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Subject: "RE: Britannic Interior" Previous topic | Next topic
Scott AndrewsMon Apr-18-11 12:33 PM
Member since Sep 18th 2004
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#41879, "RE: Britannic Interior"
In response to In response to 14


  

          

Olaf,

You need to transport yourself back a century to understand the purpose of the installation of a pipe organ aboard a ship.

First, to my knowledge, the installation of an organ of this size and scope -- about the size of a moderate church organ -- had never been attempted aboard a ship before, and certainly would have been a degree of one-upmanship unequalled by any of the WSL's competitors, then or since.

Secondly, during the latter part of the 19th century and up to the time of WW2, the organ saw far more secular use than is common today. Organ recitals were a very popular form of entertainment amongst all classes of society, and these recitals included everything from the literature written specifically for the organ, to transcriptions of works for other instruments and even the major symphonic works. Arrangements of the popular works of the period were also popular fodder for such recitals.

Unlike today, when the organ is almost solely to found in church buildings, it was a matter of civic pride to have very large pipe organs in city halls and civic auditoriums in such facilities of any city of even moderate size, as well in any symphony hall or opera house of any pretension. The civic organists hired to concertize on these instruments, and those organists who traveled the world as recitalist were the "rock stars" of their day. (The world renowned English-borne American organist Edwin Lemare commanded a whopping $15,000 per year salary in 1915 when he accepted the post as the City Organist of San Fransisco, and packed the auditorium with as many as 10,000 patrons at any performance during the Pan American Exhibition that year! As a side note, Lemare was a frequent WSL patron and crossed with Capt. Smith on numerous occasions.)

The presence of this organ aboard the Britannic was also a further concession to the desires and tastes of White Star's wealthiest American clientele. The Morgans, the Vanderbilts, the Fricks, the Goulds, the Astors, and many others all had residence pipe organs in their various mansions; most of these came equipped with roll players, similar to those found in player pianos, both to provide music for guests and also to provide music throughout the house during the day. On occasion, some of the famous recitalist of the day, or some of the prominent local organists were invited as guests or hired to play for special occasions. Some of the super-rich took this love affair to the next level. George Eastman of Kodak fame, DuPont, and several others commissioned cathedral-sized instruments to be placed in specially constructed concert halls in or attached to their homes, and hired a full-time, private "house organist" to provide music throughout the day and at more formal recitals for guests.

One more note: regarding the sound of these instruments, aside from the civic and concert hall instruments, and monsters commissioned by a few of the super-rich, the majority of these instruments were not at all like the church organs most of us are familiar with. These were termed "residence organs" and the overall sound of such an instrument is far warmer and the individual stops are of of a different sort character altogether. Check out Youtube for an idea of what such an instrument would sound like; there are a number of videos of residence organs at work, or in the process of restoration.

Regards,
Scott Andrews
TRMA Trustee

PS - Acoustically, in traditional terms, there is absolutely NO IDEA PLACE to install a pipe organ aboard a passenger ship; at least at the top of the Grand Staircase, the sound would have reflected downwards by the dome and would have been heard well in the lobbies of B and C-Decks, and perhaps equally well in the vicinity of the bottom landing in the Reception Room, but the acoustics throughout the stairwell would have been practically "dead" -- that is, without and reverberation, which is critical to the sound of especially the more traditionally-voiced organs such as those found in churches. About the only shipboard space I can think of where such ringing acoustics might be found would be the hangar deck of an aircraft carrier!

  

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Britannic Interior [View all] , Pete Violette, Fri Apr-08-11 07:37 AM
  RE: Britannic Interior, Jerry Vondeling, Apr 08th 2011, #1
RE: Britannic Interior, max mann, Apr 08th 2011, #2
RE: Britannic Interior, William B. Barney, Apr 08th 2011, #3
      RE: Britannic Interior, wchaydel, Apr 09th 2011, #4
           RE: Britannic Interior, Jerry Vondeling, Apr 09th 2011, #5
                RE: Britannic Interior, Spammals, Apr 14th 2011, #6
                RE: Britannic Interior, wchaydel, Apr 15th 2011, #7
                     RE: Britannic Interior, Spammals, Apr 17th 2011, #8
                          RE: Britannic Interior, Jerry Vondeling, Apr 17th 2011, #9
                          RE: Britannic Interior, Scott Andrews, Apr 17th 2011, #10
                               RE: Britannic Interior, Morten Jensen, Apr 17th 2011, #11
                               RE: Britannic Interior, Bill West, Apr 17th 2011, #12
                               RE: Britannic Interior, Olaf, Apr 18th 2011, #14
                               RE: Britannic Interior, Spammals, Apr 18th 2011, #15
                               RE: Britannic Interior, Scott Andrews, Apr 18th 2011 #18
                               RE: Britannic Interior, Olaf, Apr 18th 2011, #20
                                    RE: Britannic Interior, Spammals, Apr 18th 2011, #21
                               Listen here...., Scott Andrews, Apr 18th 2011, #19
                               RE: Britannic Interior, frankbelanger, Mar 17th 2017, #22
                Interior fittings auctioned, Ralph Currell, Apr 17th 2011, #13
                     Auction advertisements, Ralph Currell, Apr 18th 2011, #16
                          RE: Auction advertisements, Jerry Vondeling, Apr 18th 2011, #17

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