Friday, October 17, 2014

Portugal: Faro Cathedral


Portugal issued this stamp in 2012 as part of a set of 6. Billed as a "route of cathedrals," the stamps show interior and exterior shots of important Portuguese cathedrals. This stamp happens to include a bit of the organ in the interior image. The two images, exterior and interior are divided by a colored bar. The perforations include an unusual Maltese cross; when stamps are separate from each other one can perceive half the cross. The current stamp is denominated "N" with the notation "20g." Presumably this pays rate rate for letters up to 20 grams in weight. Portugal uses Euro currency which is not indicated anywhere on this stamp.

It would seem that the Faro Cathedral organ was originally by Arp Schnitger, installed in the early 1700's. However it was greatly altered in the late 1700's. I was not aware that the German builder had exported instruments, but it would seem so. One went to Brazil, and was re-worked by Beckerath in the 1970's. I couldn't find much discussion about the Faro instrument. The cathedral has been the bishop's seat in this region of Portugal since the early 1500's.

Note: I was rooting around the website of Flentrop Orgelbouw this evening (two days after the initial post) looking for another instrument and in their works list saw two listings for Faro, Portugal. One was for the great organ! (The other was for the choir organ also in the cathedral.) Not Schnitger according to Flentrop but rather Uhlenkampf, in 1716. Flentrop did restoration work in 1974. Flentrop also provides a complete stoplist using modern formatting.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Romania: Concert Hall




Romania issued this mini-sheet in 2011. It comes after the scope of my Scott catalog, so I don't have a catalog number. There are three stamps in the sheet. The top one depicts Enescu as conductor; the second a musical score; and the bottom stamp shows the exterior of the concert hall facility. The stamps include a "tab" which can be separated from the stamp itself. Each tab shows a picture of Enescu at three ages during his lifetime. The selvage shows the interior of Enescu concert hall, including the state and the organ at the rear. The mini-sheet was issued to commemorate the 20th Enescu International Festival and Competition in 2011.

I found this information at Hans Timmerman's site:
Rechts onder het Walcker-Orgel in de muziekzaal van het Atheneum in Bukarest
Gebouwd in 1939,Opus 2654,III/P 52 registers en 4 transmissies SW-Ped
In 1964 uitgebreid met 2 registers in SW.
De laatste restauratie was in 2007 en uitgevoerd door Gerhard Walcker/Kleinblittersdorf.

With that clue (it's a Walcker Organ) I was able to find more information at the GE Walcker site. This page includes a remarkable reflection on the hall and organ.


Here is wiki-information on the hall:
The Romanian Athenaeum (Romanian: Ateneul Roman) is a concert hall in the center of Bucharest, Romania and a landmark of the Romanian capital city. Opened in 1888, the ornate, domed, circular building is the city's main concert hall and home of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic and of the George Enescu annual international music festival.

The building was designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, built on a property that had belonged to the Văcărescu family and inaugurated in 1888, although work continued until 1897. A portion of the construction funds was raised by public subscription in a 28-year long effort, of which the slogan is still remembered today: "Donate one leu for the Ateneu!"

On December 29, 1919, the Atheneum was the site of the conference of leading Romanians who voted to ratify the unification of Bessarabia, Transylvania, and Bukovina with the Romanian Old Kingdom to constitute Greater Romania.

Extensive reconstruction and restoration work has been conducted in 1992 by a Romanian construction company and restoration painter Silviu Petrescu, saving the building from collapse.


Another mini-sheet has been issued by Romania in 2013, commemorating the 125 anniversary of the hall itself. I don't have the stamp yet, but will create a post on it when I track down an example for myself.

Russia: Cultural Milestones (Millenium)




Russia issued this sheet of 12 stamps in September 2000, part of a series of sheet issued around the millennium celebrating milestones in Russian history (others represented sports, scientific, and technological achievements). The present sheet deals with cultural milestones. Scott 6606 was issued September 20; the individual stamps are designated alphabetically, a-l. None of the stamps depict an organ per se; the organ making this issue relevant is located in the selvage, at the top of the sheet. The rendering is of the interior of the Moscow Conservatory, depicting the facade and a grand piano.

