Organ-spotting in Romania

Posted by: ROMagister

Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/25/09 04:50 PM

Pipe Organs are quite rare in our country. The predominant Orthodox church does not use instruments, but ancient Byzantine polyphonic singing.

Some organs are in the not very many churches of other denominations, particularly of the German and Hungarian communities in Transylvania.

A few specifications are published here:
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/25/09 04:58 PM

Braşov (Kronstadt) - Black Church organ.
Bucholz, 1839. 4 manuals, ~4000 pipes. Mechanical tracker action. (in German, detailed story. Disposition table is garbled)

I've been close to the console when played and talked a bit with the old master organist, Hans Eckart Schlandt (now the main organist is his son Steffen Schlandt). This one is really hard on fingers - up to 400 grams for coupled manuals. Keys of other manual really 'move together on their own'.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/25/09 05:05 PM

Sibiu (Hermannstadt) - "City chief priest's church" (Stadtpfarrkirche)
Sauer, 1914. 4 manuals, ~6000 pipes. Pneumatic action (Barker levers)

The most complex organ in Romania in current working state.
I've only listened to this one (and the smaller practice organ in a lateral room).

Due to the large and unequal delays of the pneumatic action to pipe cases in separate parts of the church, it seems only the resident organist Ursula Philippi can play this organ properly.
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/25/09 05:23 PM

This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing. smile

Lovely Gothic cathedral in Sibiu. (Architecture nut here!)
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/26/09 04:05 AM

Yes, that architecture in Sibiu is marvelous.
And hierarchically it's not a cathedral, since it doesn't house the "cathedra" of a bishop. "Stadtpfarrkirche" is their own word.

I tried there to buy a recording of Ursula Philippi, but it was available only in Euros, way more that I had on the spot.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/26/09 04:20 AM

Bucuresti - National Music University - New organ
Inauguration concert on March 7th, 2008.

2 manuals, ~2200 pipes, completely mechanical trackers.

Read off the finely engraved piston buttons...

* Lower manual (Great) - 56 keys, C-G
Bourdon 16'
Principal 8'
Piffaro 8'
{A Principal, slightly detuned and mounted symmetrically upside down, giving together a broad "Celeste" sound}
Rohrflöte 8'
Viola da Gamba 8'
Octava 4'
Quinta 2 2/3'
Superoctava 2'
Mixtur IV
Trompete 8'

* Pedal - 30 keys, C-F
Subbass 16'
Principal 8'
Octava 4'
Posaune 16'
Trompete 8'

* Upper manual (Swell) - 56 keys, C-G
Salicional 16'
Quintaton 8'
Bourdon 8'
Flute a cheminee 4'
Prestant 4'
Nasard 2 2/3'
Flute 2'
Tierce 1 3/5'
Hautbois 8'

Manual-Coppel (I to II)
Calcant {This seemed the on/off switch !}

Large pedal - Swell shutters
Pedal to I coupler
Pedal to II coupler
Pedal to II/Octave coupler

It sounds really nice (mainly because it's freshly tuned ;-).
Quite powerful with all stops on, esp. the reeds Posaune, Trompete and Hautbois.
Also the Piffaro+Principal sounds exquisitely. If the effect is too strong, then Piffaro+Octave (no Principal) still beats more subtly.
I've tested only very briefly, the manual I Mixture is shriller than I thought, and the manual II Quintaton and Nazard gentler than I thought.

The design seems a reduction to about half of the famous Black Church organ in Brasov (Kronstadt) from 1837. A Neo-baroque / Orgelbewegung -inspired design, but still with enough options to play more modern repertoire.

Case is painted a curious green, with some red and gold trim.

Jean Langlais - Incantation pour un Jour Saint
played by Simona Popovici
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/26/09 09:57 PM

Originally Posted By: ROMagister
Yes, that architecture in Sibiu is marvelous.
And hierarchically it's not a cathedral, since it doesn't house the "cathedra" of a bishop. "Stadtpfarrkirche" is their own word.

I tried there to buy a recording of Ursula Philippi, but it was available only in Euros, way more that I had on the spot.

I didn't realize that, thanks. smile But it still is a grand building. thumb

FWIW, searching for Ursula Philippi turned up some Youtube hits:
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/27/09 11:00 AM

Bucureşti - Sf. Iosif - Catholic Archbishop's cathedral
movable reserve organ - pending repair of main organ
(1920-30's?) Tamburini, Italy. 2 manuals, 280 pipes

2 manuals x 56 keys (C2...G6)
1 pedalboard x 30 keys (C2..F4)

Bordone (16')
Flauto a camino 8' II
Ottava 4'
Quintadecima 2'
Sesquialtera alti (2 2/3' + 1 3/5')
Sesquialtera bassi

Coppia pedale I
Coppia pedale II
Coppia tastieri

I listened to it carefully in a 'cameral'+vocal Christmas recital. At first only the Flauto a camino was used, it was so mild it could be barely heard near 2 acoustic violins. Organist didn't want to use 2' or Sesquialtera not to 'mark' too much the sound among the others.

