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Listening to Organbuilding History

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  • Listening to Organbuilding History



    I have recently been reading All The Stops by Craig Whitney. I have been reading about E.M. Skinner's organs, G. Donald Harrison American Classical organs, and the beginnings of the Organ Reform Movement. It is interesting to read about all of this, and understand much of it, but it would be nice to hear examples of the organs in question. So many of these organs have been reworked and I was wondering if there are any good recordings out there that I hear examples of these various organs? I know that many of you will have many different recordings to recommend.


  • #2
    Re: Listening to Organbuilding History

    Just finished watching "Around the Wanamaker Organ In 80 Minutes," a tour of the organ showing most of the chambers and playing the most important stops. There is an excellent history of the organ, as well. For example, I did not know that the organ was largely rebuilt in an organ factory housed on the top floor of the Wanamaker building (now Lord and Taylor's). Not sure if this workshop still exists but I certainly hope so. The organ staff built the consoles, added pipes and did major building alterations (adding chambers, etc) on site. Now, they are assisted by volunteers. The history and stop demo was followed by a concert illustrating the special capabilities of the instrument. The DVD cost $27, but you may be able to rent it. I've added it to my collection. Very interesting.

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    • #3
      Re: Listening to Organbuilding History



      [quote user="BOZ"]I did not know that the organ was largely rebuilt in an organ factory housed on the top floor of the Wanamaker building (now Lord and Taylor's).[/quote]Now Macy's.




      [quote user="BOZ"]Not sure if this workshop still exists but I certainly hope so.[/quote]It does.




      [quote user="BOZ"]Now, they are assisted by volunteers.[/quote]There is a very able curator: Curt Mangel III.




      [quote user="Jon Benignus"]I have been reading about E.M. Skinner's organs, G. Donald Harrison American Classical organs, and the beginnings of the Organ Reform Movement. It is interesting to read about all of this, and understand much of it, but it would be nice to hear examples of the organs in question. So many of these organs have been reworked and I was wondering if there are any good recordings out there that I hear examples of these various organs?[/quote]I recommend you check out JAV Recordings. One of their specialties is audiophile recordings of Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner organs; the more original, the better.




      Each recording comes with a nice booklet detailing the construction and history of the organ, plus any changes that have been made.




      Two of my favorite, nearly-originalSkinners: Girard College; Woolsey Hall, Yale. One of my favorite Aeolian-Skinners is at Church of the Advent in Boston, though it has been modified a bit.

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      • #4
        Re: Listening to Organbuilding History

        Lets hope Mr. Mangel III doesn't *Mangle* the pipework.   < 8 - D

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        • #5
          Re: Listening to Organbuilding History



          [quote user="soubasse32"]



          I recommend you check out JAV Recordings. One of their specialties is audiophile recordings of Skinner and Aeolian-Skinner organs; the more original, the better.



          Each recording comes with a nice booklet detailing the construction and history of the organ, plus any changes that have been made.




          Two of my favorite, nearly-originalSkinners: Girard College; Woolsey Hall, Yale. One of my favorite Aeolian-Skinners is at Church of the Advent in Boston, though it has been modified a bit.



          [/quote]



          Thank you soubasse! Now I have some CDs to put on my Christmas Wish List!!



          Are there any recordings still available of the G. Donald Harrison Organ in the Germanic Museum? I know Biggs made lots of recordings on it, but I can't find any that are currently available on CD.




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          • #6
            Re: Listening to Organbuilding History



            SB32,



            Thanks for the updating of my comments. Some time ago ('76-'83), I lived in Philly (actually the burbs) and would shop at Wanamakers, especially at Christmas, just to hear the organ. I'll never forget that sound.



            Early on, I believe you indicated that you might attend a concert given at Macy's. Has that event taken place and how was the concert?



            Everyone,



            I can also recommend JAV recordings. Not cheap, but well worth it since they really are well done. 

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            • #7
              Re: Listening to Organbuilding History



              [quote user="BOZ"]Early on, I believe you indicated that you might attend a concert given at Macy's. Has that event taken place and how was the concert?[/quote]I'm afraid I already used upmy vacation time. [:(]




              Here is a link to theconcerton the 'Wanamaker Organ', which is coming upvery soon: http://organforum.com/forums/thread/55350.aspx




              [quote user="Kéraulophone"]Lets hope Mr. Mangel III doesn't *Mangle* the pipework.[/quote]He does a wonderful job! I had my own tour of the entire facility last year (it took an entire day [8-|] ) and was pleased to see the results ofpainstaking restorative work.

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              • #8
                Re: Listening to Organbuilding History



                Let's start with E.M. Skinner.




                Here a some absolutely fine examples played by David Lines of Seattle on the Hauptwerk version of the EM Skinner organ at Mt. Carmel (1928 I believe). You don't even need to buy a CD. You just need some fantastic PC speakers. Or download all the files and burn a CD yourself.




                http://milandigitalaudio.com/skinner-demos-wet.htm




                My favorites would be Bist du bei Mir , Chant de Mai , The Londonderry Air , Andantino in D-Flat

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                • #9
                  Re: Listening to Organbuilding History



                  Apologies toHauptwerk fans ... but a Hauptwerk version is not the same as "listening to organbuilding history". [^o)]




                  So yes, you do need to buy a CD...of the real thing.




                  Better yet, go listen to these historical instruments in person.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Listening to Organbuilding History



                    Yes, its true that if you want to hear the real organ and all the room noise(played backat 16-bit, 44.1KHz) - you should get a CD recording of the real thing. And you should, because hearing the organ in the room it's in is paramount.




                    But, hearing the real pipes, as the masters crafted and voiced them(recorded at 24-bit, 96KHz) - as they sound before they are muddied up by some huge church with way too much reverberation for my taste- is nice, too.




                    Just trying to help...




                    Here is an actual room recording of the A. Skinner at St. John's Cathedral in town here - as played by Charles C. Bradley:
                    http://zionorgan.com/HWForumImages/C...LoveDivine.wma




                    This organ is a 1961 - post G. Donald Harrison - build.

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