Poland: Folk art

I have always been a little confused by the stamps in this issue.  The Scott catalog describes the set as folk art. These two semi-postals the catalog says are (5.50z+1.50z) a choir and (7z+1.50z) an organ grinder. Hans Timmerman's site documents the first of the pair, saying it is a choir accompanied by a portativ organ. Even up close I have a hard time seeing an organ in either of them!

The set was issued in 1969. There were six stamps of regular issue (Scott 1705-1710) in addition to the two present stamps (B118-B119). The were issued in December of that year. The catalog does not give any details about the recipent of the special funds raised by the semi-postal stamps.


It does seem that the larger figure in B118 has hands hovering above a set of key. It's difficult to discern what the man in yellow pants is actually doing in B119. An organ of some type may be depict in either or both of these stamps! I include both of them mostly for a sense of completeness, since they appear on most persons' lists of pipe organ stamps.

Friday, May 16, 2014

United States: Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL


To my knowledge this is the only postal product produced by the USPS that includes a representation of an organ. Scott UX152 was issued in 1990 in advance of the 100th anniversary of the hall's construction. The card was part of a long-running series of "Historical Preservation" cards depicting unique or innovative US architectural  features on American buildings. The stamp image shows the stage area obliquely, and includes two of the three tonal egress openings for the organ sound, and the facade pipes of those openings.  This article gives a good summary of the recent history of the organ including  a specification of the current instrument. The original organ in the hall was by Lyon and Healy, installed in 1904. It was rebuilt by Sauter and Sons in 1946. By 1966 that instrument needed repairs, but workers on stage damaged a significant portion of the pipework, making rebuilding unfeasible. An electronic organ stood as replacement for a decade. A new organ by Moller was installed in 1981. Renovation in the hall at the end of the 20th century included a significant amount of work on the organ by the Casavant firm from Canada, beginning in 1994. Work was completed in 1999.


Ukraine: Igor Shamo

Ukraine issued this post card in 2000 honoring composer Igor Shamo (1925-1982). The stamp image itself features various music-related elements, but the image on the lower-left of the card shows the composer with a background of organ pipes. I have not been able to determine what Shamo's relationship to the organ may be. This helpful site goes into some detail about his training and musical career, and an extensive list of compositions, but no clue as to how or why organ pipes might figure into a post card honoring him. I am not sure where or when I got this post card, and it does not appear in my Scott catalog. I would be happy to hear from anyone who can help detail Shamo's relationship to the organ, or why organ pipes feature on the card in his honor.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Philippines: The Bamboo Organ


Anyone remotely interested in collecting stamps with the pipe organ theme will be familiar with the famous bamboo organ in Las Pinas, Philippines. Chris van Doodewaard has posted a very helpful article on the organ. The builder was a priest, Father Diego Cera. It was begun in 1816, heard in worship in 1821 and called "complete' in 1824 with the addition of a horizontal trumpet stop. The instrument is made almost entirely using bamboo. The horizontal reed pipes are in fact metal. The organ endured its harsh environment for many years but was finally declared unplayable in 1972, shipped to the Klais firm in Germany in 1973, rebuilt in a climate-controlled facility that replicated its "home" conditions. It was returned and re-installed in 1975. The organ has a single keyboard, divided. It was designed and built in a Spanish style.

The organ is featured on a set of three stamps (Scott 903-905) issued in 1964. The second of the three stamps was surcharged and re-issued (Scott 1055) in 1971. Philatelic materials related to these stamps are abundant. I have accumulated envelops and postcards, first day covers and programs all using these stamps in various combinations.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Netherlands: Street organ


This stamp was issued as part of a set of two in 1981. It features a street organ. These instruments are self-contained and built on carts that can be towed or otherwise moved from place to place. These are apparently quite a thing in the Netherlands, as a cursory image search revealed many, many images. I am not able to determine the maker of this particular instrument. It has three openings for sound to emerge from the works. It seems that it was designed to be moved by hand, rather than self-propelled or towed by a vehicle. The other stamp in the set (issued for the Europa theme "folklore and customs") depicts bells. The present stamp, Scott 614, is denominated 65c.