Its full organ is a decent enough 'principal choir' of a normal-sized organ, impressive enough for a Wedding March. Still swamped by 8 violins + 2 cellos + 32 people mixed choir.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/29/09 06:10 AM

Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvar, Klausenburg) - Reformed Church - of Hungarian community
1913(1941?) Angster - Pecs, Hungary. 2 manuals (C2-G6), 24 stops. Pneumatic action

Pedal (C2-F4)
1. Contrabass 16'
2. Subbass 16'
3. Possaune 16'
4. Octavbass 8'
5. Cello 8'

Manual I (Great)
6. Bourdon 16'
7. Principal 8'
8. Octav 2' [replacing an older 8']
9. Salicional 8'
10. Csöfuvola 8' (=Rohrflöte)
11. Trombita 8' [A warm buzzy woody sound, not a Clarion]
12. Fl. doubl. 4'
13. Pr. Octav 4'
14. Mixtur 2 2/3' 5 Sör (=V or 5 ranks)

Manual II (Swell - with shutter expression pedal)
15. Quintaton 16'
16. Heg. Principal 8' (=Geigen-Principal, violin-toned)
17. Gamba 8' (together they did some Celeste beating)
18. Aeoline 8'
19. Piccolo 2' [replacing an older 8']
20. Flute-harm. 8'
21. Oboa 8'
22. Zergekürt 4' (=Gemshorn)
23. Fl. travers. 4'
24. Harm. aetherea 2 2/3' 4 Sör (A milder-toned Mixture)

25. Man. cop.
26. Pedal cop. I M
27. Pedal cop. II M
28. Superoct cop. I+II
29. Suboct cop. I+II

P,MF,F,FF pistons
Crescendo roll

The young local organist was really nice to demonstrate the capabilities of this organ. Quite mistuned now (church being not heated in winter, so it was us and the walls...). Attack was really delayed and slow-starting, but warmly resonant after.
Thanks for the hospitality!

My first test-play and registration tinkering on true pipes!
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" on I (The Tower): 16', 8' Principal, 4' Pr. Octav, 2', Mixture
"Arrival" on II (A Milder Shade of Tower): Geigen+Gamba 8', Fl.travers. 4', Harm. aetherea
"Child in Time" - impractical due to delay
Pedal D2 (all except Posaune) + that building 6-chord on first page of BWV565

Also visited the St. Michael church of the German community. Organ was gently heard - 3 advanced students were practicing for a competition recital. Sturdy medieval door upstairs well locked with a medieval lock ;-)
On the church floor there was a 4' movable organ, donation ~1700 to its village in Germany, re-donated to here in the 1990's. Artistic inscription in Gothic script praising God and its music.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/31/09 05:10 AM

Bucureşti - Romanian Radio Hall organ
1959-60 Rieger-Kloss Krnov, Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic/Sudetenland
2009-2010 rebuild by same Rieger-Kloss varhany s.r.o.
4 manuals x 61 keys (C2-C7), 7300 pipes. Electric action
Was (and will be after repair) the largest functional organ in Romania.

1. Principal 16'
2. Flaut cu tub 16' (= Rohrflöte)
3. Principal a 8'
4. Principal b 8'
5. Flaut deschis 8' (= Open Flute)
6. Corn de capră neagră 8' (= Gemshorn)
7. Cvintă mare 5 1/3' (= Großquinte)
8. Prestant 4'
9. Octavă 4'
10. Flaut cav 4' (= Hohlflöte ?)
11. Superoctavă a 2'
12. Superoctavă b 2'

13. Fluier şuierător 4x 2 2/3' (= Rauschflöte ?)
14. Mixtură mare 6-8x 2' (= Großmixtur)
15. Mixtură şuierător 6x 2 2/3' (= Rauschmixtur ?)
16. Mixtură mică 5x 1' (= Kleinmixtur)
17. Trompetă 16'
18. Zink 8'

19. II/I
20. III/I
21. IV/I

22. Pommer 16'
23. Principal a 8'
24. Principal b 8'
25. Burdon 8'
26. Cvintadenă 8' (= Quintadena)
27. Octavă a 4'
28. Octavă b 4'
29. Flaut fus 4' (= Spindelflöte)
30. Cvintă 2 2/3'
31. Octavă 2'
32. Flaut transversal 2' (= Querflöte)
33. Superoctavă 2'

34. Tertian 2x 1 3/5' + 1 1/3'
35. Acuta 5-6x 1'
36. Cymbal cu terţă 3x 1/5' (= Terzcymbel)
37. Trompetă spaniolă 8' (= Spanish Trumpet)
38. Corn încovoiat 8' (= Krummhorn)
39. Trompetă spaniolă 4'

