Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)


VI. Some developments, 1800–1930



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VI. Some developments, 1800–1930

1. General influences c1800.

2. 19th-century technical advances.

3. Some influential organs.

4. Electricity and the organ.

5. The organ in the early 20th century.

Organ, §VI: Some developments 1800–1930

1. General influences c1800.

A significant amount of rethinking did not occur until well into the first half of the 19th century. In some countries, notably Italy, England, the USA, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, no significant change in direction was evident until the second third of the century; the chief difference between an average organ of 1790 and 1840 in these countries was that the latter was bigger, and the builder had probably explored further the simple colour stops, Swell boxes and pedal departments. But colour stops were by nature foreign to Scandinavian organs, pedals to English and American, and Swell boxes to Dutch. In other countries, notably France, Spain, Austria, central and southern Germany and their neighbours (Bohemia, Poland etc.), events outside music not only caused organ building to stagnate in the late 18th century but ultimately gave to the revival of organs in the 1830s an impetus towards new techniques.

In Austria the reforms of church music undertaken by Joseph II during the 1780s encouraged simple organs in parish churches – instruments contrasting hugely with the large monastic creations of St Florian (1770) and Heiligenkreuz (1802). In countries occupied by the French in the wake of the Revolution, such as the Netherlands, Spain, south Germany, Austria, Prussia, Poland and Moravia, church services were often suspended. Only here and there were organs destroyed; more physical damage was done in France itself, where the Revolution was followed by a scarcity of funds and then, after 1815, an equally harmful overreaction: from 1792 a church may have been closed to Christian use but its organ was just as useful for ‘awakening and inspiring a holy love of the Fatherland’, as the new département administrators knew. But in southern Germany and Austria it was the dissolution of the monasteries (particularly after 1803) that changed organ tradition. In Spain and Portugal the organ suffered an eclipse, only partial in some areas but severely evident in others, taken in the wake of Wellington’s and Napoleon’s armies and by the reappropriation of church funds in 1830. Further north, Denmark kept its organ traditions largely undisturbed, but Sweden produced some advanced ideas in the 1820s, not least as a result of cultural ties with Saxony and central Germany.

Some of the important influences on organs and their music at the end of the 18th century were more directly musical. One was the theory of difference tones (see Difference tone), quite familiar to theorists since Tartini. Vogler’s ideas were based in part on the observation that the exploitation of harmonics might enable builders to dispense with large pipes, the combination of 16', 102/3' and 62/5' for instance, producing a 32' effect. But the idea is essentially naive, and Vogler must have had other assets to justify the respect with which he was held in Sweden and Salzburg.

A second major influence, or a symptom of the new emphases, was the idea propounded by J.H. Knecht (1795) and others that the organ was a kind of one-man orchestra, its three manuals having an orchestral spectrum of strings, brass and woodwind. To this end, Vogler’s specially made travelling organ, the Orchestrion (see Orchestrion (1)), was hawked all over Europe during the 1790s. There was of course nothing new either in stops imitating string instruments or in regarding the organ as a ‘compendium of all instruments whatsoever’ (Mersenne, 1636–7); nor were organ transcriptions new, being as old as written-down organ music itself. But by 1800 the orchestra itself was heavier, more stratified and conventionalized, and, most significantly, more expressive than it was in 1600, and imitations of it would therefore be further removed from the nature of the organ as then known.

A third factor was the general assumption that the hundreds of new parish church organs of average size required by about 1820 were to be built chiefly for the sake of accompanying the congregation, for which unison pitches, especially 8' stops, were the most useful. This may have been partly because mutations were less carefully made in a period of quickly built organs, partly because intelligent theorists like Wilke despised Voglerian claims about harmonic stops, and partly because Mixtures were difficult to justify in theory. Some of the ill-repute of Mixtures in the period may also have been due to their all-too-common Tierce rank (particularly ill-suited to equal temperament, which was coming into use in this period in all countries save England and the USA, where it was not accepted until the 1850s). Such an organ as that at Karlskrona, Sweden (P.Z. Strand, 1827), might have got its characteristic specification, whatever its voicing, in reaction to poorly made mutations and Mixtures too often met with at the time: ..\Frames/F922883.html

A further influence on the design of organs soon after 1820 was the more international scope of the repertory available to an average organist. In England, for example, such firms as Boosey imported an immense amount of German organ music of all kinds during the first few decades of the century, including a translation of Rinck’s popular tutor, Praktische Orgel-Schule (Eng. trans., 1825). These imports reached their culmination in the international Bach revival. Bach sonatas and other major works (‘Grand Preludes and Fugues’) were available shortly after 1800. Partly in response to this, many older English and French organs, and some Italian and Spanish, were being altered by 1840: pedals added, short-compass manuals completed, second choruses added. The result, however, was not that national organ types lost their identity but that they kept it in a less overt and certainly less charming manner. No doubt this situation was in part due to the ‘organ ethos’ of the period: a general anti-Baroque view of organs as sombre, solemn, ecclesiastical and ecclesiological objects whose music (as can be seen from Vincent Novello’s travel diaries) was expected to be more ‘elevated’ than the galanteries of the previous generation. But it prompted organists of different national schools to suppose that their organ alone was the best for Bach; countless English organists, for example, have resisted the idea that Bach did not write for the Swell pedal.

Apart from the details produced by such factors, several general observations can be made. There were strangely few magnificent organs built anywhere between 1800 and 1825, and the new big instruments of 1825–50 show a bigger break with the past than those of any other period in organ history. Casework as well underwent extreme changes in design and ornamental detail. While it is probably true that in 1830 churches spent less on their organs than they did in 1730, the later organs were in fact larger. The sounds the new organs on the Continent were expected to produce accorded with the sobriety and gloom of the post-Revolution church, although the organist had a more variegated repertory to choose from than at any previous period. Few great organ builders stand out between 1800 and 1825, and major practical and theoretical developments were left to the next generation. Some conservative areas, however, kept their traditions: the Brustwerk of 1898 at St Anders, Copenhagen, must be regarded as a survival rather than a revival.

In the USA, particularly in Boston and New York, a native school of builders was rapidly developing in the early 19th century to meet the demands of the many new churches in the expanding cities and prospering rural areas. These builders, notably Goodrich and Appleton in Boston, and Erben and Hall in New York, worked in the refined style inherited from 18th-century England and may be said to have brought it to its final fruition. Attractive as their instruments often were, both visually and tonally, their musical use rarely transcended the needs of a fairly simple church service, and the music of Bach was almost certainly not attempted by American organists until the second half of the century. By the 1850s the effect of continental developments, both tonal and mechanical, was being felt, and large factories (such as that of E. & G.G. Hook in Boston) began replacing the small workshops.



