Developments in British organ design 1945-1970: a player’s perspective

Dunster-Sigtermans, Richard (2017). Developments in British organ design 1945-1970: a player’s perspective. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This research forms part of a performance practice degree and focuses on the performance of British organ music written in the period 1945 to 1970. This period was a turbulent time for all those with an interest in the pipe organ, whether they were performers, consultants, organ builders or listeners. The considerable change in the approach to the design, construction and voicing of pipe organs, influenced by the Organ Reform Movement (Orgelbewegung), resulted in strong feelings both for and against the neo-classic organ, and the consequent tensions tested the typical British reserve of many of those directly involved. The challenge for the performer of today is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of British organs in the period and to connect these instruments with the music written for them. The original contribution this research provides is to focus firstly on the organ's mechanisms, including key actions, registration aids and console design and, secondly, on the tonal designs of the organs of the period. Case studies of music are presented, featuring three composers for the organ in this period, Howells, Leighton and Whitlock, the findings of which inform the associated recital which features contrasting pieces from the period 1945 to 1970.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Music
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study


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