40. III/II
41. IV/II
42. Tremolo

43. Burdon 16'
44. Principal 8'
45. Flaut de lemn 8' (= Holzflöte)
46. Fluier de salcie 8' (= Weidenflöte ? Salicional ?)
47. Violină tremolo 2x 8' + 4'
48. Octavă 4'
49. Corn nocturn 4' (= Nachthorn)
50. Nazard 2 2/3'
51. Fluier de pădure 2' (= Waldflöte)
52. Terţă de corn 1 3/5' (= Hornterz)

53. Hölzernglächter 3x 4/7'
54. Mixtură 5-7x 1 1/3'
55. Cymbal cu cvintă 3x 1/3' (= Quintcymbel ?)
56. Dulcian 16'
57. Trompetă franceză 8' (= French Trumpet)
58. Oboi 8'
59. Trîmbiţă 4' (~ bugle ?)

60. IV/III
61. Tremolo

62. Flaut cuplat 8' (= Koppelflöte)
63. Gambă conică 8' (= Spitzgamba)
64. Principal 4'
65. Fluieraş 4' (= Little flute)
66. Cvintadenă cu tub 4'
67. Octavă 2'
68. Flaut ascuţit 2' (= Scharfflöte)
69. Cvintă mică 1 1/3' (= Kleinquint)
70. Schwegel 1'

71. Sesquialtera 2x 2/3' + 2/5'
72. Acuta 5x 1'
73. Rankett 16'
74. Vox humana 8'
75. Avena dulcissima 8'

76. Tremolo

77. Burdon mare 32' (= Großbourdon)
78. Principal de bas 2x 16'
79. Subbas 16'
80. Burdon de bas 16'
81. Cvintă mare 10 2/3' (= Großquinte)
82. Octavă de bas 8'
83. Flaut de bas 8'
84. Pommer cu tub 8' (= Rohrpommer)
85. Bas de choral 4' (= Choralbass)
86. Flaut pîlnie 4' (= Trichterflöte)
87. Flaut plat 2' (= Flachflöte)

88. Bas vîjîitor 7x 5 1/3' (= Rauschbass ? Rauschwerk ?)
89. Mixtură mare 6x 2 2/3'
90. Mixtură mică 5x 1'
91. Bombardă 32'
92. Trombon 16' (= Posaune ?)
93. Trompetă 8'
94. Clarină 4'
95. Caval cu tub 2' (= Rohrschelle ?)
96. I/P
97. II/P
98. III/P
99. IV/P

ANULATOR (= canceller)
100. Anul. Cuple (= cancel couplers)
101. Anul. Ancii (= cancel reeds)
102. Anul. 16' Man 32' Ped
103. Anul. Crescendo


The old installation played for the last time in March 2009 for a Haydn & Händel festival - with very limited stop selection (likely the others were unusable due to 'gaps' in certain keys, relays, valves etc). The console had brightly backlit color-coded stop flip-switches with original German names (I vaguely remember an Erzähler; now removed or maybe renamed) and several gaps - but I didn't take photos then. A very thick "cable snake" connected the console (movable a few meters) to a hole in the floor.

I transcribed the stop names as they are on the new rebuilt console. They are in Romanian, some are very funny/first-time litteral translations (Gemshorn > "Horn of black goat"). The "snake" is similar but thinner, likely digital coding.

Maybe someone more versed in big universal organ design can decode the meanings/uses of the 4 different manuals in this organ. I could not discern a classical design of Great/Swell/Echo etc.
Posted by: mrenaud

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/31/09 05:22 AM

Looks like Great/Positive/Swell/Solo to me. IV could also be a second Swell. It's hard to say without hearing how it sounds.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 01/02/10 06:56 AM

Ooh... the disappointment/delayed hope...

The organ-spotting I tried is already done on a professional, officially financed scale. For now the database is open only to a few top organists each allocated a large 'area of interest', but they promise it will be public when the project ends. As official things go by here, I wouldn't hope an exact date.
"The Repertoire of Pipe Organs in Romania"

But I think amateur interest is still not worthless for a closer feedback of personal impressions, state of functioning/disrepair etc.
Posted by: apple*

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 01/14/10 07:34 PM


what a wonderful thread.

keep it up
Posted by: apple*

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 01/14/10 08:19 PM

i'd love to volunteer to give Ursula a month off. She must be tired from her duties.

How I wish I could play these organs.
Posted by: mrenaud

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 01/15/10 04:55 AM

Originally Posted By: apple*
i'd love to volunteer to give Ursula a month off. She must be tired from her duties.

How I wish I could play these organs.

I second that.