Organ, §VI: Some developments 1800–1930

2. 19th-century technical advances.


Audsley’s monument to the Romantic organ, The Art of Organ-Building (B1905), shows that the organ builder of about 1900 had a vast array of pipework to choose from; he also had many types of chest, action, bellows, gadgets and case designs at his disposal. On the whole Audsley was describing a high-quality instrument, but the profusion of elements he described affected the smallest and cheapest builder. Similarly, the organist’s repertory was in theory immense, although in practice quite restricted, save in the case of the recitalist. It was towards these two positions of technical and musical profusion, of embarrassing choice for both builder and player, that the organ gradually moved during the 19th century.

Different areas of Europe exercised major influence at different periods, and often an individual builder advanced concepts or techniques without which the overall development would have been different. Publicity for a new idea became increasingly easy (particularly from such concourses as the Great Exhibition at London, 1851, and the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876); builders travelled far to view developments, published (and read) papers or became associated with well-known theorists, and began to take commissions farther from home than they had been used to doing. New and rare stops were introduced into such foreign organs, perhaps sometimes for ostentation (e.g. Schulze’s three-sided and cylindrical wooden pipes at Doncaster, 1862). An advanced organ of 1825 anywhere in Europe would at any rate have features gathered from various sources: from changing taste (multiple string stops), theory book notions of harmonics, quick factory methods, foreign influences (e.g. English Swells) and new visual ideas. 40 years later the amalgam was yet richer, and large organs produced in the factories of Walcker, Sauer, Willis, Hill and Cavaillé-Coll were taken all over the world.

Thus the developments about 1825 in central Germany had an influence throughout Europe, not least because English and French organs of the period were particularly susceptible to new ideas. The theorists Wolfram (B1815), Seidel (B1843) and above all Töpfer (B1833, B1843, B1855) were better known in Hamburg, Paris and London than Praetorius had been. Töpfer’s new scientific description of the techniques of building (with tables and technical details for pipe-scales, wind-chambers, pallets, bellows, action etc.) were immensely useful to every new builder. His ratio for pipe-scales (Normalmensur, known in English as Normal Scale or Diapason Norm) was a theoretical model, not honed to the particular conditions of any church or local tradition; but it was adopted by builders of cheaper, commercial organs. Better builders such as J.F. Schulze also found it useful, and in itself it is not far removed from what had been customary in central Germany.

Töpfer’s calculation was that the area of the cross-section of a Principal pipe was √8 multiplied by the area of the cross-section of a pipe an octave higher. Pipe diameters therefore halved at the 17th inclusive pipe (i.e. eight whole tones above), as they had for many an organ before Töpfer (see §III, 1, above). Such a simple constant was convenient at the workbench, as were Töpfer’s other formulae for calculating the wind consumption and the height of the pipe mouth. Meanwhile the improved bellows and reservoirs of his period not only allowed copious wind and constant pressure but encouraged builders to experiment with higher pressure for the pipes or with pipes scaled to either extreme. Since organists now demanded to be able to play with thicker registrations, these other formulae were at least as important as constant scalings.

Many of the experiments were short-lived. Free reeds were popular in central Germany and Alsace from about 1780 to 1850 but not often elsewhere, although Gray and Davidson used 32' free reeds at the Crystal Palace (1857) and Leeds Town Hall (1859), and they were sporadically used as a novelty stop in large American organs as late as the 1870s. New materials, such as the cast-iron case and zinc pipes at Hohenofen (1818), became associated with poorer instruments once the novelty had worn off, and only zinc, useful for larger pipes, has stood the test of time. Solo manuals were reserved for the largest instruments, and double pedal-boards were used by Walcker in a few of his largest organs, but octave couplers and detached consoles never lost popularity once they had gained it soon after 1830. In England, Swell boxes were constantly improved, most often with a view to reducing the closed box to a true pp (Hodges of Bristol, 1824), and their influence soon spread to France. In Germany, J. Wilke wrote major articles during the 1820s in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung listing experimental devices for producing Swell effects such as triple touch, operating couplers or bringing on more stops as the key was depressed; lowered wind pressure brought about by a net curtain in the wind-trunk (Vogler); ‘roof swells’, devices for raising the lid of Swell boxes; and ‘door swells’ or ‘jalousie swells’, the English systems of (horizontal) Venetian shutters, perhaps encasing a complete organ. For most of the century, the Swell box mechanism remained simple: horizontal shutters were controlled by a wooden or metal foot-lever to the right of the pedal keys, which had to be notched into position if the box was to remain open. With such pedals, gradual crescendo or diminuendo was impractical, and had to await the development of vertical balanced shutters towards the end of the century. Only occasionally were other systems experimented with, such as Bryceson’s hydraulic system of about 1865 in which water was communicated along a lead pipe from the pedal to the Swell mechanism, but remote control of the Swell shutters did not become practical until the development of pneumatic mechanisms, and even then the French continued to favour a mechanical connection.

The resulting organ of about 1840 was usually a compromise between old and new. At Halberstadt Cathedral, for example, J.F. Schulze built a four-manual organ in which three manuals and pedal were of the large, standard classical type familiar in the later 18th century, and couplers and accessories were conventional, even to a Zimbelstern; but the fourth manual, its purpose very unclassical, played new stops in a high Echo chest: ..\Frames/F922884.html



Such Echo organs were a luxury, like apse organs in a few English cathedrals a century later. More popular in the advanced organ of 1850 were the Solo organ, often on higher wind pressure, and the full Swell organ with its characteristic 16' reed and bright Mixture (Henry Willis, 1855). In Germany, Swells of the distant Echowerk type remained popular with builders such as König (St Maximilian, Düsseldorf, 1855).