Monaco: Cathedral


This post follows up on the earlier post on the history of the organ in the Monaco Cathedral. The stamp was issued in 2012. The instrument was completed in 2011. The website for the builder, Belgian firm Orgues-Thomas, tells us the instrument has 4 manuals and pedal and includes 74 ranks. This discussion board thread discusses the instrument, and includes the stoplist, as well as information about the inaugural concert for the instrument.


Friday, February 28, 2014

France: St John's Luneville


The famous organ at St Jacques, Luneville was featured on a mini-sheet of two stamp issued by France in 2012. This smaller stamp was part of a lavish pane of stamps issued for the Lorraine region. Ten stamps comprise the pane, along with photos and text escribing treasures of this region of France. Interestingly a "lutherie" also is represented on the pane by what seems to be the body of a violin.  The image of the organ is taken from quite a distance, so even if pipes were exposed in the instruments prospect, one would be hard-pressed to see them.  The beauty of the gallery and columns are not lost in this small stamp. See my post on the 2012 sheet for more details on the instrument. The present pane was issued in 2011, expressly for collectors.



Italy: Mercadante

Saverio Mercadante (1795-1870) was in Italian composer of some import. He was known during his lifetime for his operatic compositions. After his death his fame receded; he is not so nearly well-known as other Italian opera composers. However, his technique was much-respected, making his influence on composers later in music history significant.

Italy issued this stamp in 1970, for the hundredth anniversary of the composer's death. The image includes a likeness of Mercadante and stylized "something" in the background. This stamp has appeared on the organ topical list for some time, I believe the assumption being the background somehow is stylized organ pipes. I am not convinced however. They could just as easily be piano strings in my opinion. Mercadante was a composer of operas. He has a single organ work in his oeuvre, an "Homage to Bellini." That work was recorded in 1995, that being the best single reference to the work I could find.

Triests-Italy: Verdi


The stamps in the set are the same as those issued by Italy in 1951, but having an overprint. The set pays homage to Verdi; the second stamp (Scott 139) includes an organ facade. One can view my discussion of the Italian stamps for more information on the organ.

Trieste is of course a city in Italy now. From 1947 to 1954 it was an independent territory. In 1954 the territory was divided with Italy taking the northern portion and Yugoslavia taking the southernmost region. For a time the territory issued it's own stamps. Many of these were simply Italian stamps with an overprint added. Two versions of the overprint are used on the three stamps in this set, so as to interfere with the vignette minimally.

Click the stamp image to see the whole group of three stamps.

People's Republic of Congo: Bach

The People's Republic of Congo issued this stamp in 1985 as part of a set of five stamps. Each of the stamps commemorated various anniversaries or events. Included: 75th anniversary of Girl Guides; Jacob Grimm, the fabulist; the present stamp for the 300th anniversary of the birth of JS Bach; the 85th birthday of the Queen Mother in Great Britain; the centennial of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Scott 737 is denominated 350f and includes a likeness of the composer and the facade of a pipe organ. The organ is not identified; it is however, quite distinctive. The gold pipe shades and the angel atop the central portion of the facade are striking, and one would suppose not generic nor the work of an artist working without a model. One with a broader knowledge of organs might be able to identify it; I am, however, not.

St Paul's Cathedral, London, UK

Postal authorities in Great Britain issued this mini-sheet of four stamps in May, 2008. It was part of the set that featured cathedrals and organs around the UK. The other individual stamps in the set were black and white. This sheet is in color.