So many instruments of this late-romantic style have been destroyed or altered during the course of the 20th century because they were not baroque and thus "unworthy". I find it therefore most admirable that such an instrument is still existant and in playable condition. Fortunately the value of those romantic organs is now being recognized again.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 01/28/10 04:52 PM

I'm glad you appreciate my reporting. Maybe soon I'll have another one...

... and for pneumatic-action lovers: do you really love that mechanism ? I quite disliked the delays. Electric is faster - except the same delays for pipes to start speaking. And both are on/off.
But I agree that the timbre from higher pressures and many layered tones sounds greatly (when it's well tuned) and it's hard to do on purely mechanical action without being too heavy on fingers (like in the Brasov Black Church organ).

I also liked the crispness of the smallish new mechanical organ of the Conservatory. Didn't test exactly what the tracker action does to not be exactly ON/OFF and a pure AND logical gate between key and stop, like assisted mechanisms (pneumatic and electric) do.
I mean, a stop pulled only partially should sound weaker, or with different timbre ? the position pattern in time of key attack and release matters too ? like in a piano, or differently ?
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 02/01/10 06:52 AM

Bucureşti - Lutheran Church
Smaller organ on church floor - Late baroque, restored late 20th century. [Pending repair of main organ in back balcony. Seems to become the norm around here...]

1 manual, 49 keys (C2-C6). Pedalboard, 27 keys (C2-D4). Mechanical action.

(left side pistons)
Octav 4'
Flauta 8'
Salicet 4'
Quint 1 1/3'
Choralbass 4'
Posaune 8'

(right side pistons)
Principal 8'
Flauta 4'
Superoct. 2'
Mixtur 4fach
Quintbass 5 2/3'
Octavbass 4'

The Lutheran community of Saxon Germans having mostly migrated back to Germany, now the church was open at noon for the small Hungarian community of Unitarians. A Romanian organist played what looked like Bach on the sweet Flauta 8' alone. The Principal were too loud for the few people.
And the low F key was ineffective on the Flauta this week ;-) Humidity in mechanism blamed.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 02/02/10 03:08 PM

Correction to above (how to Edit?): the last two are
Subbass 16'
Octavbass 8'

and no Quintbass.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 02/02/10 03:25 PM


We are planning to conduct a European tour of piano factories in 2011.
Our thinking is to limit it to 3 piano factories and perhaps the Renner factory.

Because half the challenge is getting there (particularly for members outside Europe, like those of us in the U.S.) I thought we'd also visit some composer's homes and possibly Cathedrals. My friend Kathy and I both love architecture, particularly older buildings.

I hadn't really thought about combining pipe organs with the tour, but now I'm thinking that could be very interesting.

Thank you for the reports ROMagister, much appreciated.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 02/04/10 02:07 AM

Of the notable piano factories which also make pipe organs (and parts for them):
Rieger-Kloss in the Czech Republic makes the "Bohemia" piano and other brands, and also major civic organs, like that big Radio Hall organ here, and installed in many parts of East Europe. Chişinău in Moldova republic also has a Rieger-Kloss in the "Hall with Organ", a major element of civic cultural life.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 02/14/10 01:30 PM

Bucureşti - Anglican church

A really fine sounding 2-manual (x61 key), 32-key pedalboard (C2-G4).

On closer inspection, it is really an electronic organ with 1 rank of facade pipes as passive resonators - and to hide the 6 speakers behind ;-)
A small label said 'Wyvern' and I searched and that's a prestigious UK classic-style-digital-organ company. It seems an older model, the closest currently made being the Wyvern Minuet:
The specification of the Swell is exactly as written there, the Great and Pedal are slightly different but broadly similar.

Playing was Florin Chiriacescu, one of the better organists of the few here, who was the titular of the large Radio Hall organ described above. He said to me that organ's repair may end 'in a month or so'...
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 03/23/10 04:36 PM

Bucureşti - Mormon Church "of Jesus Christ of the Last day saints"

It has a Kawai LH-1 "digital piano/organ" - more a fancy digital piano. (1 manual), 88 weighted keys, 3 piano-like pedals, 1 organ-like volume pedal. No note pedalboard.
Factory documentation shows 2 piano and 5 organ voices (Soft strings, Mellow flutes 8'+4', Medium ensemble, Louder ensemble, Full ensemble - the last two with 16' component too) and a Bass coupler feature (doubling the lowest note played still one octave below).
There is a version coming with 176 pre-programmed pieces for worship and a system of 'meter' easy play to reduce player skill neeeded ;-) while still allowing to synchronize e.g. with a choir.