It was E.F. Walcker who is said to have invented (or improved) the cone-chest (Kegellade, see fig.9), which he patented in 1842. Cavaillé-Coll, Willis and other great builders rejected it, as did American builders after a brief experimental attempt by the avant-garde Boston builder Simmons in his organ for Harvard University (1859). In America, cone-chests were briefly attempted a decade later (again unsuccessfully, owing to the adverse effects of the climate) by the immigrant Moritz Baumgarten, who had trained with Walcker. But Walcker’s output was immense, and certainly the boom in north European organ building meant that the more systematic a builder’s concepts (and hence his workshop), the bigger part he could play in providing organs for the hundreds of new parish churches of that period. Metal-planing machines, for examples, were drawn by Töpfer and manufactured by Walcker; such machine tools provided pipe metal of great precision and uniformity, obviating all capricious and ‘imperfect’ elements in pipe manufacture. The Walcker firm moved to Ludwigsburg in 1820 and was able from there to command a vast area of central Europe, and eventually to export worldwide. Its organ for the Paulskirche, Frankfurt (1827–33), was highly influential, with its 74 stops on three manuals and two pedal-boards; but it too was a compromise. The 14-stop Swell was a large Echo organ, with free reeds and Dulcianas; the action was mechanical, the chests slider-chests, the couplers standard. However, the Swell mechanism was balanced, and once the free reeds were replaced by long-resonator reed stops, the specification became standard. Indeed, the whole Walcker style had great influence, from the Rhine to the Black Sea. But in 1849 (Ulm Minster) and 1863 (Music Hall, Boston, USA), Walcker monster organs still had not outgrown compromise; more thoroughly modern designs were achieved by builders less set in their ways, such as A.W. Gottschalg whose large organ for Cologne Cathedral was influenced by Cavaillé-Coll. The influence of the Walcker instrument in Boston on American organ building, already well established in its own conventions, has been much overrated. The cone-chest had already been tried and rejected, Americans continued to develop their own scaling and voicing systems (although influenced by Töpfer and other theorists and by general European trends), and the only real novelty, the free-reed stops, enjoyed but limited vogue. The importation of the Walcker organ was, in truth, an aberration, for in the period in which it was built the major American builders could and did produce large, well-engineered and tonally sophisticated Romantic organs for large churches, cathedrals and concert halls (Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts: Hook, 1864).

In France much important work was done during the 1820s and 1830s before Cavaillé-Coll began to dominate the scene. The Englishman John Abbey went to France (at the instigation of Erard) to work in the late 1820s, taking with him the improved English horizontal bellows, Venetian Swell, balanced action and refined voicing, and rebuilding organs from Reims to Caen. His Swell at Amiens in 1833, for example, resembled a typical English Echo organ of 1750: 8.8.4.V.8.8. Further east, Daublaine & Callinet came under the Walcker influence with their free reeds, double pedal-boards and general specifications in a few large organs, but essentially Callinet and his fellow-Alsatian Stiehr remained conservative. Their small and average-size church organs retained the basic classical physical and tonal layout in the mid-19th century, but with some suppression of upperwork and introduction of Gambas and Harmonic Flutes, and with the use of free reeds with resonators, primarily in the Pedal. By 1841 Cavaillé-Coll was making overblowing stops, both flue and reed. His new scheme that year for the organ of St Denis is discussed in §3 below.

High pressure was applied to reeds in England by the late 1830s, the first well-known example being Hill’s Tuba mirabilis at Birmingham Town Hall (1840). But although by 1855 Hopkins could write that ‘stops of this kind are now made by nearly all the English organ-builders’, no real technical details are known of these early stops. On the analogy of wood and brass wind-instrument playing in general, treble pipes in the reed ranks were also put on higher pressure in larger organs from the organ of St Denis onwards. This of itself was a major advance, as can be readily seen by comparing a Trumpet at St Sulpice with one at Haarlem. For centuries French builders had appreciated that reed trebles needed ‘boosting’ if the splendid bass was not to peter out above g' or so: hence one of the functions of the mounted Cornet in the 18th century. Cavaillé-Coll’s overblowing double-length flue and reed pipes were thus new not in principle but in character. A Flûte harmonique or Trompette harmonique is so made for bigger, rounder tone and, unlike the narrow-scaled overblowing flutes of the 17th century, always requires strong, copious wind. The formation of nodes in overblowing flue pipes is helped by a small hole piercing the pipe rather less than halfway along from the mouth, the exact position affecting the overtone content of the pipe. In reeds, the hole is not necessary. The tone of neither flue nor reed harmonic pipes blends idiomatically with the Principal chorus; 17th-century builders therefore reserved such flutes for solo colour. Reed and flue harmonic stops show the desire felt in the 1840s for smooth reeds that stay in tune, and precisely voiced flue stops with no initial ‘chiff’ (a puff of wind articulating the start of each note) or articulation. Full- or double-length resonators gave smoothness to the reeds, while in flue pipes the chiff was eliminated by a heavier nicking of the languid, by ‘ears and beard’ (see §III, 1, above) and by roller-beards (dowels, circular in section, placed between the ears near the windway), all aiding prompt, smooth speech.

Further technical advances made between 1825 and 1845 concern the action. Many 19th-century builders were ingenious with purely mechanical devices for such accessories as double Venetian swells (H. Willis, Gloucester Cathedral, 1847), stop-combinations (Ladegast, Sauer, Roosevelt), crescendo pedals (Haas) and various couplers. Improved bellows-with-reservoir, greater application of two or even more wind pressures in an organ, improved slider-chests (and eventually cone-chests) were all at the skilled builder’s disposal by 1845. So was the ‘Barker lever’ or mechanical-pneumatic action (see fig.8). By 1833, Booth in England and Hamilton in Scotland had constructed such actions. C.S. Barker worked on power pneumatics and compressed air, offering an apparatus to York Minster (1833), Birmingham Town Hall (1834–5) and, in France, to Cavaillé-Coll (1837). The pneumatic principle could also be applied to sliders and to such accessories as ‘thumb-pistons’ (H. Willis, 1851). Barker’s French patent was taken out in 1839, and he applied his action to the organ under construction at St Denis by Cavaillé-Coll, whose high-pressure stops were indeed said to have been unplayable without this key-action. It was probably also in France that the first fully pneumatic action was made, in which all the tracker’s backfalls, squares, rollers etc. were replaced by one pneumatic tube from key to pallet. The system is accredited to P.-A. Moitessier (1845), and was later modified with a partly mechanical action (Fermis, 1866) and adopted by such major builders as Willis (the divided organ at St Paul’s Cathedral, 1872). Although Walcker applied this so-called tubular-pneumatic action to his cone-chests in 1889, the action gained only a minor success outside England (and, to some extent, the USA) because the action was sluggish when the keys were too far removed from the chests, although it was used extensively in Australia and New Zealand until well into the 20th century. As for the chests themselves, English, American and French builders preferred improved slider-chests to barless chests, often modifying the larger pallets with a secondary mechanism allowing them to be opened without undue key-pressure (Willis patent dated 1861, etc.). Audsley was witness to much American activity in designing ‘pneumatic chests’ in the late 19th century. Around the turn of the century, American builders such as Estey developed a reliable tubular-pneumatic action using ventil-chests, which they employed quite extensively, as did Möller and some of the Midwestern builders, and Steere obtained the rights to the system developed by the German builder Weigle. But other builders, such as Hook & Hastings, Hutchings and, in Canada, Casavant, went almost directly from Barker-machine mechanical to electro-pneumatic actions.



