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King Of The Hill

Posted By: Shadorunnr

King Of The Hill - 02/16/02 08:22 AM

The Piano Forum has several hundred posts on which piano is The King Of The Hill. Now it's time for the Organ King OF The Hill. (Although I really doubt it will be anywhere near as long as the Piano KOTH.) I believe the Hammond B-3 to be the undisputed KING, even though it has not been manufactured in over twenty years. This is evident by the thousands of recordings in rock, country, gospel, and jazz, that use the B-3, as well as live performances all over the globe. There are also many different companys that manufacture organs and virtual organs that emulate the B-3 tone wheel sound including the new digital Hammond-Suzuki organs. Anyone care to add their two cents on this one? Only two rules to determine king; 1) Any make, any model, any year, including one of a kind (like cathedral/theater pipe organs) and models/companys no longer in production. 2) Organs that emulate other organs do not count as King, only wannaB's. The sound they produce must be unique to that organ. (Like a B-3, Vox, Farfisa, or that 300 year old pipe organ in your grandmothers' basement[ and attic]).
Posted By: ChemicalGrl

Re: King Of The Hill - 02/17/02 09:29 PM

Okay, this comes from someone who doesn't have as much exposure to different organs, but I'll have to admit - I liked the sounds of the Flentrop organs. I've had the pleasure of hearing a couple of them, one of them at Duke University Chapel and a smaller one at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Durham, NC.

I'm not saying these are the King of the Hill as far as organs are concerned. I'm not really informed enough to say what's better than the other. So take this for what it's worth.
Posted By: Wags

Re: King Of The Hill - 02/25/02 11:06 PM


I would have to agree on the Flentrop organs. My absolute favorite recording, maybe of any instrument, is an E. Power Biggs recording at Harvard. I think it said it was in the Busch Reisinger Museum. It's the best recording of Bach's Prelude and Fugues that I have ever heard.

I saw on one the piano forums that you liked organ music. If you like Bach's organ music, you should try and find this CD. I think it's called Bach organ Favorites. Just search for E. Power Biggs at amazon or better yet try the url below. This CD with the sundial on the cover is excelent. This recording of the Prelude and Fugue in A minor is my all time favorite piece of music. It's very difficult to play though, in case you wanted to give it a try.
[URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000027BF/ref=pd_sim_music/103-6823319-6863819]http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000027BF/ref=pd_sim_music/103-6823319-6863819[/ URL]


[ February 25, 2002: Message edited by: Wags ]
Posted By: ChemicalGrl

Re: King Of The Hill - 02/26/02 08:36 PM

Wags -

Thanks for the tip. I'll mosey over on amazon.com and have a look.

I think I may have mentioned this once upon a time, but how about this: there is a wonderful Bamboo organ in Las Pinas, Metro Manila, Philippines, and if you get a chance to listen to it, you'll be amazed that such a sound could come from such an instrument. Certainly wouldn't be King of the Hill by any means, but it's still an amazing instrument.
Posted By: Wags

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/01/02 11:10 PM


I remember reading about that Bamboo organ some place. I don't think I'll be going to Manila anytime soon, so I'll just have to imagine how it must sound. I would guess it would sound like a windy flute. I have a kind of a flute that is made up of many small bamboo tubes - one for each note. It has that windy flute sound. I guess that organ would have a similar type of sound.

For another interesting organ, I saw an organ in a cave in Virginia I think. It didn't have pipes, but it had little hammers that would tap the stalactites. I didn't get to hear it and they wouldn't let me play it, but it was an interesting idea.
Posted By: ChemicalGrl

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/03/02 07:15 PM

Yes Wags -

The Luray Caverns north of Charlotesville, VA has that organ you're talking about. If you go on one of their guided tours, you will get the chance to hear it. It is amazing.

