Monday, May 12, 2008

On another note..................what would YOU do?

Now here is a strange story about recycling, and one which I think warrants discussion on many levels.

It seems that there is a church in Hamburg, Germany, St. Katherine's Church, which had an old organ parts of which originated in the exact same organ on which Johann Sebastian Bach played in and around 1720.

This church in Hamburg decided they didn't want to repair it. They then sold this organ to a Polish church near Danzig for about 25,00 Euros.
This Polish church gave their existing, older organ to a church in the Ukraine free of cost. The Polish church will now spend about 350,000 Euros for renovation of this Bach organ.

St. Katherine's Church in Hamburg is trying to raise funds with which to buy a 3.5 million Euro organ and they'll have a wonderful, brand spanking new organ on which to play music!
What would you have done were you the church leaders? Keep the Bach organ and repaired it or do what St. Katherine's did?


Unknown said...

As a culturist, I think the government or someone should do all they can to preserve whatever remnants of our traditional culture we can. That organ may someday be the only proof that Europe was not traditionally Islamic!

Elmers Brother said...

I would have spent the 1/10th of the cost to repair it. Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

This is a no brainer. You keep the original organ and have it repaired! It's an historic gem for heaven's sake.

The organ which was played by Bach is priceless. Something does occur to me. Ivory is now illegal to sell or purchase, something the old organ has to have, (ivory keys) not to mention the wood and no doubt hand craftsmanship that went into it. Priceless.


Anonymous said...

Excuse me zin; but this news is very important;

according to the AP; the 3 recent Jihadists in Iraq who had made the suicide Bombing were the Koweitians whe were freed from GITMO.


Z said...

SAM: We had heard this was the case a few weeks ago, that a GITMO detainee who'd been freed had done a bombing.
Is this brand new from AP?
WHY don't people realize this weren't nice people if they were detained in the first place!? Thanks!

Pris, yes, ivory trade is illegal and you can rest assured those keys were ivory. Good point.

Always On Watch said...

Aside from the financial aspect, the church in Hamburg should have preserved the Bach treasure they had in the first place.

As a former church organist and speaking for other active organists I knownow , any of us would be thrilled and honored to play a pipe organ which had even a small connection to Johann Sebastian Bach.

Anonymous said...

A number of things:

If this was an organ made by Aarp Schnitger, who made all of the organs of note that Bach played upon (no pun intended), it definitely is an historic treasure. "Priceless" is inadequate to describe it.

A surprising number of Schnitger organs are still extant. Several important organists of the 20th century have recorded Bach's music on these intruments.

J.S. Bach performed on any number of organs in his native Germany. He was employed by several different parishes during his career. By all accounts he never left his native land–––too busy "quietly performing miracles," I suspect.

How anyone could even IMAGINE giving up possession of such a magnificent legacy says many not-very-good things about them. "Ignorant" would do well to head the list.

HOWEVER, if the instrument in question only contains a few PARTS from a Schnitger organ, it is technically a BASTARD instrument, and not quite the glorious treasure you might imagine.

Did you know it is quite possible to keep all the stops (various sets of pipes mimicking wind and string instruments) of an old organ INTACT and attach them to a new CONSOLE (set of manuals or keyboards) that is in turn connected to myriad NEW stops?

Organists (I am one) often refer humorously to their instrument as a "MACHINE" and so it is. The types and and various combinations of sound that can be attached to a console are huge.

So, an organ made by Aarp Schnitger in a good state of repair may be an ideal instrument for playing Bach and other composers of the Baroque period, but it would be completely inadequate in my opinion for performing the works of composers such as Johannes Brahms, Caesar Franck, Charles Marie Widor, Louis Vierne, Olivier Messiaen, Flor Peeters, or Paul Hindemith–––all of which require sonorities unknown and probably undreamed of in Schnitger's day.

As to ivory. I love it, but it does nothing in particular to enhance the quality of an organist's performance.

Harpsichords and organs too of the Baroque period were often made with keys of wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl and probably other contrasting woods in intricate designs. Individuality was rampant at this time. "Standardization " came with the Machine Age.

I believe that it is perfectly legal to buy and sell pieces of ANTIQUE ivory; it is just not permitted to bring NEW pieces into the market, although an underground black market undoubtedly exists in parts of Africa and India, but the products would have to be SMUGGLED into the civilized world.

If antique pieces are not "grandfathered" into the codes governing ivory, I'd be surprised.

If you happen to OWN any old ivory, HANG ON TO IT. It can only increase in value.

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

WOW...3 organ players in one short thread of comments. AOW, FT and me. Thought I'd rather play piano ANY day of the week (or night, for that matter!)

Well...FT's right about ivory.

Everyone else here was right....I'd have thought the answer was obvious that you'd want to save any organ which Bach had anything to do with; Where the minds of the Germans are on this is beyond me. I'd have even kept the old one, rehab'd it, then started raising money for the big hoopla organ (though i don't think ANY organ is worth 4 MILLION dollars)...and, when they could afford the big one, enshrine the old one somewhere with a plaque!?

Ah, well........thanks for your input! I was kind of thinking you'd all think this way.