From a reader…
Pipe organs being too expensive for most parishes, and many electronic organs being used instead sound terrible and turn people off from the organ, what are your thoughts on bringing back reed (pump) organs to church?
I never really appreciated just what one was capable until I heard it played by competent people who knew how to get the most out of it.
Take, for example, Widor’s Toccata played on this rather large pump organ that even has a peddle board: https://youtu.be/fsTG7NtNZCk
Or Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor: https://youtu.be/Bh0zigNPoec
Or for hymns, Hyfrydol: https://youtu.be/8_AZMtbainI
This was the standard instrument in many churches prior to Vatican II, and many of our beloved female saints who were musically competent played it during Mass.
You never know what sort of question will come up. Let’s sample…
My first impulse is to say, hey!, it’s hard enough to find organists to play any organ, much less a manually pumped reed organ. Have at! And I’d be concerned about keeping it tuned in widely shifting seasons. Even worse than a badly tuned instrument is an almost tuned instrument.
My second impulse is to say, hey!, that’s going to be handy after the massive CME creates a grid killing sequel to the Carrington Event. Hang on to that organ along with your horse tack and plow, ammo, and the transceivers stored in your Faraday cages. The EMP will wipe out the other organs for sure.
My third impulse is to say, hey!, that’s pretty darn cool and, in lieu of a greater instrument, it sounds pretty darn good. I think it would sound even better used for music scaled a bit more for its capacity. Widor? Wow. He was the organist of Saint-Sulpice in Paris with its mighty Cavaillé-Coll. Gutsy!
By way of contrast.
Look. In the right space with a good fist at the manuals and an healthy helper at the bellows, it could be just the right thing. Why not? In a smaller church, why not?
That was fun. Thanks.