It features four stamps showing the crossing in St Paul's Cathedral, London. In the lower left stamp one can see part of the casework for the organ. The mini-sheet (Scott 2580) denominates two of the stamps at the 1st Class rate and two stamps at 81p. One also gets a view of the pulpit, part of the dome, and the choir on this mini-sheet.

The cathedral itself is quite famous, and the organs therein are likewise notable. The first instrument in the cathedral was built by a German builder in 1694. Willis installed a new instrument in 1872. The casework in the stamp is part of that installation. Repairs and additions continued over the course of time. It appears that the most recent work was in 2008 by the Mander firm. According to the cathedral website, there are an additional three organs available in the cathedral.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Soviet Union: Artur Kaap


Artur Kaap (1878-1952) was an Estonian composer of considerable import. He studied organ and composition. After work in Russia he returned to Estonia and taught at the Tallinn Conservatory. His influence upon modern Estonian music is considerable. Two of his most important symphonic works utilize organ.

This postal card was issued by the Soviet Union in 1978 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth. The postage imprint features an organ facade; the left side of the obverse depicts Kaap.

Kaap was born in Suure-Jaani, Estonia. The organ depicted on the post card seems to be the organ in the Orthodox church there. A music festival now takes place in the town; the church's organ is also used during the Estonian organ festival.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Slovakia: Eugen Suchon


I have to admit I had never heard of Eugen Suchon before encountering this stamp. Born in 1908 his father was an organist. His early piano studies led to further training school. He studied in Bratislava and Prague. He has a nicely rounded oeuvre including music for a wide variety of instruments, voices and combinations. A psalm cantata and a folk-song -based opera sealed his place as a Slovak composer of considerable import.

The present stamp features an image of the composer, an organ facade, the composer's name and signature. The organ may be that in the Reduta concert hall, home of the Slovak Philharmonic orchestra. The image I found on the orchestra's site is rather distant, but one can discern the medallion on the facade, which seems to correspond to that pictured on the stamp.

Suchon's connection to the organ seem solid if somewhat slim. His father was an organist. As a composer, there seem to be three larger-scale works for organ, all with orchestra.


This stamp (Scott 539) was issued in 2008, to honor the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Poland: Oliwa Cathedral



I found in some of my early documents a note about the 1985 Bach stamp issued by Poland (Scott 2712). The note simply said "Oliwa." Hoping that was a city with a church containing the instrument depicted on the stamp I did some hunting. It is indeed! Oliwa is a section of the city of Gdansk (Danzig) on the Baltic coast of Poland. The cathedral in this section of the city is a three nave basilica begun in 1186 as a monastery. It survived the Protestant Reformation, restoration and the establishment of a diocese in this part of town. As of 1992 it is an archcathedral dedicated to the Holy Trinity, BVW and St. Bernard. The organ has an equally colorful history. As built between 1763 and 1788 the instrument had 83 ranks over 3 manuals and pedal with mechanical action. It had significant work done in the mid 1800's which added Romantic colors. The most recent work, 1966-1968, brought the instrument to 96 ranks over five manuals and pedal. The facade pipes are those installed by Wulff in the 18th century. Nowhere is it made clear any direct connection between JS Bach and this organ, leading to their inclusion on the 1985 stamp.



Soviet Union: Alfred Kalnins postal card

The Soviet Union issued this card in 1979, the hundred anniversary of the birth of composer Alfred Kalnins. Born in Lativa, the postcard hails Kalnins as a "people's composer of the Lavitan Socialist Republic." In addition to composing, Kalnins was an organist, teacher, conductor and music critic. His most enduring composition is his nationalistic opera Banuta. He spent most of his life in and around Lativa, except for a stint in New York City (1927-1933). He held organist and teaching position in Parnu, Leipjaj, and Tarnu, before settling near the end of his life in Riga, and serving as organist of the Riga Dom and rector of the Latvian Academy of Music.

The art on this postcard features a building facade, perhaps that of a music conservatory in one of the cities mentioned here. Also included is a page from a musical score, presumably an image of one of Kalnins' works.


