Photo by Wikimedia user Tobi 87 | Copyright: Creative Commons
The St. Stephen’s Cathedral of today was built in 1682, but the original version of the church had already burned to the ground by 1662, taking with it the parish’s first organ.
As is the case for most of the world’s giant organs, the organ at St. Stephen’s took shape gradually over the course of centuries.
The contemporary version consists of five separate organs in varying tonal styles amounting to 17,774 pipes, 223 registers, and four chimes.
Each portion of the organ was built separately, possesses its own unique tone, and can be played as a standalone instrument by way of its own console.
The obvious centerpiece of the cathedral is the main organ, being the largest of the five with a stunning case built in 1733 by Joseph Matthias Götz.
A tiny Echo Organ in the middle nave vault section of the church is more demure in its charms, compensating for its modest size by producing sound through the “Heiliggeistloch” (or Holy Ghost opening) in the ceiling.
A lone, general console found in the western loft unites these disparate musical instruments into a single organ unlike any other in Europe.
From this seat, a master organist can play all five organs individually or as one giant Franken-organ, producing a cacophony of sound by means of electric key action and a programmable setter capable of storing more than 4,000 settings.
Mathematically speaking, the variety of ways to coax and combine range and tone from this instrument is nearly infinite.
Though St. Stephen’s ceded the title of world’s largest church organ to that of the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles in the 1990s, when it comes to matters of musical grandeur united across space and time, the organ at St. Stephen’s remains nonpareil.
Edited by: Annetta Black (Admin), racheldoyle (Admin), littlebrumble (Admin)
In the 2001 movie “Ghost World,” 18-year-old Enid picks up the arm on her turntable, drops the needle in the groove, and plays a song yet another time. She can’t get over the emotional power of bluesman Skip James’ 1931 recording of “Devil Got My Woman.”
If you know anything about 78 records, it only makes sense that a nerdy 40-something 78 collector named Seymour would have introduced her to this tune.
As played by Steve Buscemi, Seymour is an awkward, introverted sadsack based on the film’s director, Terry Zwigoff, who—along with his comic-artist pal, Robert Crumb—is an avid collector of 78s, a medium whose most haunting and rarest tracks are the blues songs recorded in the 1920s and ’30s.
“These guys were collecting the music that resonated with them, and then it became the document of that time, the music that endured.”
Nearly a decade later, music critic and reporter Amanda Petrusich had the same intoxicating experience Enid (Thora Birch) did, listening to very same song, although she got to hear “Devil Got My Woman” played on its original 78, courtesy of a real-life collector, who owns this prohibitively expensive shellac record pressed by Paramount.
Only three or four copies are known to exist.
The gramophone, a type of phonograph that played 10-inch shellac discs at 78 rpm, was developed in the late 19th century. But it wasn’t until the 1910s and ’20s that the technology became more affordable and less cumbersome so that an average family could have one at home.
The records, which could only play 2 to 3 minutes of sound per side, had their heyday in the ’20s and ’30s. They lost their cachet in the ’40s, when radio became the most popular format for music lovers.
Then in the 1950s and 1960s, 78 records were phased out in favour of long-playing vinyl records.
A 1977 publicity photo of the Bee Gees for a television special, “Billboard #1 Music Awards.” From top: Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb.
The Bee Gees’ dominance of the charts in the disco era was above and beyond Chic, Giorgio Moroder, even Donna Summer.
Their sound track to Saturday Night Fever sold thirty million copies.
They were responsible for writing and producing eight of 1978’s number ones, something only Lennon and McCartney in 1963/64 could rival—and John and Paul hadn’t been the producers, only the writers.
Even given the task of writing a song called “Grease” (“Grease is the word, it’s got groove, it’s got a meaning,” they claimed, hoping no one would ask, “Come again?”), they came up with a classic.
At one point in March they were behind five singles in the American Top 10.
In 1978 they accounted for 2 percent of the entire record industry’s profits. The Bee Gees were a cultural phenomenon.
Three siblings from an isolated, slightly sinister island off the coast of northwest England, already in their late twenties by the time the Fever struck—how the hell did they manage this?
Pin ups in the late sixties, makers of the occasional keening ballad hit in the early seventies, the Bee Gees had no real contact with the zeitgeist until, inexplicably, they had hits like “Nights on Broadway,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” and the zeitgeist suddenly seemed to emanate from them.
This happened because they were blending white soul, R&B, and dance music in a way that suited pretty much every club, every radio station, every American citizen in 1978.
They melded black and white influences into a more satisfying whole than anyone since Elvis.
Neil Young and Graham Nash in New York City in 1970
Photograph: Joel Bernstein
For the first time, the Morrison Hotel Gallery is hosting an exhibition in all three of their locations – Long May You Run, a retrospective of Neil Young, charts his rise from Buffalo Springfield to refusing to settle down in his 70s.
Neil Young in a limo with a Gretch White Falcon in June 1970