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  • New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas



    I attend the First United Methodist Church in Richardson, Texas. Last March (2006) we moved into a new facility with a 1300-seat reasonably "live" Sanctuary, and in November 2006 we consecrated a new Klais pipe organ of approximately 4000 pipes. The stop list and some pictures of the church and organ are available from the church's web site: http://fumcr.com/pages/music. The organ is not complete, as there are several additions in the original plans that could not be included in the initial build due to economic concerns: an Antiphonal Division, planned for the rear of the balcony, to contain 4 stops including a horizontal 8' Fanfare Trumpet; a second, mechanical ("tracker") action console to be built into the facade of the instrument; and several additional stops for the main organ. The organ as it stands was $1.3M and was built at Orgelbau Johannes Klais in Bonn, Germany. I had the good fortune to be one of the original Organ Selection Committee and we recommended the Klais firm and design. The Sanctuary is not complete, either: right now the area under the balcony is walled off and used for the Music Ministry offices, robes, etc. A later building project will produce a permanent facility for those functions and the area will then be opened up for congregational seating, increasing the capacity to about 1800 seats.




    We are proud of our new facility and instrument and would invite any organists visiting the Dallas area to come by and see and hear them. The AGO is having a regional convention here this year that will include a recital on our new instrument.


  • #2
    Re: New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas

    Congratulations on a magnificent instrument being installed where you attend.  It never ceases to amaze me at just how successful Klais is in getting very significant contracts the world over.  I don't begrudge them that one bit since they produce instruments that are of such high quality.  Phillip Klais is carefully trodding the footsteps made by his father, Hans-Gerd Klais, and further improving upon already excellent concepts.

    Cheers!


    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas



      Congratulations indeed !!




      You not only got a beautiful organ but an excellent value as well. From some builders that same organ would have cost at least $2 million.




      Enjoy!!!




      [<:o)]

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      • #4
        Re: New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas



        Thank you both. The Organ Selection Committee interrogated 17 builders: 13 in the US and 4 in other countries. The really good builders here (Fisk, Fritts, etc.) quoted estimated prices that amounted to $35,000/stop or more, and also had 8-10 year backlogs. We did not want to wait that long, nor pay that much. Klais originally made a bid that was about $25,000/stop and that was much more to our liking. We knew the Klais reputation (3 major cathedrals in Germany), listened to CDs of their organs playing, and had many discussions with them, culminating in our committee going to Bonn, Germany to see the organ shop for ourselves and meet the workers. Phillip Klais also came to Richardson, TX to attend worship (in the old facility) and assess for himself what our needs would be. The entire committee was enthusiastic about recommending Orgelbau Klais as our builder. Unfortunately, the wheels in the church ground too slowly and by the time we got a contract signed, the Euro had gone from $.90 to $1.18, which increased the price of the instrument. We were forced to eliminate from the original build a few things that had been in the original plan, but the instrument is prepared for those items to be added later.




        Just this week, Dr. Douglas Bush of the BYU music staff is here, along with one of the Klais employees, making a CD of the organ. I have not yet found out what the purpose of that CD will be, but I do hope to obtain a copy. The choir had a CD recorded just before Christmas that included 2 selections for organ only--one of them was "Now Thank We All Our God" by Karg-Elert, and it is literally stupifying!




        I am really excited about the AGO recital coming up later this year. I can hardly wait.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas

          WOW!!! - Thats amazing - Klais came in with a bid for $25,000 a stop!!!  And they are so well known for the quality of the build and voicing/scaling/regulating of the instrument.  I'm flabbergasted - Lord have mercy!!!!!!!  Again, I'm really impressed.  One of my favorite medium-sized Klais in America is the instrument in St. Peter's Church on the corner of Lexington Ave. and 54th St. in Manhattan.  The former organist/music director Gordon Jones was a dear friend who let me explore the varied resources of the instrument whenever I happened by there.  And then there is, of course, the *piece de resistance* in the Minster of Our Dear Lady in Ingolstadt, Bavaria with it's 70 stops and the beautiful Trier Cathedral Organ and the barnstormer in St. Kilian's Cathedral in Wurzburg with its Trompeteria division on the fifth manual, bristling with horizontal Spanish Trumpets. And then there's the ravishing 3-man/58 stop of St. Fridolin's in Bad Sackingen - I could go on...Sorry for the long rambling paean to Klais.

          Cheers!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas



            There is also a very fine Klais in Aachen Cathedral in Germany - or rather, two of them.




            In a fairly unusual position for mainland Europe, but much more familiar to Brits - on the screen dividing the octagonal nave from the quire, one organ facing east, and the other west. Both are playable together from one console. What impressed us when we sang there a couple of years ago was (a) how ENGLISH lots of it sounded (we sang Howells, Sumsion...) and (b) the radiating-concave pedalboard - in fact both Klais organs we visited in Aachen had them, not the standard continental straight-flat kind.

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            • #7
              Re: New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas



              Congratulations, davidecasteel!