Electric actions were devised during the same period in England (Wilkinson 1826, Gauntlett 1852, Goundry 1863) and France (Du Moncel, Barker, Stein & fils), but these early experiments were incapable of reliable practical application. Electro-pneumatic action (see fig.11) overcomes the difficulty of directly opening a pallet by electro-magnets in that the magnet opens instead the smaller valve of a pneumatic motor which then opens the pallet. One such system is usually accredited to Albert Peschard (c1860); as a result of his work Barker took out a patent in 1868, and in turn licensed Bryceson to build such an action in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (1868). According to Hopkins, an electrification for the organ at Gloucester Cathedral for the Three Choirs Festival of 1868 allowed the keyboards to be placed nearer the conductor, far from the pipes, an obvious and updated version of the ‘long movements’ of the tracker-action organ used in the 1784 Commemoration of Handel in Westminster Abbey. A decade or more before the end of the century Walcker in Germany, Merklin in France, Roosevelt in the USA, Casavant in Canada and Willis in England were all producing reliable electric actions which allowed them to build detached consoles some way away from the organs high up at the west end or in a triforium gallery of the quire. The stop mechanism could also be operated electrically (Bryceson patent, 1868). Particularly in the USA, many electric actions and individual pipe-valve chests (‘barless’ chests) were patented and improved during the 1890s, becoming a norm shortly after 1900, some 25 years before the Willis firm, for example, turned exclusively to electro-pneumatic action. During the first half of the 20th century, most important organ builders throughout the world devised one or other type of electro-pneumatic action (see Whitworth, B1930). Clearly electric systems could serve accessories such as stop-combinations (whereby a button or switch of some kind could bring on pre-selected stops), or Swell pedals operating shutters around part or all of the pipework. Much of the ingenuity exercised on such accessories belongs to the early 20th century rather than the 19th.

Organ, §VI: Some developments 1800–1930

3. Some influential organs.


Reference has already been made to Walcker’s organ for the Paulskirche, Frankfurt, and Schulze’s for Halberstadt Cathedral. Walcker’s habitual scheme was close to such later 18th-century organs as that at the Michaeliskirche, Hamburg, with a large, heavy Great organ (often 32') and a Pedal booming and powerful yet removed from true chorus purposes. Other German firms such as Schulze and Ladegast seem often to have made a brighter sound, with large-scale Mixtures and a tonal chorus brash yet recognizably in a tradition. Schulze’s influence in England was considerable as his large, full-sounding Diapasons caught the taste of the time and influenced the work of builders such as Lewis for some decades after the Great Exhibition of 1851. Even his little colour stop, the narrow-scaled Lieblich Gedackt, became standard in English organs for the next 100 years. Such builders had a high standard of workmanship and the mass of ‘good solid pipework’ of foundational pitches in an influential organ like Sauer’s for the Thomaskirche, Leipzig, was seen as a great advance on earlier organs with their greater percentage of higher-pitched stops. The craftsmanship and materials in a major Cavaillé-Coll organ are immensely impressive, as are the spaciousness (allowing pipes ‘room to speak’) and complicated actions and the careful planning of several chest levels. The drawings of the various elevations, tiers and cross-sections of the St Sulpice organ, for example, are witness to one of the great engineering masterpieces of the 19th century.

The St Denis organ has a well-known position in organ history, and its restoration in 1987–8 enabled players and builders to evaluate it for the youthful masterpiece that it is. The casework had already been designed when several builders tendered for the work, and Cavaillé-Coll’s two plans of 1833 and 1841 show the great changes in organ building during that crucial decade. Flutes and mutations were reduced, overblowing stops were introduced, string stops added harmonic complexity, Barker’s action allowed new arrangements of the chests, and the wind supply was increased and improved. Despite its ancestry in Bédos de Celles’ scheme for a large 32' organ, the instrument at St Denis (Table 28) was a great step along the 19th-century path. The Bombarde and Pedal departments became an ideal for hundreds of French or French-inspired organs over the next century or so; the scaling throughout became wider than classical French, and the voicing, as well as the wind pressure, stronger. It is not always clear how Cavaillé-Coll intended his organs to be registered, but since such stops as the Flûte harmonique are simply new versions of the auxiliary 8' ranks drawn in old fonds d’orgue combinations, it is likely that he expected them to be used in choruses as well as solos (an interesting characteristic of the Flûte harmonique is that the upper range has a stronger, smoother character than the lower octaves, and one can play both solo and accompaniment on the same stop). Much the same could be said for the string stops (with tuning-slots at the top of the pipe) and the thick, stopped Bourdons. Nicking of languids was generally severe, at least in later organs of this builder; this, added to the slots cut into even the smallest Mixture pipes, aided smooth, constant tone. Conical and narrow-scaled stopped pipes were not conspicuous, and Cavaillé-Coll’s spectrum of pipe forms was not particularly great. The foundation stops (jeux de fonds) of one manual were placed on one wind-chest, the reeds and (sometimes) flute mutations (jeux de combinaison) were placed on another. Each chest could have its own wind pressure and each could be controlled by a valve (‘ventil’) that admitted wind only when required, thus allowing a registration to be prepared in advance, but not brought on until needed. The Grand orgue was never underbuilt in relation to the Swell, as it often was in England, nor did the reeds lose their brilliance. Feeder and reservoir bellows were generous, and the pneumatic action somewhat cumbersome in the space it took. As with Schulze organs, soundboards were ample in size for the boldly treated pipework. But neither electric actions nor general crescendo gadgets were found on Cavaillé-Coll’s organs; indeed, he is recorded as saying that he could see no advantage in the use of electricity. (His showroom is illustrated in Cavaillé-Coll, Aristide.)



