A Digital Organ for St. Peter's
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 248
    I'm not an organist, but it seemed to me that the acquisition of a digital organ for use in St. Peter's might be of interest here.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,922
    Rabble rouser ;)
  • Ted
    Posts: 141
    I would assume that before V2 the choirs sang mostly unaccompanied, while the people actively participated through listening and singing in their hearts.
  • Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott once made an observation which seems appropriate for this situation:

    "Synthetic Scotch; Synthetic Commanders"
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • "Synthetic Scotch, Synthetic Commanders"

    I think observe that the someone responsible for this calumny has a synthetic brain.
    (He/it might even be a simulacrum! - He/it certainly thinks like one!)
    Thanked by 1francis
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,498
    What prevented the west wall Cavaille-Coll installation?
    How far back does Vatican Bank have problems?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,838
    Un-be-liev-a-ble. I have no words, only tears.

    ...acoustic demands and to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

    Nothing more needs to be said.
  • For those of you who aren't fans of Star Trek, or don't remember the context for the reference, if someone wants to post a link to the episode Relics, here's your chance. If you don't want to go digging through dusty Trek archives, let me put the comment in layman's terms: when a simulacrum goes in St. Peter's the legs of the stool we are sitting on, here at CMAA are sawn off underneath us. Yet another liturgical/musical/creedal tomahawk can be thrown at us with the claim, "What.... are you trying to be more Catholic than the Pope? Are you a stuck-up elitist....[fill in the rest of the laundry list]?
  • The allen people will be laughing, nay, guffawing, all the way to bank for years to come, what with the sales they will make simply from being able to say that they have an 'organ' in St Peter's Basilica in Rome - thanks to an impossibly gullible and irresponsible choirmaster who has no musical morals, and who, in addition, apparently has a very tin ear.

    Yes, as Chris states, there will be many legs sawed off because of this traitorous act of a musical infidel.

    An act of insouciantly callous unkindness.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,208
    "What.... are you trying to be more Catholic than the Pope? Are you a stuck-up elitist....[fill in the rest of the laundry list]?


    That might have held water in the days when the pope was unquestionably Catholic. Elitist? How often we seem to seek the approval of people we should seldom care about in the first place. As for the Allen, it is not like St. Peter's couldn't afford the real deal. They take enough from all of us that it shouldn't have been a problem.
  • Charles,

    Are you asking, as a serious question, "Is the Pope Catholic?"
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,208
    Just speculating on your statement that the pope is Catholic. To what degree and how sure are you of that? A better question might be is the pope orthodox?

    More questions. Is the Allen an organ? Does it have gender-identity issues? How catholic can an Allen be? Perhaps it is not an orthodox organ of the true faith.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 248
    I am genuinly curious as to whether folks think that having a (presumably) high-quality electronic organ is better or worse, musically speaking, than electronically amplifying the current pipe organ, which is what they have been doing. Or is this like asking if you'd rather have your left or right eye gouged out with dull spoon?
    Thanked by 1PaxMelodious
  • Deacon Fritz,

    As I'm sure you're aware, a pipe organ can be revoiced, or ranks can be added to it.

    Yes, I would think that the two options you propose are rather like having the proposed oculectomy.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,208
    I am genuinly curious as to whether folks think that having a (presumably) high-quality electronic organ is better or worse, musically speaking, than electronically amplifying the current pipe organ


    I have to wonder why they have been doing this. They could easily afford to add another division to the existing pipe organ. Also, another console if needed.
  • There is a great moral and paedagogical difference between playing an organ and amplifying it (a dumb thing to do), and playing a fake organ, a simulacrum, digital or otherwise. If the existing organ does not fill the needs of the basilica, the obvious solution is to add on to it or invest in a larger one. It seems in this instance that the only concern is volume of sound, not necessarily quality of sound. And, of course, the 'reputable' purveyor of organ simulacra is all too happy to provide the required number of speakers to produce the desired number of decibels of simulated organ sounds from his organ simulater, his simulacrum.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 871

    "Unfortunately, the pope, at that time, never responded to Cavaille-Coll's proposal."
    Probably a misreading of the situation. Ebrecht's book apparently says that it was a political dispute with the Italian state that scuppered the project. In 1875 the Pope had no temporal authority as the Vatican City state had not been established, and St Peter's was clearly in Italy (then a 14 year old state).
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,545
    a great moral and paedagogical difference between playing an organ and amplifying it ... and playing a fake organ
    I suppose we all know by now where MJO stands ;-) If we consider the acoustics of St Peter's, sports arenas & similar large venues to be best suited to an EWTN audience the authenticity argument would seem to be on the side of the second option. </advocatus diaboli
  • Carol
    Posts: 282
    About 10 years ago our church purchased a brand new Allen organ with all the fake sounds. We had an organist at the time who liked to play instrumentals at communion using the "strings" and then the "trumpet" and then a "guitar" verse, etc. I could scarcely keep from laughing watching the parishioners snap around and stare into the choir loft each time a new sound made its appearance.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,179
    From what I can gather, until the aftermath of Vatican II, the musical establishment at St. Peter's/Sistine Chapel was perpetually stuck in the tenure of Frescobaldi, and that's what the Vatican organs are built for: intermezzi and intonazioni, not accompaniment, especially not of the congregation.

