Thursday, January 14, 2010

The diminutive Walker

The mighty diminutive Walker (1992):

Swell: 8', 4', and 2' flutes
Great: 8' flute, 4' principal, 2' flute, mixture
Pedal: 16' bourdon, 8' flute
Couplers: Swell to Great, Swell to Pedal, Great to Pedal

Likes: 69oF, 50% humidity, metal polish and soft cloth
Dislikes: Humid air, dry air, cold air, hot air, mice in the blower box

I thought perhaps if I photographed the organ from below, aiming upward, the pipes would look more imposing, but it was impossible to get more than about three pipes in the field of view from that angle, and it made them look quite short. So here is a picture of the Walker that is like the instrument itself: honest, direct, and unpretentious.

The Walker prefers a diet of Baroque music with occasional Classical sides. Sometimes it tries to give up German music for Lent, but it usually caves before the six weeks are out. Alas, it has a somewhat puritanical sense of timbral propriety that discourages several centuries and nationalities of repertoire. Brahms? If you must. Widor? Acceptable in small doses. Dupre, Alain, Langlais? Really now. Messaien? Don't even think of it.

But Mendelssohn, ah, Mendelssohn. For all its starchy sonorous sensibilities, the Walker has a surprising soft spot for that particular German Romantic, to whom I am, consequently, eternally grateful.


Tommasina said...

But Mendelssohn is your favorite composer anyway, so isn't that cheating?

mom2homer said...

Actually, Schumann is. Or was. Maybe. And Bach. But Schumann couldn't write worth a dang for organ (depending on how much you think dangs are worth; he did write some organ pieces, e.g. some fugues on B.A.C.H., and they're...O.K.; but his piano music is where it's at, plus some incredibly stunning orchestral phrases interspersed here and there throughout his stage and dramatic works). But re. Mendelssohn, the point is that there's a lot of excellent German Romantic organ music out there, it just doesn't all sound consistently Pretty Good on the Walker. How's that for a high standard?