Saturday, December 1, 2012

Monaco: Cathedral, an organ history

Earlier in the fall I learned that Monaco has released a stamp celebrating a new organ in the cathedral. I have been doing a bit of research to determine the history of organs in the cathedral. I found this site and used google translator to get a (rough) interpretation of the history. As one expects with cathedrals, the organ's lineage is complex.

Located in the stands above the entrance gate, the Grand current organ was built in 1975 and inaugurated by Pierre Cochereau holder of the great organ of Notre-Dame de Paris from 1955 to 1984.
On the occasion of the restoration of the great organ in 1988, its proprietor, René Saorgin in Church of Monaco (January 1989, and this instrument and its history:

"The first instrument platform was probably installed in the Cathedral around 1887 soon after its completion. Featuring eleven games only, it is not enough to fill the vast and lofty nave of the Cathedral. It was sold to the Church of the Cordeliers Gap city where you can still admire the neo-gothic elegant buffet.

A great instrument was then fifty games built in its place by the factor Charles Martin, the successor of the famous Cavaillé-Coll, author of the organ of Notre-Dame de Paris.
One signed Cavaillé-Coll instrument remains in the new Carmelite church in Monaco. It was opened April 8, 1922 by Master Emile Bourdon, a direct disciple of Louis Vierne, who remained the owner until 1968 ...
This organ was donated by a patron, more composer Jean Bartholini, Consul of Monaco in Geneva.

The organ Mutin was placed on each side of the rostrum, in the bottom of triforiums.
He got very ill from the nave, but the organist was placed almost in the middle of the pipe, he had a magnificent sound ... The reeds had a stamp incisive, biting, even terrifying. Funds were beautifully mellow and sang beautifully. Everything does not lack nobility and greatness and fitted well in the tradition of the great symphony orchestras of the time.
Various upgrades, expansion and electrification started in 1951 by Maurice Puget factor, Toulouse, did not improve the instrument "too altered, concealed evil age" (Carol H.).

The Princely Government therefore decided to build a new instrument and addressed it to Jean-Loup Boisseau, Poitiers.
This factor realized the current instrument has sixty games over four manuals and pedal. It was inaugurated on 10 October 1976 by Pierre Cochereau (cf. Church of Monaco, November 1976).
Designed in the classical French style, this "Grand sixteen feet" includes all syntheses and games to bring own solo classical French literature.
"Grand Plein-Jeu" glittering with desire, dynamic and nervous, is quite exceptional. The "Great Game (chorus reeds) is positively glowing in the purest French tradition. Few elements foreign to the French classical aesthetics (whistle, flute harmonic unda husbands dulcian) allow to address a different directory but without turning to the organ as an instrument of synthesis.
Unfortunately, the mechanical parts (chests, prints notes and records, tanks) suffered greatly in recent years.
Consists of various materials: wood, metal, leather, felt, skin, organ, more than any other instrument, is very sensitive to temperature changes and humidity especially ...
A major restoration work was then entrusted to the House Tamburini, Crema (Italy).

This restoration was carried out with care and remarkable art.
Today the 4840 pipes of the great organ of the Cathedral of Monaco sing again and the faithful in each réentendent ceremony at the Cathedral, the splendid harmony Jean-Loup Boisseau had given them.
Several improvements have been made: adding a drone sixteen feet keyboard story, adding a trumpet and cornet separation ranks fourth keyboard, adding a second bugle to the pedal, installation of a series of twelve combinations adjustable facilitating the organist play. "

After 18 months of work, the end of the restoration of this instrument rejuvenated, which honors the Principality and is probably the best and most successful of the Côte d'Azur, was inaugurated in a ceremony presided over by Archbishop Sardou May 29, 1988 with a concert by Philippe Lefebvre, owner of the great organ of Notre-Dame de Paris.

Note that this is also the house that Tamburini was entrusted the construction of the choir organ.

I am still looking for specifications of the instrument(s) at any point in their existence. I plan to post and image of the new instrument and specification when I get a copy of the new stamps.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Germany (-Berlin) musicians

This stamp (Scott Germany 9NB260) was issued in 1988 to raise fund for youth welfare. I won't go into the details of the set of stamps of which this is a part nor of the Germany and Germany-Berlin designation in this post. But I want to give a little pre-history of my connection with this stamp. I have been saving writing about this stamp, and my exchange with the designer described below, until I had details about the organ. But as I explain below, that may not be quite possible. Hence, this pre-update!

I was fairly certain the stamp included an organ, but because of the photo technique, it's not quite clear. I conversed with some collectors years ago, who put me in touch with the stamp's designer in Munich. We exchanged letters and I learned some wonderful details related to the stamp. The image was shot, according to the stamp designer, at the Himmelfahrtskirche in Munich (Thalkirchen). She told me about hiring the children's choir of the church and the photo-process she used. I sought diligently for information about the church and organ, hoping to find a stop list, etc. I was never able to.

Recently I have been exploring again, hoping the Internet would provide me with images of the church, the organ and a stop list. I kept encountering this image of the chancel, with a very different organ.  I wondered if I had the right church even; perhaps, I thought, there was more than one Himmelfahrtskirche in Munich or its outlying communities.

But FINALLY, today I noticed a brief history of the church. It includes the notation " Umbau und Renovierung von Kirche und Gemeindehaus (1994 Orgelweihe)," giving the years 1988-1992. So now I wonder if there was an "old organ" in the "pre-alteration" church, which made it onto this stamp, and that the instrument seen here in the church photo is a "new organ," consecrated in 1994, that came as part of the renovation work in the early-1990's.

