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Organ Builders / Re: Awe inspiring video about the Rufatti works in Italy
« Last post by Barrie Davis on August 14, 2017, 11:26:08 AM »
What a superb video, wish more companies would do this.
Organ History / Utrecht Cathedral
« Last post by Ian van Deurne on August 14, 2017, 11:25:31 AM »
I promised earlier to say something about this wonderful instrument, so firstly, the tonal disposition as it stands today;


Prestant 8
Holpyp 8
Quintadeen 8
Octaaf 4
Roerfluit 4
Quint 3
Octaaf 2
Fluit 2
Cornet (disk)
Mixtuur 3-6 sterk
Scherp 3-4 sterk
Trompet 8
Touzyn 8 (bas/disk)


Prestant 16
Bourdon 16
Octaaf 8
Roerfluit 8
Octaaf 4
Gemshoorn 4
Quint 3
Octaaf 2
Woudfluit 2
Sexquialter 2 sterk  (disk)
Mixtuur 6-8 sterk  (bas/disk)
Fagot 16
Trompet 8


Prestant 8
Baarpyp 8
Viola de Gamba 8
Holpyp 8
Fluit travers 8
Octaaf 4
Openfluit 4
Roerquint 3
Woudfluit 2
Flageolet 1
Carillion 3 sterk  (f)
Trompet 8
Vox Humana 8


Prestant 16
Subbas 16
Octaafbas 8
Fluitbas 8
Roerquint 6
Octaaf 4
Mixtuur 4 sterk
Bazuin 16
Trombone 8
Trompet 4
Cinq 2




C-f'''  (54-Man)
C-d'  (27-Ped)




Ventiel  (emptied organ of wind  - now redundan)
Kalkanteklok. (Bellows signal - now redundant)

50 Register

The present organ in the Domkerk  (St Martin) in Utrecht incorporates parts of an earlier organ, built by Pieter Janszoon de Swart between 1569-1571. From this famous and very capable builder, six stops on the Rugwerk, three on the Bovenwerk and two on the Pedaal still remain in the instrument virtually unaltered, most notably the plenum formed by the Octaaf 4, Quint 3, Octaaf 2, and the Mixtuur and Scherp, located in the Rugwerk are from De Swart. In manufacture as well as sound quality these pipes are the best in the organ. However, due to the usual short compass of instruments constructed in the 16th century, these very old pipes are in the compass of F, G, A  - a'', the remainder of each rank being extended and made new in either 1640  (Van Hagerbeer), 1709  (Duytschot), or in 1831.

The Batz organ company was active for four generations. In 1739, Johann Heinrich Hartmann Batz set himself up as an organ builder in Utrecht, having learnt the trade from Christiaan Muller. After his death in 1770 his younger brother looked after the firm until Johann's young 21 year old son, Gideon Thomas Bath  (1751-1820) was experienced enough to take over running the company in 1772. However, the organ builder we are dealing with here comes from the next, or third generation, Jonothan Batz  (1787-1849) who was Gideon's son. In 1833 he took on a partner, Christian Gottlieb FiFriederich Witte (1802-1873, who had been apprenticed to Baethmann in Germany, but on completion of his training moved to Utrecht and started to work for Jonothan Batz in 1824. After the death of Jonothan in 1849, Witte became the sole owner of the firm but he kept the name of Batz & Co. Once again, the company become very prosperous and was building many good organs throughout the country. Utrecht is of course, conveniently situated as it is right in the centre of the Netherlands. The Batz company survived for one more generation through Christian's son, Johann Frederick Witte  (1840-1902) who succeeded his father in 1873. However, as he had no son and heir to take over the business, the company was bought and taken over by another organ building company, De Koff in 1902 after he died.

The Utrecht Domkerk organ, as seen today was newly built by Jonothan Batz in 1831, although several old ranks of pipes as mentioned above were reused in the new instrument. The organ precisely conforms to the type of instrument that was being built in the Netherlands throughout the 19th century. The church architect, Tieleman Franciscus Suys, who came from Brussels, designed the case and ornaments, as well as constructing a small building at the back of the church to house the nine wedge-shaped bellows. The case is in a kind of neo-classical style, although in size and proportion  (the length of many of the front pipes are far longer than what is required for the pitch needed ), not strictly functional. Nevertheless, this style became somewhat popular, because another organ which was built along the same lines by the same architect and builder was completed at the Amsterdam Ronde Lutherse Kerk in 1843, although somewhat smaller in size and propotion.