              What a BEAUTIFUL organ!!! Thank you for sharing such wonderful news with us! [:)]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: New Klais Organ in Richardson, Texas



                Klais also built both of the organs in the Cologne cathedral. When the Committee visited the firm, our organist was able to play both the (then) new 1998 "swallow's nest" organ in the Nave and the larger Main Organ, which was being refurbished. The Committee was also able to see the instruments at Aachen and Trier, among others. Our current organist went over in early 2005 and experienced the Cologne instruments and a newer one in Munich (St. Peter's), which is very similar to the size of ours. For what it's worth, there are a lot of fine Klais organs in Germany (and elsewhere, of course). We are very happy with our new instrument and look forward to some day having it completed to its original design. The 64' resultant Vox Balaena (should be Vox Balenae, "voice of the whales") was a surprise--it was not part of the original plan and was just added by the builder for grins.




                Stentordiaphone64, the Committee met the whole Klais family in 2001, including Hans Gerd Klais. Truly wonderful people!




                Our Organ Consultant, Dr. Douglas Bush of BYU, has just been here with one of the Klais workers making recordings on the new instrument. Due to our location right next to a very busy expressway, they did most of the work late at night. I don't know what the purpose of the recording is, but I hope there will be a CD.




                Thanks for looking.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                  The stop list and some pictures of the church and organ are available from the church's web site: http://fumcr.com/pages/music.
                  I have been advised that this link is not working any more--use this, instead: http://www.fumcr.com/pages/Main_Music.

                  David

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Interesting to read the comment about the good value for money of the Klais-built organ.

                    When tenders were called for the new Auckland Town Hall Organ in NZ, Henry Willis & Sons wanted almost NZ$6 million for an organ with the specifications that were wanted. Klais not only built the same organ for NZ$3.5 million, but there workmanship is like nothing I have ever seen when it comes to quality. And, amazingly....it was the first organ Klais had ever built in the grand Victorian/Edwardian English tonal style. Philippe Klais and his chief organ-builder actually spent a couple of weeks crawing all through the magnificent Norman & Beard (1906) organ in Wellington Town Hall, measuring everything up (including the pipes) so he could replicate that particular style of tone. That Wellington organ is exactly as the builder left it in 1906.....it has never been altered in any way, with the only major work carried out on it being a full restoration in 1985-1986. It is a real musical treasure.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Kiwithrottlejockey, that does not surprise me at all. Philipp Klais is meticulous in his planning and tonal design. We told him that we did not want a "German" organ (even though we had a German builder), but one more American in tone. I believe that we got what we asked for--the diapasons are much fuller than typical German ones and the tonality is not at all screechy. I have heard visiting organists even say that our instrument is almost French in its tonality (I think they intended that as a compliment). The only reservation I have is that the 32' Open Wood originally conceived for the instrument did not survive the first Stop List revisions; but the Organ Committee did manage to get a 32' Bombarde (half-length resonators) added to the pedals to supplement the 32' Contra Bourdon. Klais also surprised us with an interesting 64' Vox Baleana resultant in the pedals.

                      I visited New Zealand in 2004 and was briefly in Wellington, but did not get to see or hear the organ in the Town Hall. I was able to see and hear the instrument in the Christchurch Minster, though, and discovered that the Organist there had been a student of a lady organist I knew here in Plano, Texas. (She was originally from Christchurch, it seems.) I worried that the NZ organist might have been injured in the earthquake, but later learned that no one was hurt when it collapsed.

                      Your observations were most interesting.

                      David

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                      • #12
                        If you are ever in Wellington again, make sure you get to check out the Wellington Town Hall Organ (contact Victoria University in Wellington and ask to be put in contact with their head keyboard specialist, Douglas Mews, as he is the offical organist and curator of the Town Hall Organ and he would arrange for you to play the instrument). It is an absolute musical treasure, and as I posted, it is totally original. When it was restored in 1985/1986, it didn't even have any modern registration aids added to it....the organ still has the original fixed pneumatic combination pistons and pedals as fitted in 1906 when the organ was inaugurated. The organ is currently undergoing another major restoration, this time a gradual one over about three years, with the organ being kept operational while the work is carried out.

                        It's rather interesting that the core of the new Klais organ in Auckland Town Hall has a very similar tonal style to the Wellington Town Hall Organ. However, it is a considerably larger instrument that the Norman & Beard at Wellington with considerably greater tonal possibilities.

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                        • #13
                          David, as a Texan who now lives in Michigan, and whose dad lives in Richardson, I will have to look you up in my next visit there. I'd love to see this organ. I grew up in Port Arthur, and aside from a few decent organ in those parts, there is (was) nothing of this caliber! Best, Jim Johnson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            jjcricket1958, I sent you a PM. When you come to Richardson, I'm sure I could arrange for you to see and play the organ at our church. I'm not the Organist, but she is usually willing to allow others access if they will be monitored.

                            David

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