Also good news! I've been allowed access to the Repertoire of Pipe Organs described above! 1038 organs are described with detail similar to dedicated amateur spotters ;-) Unfortunately, it's already a bit optimistic about the (non-)degradation of many organs, and most of the country outside Transylvania is close to an organ desert...
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 06/10/10 04:26 AM

Bucuresti - Radio Hall organ (stoplist above)
Finally I went to a concert, and confirmed (some of) it worked ;-)

It was a concert of the Radio Academic Choir (64 people, SATB, really crisply trained together). 17 pieces, of which 5 supported by piano (Yamaha grand) and 4 by organ. The organ was quite gently used, but I think for this concert as artistic decision, not as technical shortcoming. The tuning was really nice and tight!

- 2 Italian pieces: gentle trumpets mildly contrasting with the singers (that would be the Spanish Trumpets 8' and 4' ? or the Nachthorn 4' ?). Sounded quite much like real brass instruments, less sparkly, and nothing like that buzzy woody sound also known in the organ world as Trompete.
- 19th century joyous Anglican hymn: some Principals, not too overpowering, little upper harmonics. Weakly heard behind the 64 singers. Some gentle 16' Bourdon at end.
- Gustav Holst, a Psalm: a more powerful combination of Principals (this organ having many repeats of them, as you see), still no mixtures. Some stronger 16' at end, maybe the Principal bass. Didn't hear a Bombarde or something similar.

At the end, I watched the 'sacred ritual' of a young technician placing an articulated locking cover over the manuals and stops. He said of the 6-month hard effort to rebuild this organ, together with the Czech original manufacturers, and how they argued for an increase in price for 'hidden defects', and they got it after argument in the Radio director's board.

So Romania has a large 'modern' organ too.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/10/10 04:47 AM

Bucureşti - Romanian Radio Hall

The largest organ in the country (7420 pipes, stoplist above), re-inaugurated on March 16th, 2010 - had in October 1-11th, 2010 a festival 'Evenings with Organ at the Radio Hall' with 9 separate performances. Program (in Romanian but hopefully understandable):

I attended 3 of the 9 concerts.
- French 19th-early 20th repertoire showcased well the power and versatility of this organ, but is certainly an 'acquired taste' and not yet mine. The tutti of this organ can get quite cacophonous when different delays happen.
- Martin Schmeiding's recital with various, some less known but very interesting pieces (Anyone knows the Passacaglia by Johann Kaspar Kerll ?). The first noticeable bug - a Spanish Trumpet (en chamade) valve got stuck ON a whole piece until 2 technicians raced to climb inside the chambers on stairs and disable it...
Next day I had some small talk with Mr. Schmeiding. He said the delay isn't large (~0.1s), similar to his organ in Germany, and that one gets easily accustomed to it. He took the bug as 'sometimes this just happens anywhere' and a bit funny.
- Cluj students with their teachers - again various pieces. An explicit demonstration of stops and their categories. Duet with a smaller positive organ (by Ferdinand Stemmer - Zumikon). A historical reconstruction of portative organ (pan pipe with bellows, as drawn in a medieval engraving) played an early Greensleeves.

It seems this organ won't play in concert until next year.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/10/10 05:20 AM

Bucureşti - Sf. Iosif - Roman Catholic archbishop's cathedral
Main organ
built 1930-31 - Carl Wegenstein, Timişoara, Romania
major repair 2007-2010 - Construcţii de Orgi şi Tâmplărie, Hărman, România
new console - Rieger Orgelbau, Schwarzach, Austria
Electro-pneumatic action. 3 manuals x 56 keys (C2-G6), pedal 30 keys (C2-G4)

From a richly illustrated brochure of the Catholic church - stop names in Italian, but I think the builder conceived them in German so I'll try to back-translate:

I (Principal = Hauptwerk)

1. Bordone 16'
2. Principale largo 8'
3. Viola di Gamba 8'
4. Flauto cavo 8' (=Hohlflöte)
5. Corno di camoscio 8' (=Gemshorn)
6. Ottava 4'
7. Flauto a camino 4' (=Rohrflöte)
8. Quinta 2 2/3'
9. Ottava 2'
10. Ripieno 2 2/3' V-VII (=Mixtur?)
11. Cornetto 8' III-V
12. Trombetta 8'

II (Positiv)

13. Quintadena 16'
14. Principale 8'
15. Flauto a camino 8'
16. Salicionale 8'
17. Viola 4'
18. Flauto traverso 4' (=Querflöte)
19. Flauto silvestre 2' (=Waldflöte)
20. Flauto quinta 2 2/3'
21. Terza 1 3/5'
22. Sesquialtera 2 2/3' II
23. Cembalo 1' III
24. Cromorna 8' (=Krummhorn)
25. Kopfregal 8'

III (Expressive)

