Tag Archives: Organ

Wine for the organist

The organ built by Gebrüder Oberlinger Orgelbau in 1997 for St. Martin in Cochem includes an innovative stop called Riesling 2fach. Pulling the stop opens a small cabinet holding two bottles of Riesling wine.

This according to “Neue Orgel in der Pfarrkirche ‘St. Martin’ zu Cochem/Mosel” by Wilhelm Basten (Die Auslese 42/2 [1999], pp. 22–23).

(Thanks to Tina Frühauf!)

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Filed under Architecture, Food, Instruments

Fitzwilliam Handeliana

In 2009 the music publisher Edition HH launched Fitzwilliam Handeliana, a series of publications of Handelian music inspired by manuscript holdings in The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The first volume in the series, Compositions for harpsichord and organ, is a collection of works by the founder himself: Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816). Edited by Gerald Gifford, the museum’s Honorary Keeper of Music, the volume presents rarely seen works by one of Händel’s ardent champions.

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Filed under Baroque era, New editions, New series

The magrepha mystery

The magrepha of ancient Hebrew ritual has been variously described as a percussion machine, signal gong, bell, tympanum, kettle drum, or hand drum—but also as a pneumatic organ, water organ, steam organ, composite woodwind instrument, pipework, or controllable siren. For centuries, scholars were unable to reach a solution that squared with ancient texts.

In “The magrepha of the Herodian temple: A five-fold hypothesis”, Joseph Yasser settled the matter by showing that the earliest sources mention the magrepha as a shovel for removing ashes and describe the thunderous sound caused when it was thrown to the floor at a particular point in the service; this sound apparently symbolized the vengeful actions of an angry God, aligning the ritual act with passages in Ezekiel. Later sources unmistakably characterize the magrepha as a type of wind instrument with multiple openings, each producing multiple sounds; Yasser’s proposed reconstruction is shown above.

The article appeared in A musicological offering to Otto Kinkeldey upon the occasion of his 80th anniversary, a special issue of the Journal of the American Musicological Society (vol. 13, no. 1–3 [1960], pp. 24–42; the issue is covered in our recently-published Liber amicorum: Festschriften for music scholars and nonmusicians, 1840–1966.

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Filed under Antiquity, Curiosities, Instruments, Source studies

Arte Organaria Italiana

arte organaria

Published by the L’Associazione Culturale Giuseppe Serassi,  Arte Organaria Italiana was launched in 2009 to provide a forum for research on organs in Italy.

Articles in the first issue include a discussion of pedaling in Frescobaldi’s organ works, a study of organs in the Cattedrale di Mantova during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and an exploration of nineteenth-century organ case aesthetics.

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Filed under Architecture, Instruments, New series

Antichi organi mantovani

With the 2009 publication of L’organo Luigi Montesanti 1813 della chiesa di San Tommaso in Acquanegra sul Chiese, the Associazione Culturale Giuseppe Serassi launched the series Antichi organi mantovani. Edited by Federico Lorenzani, the book includes articles by Maurizio Isabella, Silvio Micheli, Francesco Melli, and Lorenzani himself. Montesanti’s organ for the Basilica di Sant’Andrea di Mantova is shown above.

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Filed under Architecture, Instruments, New series

Instrument makers’ catalogues

Instrument makers’ catalogues can be important sources of iconography: they indicate what instruments people were making and buying at a given place and time, and sometimes they depict rare curiosities like the brass instruments in this 1867 catalogue from the Gautrot firm, reprinted in 1999 by Larigot. The mechanical organ pictured above comes from a catalogue issued by Limonaire Frères around the turn of the twentieth century, reprinted in 2009 by Das mechanische Musikinstrument.

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Filed under Iconography, Instruments, Publication types