    I hope that this Allen is a stop-gap measure while a more permanent solution is being devised, and I suppose having such an instrument is better than artificially amplifying the pipe organ; and the acoustic can hide a multitude of sins.

    Also, I think it's quite unfair to call the musicianship of Maestro Pallombella into question, considering that the Capella Sistina hasn't sounded as good as it currently does since the days of Domenico Mustafá. (I don't know of the current state of the Julian Choir.) He perhaps is not an organist himself, and the current organist of St. Peter's is American, which explains quite a bit.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,529
    Our friend and colleague the Andy Motyka has played Mass there. I've summoned him to this thread to give his impressions.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,838
    the only concern is volume of sound, not necessarily quality of sound.
    the way we have been going on every account, don't you think?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,237
    That interesting comment from Mascioni Organs in Italy refers to the new device installed as an "electrophone" and calls the decision to adopt it a "scandalous and indefensible" choice "hiding itself behind unjustifiable practical and technical motivations".
  • Well, the pipe organ there is far from the ideal... and I would have never understood the volume of space had I not been there in person, but the organ (not a small one at that) barely fills the area behind the crossing. There were 200-300 at mass, and the organ was played very aggressively (wide open), and I was sitting right by the choir, and the sound was just lost in the space. I can’t imagine how many ranks would be required to fill the whole space—it is massive. It would need to be in quite a few locations also—which I’m sure would make maintenance and tuning fun.

    Marc
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 7,838
    St Peter can afford all the ranks and tunings required
  • Immense as it may be, are we actually supposed to believe that the only or best solution was an 'electrophone'? Anyone who believes that, including he, she, or they who made the decision, has been hoodwinked. Serve up yet another victory for the father of lies.
    Screwtape is doubtless in a state of delirium and is doing handstands.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,237
    As others have said, it'll have to be replaced in 15-20 years.
  • ...in 15-20 years.

    I have observed that many nowadays no longer think in terms of decades and centuries. This is sad and a sad mark on what has become of our civilisation.
    Many people now don't expect anything to last beyond a decade or two, if that. They expect stuff to be outmoded, replaced by the latest 'technological' breakthrough.

    Craftsmanship? It can hardly be found or heard of outside an organbuilder's premises and a diminishing few craftsmen of this, that and the other hither, thither and yon - such as luthiers and cabinetmakers, and such. Why, even the idea of craftsmanship has become besmirched. Even makers of organ simulacra, organ simulaters, and electrophones would have us believe in their deceptive advertisements that they 'build' the simulations that they call organs. (As if installing some bundles of wires and tuned buzzers in what is made to look like an organ console, and arranging a cleverly hidden battery of speakers was 'building' and organ.) Their 'things' don't really need to last more than two or three decades because it is expected that people will then want to replace their dated items with the latest, most advanced technology.

    Indeed, for some (quite a few, actually), they don't really care whether their instrument is a real organ or not - what thrills them IS what they perceive to be, or choose to call, a technological marvel. And if it's 'digital', well one just couldn't ask for more - at least not yet.
  • I think it's clearly a marketing effort by Allen to attempt to boost their sales. In their articles and videos marketing the installation, they insinuate that Vatican officials selected it after a lengthy search process. What a joke.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,208
    In their articles and videos marketing the installation, they insinuate that Vatican officials selected it after a lengthy search process. What a joke.


    Like there are no digital organ builders in Italy. Right!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,237
    Product placement in action!
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • .
  • PRAYTELL WRITES: "has donated a digital organ for use at papal celebrations in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican News reports."


    Confirmed by VATICAN NEWS.
  • Is this akin to Google "donating" computers to schools, or something similar?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 871
    Here is a description of the 1875 proposal, in French and mostly about the mechanics of the project.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW eft94530
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,237
    Here's a photo of the newly installed instrument:
    image
    It's interesting that they apparently had relatively modest objectives and didn't give the Basilica their most elaborate console. At least I assume this isn't the top-of-the-line model.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,208
    And perched on its cute little cart. How charming.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,529
    They really should have made the cart match the console...
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Carol
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,922
    Yes, minimally.
  • Carol
    Posts: 282
    CHG you make me laugh more than any other poster! Not necessarily the purpose of this site, but I do enjoy the repartee.
  • It might be that Allen tried to follow the desires of the pontiff in avoiding ostentation (i.e. beauty) and decorum. Just a thought with a dash of sarcasm.
  • So like a ketchup bottle on the Christmas dinner table.
    So like yet another boorish gate crasher.
    Putting one of their simulacra in St Peter's doesn't make it any less a fraud.
    Thanked by 1KARU27
  • madorganist
    Posts: 363
    I wonder if it has digital reverb?
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,392
    I imagine if you tap your toes on that cart, it would...
    Thanked by 2madorganist Carol
  • Carol
    Posts: 282
    Aren't the toes occupied with the pedals?
  • Carol
    Posts: 282
    Also, is there much toe tapping music being played in St. Peter's??
  • Carol,


    I cringe to know the answer to the question. "Is the Pope Catholic?" used to be rhetorical question intended to convey how stupid a question is. It isn't such a stupid question anymore, hence my reason for fear at the possible answer to your question. Ignorance, just at present, is bliss.
    Thanked by 1Carol