The pipe organ is a musicalinstrument that produces sound by admitting air (wind) through a series of different sized pipes. This process is controlled through the use of keyboards. One of the oldest musical instruments—its origins can be traced back to the Greeks—the organ is capable of sustaining sound for as long as the key is depressed, in contrast to other keyboard instruments, such as the piano and harpsichord.
Pipe organs range in size from portable instruments with only a few dozen pipes to very large organs with tens of thousands of pipes, causing Mozart to describe it as the king of instruments. (more...)
The International Organ Festival (IOF) is a biennial music festival and organ competition held in St Albans, England since 1963. Originally held annually, it was changed to every two years in 1965 due to the complexity of organising the increasingly ambitious programme. The festival is run mainly by volunteers.
The festival was conceived by Peter Hurford to celebrate the building of the new organ in St Albans Cathedral by Harrison & Harrison. The main competitions are still conducted on this instrument, its eclectic style and modern electropneumatic action now complemented by another self-contained tracker action instrument which The International Organ Festival Society, the charity which runs the Festival, has had built for its own use and sited at St Saviour's Church, St Albans. This was built by Peter Collins in the style of, and in homage to, the early 18th century German organ builder Andreas Silbermann.
The organ in Roskilde Cathedral, Copenhagen is an elaborate baroque instrument first built in 1554 by the Dutch organ builder Herman Raphaelis; the façade of the Rückpositiv and the parapet of the gallery stem from this instrument. A thorough rebuild was completed in 1654 which included the installation of the present main façade. The organ was rebuilt to this specification by Marcusson & Son in 1990.
... that the recently restored organ of St Botolph's Aldgate has been described as the oldest church organ in the United Kingdom. Although there are older pipes and cases, this is the oldest collection of pipes in their original positions on their original wind chests.
César Franck (December 10, 1822 – November 8, 1890)—a composer, organist and music teacher of Belgian origin who lived in France—was one of the great figures in classical music in the second half of the 19th century.
In 1858, he became organist at the recently-consecrated basilica of Sainte Clotilde. His first set of organ compositions, however, was not published until 1868, when he was 46 years old, though it contains one of his finest organ pieces, the Grande Pièce Symphonique. From 1872 to his death he was Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatoire where his pupils included Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Chausson, Louis Vierne, and Henri Duparc. As an organist he was particularly noted for his skill in improvisation, and it is on the basis of only twelve major organ works that Franck is by many considered the greatest organ composer after J.S. Bach. His works were some of the finest organ pieces to come from France in over a century, and laid the groundwork for the French symphonic organ style. The 25-minute "Grande Pièce Symphonique" paved the way for the organ symphonies of Widor, Louis Vierne, and Marcel Dupré.