In Italy, Serassi, like his French and English colleagues, ‘extended’ local traditions and made many quite large and impressive-sounding organs of a curious Venetian compromise. The main manual would control 20 or more stops, including 16' or even 32' Principale and flutes and Violas of 8' and 4'; most chorus stops were divided; the highest ranks were collected into Mixtures; and solo and chorus reeds were strong in tone. One or two subsidiary manuals, of six to ten halved stops often in a Swell box, provided echo effects but no true chorus. The compass was long (frequently from C'); the pedal organ had six to eight bass stops; and there were many accessories, both sounding (bells, thunder, drum) and mechanical (composition pedals, couplers, including octave and suboctave). Some flamboyant music was written for organs of this type, by V.A. Petrali, Giacomo Davide and others.

In Spain, organ building came to something of a standstill; with the exception of a two-rank Voz celeste, the stop-list of Pedro Roques’s 1870 organ for Cadiz Cathedral could have been written a century or more earlier. The farther cities of eastern Europe were completely conquered by central German and Bohemian organ building, organ repertory and organ players by the 19th century. The outposts of German organ art in east Prussia and Silesia had long known large instruments (both Protestant and Roman Catholic) and the new techniques led to wide dissemination of ideas. Occasionally a builder would try something new, such as Buchholz’s solo organ: 16.8.8.8.8.8.4, in the ‘Black’ Church (1839) at Kronstadt (now Braşov, Romania); but on the whole builders were more anxious to improve action, accessories, bellows and chests of the more conventional organs.

In many ways the country best able to develop its organ was England, where a new awareness of foreign designs and repertory coincided with favourable economic conditions and the growing popularity of organs in secular concert halls and large nonconformist churches. While much work remains to be done on the position of the organ in France and Italy during the period 1830–50, the general picture of the English organ is clear enough. During the 1820s, the Choir organ was superseded by the Swell as the major secondary division; pedals came to be regarded as normal (though at first only with a rank or two of large-scaled wooden pipes); the compass generally remained at G'; and organists did as well as they could with the newly favoured music of J.S. Bach – Das wohltemperirte Clavier being as much played as the true organ music. Much of the newness of the British organ before Henry Willis’s influential instrument for the 1851 Exhibition has been accredited to the friendship between H.J. Gauntlett, the composer and organist, and William Hill, organ builder and former partner in the firm of Elliot. About 1833 Gauntlett visited Haarlem, apparently on the advice of Samuel Wesley, and there are various hints throughout Gauntlett’s career as an adviser on organs that such instruments were in his mind. His personal library too shows him to have been a good example of the outward-looking early Victorian musician. Of the dozen or so organs built by Hill under Gauntlett’s influence, the one at Great George Street Chapel, Liverpool (1841), was the most indicative of things to come. Like Hopkins, Gauntlett knew enough German organ music to see the C compass as most useful for manuals, while S.S. Wesley favoured G' compass even on the new Willis masterpiece of St George’s Hall, Liverpool. Much the same reason lay behind Gauntlett’s scheme for the pedal departments of larger organs, for example the one at Christ Church, Newgate Street, London (a 1690 Harris instrument extensively rebuilt by Hill 1827–38); such a scheme (Table 29) presupposed ‘continental scaling’ and not the large open-wood pedal scales described by Hopkins as more than twice too large.



Cavaillé-Coll visited Hill’s workshops in 1844, as he did others at that period, and the influence they may have had on each other deserves closer study. The French, German and Italian stop names of many Hill-Gauntlett organs suggest at least paper knowledge of and interest in foreign organs; as late as 1871, Willis’s new organ for the Royal Albert Hall can be related closely to Cavaillé-Coll’s for St Sulpice. Hill’s Liverpool organ was a compromise between traditional English and new continental styles, with a 16-stop Swell (including 16' reed), a small Choir organ of flutes, a high-pressure Tuba played from the Swell, six couplers, five composition pedals, and a complete compass of C–d'–f'''. Hill also designed a new kind of pallet that slid open and admitted high-pressure wind without increasing the touch-resistance. Neither he nor Gauntlett felt obliged to give up the long-established tradition of combining many international features: their organ at St Olave, Southwark (1846), for instance, was almost Serassian in its big Great and its solo Swell. It was left to Willis’s organ for St George’s Hall, Liverpool (1855), to establish fully the ‘first modern British organ’ (Table 30), which remained an ideal throughout the British Empire at its apogee. Less opulent instruments by Willis and the builders he influenced would merely have had fewer choices of 8' and 4' colour. Large though such organs were, their priority was not necessarily traditional organ repertory; rather they encouraged even further the age-old regard for large organs per se, useful for transcriptions of orchestral and vocal music and impressive as engineering projects with such innovations as inclined stop-jambs, pneumatic thumb-pistons, concave and radiating pedal-board (perfected by Willis soon after 1851 but not adopted in America until the 1890s, and even later on the continent), Barker levers to each department, varied wind pressures, new wind-raising devices, pneumatic couplers and a Swell pedal. The Swell alone was a good example of the general attitude. Of the ‘double Venetian front’ at Gloucester Cathedral (1847), Willis himself observed that ‘the pianissimo was simply astounding’ but gave no reason why he thought this a desirable aim.



The old-fashioned unequal temperament at Liverpool, applied on the advice of S.S. Wesley, was changed in 1867 (although the old G' compass was not changed to C until 1898). The wind pressure of the solo reeds was raised to 48·5 cm in the bass and 62 cm in the treble. Along with greater power went the demand for apparatus to control it. In 1857 Willis had patented a crescendo pedal – a foot-lever rotating a cylinder that activated pneumatic motors at the ends of the sliders. There were many other such devices, including one by Walcker (copied briefly by Hook & Hastings), in which a horizontal sliding metal bar was substituted for the foot-lever. In later organs, Willis took his schemes to a logical end by ousting the Choir organ for a Solo organ in certain three-manual instruments (e.g. Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, 1877); already at Gloucester (1847) the Swell had been made nearly three times as large as the Choir.

