Friday, February 6, 2009

Luxembourg: Grund

This is the high-value stamp in the 2006 tourism series featuring pipe organs. This organ was restored in 1979 by the Westenfelder firm. It would seem that the original instrument is 18th century, but I haven't found details yet. I would welcome any help!

Luxembourg: Mondercange

This is the third stamp in the 2006 series of tourism stamps featuring pipe organs. This instrument is in Mondercange. Built in 2004 by the Oberlinger firm one can view details about the instrument here. I would like to have the Scott catalogue number for this stamp, if anyone can share it.

Luxembourg: Bridel

This is the second stamp in the 2006 series of tourism stamps featuring pipe organs. It is another semi-postal, and features an organ from Bridel. I haven't found any other information on the instrument. Please let me know if you can provide a Scott catalogue number and/or details about the instrument.

Luxembourg: Conservatoire

This stamp is from the first set of tourism stamps featuring pipe organs issued by Luxembourg. This is also the low value in the set. All of the sets to date have been semi-postals, meaning part of the cost was used for special projects designated by the postal administration. (In the US the one and only semi-postal stamp issued by the USPS has been the breast cancer awareness stamp of 1998, the proceeds from which went toward breast cancer research.) I have not been able to find any details on this instrument. My friends at the Luxembourg Friends of the Organ site have two studio organs available, but not this instrument which is obviously larger and situated in a concert hall of some type. Please share any information, and a Scott catalogue number if you have such information.

Mark Jameson's 2010 article provdes the stoplist and the catalogue number (Scott B 451), which I have not been able to find anywhere else:

I. Positif
Quintaton 8
Holzgedackt 8
Prinzipal 4
Rohr Flute 4
Doublette 2
Sesquialter 1
Larigot 1 1/3
Cymbal IV
Rankett 16
Comorne 8

II. Grand Orgue
Gemshorn 16
Prinzipal 8
Gamba 8
Rohr Flote 8
Flute Harmonique 8
Prestant 4
Tierce 3 1/5
Quinte 2 2/3
Oktav 2
Cornet III-V
Mixture V-VII
Scharff IV
Fagott 16
Trompete 8
Chamade 8
Clarion 4

III. Expressive
Pommer 16
Geigenprincipal 8
Vox Coelestis II 8
Viola 4
Traversflote 4
Nazard 2 2/3
Octavin 1
Tierce 1 3/5
Octave 1
Fourniture VI
Trompette Harmonique 8
Hautbois 8
Vox humana 8
Clarion Harmonique 4

Untersatz 32
Prinzipal 15
Subbass 16
Oktavbass 8
Gedackt 8
Choralbass 4
Hintersatz VI
Bombarder 16
Trompete 8
Clarion 4
Cornet 2


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Belgium: Geraardsbergen, St. Batholomew

Belgium issued this stamp (Scott #1299) on September 24, 1988. It is part of a set of four stamps celebrating Belgian cultural heritage. The stamp features one of the twin cases of the organ in the Geraardsbergen St. Bartholomew Church. The organ is significant because it was built by Charles Anneessens, in 1890. Anneessens was a very famous builder. I do not have an example of the stamp itself. I have only this First Day Cover. The postmark mentions the organ builder and has a silhouette of the church. You can get some information about the church here, but details about the organ are lacking.

Pierre Courtiade, a stamp collector in Paris, found this infirmation that seems to be froma Dutch stamp catelogue. I had posted a query about the stamp and the organ on a collecting chat room in 2004 and had completely forgotten about the information there. This provides a bit more information on the organ.

Orgel Bartholomeuskerk te Geraardsbergen.
Het in 1890 ingewijde orgel bezit 1422 pijpen, verdeeld over twee
manualen en pedaal, die 29 registers bedienen. De bouwer was Charles
Anneessens ; de neogotische kast werd door Louis Bert ontworpen. In 1970
werd het orgel door de firma Duffel gerestaureerd en uitgebreid ; Ch.
Anneessens werd in 1835 te Ninove als zoon van de kerkorgelbouwer Pieter
Hubertus geboren en overleed in 1903. Het atelier ontstond reeds in 1832
en in 1864 begon zoon Charles orgels te bouwen te Geraardsbergen. Een
brochure van de firma Anneessens vermeldt niet minder dan 227, tussen
1865 en 1893 in opdracht van binnen- en buitenland, gebouwde orgels. Er
staan Anneessensorgels in Engeland, Schotland, Ierland, Nederland,
Spanje en Portugal.

Finland: Temppeliaukio Church

Finland issued this stamp in 1983 as part of its Europa observance. The Europa theme in 1983 was "inventions." The stamp (Scott #680) features the interior of the Temppeliaukio Cchurch, including the organ. The unique architecture of the church makes it a worthy representative of Finnish inventiveness. The church is built in the ground. The interior walls are unfinished exposed rock. The roof is a glass dome which allows in natural light. The church opened in 1969 after two design competitions and the intervening second world war. The organ was built by Veikko Virtanen. I haven't been able to find more information about the builder or the organ (other than the fact that it has 43 stops {from Wikipedia}); if you can share more, I would love to add details about the instrument.

