historic European principles among some American organists and builders, Cavaillé-Coll and Silbermann being especially admired. Such organs, for all their drawbacks of voicing, pitman chests and electric action, possessed greater clarity than had been heard from American organs for some decades, and they made their point musically. Partly because of Holtkamp’s efforts, many of these organs were free-standing rather than installed in the all-too-common chambers (fig.48), but the musical importance of casework was as yet unrealized, and only low wind pressures and gentle voicing curbed the tendency of ‘pipes-in-the-open’ to sound raw and unblending, especially in acoustically dry surroundings.

Soon after World War II the reform movement revived with renewed vigour. Academic and musicological writers leant heavily on 17th-century German literature and indeed tried to create a more rational (if sometimes contrived) language of organ terms (Bunjes, D(xv)1966). Organists and organ students, especially American, became much influenced by the various historic organs of France and Germany, although the relative inaccessibility of East German organs until the late 1980s, notably those of Silbermann, affected American-European organ design. European builders exported small but important organs to the USA (Rieger about 1952, Flentrop in 1954), and Beckerath consolidated the trend by building a 44-stop four-manual organ for Trinity Lutheran Church, Cleveland, in 1957. American firms were bound to be influenced by such instruments, and while Flentrop secured many prestigious American contracts (e.g. St Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle), and Beckerath went on to build several equally important organs in Canada (e.g. St Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal), other builders like Charles Fisk of Massachusetts and Casavant Frères of Quebec soon produced their own versions of the new styles. Casavant’s organ of 1963 in Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia (Table 38) is a typical small organ of the kind inspired by such builders as Beckerath, and Fisk’s organ in Mt Calvary Church, Baltimore, was influenced by Flentrop. From the point of view of the Organ Revival, such instruments were far in advance of the huge unencased organs made by the larger firms (e.g. Möller’s paired organs in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC, 1970), although it is fair to point out that inventive and contemporary visual effects can often be achieved by a good designer with unencased chests.



Many North American builders were willing to consult advisers who had practical or theoretical knowledge of historic organ types of Europe; at its best the collaboration is highly successful. Flentrop’s organ of 1958 for the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard reflects a further element: the strength of taste developed by players (in this instance E. Power Biggs) experienced in European organs. In North America, Flentrop, Metzler, Beckerath, Ahrend & Brunzema and others went on to build important instruments of great beauty, and from the late 1960s other influences became evident, such as the French elements in the stop-list and voicing at the Memorial Church, Harvard University (C.B. Fisk, 1967), or the pseudo-Italian elements in the large electric-action organ of the First Congregational Church, Los Angeles (Schlicker, 1969). It is true that neither instrument demonstrates a thorough understanding of its models, but such attempts were important stepping-stones towards stricter historical copies – a trend also followed by American harpsichord makers in the same period and one leading to less compromising organs (see §VIII below). The specific influence of the German-orientated Orgelbewegung has waned considerably in the USA and Canada since the 1970s; like the new organ terminology sometimes attempted, it was too artificial a graft to bear much fruit, and other, more attractive and more historically informed influences have taken its place in the thinking of builders and players.



Organ, §VII: The Organ Revival 1930–70

6. England, France and Italy.


Although perceptive English organ enthusiasts such as Cecil Clutton were praising European ‘reform’ organs in print by around 1950, it seems to be true that the Organ Revival in England ‘really took root only with the opening of the organ for the Royal Festival Hall, London, in 1954’ (Clutton and Niland, D(xii)1963; fig.49). Despite careful planning by the adviser (Ralph Downes) and meticulous workmanship by the builders (Harrison & Harrison), the composite nature of the organ made it little more than a quickly dated compromise. Its 103 stops give the impression of immense adaptability, and the German flutes, Anglo-German chorus and French reeds allow many types of organ music to be given reasonable performance; but the very size (quite apart from the semi-unencased construction and the electro-pneumatic action) make true sympathy with most musical styles impossible. Although admired by many players in both England and the USA, the instrument has had curiously few successors: new designs did not immediately appear, despite an awareness of continental organs (e.g. the Organ Club’s visit to Frobenius in 1958) and the obvious qualities of tracker action (St Vedast-alias-Foster, London, built in 1961 by Noel Mander, using an 18th-century case and much antique pipework). J.W. Walker’s organ of 1959 in the Italian Church, London, showed a rather confused scheme, but it helped to open the path to ‘Baroque’ influences: ..\Frames/F922887.html

As in America, imported organs (e.g. The Queen’s College, Oxford: Frobenius, 1965) played their part in promulgating the new tonal and mechanical ideals, which began to be taken up by such builders as Collins, Mander, and Grant, Degens & Bradbeer (New College, Oxford, 1969). Later in the 20th century some younger builders (e.g. Goetze & Gwynn, Drake and Collins) found inspiration closer to home, particularly in 18th-century English organs.

