Text: Uwe Gernert / Photos: Bruno Leoni
My friend Bruno Leoni is responsible for organizing the organs presented on that festival for 28 years now. The participants are invited personally. hela is a mixture of traditional fair, volksfest of the local assocations and trade fair with regional exhibitors. The old town of Laufenburg is blocked for traffic throughout the festival and a pedestrians paradise. Traditionally on the market on Sunday there will be shown barrel-organs throughout the old town-center. Bruno invited around 35 organplayers of which 33 where present. After a good brunch the players were divided into groups of 3 or 4 organs and were sent out to their places. I already told You about that concept on other Swiss occasions: it gives wide room to talk to people interested in the organs and for the public it´s great to have the chance to listen to more than one organ at a certain place. The grinders did their best to entertain the public even if the weather conditions were not as good as expected. The shown organs reached from small American reed organs up to a late Raffin-organ built in 2015. Peter Bürgisser and Cyril Schulthess were invited to accompany the holy mass at the townchurch. Just in time for the planned presentation of all organs on the marketplace it began to rain heavily at 16:00 h. Sadly this presentation had to be cancelled but we hope for the next years event to present the organs to the public again. The usual get-together was held afterwards in a restaurant on place.
Text and photos: Uwe Gernert (thanks!).
Ever since I’ve been going to "GDSF" on a regular yearly basis – I´m interested in any kind of old mechanic – this year I saw as many organs as I never saw before there. Apart from the steam engines that fact for me was one of this year´s highlights at the fair.
It would be impossible to describe all the organs I saw in our small news section of MechaMusica´s website in detail, so I invite you to have a look at the photo gallery below. I’ve tried to get all of the organs at least with one "shot" but made some photos from the backsides and descriptions also. This should do it for an overlook for you and I personally think you´ll find some well-known organs from Belgium and The Netherlands (even those sold to British owners) in my small collection of photos.
Ever since I visited GDSF I was used to rainy weather conditions but this year we had at least 2 sunshiny days, this year´s rain didn’t begin before Saturday night, which gave us two complete days listening and watching the organs uncovered. Next year´s visit is warmly recommended to you!
Great Dorset Steam Fair 2016
Text and photos: Uwe Gernert - thanks, Uwe!
The 12th international organ festival at Einsiedeln in Switzerland took place on 14th August 2016. As usually it was perfectly organized by Peter X. Bürgisser (www.drehorgel-schweiz.ch) who had invited 28 organ grinders way before the festival. We gathered at hotel "Drei Könige", facing the world famous monastery, at 09:00 h and Peter asked the grinders to vote for one of the places where as usual 4 to 5 organs play together. For the visitors this grouped setup makes it a nice experience to walk through the streets of the town while having the opportunity to listen to more than one instrument at a place and for the grinders it´s a lot more fun because they don´t have to wait too long to play another piece of music again. The groups of grinders spread out to be at their places at 10:00 h.
Peter also organized a service in the monastery´s church "Maria Assumption" with two organs playing classical and religious music at 11:00 h – as Einsiedeln is a widely known pilgrims’ site, the church was crowded not only by the organ grinders but by an international public. Shortly before the lunch break at 13:00 h Frater Basil blessed the organs in a short ceremony in front of the basilica. Lunch and beverages where sponsored by hotel "Drei Könige" and offered for free to the participants. From 14:00 h to 16:00 h the organs spread out again throughout the town playing for the public.
Text and photos: Uwe Gernert
The 36. international Festival of the Barrel organ at Berlin is history! Beginning on Friday 01. July 2016 with the inscription and the official opening by the mayor of Berlin-Charlottenburg/Wilmersdorf at 18:00 h on Breitscheidplatz in the centre of Berlin at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It again was an extraordinary event. After the opening ceremony the fest started - without organs but a dance band playing songs of the fifties and sixties for the public. The "event of the event" part one is always the grand parade on Saturday morning when the Kurfürstendamm is reserved for all kinds of barrel organs. The defilé is held from 11:00 h to 12:00 h on 1 km of the "Ku´damm" with more than 120 organs. The defilé was headed traditionally by a horse-coach where the district-mayor of Berlin-Charlottenburg/Wilmersdorf Reinhard Naumann and Margot Wolf (Willy Jacops gave her the title of the eldest organ player of the world as you could read on MM´s website some time ago) in her 101st (!!!) year. She is still grinding her organ and is still going strong.
All organ grinders got a lot of public this year and fortunately during the hour of the defilé it was not raining. The rest of the Saturday the organs played on and around Breitscheidplatz for the public but weather conditions could have been better. "Jubel-Jette" Christa Hohnhäuser as the organizer of the festival introduced organ players from all over the world on stage the whole Saturday and Sunday and explained the different organs. Christa this year welcomed about 150 organ grinders from 13 countries. Amongst those was Shibaraku Asakusa from Tokyo and two grinders from Chile with "chinchinera" Olga Carrasco who did an amazing job on her drums to the sound of Manuel Ivan Melo´s barrel organ. Manuel still manufactures barrel organs in the style of Frati from Berlin in Santiago. All other players had more than enough listeners until late in the evening. On the evening the whole grinders-family - at the Berlin fest You may take the word "family" for real - had a dine-out at the Berlin zoo.
Drehorgelfest Berlin 2016
By Uwe Gernert
Since I got some of the old mechanical instruments made between 1880 und 1930 at Leipzig, Dr. Birgit Heise, curator of the Grassi Museum of Musical Instruments of the University of Leipzig invited me on the occasion of the opening of the thematic exhibition "music.mp0 - Selfplaying Instruments from Leipzig" to those ceremonies. The exhibition was presented to the public on last Saturday. Birgit asked me to play one or two of my Tanzbärs at the get-together-party after the opening ceremony.
I personally can recommend to visit that exhibition. More than 15 of the instruments are presented "life" - the students of the university of Leipzig volunteraly present some of the most remarkable instruments to the public each day from 13:00 through 17:00 h. Birgit herself has profound knowledge of those instruments as she provided a detailed online-catalogue of the history of the mechanical instruments built at Leipzig - an unbelievable good source for the collector:
A catalogue to the exibition can be bought at the museum and online. From that catalogue it is possible to obtain impressions of nine instruments playing by QR-code. But also You can watch them play by following the link below:
And here the link to the museums own page for that special event:
The photographical impressions You see below are given by courtesy of Grassimuseum, Dr. Birgit Heise. And this is not even the best You will find there! The exhibition will be continued to 31. January 2016.
Exhibition at Grassimuseum Leipzig