26. Rankett 16'
27. Principale violone 8'
28. Flauto di concerto 8'
29. Bordone 8'
30. Eolina 8'
31. Voce celeste 8'
32. Prestante 4'
33. Corno di camoscio 4'
34. Flauto quinta 2 2/3'
35. Flautino 2'
36. Sifflöte 1'
37. Cornetto scheggiante 8' III-V (=Rauschkornett)
38. Trombetta armonica 8'
39. Oboe 8'
40. Voce umana 8'
41. Arpa 4'
Tremolo per Voce umana
Vibrafono per Arpa


42. Basso principale 32' (resultant)
43. Contrabasso 16'
44. Subbasso 16'
45. Basso ottava 8'
46. Violoncello 8'
47. Basso corale 8'
48. Ottava 4'
49. Basso quinta 10 2/3'
50. Tromba 16'
51. Trombetta pedale 8'
52. Clarino 4'
53. Zampogna 2'
54. Rankett 16' transmitted from III

The 'Arpa' is really a set of 'Liberty Chimes' by The Kohler-Liebich Co. Chicago - metal tongues with a tuned resonator pipe, struck by electromagnet-driven hammers.

Re-inauguration - memorial service soon after the Polish president & staff plane crash (April 10th, 2010)

The smaller 'furniture' organ described some postings above is no longer in the Cathedral, don't know where.
Posted by: RickG1

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 12/13/10 10:39 PM

Very interesting. Keep them coming.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 05/19/11 04:07 AM

Bucuresti - Radio Hall

There was a recital by veteran guest Georges Athanasiadès with many pieces. Starting "of course" with the well-known BWV565 (Bach Toccata in Dm). Played sharply in time, less rubatos and fermatas than I heard from other organists.

Then, near the end, a powerful reed was added on Manual I [Trompete 16'? Zink 8'?]. It was slow in starting to speak, blended poorly with the principal chorus, and for such a sharp piece, produced the sort of cacophony described above (hearing the bass of the previous note and the treble of the current note ;-)).
So it's not French Romantic repertoire to blame, only that it calls more for this kind of reed stop. Definitely not to try anything Baroque or fast with this combination.

The problem may also be with the hall - it being designed to be as 'dead' as possible from the audience to the recording area, and to spread quite evenly the sound (usually string-based orchestra or choir) to the whole hall. For that purpose it's the best in the country - but isn't a church-like setting for a large organ. It may add different delays for different frequencies to back in the hall.

Back on Athanasiadès' recital: he changed very often registrations, aided by the Sequencer foot knob, barely visible when used. Think it passed through almost every stop.
As a traveling musician, he may have not had enough time to 'scout' the organ and hall before to prevent the problem.

A more modern bird-song-like piece was a dialogue between the different toned high flutes and mixtures of manuals II,III and IV, some with seventh (1 1/7') component.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 05/19/11 07:19 AM

Bucureşti - Ateneul Român (Romanian Athenaeum)
- most prestigious concert hall in Romania, neoclassical dome - built 1886-88
- home of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic Orchestra

Organ 1938-39 Oskar Walcker, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Major repairs 2007-8 by Gerhard Walcker-Meyer - 4th generation of original builder
(500,000 Euro including new console)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals x 58 keys (C2-A6)
32 pedals (C2-G4) - parallel and flat, German style

1. Grand Bourdon 32'
2. Prinzipalbass 16'
3. Subbass 16'
4. Salicetbass 16'
5. Zartbass 16'
6. Oktavbass 8'
7. Bassflöte 8'
8. Choralbass 4'
9. Russisch Horn 4'
10. Nachthorn 2'
11. Pedalmixtur 5fach 2 2/3'
(then the right side of the console)
12. Posaune 16'
13. Pedaltrompete 8'
14. Bassoboe 8'
15. Feldtrompete 4'
16. Singend Kornett 2'
17. III/P
18. II/P
19. I/P
20. III/P 4'
21. II/P 4'

Hauptwerk (Lower manual or I)
22. Bourdon 16'
23. Prinzipal 8'
24. Spitzgamba 8'
25. Holzflöte 4'
26. Oktave 4'
27. Spitzflöte 4'
28. Quinte 2 2/3'
29. Superoktav 2'
30. Mixtur 5-7fach 1 1/3'
31. Zimbel 3fach
(then right)
32. Trompete 8'
33. III/I 16'
34. III/I 8'
35. III/I 4'
36. II/I 16'
37. II/I 8'
38. II/I 4'
39. I 16'
40. I 4'
41. I ab

Brustwerk (II)
42. Großgedackt 8'
43. Quintatön 8'
44. Ital. Prinzipal 4'
45. Nachthorn 4'
46. Deutsch Prinzipal 4'
47. Rohrflöte 2'
48. Kleinoktav 2'
49. Gemsquinte 1 1/3'
50. Sifflöte 1'
51. Mixtur 5-6fach 1 1/3'
52. Scharff 5fach 2/3'
(then right)
53. Oboe 8'
54. Tremolo
55. III/II 16'
56. III/II 8'
57. III/II 4'
58. II 4'
59. II ab

