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Friday Night Organ; The South German Organ School  

 

The Evil Genius
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24/11/2018 1:17 am  

Johannes Speth ( 1664 – 1719) was born in Speinhart Bavaria some 150 km from Nuremberg but spent most of his life in Augsburg where he worked as cathedral organist for two years. His only surviving music is a 1693 collection, Ars Magna Consoni et Dissoni, which includes a large number of toccatas and several Magnificats all  in the south German Baroque style.

Nothing is known about his life before 1692, when he applied for the position of organist of Augsburg Cathedral. The application, which contained Speth's compositions, was accepted, and he was appointed organist on 4 November 1692. The music he supplied with the application was published the next year in Augsburg as Ars magna Consoni et Dissoni. This contains the only surviving works of the composer. In the files of the cathedral administration there is a note from 1705 showing that Speth had also to work in the office of the cathedral chapter.

Ars Magna contains 10 toccatas (subtitled Musicalische Blumen-Felder), 8 Magnificat settings, and three variation sets. The music has clearly traceable Italian influences. The influence of contemporary southern organists is also apparent, particularly that of Georg Muffat and Johann Caspar Fischer; We will be examining the music of both men in the future.  The toccatas are unusually short for the genre; most consist of three (toccata-fugue-toccata) sections.

Here are Toccatas I-IV played upon the 1634 Putz Organ in Schlagl Austria.

And here is V-VIII

Finally IX and X

For those really curious about the organ in all these performances here is the dope bag: (Yes its in German the computer failed to translate it---so sue me.

Die Orgel auf der Westempore ist ein Werk Andreas Butz‘, der es in den Jahren 1633–1634 herstellte. 1708 nahm Johann Christoph Egedacher einen Umbau vor, der äußerlich vor allem das Positiv betraf, 1853 erweiterte Josef Breinbauer das Instrument um drei Register und schließlich 1904 Johann Lachmayr pneumatisch um weitere zehn Register. In den Jahren 1989–1990 restaurierte Orgelmakerij Reil das Instrument umfassend und versetzte es auf den Zustand des Jahres 1708. Es verfügt über 21 Register auf zwei Manualen und Pedal, die Trakturen sind mechanisch.[4]

I Hauptwerk C–c3


Principal 8′
Copl 8′
Octave 4′
Spitzfletten 4′
Quint 3′
Superoctav 2′
Mixtur VII–X
Cimbl II
Pusaundl 8′
Unterpositiv C–c3


Copl 8′
Principal 4′
Flauta 4′
Octave 2′
Quinta 112
Cimbalum III
Pedal C–d1


Principal 16′
Octav 8′
Octav 4′
Mixtur V
Großpusaun 16′
Octavpusaun 8′

 

 

Next up to bat is a contemporary of Speth.  His name was Johann Nikolaus Hanff (1663- 1711). Hanff was born in the town of Wechmar in Thuringia and worked in Hamburg, Eutin and Schlewig.  In 1696 he became organist and conductor to the Bishop of Lubeck. Hanff’s style, with the melody moving slowly but with rich ornamentation above a slow-moving and not very clearly individualized accompaniment, was favored by Buxtehude. (another guy we will be getting to). 

While in Hamburg, Hanff taught harpsichord and composition to a young Johann Mattheson for four years.  Mattheson was to become a composer, music theorist and close friend of George Frederich Handel  (who almost killed Handel in a duel). Yes I know their friends and they fought a duel almost to the death---what can say? If your reading this and you're German you understand---if you aren't German it might seem like a sort of strange form of friendship. 

After the death of Bishop August Friedrich and the dissolution of the court in 1705, Hanff probably returned to Hamburg, where in 1706 and 1711 two children were born to him. On August 26, 1711, he took over the organist position at Schleswig Cathedral , but died a few months later.

In 1997, the asteroid (7902) Hanff was named after him. I dearly hope it doesn't turn out to be the SMOD Tower is always invoking; anyway here is some music to listen too WHILE the asteroid hurtles toward us. 

Only 7 chorale preludes come down to us and here is one. Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, I picked this particular youtube video because in three years it managed a mere 76 views and only 1 like---so I'm going to help out this guy. 

 

And finally we have another Chorale Erbarm dich mein O Herre Gott

 


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BigSiameseCat
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24/11/2018 5:29 am  

The Putz Organ sounds nice, indeed. I found Speth a bit difficult to listen to. His compositions seems as if he is building a good melodic line and then chooses an excessively discordant harmonization which detracts from the line he was building. I found myself feeling as if mistakes were being made by the organist even though it's clear they aren't really mistakes, just strange sounding harmonies.

