My 12 Gentle Readers will remember the anguish that rocked our household when we said good-bye to the Mason & Hamlin grand and replaced it with a dull upright piano. While I enjoyed having a real living room there was still a big hole in my heart as well as the room. I tried filling it with new living room furniture–it didn’t help. I moved the furniture around–nuh-uh.
Then, out of the blue, whilst perusing Craig’s List, I made contact with a generous man who gave me his old family Mason & Hamlin pump organ. It was built in 1892 and it mostly worked. One year later, after 2 harrowing trips hauling the thing to San Francisco in a U-Haul trailor, paying a mover for 2 more moves, we have a lovely novelty organ squeezed into our dining room. Our neighbor said she thought the Salvation Army had taken up residence but I belt out a few Gospel hymns now and again.
(Since then a free harpsichord has found its way to our house and now the living room furniture is all scrunched up again the way it should be. One more instrument and we get rid of the dining room table! More on the harpsichord later.)
I was looking for organ music for manuals when I ran across one of the most eyebrow-raising footnotes I’ve ever read. How could I not share it with you all? I offer it to you for your entertainment. Meanwhile, I’m limiting my repertoire to “When We All Get To Heaven.”
Old English Organ Music for Manuals
* From this point to the Adagio, a gradual crescendo can be made by using the swell pedal. The new “swelling organ”, as it was called, was introduced in 1712 by Abraham Jordan at the church of St. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge. In his “Present State of Music in France and Italy”, Burney complains of finding no swell organs in 1770. Three stops were placed in a swell-box in the organ of St. Michael’s church, Hamburg, but with so little effect that Burney, who heard the organ in 1762, says that if he had not been told there was a swell he would not have noticed it.