Finland: Oskar Merikanto

Finland issued this stamp (Scott #477) on 5 August 1968 to honor the 10oth anniversary of the birth of Oskar Merikanto. Merikanto was born to Swedish parents who changed their surname after moving to Finland, to blend more easily into their adopted homeland. Merikanto was a very famous concertizer on both piano and organ, and composed numerous works for use in churches. The stamp features a portrait of the composer and an array of organ pipes. I haven't found any music in print for organ by Merikanto. Does anyone have any?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Latvia: Riga Dom

Latvia issued this stamp in 2000 as part of a set of four celebrating the 800th anniversary of the founding of the city of Riga. The organ was built in 1883-1884 by the Walcker firm of Germany. It was rebuilt in 1981-1984 by the Flentrop firm of the Netherlands. (Interesting note: I was on a semester abroad experience in Munich in 1981 and travelled to the Flentrop shops with the father of a friend, as he delivered final payment on their church's new Flentrop organ. Of course, while at the shops, I saw work being done on the Riga Dom organ. "Incredible" barely begins to describe the sensation!) My able to read Latvian is limited in the extreme but it would seem there are 124 ranks over four manuals and pedal, and over 6700 pipes in the instrument.

Luxembourg: St. Michel

Luxembourg issued this stamp (Scott #772) in 1987 to celebrate the millennium of the Church of St. Michael. It is part of a set of 2 stamps issued for that event. The other stamp features stained glass from the church. The organ was built in the French classical style by G. Westenfelder in 1971. Details in the Scott catalogue call this a "Baroque organ chest, 17th century." There are no details on the Luxenbourg Friends of the Organ site to help us know if the organ is contained in a very old case containing new works by Westenfelder, or if the whole instrument is new, built built in a 17th century style. If the latter then Scott errs slightly.

Organ terms

Here in no particular order are some key terms related to the organ. I am not going into much detail here, because a lot of terms related to the organ don't really come up when related to organs depicted on stamps. There are plenty of other sites that can give more information about the organ itself. Check the links at the bottom of the page.

Console: the place where the organist sits, the keyboards and other control devices. Most organs will have 2, 3, or 4 keyboards on the console, plus a pedalboard played by the feet. In general each knob represents a rank of pipes.

Facade: Very often the only part of the organ one sees. It's the front of the case which holds all of the pipework and other mechanical portions of the instrument.

Pipes make the sound. Wind is blown through the pipes to generate tone. There are reed organs in which air is blown over reeds to make the sound, and electronic organs which have no pipes. I am not addressing those in this blog at all.

Rank: a set of pipes making a particular sound. There are 61 notes on most modern organ keyboards which means one pipe for each, of every variety of sound the instrument makes. There are compound ranks (mixtures) in which each key has 2, 3, 4 or more pipes associated with it.

Stop: in general the same as a rank, though in the case of compound ranks, a single stop will control the sounding of several ranks which compose the particular sound. Sometimes one counts stops to describe the size of an organ, other times one states the number of ranks (which can be considerably higher if there are several mixture stops on the organ). Organists will state both when they want to be precise: "34 stops which include 41 ranks" for example which in this case would mean that nine ranks of pipes are part of mixture stops. More details would be needed to know how exactly the ranks are distributed.

Manuals: the keyboards. These are played by the hands. The pedalboard is played by the feet. Most organs will have 2, 3, or 4 manuals on the console. Very small instruments and positivs and portativs will have just 1. The console of the organ at Atlantic City Music Hall in the USA has 7 manuals!

I use three terms frighteningly indiscriminately. Renovation, rebuild and restoration each mean very particular things to the people engaged in such work. They all have to do with executing repairs on the instrument, or making additions to the number of ranks included, or reworking the mechanical systems in part or in their entirety. Renovation often refers to work that will modernize or otherwise enhance the mechanical systems. Restoration usually refers to turning back the clock as it were on additions or changes that have failed or have outlived their usefulness or are out of character with the overall make-up of the instrument. Rebuild can refer to either of the first two terms or to work done after an accident has harmed the instrument in some way.

Positiv: a small organ of 1, 2 or perhaps as many as 6 ranks. These are movable, if not quite portable.

Portativ: an even smaller instrument that can be set upon a table, or even carried about.

Got a terminology question not answered here? Leave it in a comment and I'll reply back there.

My Collection

I started collecting stamps as a kid. I held onto my first stamp album for the longest time, but finally let it go when we moved in 2006. I was a pretty indiscriminate collector, and remain so to a degree.

When I got back into collecting in 2001, I tried to focus more on a few areas of interest: organs, music in general, trains and ballet (my wife worked at Richmond Ballet in VA for some years). As the children have gotten older and have developed a keen interest in fire fighting, rescue and police, we have together dabbled in collecting stamps related to that topic.

Topical collecting gets a bum rap sometimes from purists who think one should collect stamps by country or region. I understand and appreciate that opinion, I just don't follow it too closely. I do have a pretty substantial US collection, but nothing near completeness, and with none of the costlier rare varieties that distinguish a really fine collection. I also have stamps from many, many foreign countries, but nothing near completeness there either.

I house the collections on Vario stock pages in el-cheapo binders from the office store. I get stamps from anywhere I can, including my wife's office and my own, and a new issue dealer, County Stamp Center, in Maryland. You can also check out what dealer Alex Birman has on his mind about stamps here. The phrase "Scott #" refers to the cataloguing and stamp numbering system created by Scott Publishing Company and used in their print catalogues. I use a set from 2002. I keep my collections catalogued using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

If you have a question, leave it as a comment and I'll answer it likewise.