I intend to write to the cantor of the church to see if I can get the details straight, and to see if I can get an image of the church/organ prior to the renovation work.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Monaco: Liszt

In 1986 Monaco issued a single stamp (Scott 1549) honoring the birth of Franz Liszt 175 years earlier. Interestingly the background includes some organ pipes. (The stamp background also looks remarkably like the Bach-Handel stamp background from a year earlier.) "Interestingly" because Liszt is not "known" as an organist nor a composer for the instrument. . Liszt has a single (very famous) fantasia on a Meyerbeer chorale tune for the organ, but that's really about the only work of any reknown.

Monaco: Bach-Handel

Monaco issued a set of 4 stamps honoring authors and composers in 1985 (Scott 1496-1499).  The first honored Sacha Guitry; the second the Brothers Grimm; the third Chopin and Schumann; and the last Bach and Handel. Their stamp includes a set of pipes nestled into fan vaulting from a ceiling. The pipes are not seemingly intended to be a specific instrument.

Monaco: UNESCO issue

Monaco issued a set of 4 stamps celebrating the 25th anniversary of UNESCO in 1971.  Other stamps in the set featured: "culture" (scholar, book, film, television); "science" (alchemist, radar, rocketry); and the high value was an image of Prince Pierre of Monaco. The low-value in the set was called "arts" and included an organ case/facade and a detail of Michaelangelo's painting "The creation of Adam" on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. The case is distinctive, but one cannot determine the organ from the stamp alone. The Cathedral in Monaco has recently gotten a new organ. The stamp does not depict that instrument. Monaco has recently issued a stamp celebrating the new cathedral organ. When I have a copy, I'll post a new blog entry with an image of the stamp and (hopefully) a specification.

There was/is another organ that was in the cathedral, but it is not the organ used for the stamp image. I have tried to locate the instrument to no avail. If anyone can help identify this instrument, please contact me.

I heard from my friend Mark Jameson regarding the organ(s) in the Monaco cathedral:
I have found the 1934 spec of the 1922 Charles Mutin organ that lasted until 1968, original organ was c1887.  In 1971 I suspect the Mutin had been replaced by an Allen.   I have e-mailed Olivier Vernet [organist] to try to obtain more history for use in the next Journal – Monaco & organ, San M, Vatican & Italy for stamps.

Nicaragua: Christmas 1975

Nicaragua issued a set of 11 stamps in 1975 featuring famous choirs from around the world. One of these is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, UT (Scott 1003). The image includes the famous tabernacle organ. Other choirs depicted in the set include Einsiedeln Abbey; Regensburg; Vienna Choir Boys; Sistine Chapel; Westminster Cathdral; and on the air-mail stamps: Montserrat Abbey; St. Florian Choir Boys; Choir Boys of the Wooden Cross; Pueri Cantores International Federation (with Pope Paul VI). The Scott catalogue notes that there is in existence an imperforate mini-sheet depicting the Oberndorf Memorial Chapel Choir, but does not list a value. The Mormon Tabernacle stamp is the only one the set that has an organ included. As with most famous, large instruments, the Tabernacle instrument has a convoluted and colorful history; one can read a brief history here.

Nevis: Christmas 1984

For several years Nevis issued stamps at Christmas-time with various themes, very often loosely religious. In 1984 the set featured "musicians from local bands." The earlier stamps in the 1984 set include a flutist and drummer from the Honeytree Band; a guitar player and barhow players from the Canary Birds Band; and the Shell All Stars steel drum band. The high-value stamp (Scott 402) in the set features congregation members singering, a choir singer or director in vestments and an organist and an organ concolse at St. John's Church in Fig Tree. The instrument appears to have a single manual, and seems a rather modest instrument, based on the number of stop knobs visible. It is a charming scene. According to this site the organ was installed in 1974, though no information is given about the builder or any details of the instrument.

Shortly after the initial post, my friend Mark Jameson provided me with a bit of information about the organ on this stamp: 
Re Nevis – the organ was built by J W Walker & Sons, Brandon Suffolk in 1973 and installed in 1974.   According to two of their former staff it was a unit organ, probably with a Diapason, Flute, Salicional and Oboe extended variously.

Mark continues with some information about a second church in the area and its organ:
The Gingerland church had a Norman and Beard organ that cost them £100 in 1912, but is does not feature on any stamp.  The other church of St George also had a new organ about that time, but an Internet picture taken very recently shows an old organ. NPOR shows an 1869 Gray & Davison to a Wesley-Methodist and the picture for St George looks very much like that style of organ. I have asked the archbishops’ office in London to see if we can get any further.

Togo: Schweitzer

In 1975 Togo issued a set of stamps honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Schweitzer, and coincidentally about ten years after his death. He is pictured with a group of children on the regular mail stamp; there is also a group of 3 air-mail stamps: the doctor playing an organ; with a pelican; and at Lambarene Hospital. The present stamp (Scott C259) is oriented vertically as is the "pelican stamp;" the others in the set are horizontal.

Togo: UNESCO Issue

Togo issued a set of 7 stamps in 1967 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of UNESCO. The set featured classical composers and instruments. Bach and a pipe organ facade are on the low-value of the regular issue (Scott 599) and the 45f air-mail stamp (Scott C67). Other composers in the series include Beethoven (violin and clarinet); Duke Ellington (saxophone, trumpet, drums); and Debussy (piano and harp). Ellington appears on two stamps as does Beethoven, in addition to Bach. The organ may or may not be the familiar Sauer instrument in Leipzig.

Friday, October 5, 2012

New organ stamp blog

I recently encountered this blog while trading information with its creator. Please enjoy!