On Monday I went to Vilnius Cathedral to assist my friend @pauliakaz where he was preparing for a lunchtime recital on Thursday. On the program - music of 3 composers - Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 545 by Johann Sebastian Bach (German Baroque), Fantasie on Lithuanian hymn "Jezau, pas mane ateiki" by Juozas Naujalis (Lithuanian Romanticism) and Suite Gothique by Leon Boellmann (French Romanticism). This was the first time I heard him play all of these pieces together. @pauliakaz had some rehearsals here before to set up his registrations but I wanted to double check them, of course.
This organ is from 1960's, a Neo-Baroque instrument by East German firm Alexander Schuke. It has some characteristic sounds of this period which are high-pitched mixture sounds and lack of low-pitched foundation stops. For some music, such as French Romantic having many foundation stops is a must but when he started to play the opening of the Chorale by Boellmann from his Suite Gothique, it really sounded too light and actually harsh.
So I suggested to @pauliakaz to play entire piece one octave lower in the hand part. This should give it more gravity and create an impression that there are lots of 16' stops in this organ. Usually if you do this, you have to check the left hand part if it doesn't descend lower than tenor c which an octave lower would become bass C - the lowest key on the keyboard. In this particular piece it was OK.
Then you have to omit 16' stops in the manuals because one octave lower they would sound like 32' stops. We tried this and compared it to the regular height and it already sounded better.
In the end we chose to use 16' stops in the manuals as well. In this particular acoustical environment it sounded just like at Saint Sulpice in Paris.
PS The photo above is from yesterday's organ recital by Dr. Cristiano Rizzotto at St Casimirus church. @laputis and I came in 30 minutes earlier and the church was already full.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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