The organ in the Domkerk itself has been superbly designedinternally so that every pipe and each division, with all of its parts can be easily accessed for maintenance and tuning, which was very favourably commented on by probably the greatest organ builder of the 19th century, Aristide Cavaille'-Coll  (1811-1899),about the spacious internal layout during a visit he made here in November 1844.

In 1865, the Batz company, which by then had been fully taken over by Witte, removed the Sexquialter on the Hoofdwerk and replaced it with a mounted treble Cornet of 5 ranks. Then in 1895, after a further overhaul, the same company revoiced all the reeds, in line with the heavier sound preferred at that time.
During the years between 1911-1935, the Touzyn 8 and the Fluit 2 on the Rugwerk were removed in favour of more romantic-sounding stops. The Hoofdwerk Trompet 8 was completely replaced, as well as the Gemshoorn 4 and Woudfluit 2. Then finally, in 1935, a swell-box was fitted to enclose the entire Bovenwerk, with its Roerquint 3 and Vox Humana 8 also being replaced by other more "up-to-date* stops. This was also the time when the outside bellows chamber was demolished, as was considered to be out of keeping with the rest of the gothic building, and so instead, a rudimentary, improvised wind supply was incorporated into the relatively shallow organ case itself, which to say the least was hardly adequate.

The organ finally underwent an extensive restoration between 1972-73 by the firm of Van Vulpen, who are recognised as the most experienced in the maintenance and restoration of Batz organs. They replaced all the stops that had been removed over the last 107 years, and a new modern wind supply with internal regulators was built within the main case, because there was nowhere outside to house a bellows chamber based on a nine wedge-shaped bellows system as originally constructed. The only concession to later times that was retained was the swell-box, which had enclosed the Bovenwerk pipework since 1935 as it had proved to be a useful addition for accompaniment purposes on many occasions.

The organ today is widely acclaimed for its mild tone and expessive tremulants which makes the instrument far more suitable for the late romantic or modern periods of composition, rather than for the strict Baroque counterpoint or fugal music of Buxtehude and Bach.

The building itself is vast, really generous in space. However, it is only a fraction of its original size. The nave and side aisles were completely destroyed during a great storm in the late 17th century, so only the transepts, the choir and high altar remain, along with the great west-end tower, now separate and around 100 metres from the rest of the building.

With best wishes,
Organ Builders / Awe inspiring video about the Rufatti works in Italy
« Last post by David Pinnegar on August 10, 2017, 01:33:56 PM »
A friend directed me to

Best wishes

David P
Restoring pipe organs / Re: Norman & Beard Question
« Last post by David Pinnegar on July 30, 2017, 10:16:32 AM »
A friend tells me:
They used to have a small workshop in Lewes and I frequently visited them. It was they who assisted greatly in the rebuilding of the 2 manual pipe organ in All Saints, Friars Walk, Lewes which I master-minded. What more can I say?
I knew at least 2 of their work-force quite well (all those years ago) and Trevor Reed (01273 phone number given if helpful) springs to mind - but whether he's still in the game or even still alive I don't know.

Best wishes

David P
Restoring pipe organs / Re: Norman & Beard Question
« Last post by Gwas_Bach on July 27, 2017, 02:09:46 PM »
That sounds rather unusual to say the least.

Didn't some Norman and Beard organs include mixtures with similar compositions to the "Harmonics" mixtures of Harrison organs?
Restoring pipe organs / Norman & Beard Question
« Last post by David Wyld on July 25, 2017, 03:24:56 PM »
I wonder if any member of the forum is able to provide details of any organ built by the Norman & Beard firm, during any period of its existence,  in which an independent Tierce (17th) appears on the Great,  or which was supposed to have had one listed in the original specification but subsequently not included?

I ask as I have just seen advertising material announcing that the grand old 1909 N&B Ashton Hall organ of Lancaster Town Hall has had a 17th added to the Great (apparently on a direct-electric chest high above the other Great pipework and rather haughtily referred to as "a mounted 17th"!) and which was supposed to have been originally intended but subsequently omitted.

Well the rise of the Jesus Cult and its overpowering of traditional Christianity in the flourishing of worship songs is precisely why the organ is in danger and disappearing.