It is clear from the lists of specifications given by Hopkins and Rimbault, as it is in earlier lists by Seidel, Hamilton and others, that each major firm about 1850 had its hallmarks. Each introduced into many organs a characteristic stop (e.g. Hill’s Octave Clarion 2') or principle of construction or occasional foible (e.g. Cavaillé-Coll’s Septième ranks); each had its own patented action, chest and wind-raising device; and each had a known attitude towards such major developments as harmonic reeds, either exploiting or rejecting them. Major German organs built about 1860 were in general either less inventive or more traditional than in England and France, and this difference was reflected in those organs of the USA and the British Empire that followed the foreign models favoured by their respective builders. St George’s Hall, Liverpool, had the ideal town-hall organ, a far cry from such modest concert organs as Elliot’s in the Hanover Square Rooms, London (1804, 12 stops). It was the secular organ (Exeter Hall, London, and Birmingham Town Hall, both 1849) that first saw the application of the pneumatic lever to key action and one of Hill’s secular organs in London (the Panopticon, 1853) that first had pneumatically operated sliders, as well as higher pressure for treble pipes and a reversible crescendo pedal pushing out the organ stops one by one. The Solo organ or fourth manual, whether enclosed (Leeds, 1859) or not, also had its origins in the town-hall organ. The emphasis behind such contemporary designs as, say, Willis’s organ for St Paul’s Cathedral (1872) and Hill’s for Melbourne Town Hall (1870) reflects their contrasting ecclesiastical and secular natures: one would expect the latter to have bigger Solo manuals, smaller Choir manuals, perhaps a bigger compass, and certainly a larger array of unusual tone-effects.

It was the crescendo and diminuendo of a British town-hall organ (Glasgow; T.C. Lewis, 1877) that led Hans von Bülow to write to the local newspaper and claim never to have ‘met with an organ so good in Germany’. Indeed, by comparison the German organ may well have seemed a dreary instrument, with little ability to blend or offer the organist much delight in its tone, touch or expressive musical potential. It can hardly be assumed, however, that the tone of new German organs did not occasionally delight; organists may well have liked the sounds produced by Schulze’s highly differentiated voicing in a small two-manual like that at Etzelbech (1869). Such an organ (Table 31) was utterly typical in its day, although in some ways Schulze was old-fashioned (e.g. with his diagonal bellows at Doncaster, 1862).



Much German organ music of the late 19th century was written for a large, sombre-voiced instrument which depended for effect more on weight and dynamic extremes than on the sort of colour provided by, for instance, Cavaillé-Coll’s Bombarde manual or Willis’s Swell. Indeed, the very size and gravity of such instruments is their chief musical attribute, and Liszt, Reubke, Reger and others capitalized impressively on these qualities. Specifications were often much more classical in appearance than their voicing and general tone justify. Extremes of timbre in the form of harmonic reed choruses were not much favoured, and it is not always easy to see exactly why a German organ, even in its various neo-classical guises, needed a third or fourth manual. The large instrument in Magdeburg Cathedral (Table 32), built by the firm of Reubke, expresses the potential sought by such composers as its scion Julius Reubke (1834–58). Walcker’s organ of 1886 for the Stephansdom, Vienna, was even less systematic, with an ordinary Pedal but a huge Great organ manual of 35 stops strewn over the west end, and two further manuals, yet only one stop was in a Swell box. Similarly, not until 1857 at Ulm did Walcker use the Barker lever and not until 1890 a fully pneumatic action. A lack of inventiveness was also evident in the stop-lists themselves: Sauer’s two organs in Leipzig both with about 60 stops (the Peterskirche, 1885, and the Thomaskirche, 1889) had almost identical specifications, both full of heavy 8' stops. Such were the instruments played by Reger and Straube, and for which registrations were fairly standardized. Thus 8' ranks were mixed freely, according to choice, but a 4' stop aided their blend, particularly a wide 4' above a narrow 8'. An organ that cannot provide an accompaniment of Gedackt 8' + Voix céleste 8' + Spitzflöte 4' voiced on late 19th-century principles cannot provide the sounds intended by Reger in his quieter movements.



For such music it is also vital to be able to change stops quickly. Accessories became a priority, and by 1900 a German organ of 12 speaking stops could have as many as 12 ‘aids’. This was in addition to the Swell, which by then usually took the form of a cylinder rolled by the foot (Walze) and operating horizontal shutters. Other aids were the manual coupler, pedal coupler, octave and suboctave couplers, several pre-set combinations (labelled p, mf, pp etc.), one or more free combinations (set as required), General Crescendo (likewise operated by a foot cylinder or Rollschweller) and so on. But it is a mistake to assume that such composers as Reger necessarily required a General Crescendo or fixed combinations. The free combination, which requires good precision work on the builder’s part, is more useful, whether mechanical or pneumatic. Similarly, the high-pressure reeds and large-mouth flues (called Seraphon) made by Weigle between 1890 and 1940 needed careful engineering, ‘hard’ though the tone undeniably sounded even at the time (as is shown by Schweitzer’s opinion of the Stuttgart Liederhalle organ built in 1894–5).

Although the best of the 19th-century organs may now deserve the status of historical monuments, little musical sense can be made of such mature Romantic organs as Weigle’s at Lauterbach (1906), whose stop-list is given in Table 33. Such organs were not so much ‘Romantic’ as perversions of a legitimate ideal current from Gabler to Walcker; it is hard to see them being fashionable again. Weigle’s Stuttgart organ was criticized by Audsley (B1905) for making ‘absolutely no attempt to place at the disposal of the virtuoso the ready means of producing complicated orchestral effects or of massing special tone-colours’, which indeed was a high priority with performers of the day, who praised builders such as E.M. Skinner for providing such means.


As an example of a true Romantic organ close to the music of a lively, century-long tradition, Ladegast’s organ for Merseburg Cathedral (completed 1855 in a classical case by Thayssner), for which Liszt wrote his Prelude and Fugue on B–A–C–H, would serve, although it is of interest that this large organ possesses no enclosed divisions, nor playing aids beyond a few couplers and Sperrventile; so would Cavaillé-Coll’s for Ste Clotilde, Paris, where César Franck was organist from 1859 to 1890, and which he could yet describe as ‘an orchestra’: The superiority of Cavaillé-Coll’s voicing, particularly of the reeds, would have given Franck a more musical instrument than Weigle’s at Lauterbach. The several 8' stops are there for variety, and registrations still more or less followed traditional ideas of plein jeu, grand jeu, fonds d’orgue etc., for which the pédales de combinaison were essential. In general the principles behind the specification at Ste Clotilde were quite different from those of Weigle, and exercised a subtle influence on the repertory from Franck to Messiaen. French builders remained faithful to slider-chests in both practice and theory (cf J. Guédon: Nouveau manuel, 1903), and eschewed dull, foundational reed stops.