60. Quinatön 16' {exactly as written, not Quintatön}
61. Prinzipal 8'
62. Nachthorn 8'
63. Gedackt 8'
64. Aeoline 8'
65. Vox celeste 8'
66. Hellprinzipal 4'
67. Rohrflöte 4'
68. Gemshorn 4'
69. Zartquinte 2 2/3'
70. Blockflöte 2'
71. Terz 1 3/5'
72. Mixtur 6fach 2'
(then right)
73. Basson 16'
74. Trompete 8'
75. Vox humana 8'
76. Clairon 4'
77. Tremolo
78. III 4'
79. III ab

combination buttons: A-H (fixed), <, >, 1-8 (programmable)

foot controls: III/P, II/P, I/P, Cresc. 1, Cresc. 2, <
a cylindric roller
2 shutter pedals (Schweller II, Schweller III)
>, Tutti, Org. Pleno

Before the repair, this organ was in bad shape, many organists having tried it and finding it unacceptable for recitals. Ruptured sheep-skin membranes (pneumatic amplifiers of electromagnets) blamed.

In the recital of May 4th, 2010, Hans Eckart Schlandt, veteran organist of Brasov Black Church played a wide selection, from pre-Bach to Bach to French romantics and moderns.

It sounded really good ! with many nuances of flutes and horns and principals... each manual having a distinct tonal structure even if the stop names were not so indicative of differences.

I think careful testing before and adapting of registration to real possibilities of THIS organ was the key. Working in Romania ;-) the organist may have been well aware of the unequal condition of any organ, the need to scout and avoid problem stops, also just enough rubato with the harsher reed stops to give them time to sound in the steady state and impress the audience.

The organist looked just as an artist ;-) in the long-tailed coat (to hang behind the bench) and had an assistant looking just like a Man-in-Black, changing registration with sharp accuracy within the musical phrases (based on programs 1-8 + a few changes, pre-planned in the music)
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 08/14/12 10:48 AM

Several organ-related events happened since...

Since last autumn, I just "was in the audience" of a good portion of advanced organ courses at the Conservatory in Bucharest. Professor 1:1 with two students (there were some 'extra' lessons for piano students with secondary organ course). The students were at amazing levels... pieces well practiced before, almost always note-perfect. The main learning consisted in internalizing fine adjustments of timing and phrasing, often <50 milliseconds between student's first try and Professor's intention.

The 2-manual mechanical Conservatory organ, built in 2007, sounds amazing in time-crispness. Loudness isn't too much different between stops, so one always can hear each new stop added, still blending nicely with the others [If some were much more powerful, they would just 'cover' all weaker ones]. The main loudness distinction is between manuals, as I think was intended. Manual I is quite loud (but not extremely) and II noticeably gentler. When accompanying voice, flute etc. only the very sweet Bourdon 8' is enough.

Professor demonstrated at one time the 'continuous' effects of drawing stops partially, or pressing keys partially. Especially weird effects on string-like Gamba and differently-starting sets of pipes (Mixture IV on manual I). Not very reliable musically. Practically to be used On/Off only.

The first time I contributed an idea on using this organ was when a piano student had an 19c English 'Tuba Tune'. First he tried the manual I Trompete 8' - too loud and penetrating and some pipes mistuned [This was seasonal - winter heating drying the wood pipe seats unequally. The bug reversed spontaneously in early summer...]. This Trumpet were more suitable for royal announcements or "The Final Countdown" ;-)

So... back to the only other reed: manual II Oboe 8'. Quite buzzy and 'closed' timbre, far from a real oboe either... but with some extra flute-tone harmonics from Nazard 2 2/3' and Tierce 1 3/5' they sounded just right, a 'synthetic Tuba'.
Also, all three 8' stops on manual II drawn together (Bourdon, Salicional, Quintaton 8') make a quite nice "synthetic Principal" - still a bit quieter than manual I Principal 8' alone.
Another exquisite combination on II is Bourdon 8', Prestant 4' (which is a bit louder and marks the ensemble, still keeping the 8' fundamental sensation). Good for Baroque music, with distinctive fluty attack-chiffs.

I still hope to improve enough to put hands on this organ, not in another lifetime...
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 08/14/12 11:17 AM

At one time Bucharest Conservatory's hall with organ was needed for final choir rehearsal, so the advanced student invited the Professor to the place he plays on contract. (and I followed too...)

Bucharest - Roman Catholic Church "Ste. Therese de Lisieux / Child Jesus"

This has now an Ahlborn 2-manual+pedal electronic emulation of a classical organ. Made in 2000 or so. Modern play aids, couplers, stop combinations and presets, foot pistons etc. Sounds over 6 large sound boxes, plus 2 vertical 'column' even larger boxes especially for the pedal stops.