I believe there are many more interpretations of the texts than the Jesus Cult espouses and that the concept and power of the Trinity holds good on far more intellectual levels.

Hebrew words could themselves have five meanings and in mediaeval times people were expected to seek meanings of the texts on five different levels.

A story I overhead at my Son's confirmation explains what I mean by the shift towards a Jesus Cult. A retired bishop conducting the service explained to someone afterwards that at the beginning of his ministry he went to a parish and the parishioners asked him "What's all this you talk about Jesus - your predecessor talked about God".

Whilst out of fashion, my beliefs are with those of the former priest.

There's something very rational that I'm looking at in choosing perspective on my vision of God through his son. We criticise Islam for worship of Mohammed but as Christians don't see the beam in our own eyes. Not until we can see the mote in our own eyes as Christians in worship of the Creator can we open the eyes of friends seeking the Creator through different traditions.

I spent my teens among an evangelical "Jesus loves you" group of friends and Jesus loved them so much that he didn't protect them from ills which claimed their lives early. The simplistic view of "evangelical Christianity" is intellectually shallow and unsatisfying, which is why it is unattractive to the mainstream who no longer go to church. In its promotion that the god of Islam is not the god of Christianity it demonstrates itself as being wholly misconstrued.

When in the real world of the mainstream we meet Muslims, Hindus, Hebrews and Buddhists who are devout, worthy and understanding of that something which we understand as the Creator, the jingoistic promotion of the Jesus Cult is seen to be only a business for the promotion of the cult.

Only when the worship of God as the primary focus comes back into fashion will organs be in demand and people will understand the power of the vision of God through the eyes of Jesus. Only then will peoples of different faiths be touched by the Holy Spirit to come together in understandings of peace.

Best wishes

David P
Hi David

You may dislike worship songs - that's fine, it's your choice - but that doesn't make them wrong or inferior to traditional worship - just different.

Your prefered traditional worship style is, of course, firmly grounded in the belief that Jesus Christ is divine - is part of the Godhead, as any theological basics book willl attempt to explain.  The concept of the Trinity is, in many ways, one of those mysteries of faith that mere mortals can never fully understand, but downrating Jesus to a "mere" obedient servant is bordering on heresey and leads ultimately to unitarianism and similar belief patterns that are outside of mainstream Christianity.  Maybe, next time you go to a church service, you should look carefully at the words of the creed before reciting them.

Keep praying and aask God to help you understand - and one day, He will.

Every Blessing

Modern worship songs - actually whenever I come across them I want to run out of the Church screaming. And I doubt if many who sing them will ever be much interested in organs. Perhaps,26.msg9854/topicseen.html#msg9854 answers exactly that.

The trouble I perceive is that the modern literal interpretations lead to a worship of Jesus in his personage.

A trinitarian view is quite possible without worship of the person of Jesus. It's capable of interpreting "Who are my mother and my brothers?" and does not have to result in the worship of Jesus, Son of Man, as God.

For me, Jesus Christ Son of God is the one who hears his father's word and does it. In that is the trinity but the trinity does not require worship of Jesus as God, as the Creator.

The Creator, the eternal, invisible, everywhere and all powerful is an understanding in the image of our understanding, and in our capacity to understand, and through the communication of the idea, the spirit of the Creator we are able to progress the Creation at one with it and as Jesus taught.

I do not get on with the "Jesus loves you" mantra.

"Master Master I love you and I know that you love me so much that you will do my homework for me won't you?"

"No I won't" he said to the soldiers who all died 100 years ago in the First World War with bibles in their breast pockets.

For me and I believe for many contemplation of God is just a little bit more complicated, and rather deeper, than modern evangelistic arm waving worship songs might otherwise try to seduce me with.

And for that rather stick-in-the-mud reason I prefer an understanding of God accompanied by an organ than by the jingoism of the Jesus Cult which says that the God of Islam is not the God of Christianity.

The Creator is the Creator and is the Creator of all. The breath of life is that which gives life to all who breathe. For me the direction of modern Christianity has driven into a corner and left the mainstream in the middle of the room.

Best wishes

David P
I don't know if this organ has been reported before.
St Paul's Hockley Birmingham  - A lovely Conacher two Manual rebuilt by Hill Norman and Beard played by Thomas Trotter during the Mander town halll organ rebuild.
See for specification.
The church has gone happy Clappy !
The organ is in reasonable condition but needs a rebuild.

Church website

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