As an example of fin de siècle development beyond the demands of organ music, the Great organ manual of Walcker’s Paulskirche organ, Frankfurt (1827), can be compared with its rebuild by the same firm 72 years later. The stop-list alone makes clear the change of taste and the manner in which the revision destroyed the early 19th-century monument: ..\Frames/F922886.html


From the mid-19th century organs in the USA broke from the older English pattern with increasing use of European innovations (often demanded by organists who had studied in Europe). Gambas and Harmonic Flutes (the latter usually at 4' pitch) assumed a permanent place in the stop-lists of even small organs, and Solo divisions and high-pressure or harmonic-length reeds appeared in larger ones. The Barker machine was commonly used in large organs from about 1860 onwards, and early experiments (Roosevelt, 1869) were made with electric actions. Immigrant builders, mainly from Germany, began to do significant work in the Midwest (Pfeffer, Kilgen, Koehnken etc.) but appear not to have had significant influence on the large eastern builders. Little distinction was made between church and secular organs: Hook’s large organs in Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts (1864), and Immaculate Conception Church, Boston (1863), were very similar in size, stop-list and voicing, and were indeed expected to play much the same repertory, yet by the time Hook & Hastings’s 70-stop organ was built for Boston’s Holy Cross Cathedral in 1875, a distinct type of American Romantic organ had emerged, different in many respects from those of England and the Continent.



Organ, §VI: Some developments 1800–1930

4. Electricity and the organ.

The instruments of Robert Hope-Jones and his lesser imitators are considered the most extreme of a highly experimental period, both tonally and mechanically. In the latter they broke new ground, but in tonal matters they extend the principles behind such organs as that at Lauterbach by omitting all ranks above a wide flute 2', resulting in such schemes as the following for the Great organ manual at Worcester Cathedral (1896): 16.8.8.8.8.8.4.4.2.16.8 plus ten couplers to Great and seven composition keys. The tone was characterized by a corresponding smoothing out of acoustic ‘interest’ and a princely indifference to traditional chorus-blending; yet the 1904 instrument at St John’s, Newfoundland, was described in a contemporary account as having ‘wonderfully powerful and delightfully neat tone’. Ignored by French and German organ historians, Hope-Jones built few instruments himself and had only limited business success in Britain and the USA; but his influence was significant in the early decades of the 20th century.

During the 25 years from 1889 to 1914 Hope-Jones contributed two major innovations: to key-action (electric, with stop-switches for registration, ‘double touch’ for keys and accessories), and to pipework and specification (large harmonic Trombas, very narrow Trumpets, heavy-pressure Diapasons with ‘leathered’ lips – i.e. with thin leather glued round the edge of the lip to reduce brightness, very narrow and keen-sounding string stops and wide-scaled open flutes). His diaphone pipe of 1893 was itself a new departure (see fig.21). Though no doubt more effective as a foghorn (an earlier version was accepted as such by the Canadian government, and diaphones were used as lighthouse fog-signals as late as the 1960s by the US Coast Guard), the diaphone is a good guide to the tone required by some musicians about 1900. Hope-Jones’s actions were too finely designed for organs (they were more effective in telephone exchanges), but the period was one of experiment in electrical technology and his contributions are important. So many devices or facilities, such as those enabling the organist to ‘prepare’ stops which remained silent until required, or to open Swell shutters one by one, were made much easier with electricity; so was ‘borrowing’ stops, still disapproved of by Audsley (B1905) but in principle leading to ‘unit-chests’, ‘extension organs’ and other systems using one rank of pipes for several purposes. Hope-Jones thus typifies a movement that led to such extraordinary achievements for their time as the stadium organ in Chicago (Barton, 1929) where 44 ranks of pipes and various percussion effects produced an organ of six manuals (hanging in lofts above an auditorium of 25,000 seats) controlled by a movable console of 884 stop-controls and accessories, and blown by pressures of 40 to 140 cm, the latter for the diaphones. The extension organ of 1938 in the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, was more modest and typical (Table 34).



Electricity has been used to replace key-pallet action (see fig.11), operate stop-mechanisms and accessories (couplers, combinations, tremulant, Swell shutters etc.), drive a motor for raising the wind and replace older chest types. The design of such mechanisms requires great skill and was perfected only during the 20th century. Certain sophisticated gadgets like Willis’s ‘infinite speed and gradation Swell’ (where the amount by which the pedal is pushed forward is a measure of the speed at which the shutters open) date from the 1930s. In 1905 Audsley was still justifying the ‘incomplete’ nature of his discussion of electro-pneumatic actions by ‘the tentative state of that branch of organ construction at this time’. By then, however, knowledge of such actions was advanced enough for E.M. Skinner’s system to be applied at St Bartholomew, New York, to a console playing two organs, one at each end of the church. Skinner was perhaps America’s most innovatory designer of actions; his ‘pitman chest’ (see below), still widely used in the USA, was first developed during his employment with Hutchings in the 1890s and was a radical departure from other systems then in use which were, with the exception of Austin’s equally original ‘Universal Air Chest’, largely electrified adaptations of the older slider-, ventil-, or cone-chests.

Perhaps the most radical application of electricity to organ building was that enabling any key to be connected to any pipe: as in other forms of individual note-valve chests, each pipe stands over its own individual valve on the so-called unit-chest, but through the use of switching mechanisms such unit-chests can be used for one or more stops of an organ. A 2' pipe could be c' of a nominal 8' stop, c of a 4' stop, F of a 22/3' stop, etc., and the row of pipes ‘extended’ to allow complete compass at all levels. The principle of ‘extension’ was known to Praetorius for a little table positive, and Marcussen applied it to six of his Hauptwerk stops at Siseby in 1819; an ‘extension organ’ is merely one taking the idea of such ‘duplexed ranks’ to a logical conclusion. Electric actions made such systems much easier to use. That the idea is basically inimical to true organ tone, since no consistently scaled rank will serve two purposes, did not escape the attention of the better builders. At Wolverhampton, for example, the principle is applied very discreetly, and builders such as Skinner and Austin avoided it almost entirely except in the Pedal department. But extended ranks cannot provide as much power and variety as their stop-knobs promise, and some builders compensated by coarsening the tonal quality of the pipes concerned: the pressure was raised, languids sharp-angled, upper lips leathered, scaling enlarged or narrowed excessively, perhaps with a double languid (drawing in air from outside) or double mouth (two sides of a square pipe provided with a mouth, as in the Doppelflöte of the late 18th century and the 19th), reed-tongues ‘weighted’ to encourage stronger foundational tone, cheaper metal used, and sometimes (in the pedals) a diaphone resorted to. Many of the orchestral colours imitated by builders and recommended by influential writers were themselves ephemeral (e.g. the euphonium). New chests, particularly the Anglo-American pitman chest (E.M. Skinner), were devised in which the key and drawstop had equal access to the valve below the pipe, sounding it only when both were activated – a rather ingenious and efficient system that has stood the test of time.