The 4-kopek postage image includes a representation of Kalnins and the facade of an organ. I do not believe the organ is that in the Riga Dom, but that begs the question which organ is it? Two other instruments of some import are related to Kalnins, that in St Anna's Cathedral and Holy Trinity both in Leipaja. I have not been able to find images of those churches' interiors nor their instruments.

Penrhyn: Christmas


Penrhyn is the largest and most remote of 15 islands in the Cook Island system. An atoll, it has a mere two villages. Land area of the ring-like island is not quite 10 square kilometers, and population is less than 300 persons. The postal administration issued a mini-sheet of three stamps in 1980 for Christmas. The three stamps, 20c, 35c, and 50c, are each artistic presentations of the Madonna and Child. The caption describes them as 15th century paintings from the museum in Cataluna (the Catalonia region of Spain). The selvage holds the organ-related interest: angels are depicted on the left and right sides of the selvage, each holds a musical instrument. One of these holds a small portativ instrument.

Russia: JS Bach


Much like the 1985 issue from Poland, this stamp is a small souvenir sheet that includes a single stamp. Scott 5346 was issued in 1985, honoring the birth 300 years earlier of JS Bach. The present stamp features stylized pipes and wood-scrollwork in the selvage. An inscription at the bottom notes the anniversary year. The stamp itself also shows Bach's signature.

Poland: Bach


Though at the time not a member of the European Union, Poland issued in 1985 a stamp that seems to fit the music heme that year. Scott 2712 depicts JS Bach and an organ case. There were actually two versions of this stamp issued. One has an inscription at the bottom (like my example above) which in rough translation acknowledges the 300th anniversary of the birth of Bach. This version saw only limited release and is fairly valuable. The second version omits the inscription and is more common. The stamp also features a large Baroque organ case. I cannot tell what instrument it may be; others more acquainted with Bach organs may recognize it. This stamp, because it was released as a single stamp in a very large selvage, actually qualifies as a mini-sheet, or souvenir sheet.

Netherlands: Europa, 1985



The Netherlands prepared a pair of stamps for the 1985 music year. Scott 669-670 feature a piano keyboard on the low-value and  stylized organ pipes on the 70c stamp.

Malta: Art works


Malta issued a set of four stamps in 2004 celebrating works of art. The 20c stamp (Scott 1182) pictures organ pipes and a bit of music. The organ pipes are from the instrument in the Cathedral in Mdina. Robert Buhagiar has a very nice description of the organ and the work he has done on it. The Scott catalog tells us that the musical example on the stamp is from a work by Begninon Zerafa. He was director of cathedral music 1744-1787. The stamp set exist as individual stamps but are also combined on a souvenir sheet (Scott 1185).


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Friday, January 17, 2014

Mali: Mozart


Mali honored W. Amadeus Mozart in 1981 with a set of two stamps which includes artistic representations of the composer along with several musical instruments, organ among them. Being artistic representations, no specific organ is identified. Both of the stamps in this set paid airmail postage.


Malta: Christmas


Malta issued three sets of stamps in 1973 that all utilized the same general look and format. The third set of three stamps includes two stamps that include stylized organ pipes. The first  (Scott B13) features angels singing; the second (B15) shows a building, candles and a tambourine with pipes barely showing behind. The stamps are all artistic renditions, so no specific pipe organ is shown. Scott does not specify the recipient of the surcharge funds.


Liechtenstein: Music Year

The year 1985 was a very important year for pipe organs on stamps. European nations for many years issued stamps on a selected theme yearly. In 1985 the chosen theme was music. This year was the 300th anniversary of the birth of both Handel and Bach. Liechtenstein issued a set of two stamps for the Music Year theme. The low value includes a portativ organ. The artist of this painting is not identified. The Scott catalog  (#804) describes it as "three muses." The organ looks like a typical single rank of pipes instrument, with fewer than 30 keys. An angel is working the bellows for the player. Other instruments are a flute and some variety of stringed instrument.