The French organ has developed on rather similar lines, ‘neo-classical’ indicating a frenchified composite organ designed with both Grigny and Bach, both Franck and Messiaen in mind. Most major French churches have such organs, many made by Gonzalez with the advice of Norbert Dufourcq, a collaboration which also unfortunately engineered the rebuilding of many intact classical and Romantic organs in a hybrid quasi-Germanic mould, with the stated aim of making them better fitted for the playing of Bach. Since the late 1960s closer imitations of old French styles have been attempted, for example the partial copy of a Bédos de Celles organ (complete with low pitch) by J.-G. Koenig at Sarre-Union (1968). In particular, the importance of the traditional French classical form of ‘suspended’ action has been recognized and such actions, notable for their sensitivity, have since successfully been made by American, Dutch and German builders as well as the French. In both England and France, ‘restoration’ of old organs had been, with a few significant exceptions (Poitiers Cathedral, restored by Boisseau), as detrimental as in Germany. The typically French classical 1693/1832 pedal department (Flutes 8' and 4' (C–e), Trompette 8' and Clairon 4' (ravalement F'–e)) at Auch Cathedral was altered in 1959 to a more ‘correct’ Reform stop-list (Principal 16', Sub-Bass 16', Bourdon 8', Flûte 8', Flûte 4', Bombarde 16', Trompette 8', Clairon 4'). Only towards the end of the 20th century did builders in England or France show enlightened attitudes towards the subtler historical problems of pitch and voicing. In France the journal Connaissance de l’orgue has helped propagate sounder ideas, as have the British Institute of Organ Studies and the Organ Yearbook in England, and the Organ Historical Society in the USA.

In Italy the late 1960s saw a movement towards a kind of modified Werkprinzip organ but with characteristic Italian choruses and even at times Italian reeds. The organ at S Maria Assunta (B. Formentelli, 1967–8) has a grand’organo of 8.4.2.11/3.1.2/3.½.1/3 + 1/4.8.4.22/3.2.13/5.8.4, the last of them reeds. Large three-manual organs such as that at the Chiesa dei Servi, Bologna (Tamburini), united an Italian chorus, German mutations, Spanish Trumpet, Italian compass, mechanical action and general Werkprinzip relationships between the manuals. Other larger firms such as Ruffatti, on the other hand, seem to have been strongly affected by the ‘American classic’ movement, and, while they have produced some smaller mechanical-action organs, have concentrated more on large multi-purpose electric-action instruments, many of them built for export. Smaller organs too have attempted comprehensiveness; the instrument at S Severino, Bologna (G. Zanin & Figlio, 1968), has the following scheme: Apart from some restoration work by builders such as Amezua, and a few modern positive organs, the Iberian peninsula has been only slightly affected by the organ reform.





Organ, §VII: The Organ Revival 1930–70

7. Some German developments since World War II.


An important factor in postwar Germany was the prominence and high standard of many new and small firms, while the older and larger ones faded into the background. The appointment of organ advisers for each of the districts of Germany encouraged smaller builders as it also encouraged local variety and enterprise. From the early 1950s Beckerath of Hamburg and the two Schuke firms of Berlin (East and West) produced organs of strong character, often influenced by old instruments they had rebuilt (Schnitger organs rebuilt by Beckerath, Joachim Wagner organs by Alexander Schuke); as noted above, Beckerath also exported instruments to the USA and, in 1970, a smaller example to Britain (Clare College, Cambridge). Ahrend and his former partner Brunzema (pupils of Paul Ott) continued the trend towards strong-toned organs, omitting most mutations and relying on highly coloured flue and reed stops (usually made of hammered metal); old instruments restored by the firm (e.g. at Westerhusen) have a natural, unforced but startlingly powerful, breathy tone. The organ at Westerhusen, like Metzler’s restoration at Nieuw Scheemda, Führer’s at Hohenkirchen and Ahrend’s in Stade, is a revelation of the musical colour open to a 17th-century organist of Friesland and Groningen, and these instruments have exercised an increasingly positive influence on the work of other north German builders as well as Americans such as John Brombaugh, Taylor & Boody and P.B. Fritts. The stop-lists seem nondescript; an example by Ahrend & Brunzema (Bremen-Oberneuland, 1966) is: ..\Frames/F922889.htmlBut the sound is far from nondescript, and the idiosyncratic tone of such instruments is well removed from the top-heavy neo-Baroque anonymity typical of so many organs of the 1950s.

Before 1973 German builders rarely developed good designs for organ cases, relying on simple geometric Bauhaus-influenced shapes that are pleasing but repetitive and often careless. Some imagination has been shown here and there in designing a sinuous front with ‘modern’ motifs (Marktkirche, Hanover; Beckerath, 1954, fig.50) and the square or rectangular box sometimes conforms with its surroundings (Gedächtniskirche, Berlin; Schuke, 1962). Non-German builders more often tend to look at old models, as witness the influence of the Perpignan organ-case on that at Linz Cathedral (Marcussen and Andersen, 1968). Swells, either as enclosed Oberwerk or enclosed Brustwerk, were fairly common in Germany, but it is often not possible to view them as anything more than ambiguous in nature and limited in conviction, although they were seen as an acceptable compromise in America. Standard German practice in making mechanical action has done little but good, and German builders are correct to point out that ‘organ music (such as Ligeti’s Volumina) with its note-clusters, requires mechanical action. … The cluster technique shows complex flutter beats; the foreign nature of untempered, non-harmonic sound-elements can be produced only by mechanical action and its associated voicing’ (ISO Information, viii, 1972, p.45). On the other hand, the widespread use of Schwimmer wind regulators, producing an inflexible and often jittery wind response, cannot in any way be regarded as a positive influence.



Organ
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