Builders of the period 1840–1940 often disagreed with one another’s taste in details. Hope-Jones’s diaphones were not made (or were only briefly employed) by most builders, nor Cavaillé-Coll’s type of slotted reed pipes outside France, nor English leathered Diapasons beyond a certain period in England and the USA, nor the unit-chest by most of the better builders of church organs. The origin of many voicing techniques, such as leathering the lips of flue pipes and weighting reed-tongues with brass or lead, is obscure; so many had their origins in earlier periods that only the extremes of various kinds (high pressure, diaphone pipes, electro-pneumatic action etc.) can be dated from the late 19th century. It was these extremes that led to the Cinema organ about 1911. A large-looking Wurlitzer organ of this period contained only a few ranks of pipes voiced to either extreme and ‘extended’ to provide many stops available at every pitch on every manual: a reductio ad absurdum of the principle of ‘floating’ chests. With its percussion traps and effects and omnipresent tremulants, its high-pressure pipework enclosed in grille-fronted chambers, its movable console operating electric actions and swell shutters, the cinema organ can be seen not only following on from the ‘serious’ organs of Hope-Jones, Compton, Pendlebury, Franklin Lloyd and others, but as an updated version of Vogler’s orchestrion. Again it was not the church organ but the secular that demonstrated an idea taken to its logical end.



Organ, §VI: Some developments 1800–1930

5. The organ in the early 20th century.


The early decades of the 20th century saw more than one short-lived phenomenon. The heyday of the cinema organ lasted only until the introduction of soundtracks to moving pictures around 1930 (and a little later in Britain). Many such organs were ultimately removed from cinemas, some destroyed, and others moved to churches (where they were eventually found to be so inappropriate that they were replaced); but in the second half of the century some that survived in situ were restored, and, in America, others have been rebuilt and installed in ‘pizza and beer’ restaurants, where they continue their intended mission of providing entertainment. Another such development was the domestic self-playing organ (see Player organ), created by manufacturers such as Welte & Söhn of Freiburg and the Aeolian Company of New York, who each adapted their already successful electro-pneumatic roll-playing mechanisms for the Reproducing piano to the pipe organ. As seen from surviving player-roll libraries, the greater part of the repertory of these instruments consisted of orchestral and operatic transcriptions, and their tonal resources were geared to this music. However, legitimate organ music was also recorded, and some of these rolls now have considerable historical interest in that they preserve the performances of some notable turn-of-the-century organ virtuosos. The player organ enjoyed a worldwide market until a combination of the Depression and new fashions such as the radio and the gramophone set it into a near terminal decline in the 1930s.

The ‘post-Romantic’ organ of the early 20th century has been criticized on numerous counts, most of them to a greater or lesser extent legitimate. At its most mediocre, it was the ‘factory organ’ that roused the ire of Albert Schweitzer (B1906; see §VII, 1, below); it was also this organ that, sinking ever deeper into its makers’ and players’ preoccupations with the imitation of orchestral sounds, vast ranges of dynamic expression, and ingenious console gadgetry, threatened for a time to make a large part of the corpus of organ literature from Scheidt to Franck either obsolete or unintelligible. What is perhaps surprising is that at no other time in history has the organ been so ubiquitous: organs of all sizes were to be found not only in churches, chapels, cathedrals and concert halls, but also in auditoriums, cinemas, residences, hospitals, museums, hotels, spas, restaurants, ballrooms, skating-rinks, department stores and schools of all kinds. According to statistics from the US Census Bureau, more organs were built in that country in 1927 than in any year before or since. Eight years later, this figure had dropped to its lowest point before World War II (which interrupted organ building everywhere). The pattern was similar in Europe.

At its worst, the organ of this period was dull and uninspired, most of the small to medium-size instruments being virtually mass-produced and only shop-voiced. The use of extension and unification principles was rampant, resulting in a thinness and blandness of sound in the majority of smaller church organs. Some unfortunate architectural trends were also promulgated in this period. Since electric action removed all limitations from the placement of the console and the layout of the pipes, more and more organs were divided and placed in sound-smothering chambers that were often deep and without adequate openings, and the consoles (as well as Echo divisions with little historical connection) could be located almost anywhere, even at the opposite end of the church from the pipes. What such placements of organs may have gained in visual and physical convenience, they suffered from in musical inconvenience, and, once established, this fashion – perhaps most greatly abused in English-speaking countries – has been unfortunately difficult to reverse.

At its best, however, the early 20th-century organ was a triumph of technology and the possessor of sometimes surprisingly impressive musical qualities when allowed to do what it was designed for. A virtuoso cinema organist playing a good Wurlitzer, Barton or Compton can bring life and drama to a silent film; a suavely voiced Aeolian or Welte playing from a well-made orchestral roll can delight all but the most hardened purist. Similarly, in some of the larger ‘symphonic’ instruments, most often located in secular concert halls, one can discern the qualities that attracted such extraordinarily gifted and internationally recognized recitalists as Eddy, Guilmant, Courboin, Lemare, Cunningham and Farnam. Marcel Dupré was inspired to compose his monumental Symphonie-Passion (1924) while improvising on the monster organ in Philadelphia’s Wanamaker store in 1921, later stating that he ‘played in a state of exaltation that [he had] seldom known’. Such builders as Skinner, Kimball, Casavant, Willis, Harrison, Mutin or Steinmeyer could produce large instruments which could not only flood with sound a large building – whether a reverberant European cathedral or a dry American concert hall – but also perform transcriptions to perfection and do some justice to much of the legitimate organ literature, as well as serve as a foil to an orchestra or an accompaniment to a choir. When certain conservative and knowledgeable advisers (George Dixon in England, Emerson Richards in the USA, etc.) were involved, the stop-lists, at least on paper, could appear quite balanced. What were lacking were smaller instruments well enough designed and voiced to live up to the expectations generated by the large organs, and this lack may have been one of the many factors which helped to give impetus to the forthcoming Organ Reform movement.



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