[Edited to add:]

Here is an excerpt from their website about that organ:

Located in the Cathedral the Great Stalacpipe Organ, the world's largest musical instrument. Stalactites covering 3 1/2 acres of the surrounding caverns produce tones of symphonic quality when electronically tapped by rubber-tipped mallets. This most unique, one-of-a-kind instrument was invented in 1954 by Mr. Leiand W. Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia, a mathematician and electronic scientist at the Pentagon. He began his monumental 3 year project by searching the vast chambers of the caverns selecting stalactites to
precisely match a musical scale. Electronic mallets were wired throughout the caverns and connected to a large four-manual console. When a key is depressed, a tone occurs as the rubber-tipped plunger strikes the stalactite tuned to concert pitch.
Today, the organ is played by activating an automated system which works in a manner similar to a child's music box. The organ is also fully capable of being played manually from the console, as Leiand Sprinkle did for many years.

The website, if you're interested in checking it out:


btw - the Organ Historical Society does carry a two-CD set featuring music played on the Bamboo Organ. The second CD also includes a QuickTime movie about the organ itself and includes some still shots as well as an interview with the pastor of the church in which the organ is located. From what I recall, the bamboo organ can make flute-sounds, trumpet sounds, even the reedy sounds. They also have a cute stop (I think it's cute anyway) which makes bird sounds (group of small pipes in a contraption in which you add water, that will give it the bird sound effect).

[ March 04, 2002: Message edited by: ChemicalGrl ]
Posted By: Wags

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/08/02 11:30 AM

Thanks ChemicalGrl

I'll go check out that web site. That's the place, I couldn't remember the name of it though.
Posted By: Charles68

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/18/02 07:35 AM

I'm new on this bbs, but I am an admirer of organs.
Remember the 5 manual, multi-rank George Wright used to play? That was a THEATER organ. And the Moller at the Fox in Atlanta?

I have the utmost respect for church organs, but I guess I'm too contemporary. I like the sheer, awesome power of a theater organ!

Speaking of E. Power Biggs, we used to call him E. PowerFUL. The man can play! He did an album some years back where he played Scott Joplinn rags on a 2 manual, pedal harpsicord. If anyone's interested in him sounding like he has 6 hands, let me know, and I'll get the album name. I'm sure it's on CD.
Posted By: Wags

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/18/02 10:23 PM


I have that CD with Mr Biggs playing the rags on the harpsicord. It's a Sony CD called Scott Joplin Super Hits. There is a catalog number of SFK 89267.
Posted By: Taylor

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/22/02 12:26 AM

Originally posted by Charles68:
I'm new on this bbs, but I am an admirer of organs.
Remember the 5 manual, multi-rank George Wright used to play? That was a THEATER organ. And the Moller at the Fox in Atlanta?

Have you checked out the George Wright signature Allen organ here's a http://www.allenorgan.com/gw-4man.html
Posted By: Charles68

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/23/02 06:22 AM

Thanks, Taylor, for the link!

What a fine organ! I'd love to hear one. Do you know of any recordings?
Posted By: Piano World

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/23/02 01:47 PM

There is a very interesting organ in the John Hays Hammond museum in Gloucester, MA.
Known as the Hammond Castle (yes, it is actually a castle).

The 32' Tibia Profunda pipes cause the entire room to rumble.
The tour itself is amazing. Hammond (no relation to the Hammond Organ Co.) was the father of radio control. He made millions back in the early part of the 1900's. Spent tons of money collecting incredible antiques and building his castle.

I know that E. Power Biggs, Virgil Fox, Richard Elssasar (sp?), and many others recorded on this instrument (I have some of these recordings on those old round vinyl thingies).

You can read about the castle (and the organ) here: http://www.hammondcastle.org/

If you are ever up this way, do yourself a favor and tour the castle, you might even catch a concert. Located right on the water, the view is breath-taking.

[Linked Image]

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Frank B.
Piano World

[ March 23, 2002: Message edited by: PianoWorld ]
Posted By: Taylor

Re: King Of The Hill - 03/23/02 07:47 PM

Charles68 e-mail Allen organ directly ask about it they might have a demo recording other then that i'm not aware of anything comercially available smile
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