I finally heard from David Sutherland, the harpsichord guy in Ann Arbor. He is wiling to do the work. Estimates it might cost around $1K. But he’s too busy to take it on at the moment and requested I contact him again in a month or so. This is very exciting to me. Yesterday I spent a couple hours at the organ and did rehearse some French Classical music. This style needs sympathetic instruments like the harpsichord and appropriate registration on the organ. The latter is sometimes difficult if not impossible to pull off on American instruments. Ray Ferguson taught me how to adapt organ composer’s ideal registration to whatever instrument I play. So I have done that all my organ playing life.
And I find that much music can be pulled off credibly with less than ideal instruments. So while Bach is the best example of music that survives many different treatments and instruments, the French Classical Period (the Couperins and many many others that I love to play) doesn’t quite get it on the piano and usually suffers some diminished effectiveness on American organs unless they specifically set up to do French Classical music well.
You may be wondering where our new Pasi pipe organ at Grace will fall on this continuum. The answer is I’m not sure until I work with it. It is designed to accommodate some aspects of the French Classical demands. But the truth is that the proof to me is how it sounds.
Susan Tomes is an English pianist/author whose blog I read regularly. Here she makes an interesting point about why people make noise while musicians are playing.