The timbral structure sounds just... German. That is, sampled and purified from German stops. At the bass end there was a lovely Lieblich Posaune 16', supporting but not crushing the sine waves [Subbass 16', Oktavbass 8']. Principal-style and flute tones... only that manual I and manual II principals were almost indistinguishable by timbre.
The electronic emulation sounded somewhat more realistic than the older English Wyvern of the Anglican church in Bucharest. That was often too pure and perfect and recognizable as sine-waves. This Ahlborn has more recent effort to emulate real pipes, timbres, attacks, fluctuations, even "wet" samples including a reverb of a hall larger than the cramped real balcony where this organ is installed.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 09/13/12 03:45 PM

The Romanian Repertoire of Pipe Organs, made by the West University, Timişoara is now accessible publicly from the web:

It also points to an e-book with pictures of all of them, and some introduction in Romanian and English. No dispositions, those are searchable online from the site above.

The Lutheran (Evangelic by Augsburg Declaration) community of German Saxons also keeps a more recently maintained directory of their organs:
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 07/09/13 02:08 PM

Last year (2012, June 16th), the Lutheran community of Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Romania led by organist Ursula Philippi organized, like they did in many cities of Germany and the world, a Walk to Organs (Orgelspaziergang). It turned out truly wonderful ! (in German)

Most were around the city and we literally walked to them, following a pipe-depicting flag, some were in nearby villages and a tourist bus moved us. A group of about 35 people, mostly nostalgic Saxons returning briefly from Germany.

Some 9 organs to see and hear played by advanced students and a few guests. An US pastor and... me. I was not too proud of my performance there of "my" Passacaglia for Europe improvisation. Pneumatic action (again!) broke my quick-correcting feedback link... Also voice, clarinet and cello students. (We have a Sissel equivalent!)

I have so much data and stories on that, so that a new forum Topic may be warranted. Unfortunately, I had poor Net access some time after that, so I didn't write it.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: Organ-spotting in Romania - 07/14/13 02:04 PM

This year's little trip to Transylvania - the zone historically known as Ţara Făgăraşului ("Country" of Făgăraş) - north of the Făgăraş mountain range, also known as the Transylvanian Alps. Reached via a really spectacular road, named Transfăgărăşan - 1970's investment under Ceauşescu as dictator.

Cârţa (Kerz in German) Lutheran church - Smaller organ in the nave

Mechanical action. 1 manual, 49 keys (C2-C6), slightly narrower than modern keys.
"White" keys are dark brown wood, "black" are light brown wood.

Gedackt 8'
Traversflöte 8'
Flöte 4'
Salicet 4'
Oktavbaß 8' [Not working]
Subbaß 16' [Not working]
(dummy piston)
Superoctave 2'
Quint 1 1/3'
Mixtur 3f
Pedal Koppel [Not working]

Looks a moderately recent refurbishment of a veteran organ, ~1800. The original seemed not to have pedals. An unconnected pedalboard, already well weathered (recovered from another organ?) was stowed below some pews in the back [25 keys, C2-C4] with holes in the base of the main unit matched to receive connecting rods. The pedal upgrade was started then canceled.

In almost good shape and tuning now. Very quick response. I played a much better variant of my Passacaglia than in my last adventure (It's never the same!]. Adjusting of course for the fewer high keys - I folded back my perpetuum-mobile cycles earlier.
The Salicet 4' is the tonal heart of this organ, more like a harmonic-rich Principal than the string-flute hybrid usual with this name, and alone has subjective power like all the other stops combined. Gedackt, the flutes, quint and mixture are quite gentle. They blend very nicely.

Up in the balcony there is a larger organ, said to be not repairable for a long time. Looks like a ~1900 Romantic, pneumatic-action remake of an even older organ.
This is becoming a pattern all over Romania. Smaller antiques are easier to keep in some use. Most pneumatics - now kaputt.

Făgăraş (Fogarasch in German) Lutheran church - Smaller organ in the nave.

Mechanical action. 1 manual, 45 keys (E2-C6 apparently but with short octave layout, really C2-C6), slightly narrower. No pedals. Before 1800 ?
"White" keys are dark brown wood, "black" are light brown wood.

PRINcipal 4'
OCTave 2'
QUINT 1 1/3'

No electric blower on this one, just a large pedal on the side for a Calcant to step on. Moving indicator of remaining air volume - pressure being kept constant by weights over the bellows.
Principal is louder than the organ in Cârţa. I didn't have as good reflexes for this Short octave bass (E becomes C, F# becomes D, G# becomes E, A# remains A# or Bb).

Up in the balcony - yet another larger organ, said to be working but not as well. Only the smaller organ is currently in use for the 15 or so Saxon Germans still regularly attending.