The pipes on the organ shown in the first Hanff video have an unusually flattened upper lip, I wonder if that is what gives them such a unique sound? I've not seen pipes with such a tall, flat, upper lip, before.

Thanks for posting this thread.


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MG-ɹǝʍo┴
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24/11/2018 10:58 am  

Isn't a fart like an organ? 

If so, I know how to play an organ! 


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The Evil Genius
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24/11/2018 4:26 pm  

I think the shape of the pipe lip is an issue of voicing, to be honest I'm not sure. And that is a keen observation regarding the structure of the Speth works. The concerto/suite as a musical form was in its infancy and I think with Speths works you're seeing the form take shape but within a single unified piece instead of separated. This style really takes off with Buxtehude and the early works of Back in which there are radical changes within a single work often with completely different and competing melodies. In any case great observation and if you find an answer to the pipe question please add it on to the thread. 


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BigSiameseCat
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24/11/2018 4:58 pm  

I did a little research on the unusual appearance of the diapasons shown in the first Hanff video. I think the appearance is due to the pipe lip being offset deeper into the flue than one typically sees in Western pipe organs. This does change the sound of the pipe as it emphasizes the odd harmonics. This also makes the pipe "quicker" which means the initial transient sound is shorter. Noticeable transients were appreciated during the baroque era but were unpopular during the Romantic Era. So I suspect this organ dates from, or is at least influenced by the Romantic era.

Here is a fun/technical link you might enjoy discussing this issue:

http://www.pykett.org.uk/how_the_flue_pipe_speaks.htm#Transients


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may72020
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24/11/2018 6:41 pm  

Sorry Evil Genius, but you are doing this all wrong...This guy is on to something here:


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The Evil Genius
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25/11/2018 4:43 am  

I love the organ and I love fire what a great combination

 


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BigSiameseCat
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25/11/2018 4:57 am  

The concept of the flamethrower organ is great but it would benefit from the pipes having tuning sleeves, a more gradual transition from the gas pipe to the throat, and flanges on the mouths of the pipes as they seem to have some trouble with the transition to a stable waveform. I like this organ, it reminds me of a extra credit project I did in High School Physics. A standing wave was induced in a perforated metal pipe. Natural gas flowed into the pipe. The different pressures in the pipe created different sized flames on the pipe indicating the shape of the standing wave. I always like the science projects with fire/smoke/ explosions. 😀 


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Old Buck
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25/11/2018 7:19 am  
Posted by: The Evil Genius

I think the shape of the pipe lip is an issue of voicing, to be honest I'm not sure. 

I think Tower's pipe lips are a bit tight, comes across like a whoopie cushion with its mouth almost glued shut, but not quite.  Very high pitched, the Johann Hanff chorus prelude hit a few of the same notes.  

Wonderful collection, Pete!  I am playing them for OldSchool as I tuck him into bed.  I am being careful smoking around him as I do not wish to see the flaming pipe organs.  I just bought new drapes and I like the patina on my couch.

Do NOT chase tail. Turn yours around and live FREE!


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MG-ɹǝʍo┴
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25/11/2018 11:07 am  
Posted by: Ye Olde Buck
Posted by: The Evil Genius

I think the shape of the pipe lip is an issue of voicing, to be honest I'm not sure. 

I think Tower's pipe lips are a bit tight, comes across like a whoopie cushion with its mouth almost glued shut, but not quite.  Very high pitched, the Johann Hanff chorus prelude hit a few of the same notes.  

Wonderful collection, Pete!  I am playing them for OldSchool as I tuck him into bed.  I am being careful smoking around him as I do not wish to see the flaming pipe organs.  I just bought new drapes and I like the patina on my couch.

You got it all wrong! I've been fucked in the ass by law so hard and for so long, that when I fart it's the same as exhaling but at the other end.

When I fart, nobody knows who did it?    


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Old Buck
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25/11/2018 9:01 pm  

LOL you crack me up!!

I like the rendition of “Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott” on the organ from Denmark.  The sound is definitely deeper and throatier than the ones I am used to hearing.

Do NOT chase tail. Turn yours around and live FREE!


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The Evil Genius
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25/11/2018 10:07 pm  

I'm glad you guys really enjoyed this week's offering. I must confess that I read through the link BSC added and although I consider myself a man of at least average intelligence that stuff was WAY above my comprehension level---so hats off to you BSC! 


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