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Article

Geib  

Margaret Cranmer, Barbara Owen, W. Thomas Marrocco, Mark Jacobs and G. Kaleschke

German family of organ builders, piano makers, instrument dealers and music publishers. One branch of the family worked first in England and later in the USA. Johann Georg Geib (i) (b Staudernheim an der Nahe, 9 Sept 1739; d Frankenthal, 16 April 1818) established his own business around 1760 in St Johann, near Saarbrücken. In 1790 the business was transferred to Frankenthal, and from about 1786 his son Johann Georg (ii) worked in partnership with him. Geib’s work was typical of the Middle Rhine school of organ building. Of the 16 instruments that can be attributed to him only six survive: the best-preserved is in the Protestant parish church in Lambrecht.

Johann Georg Geib (ii) (b Saarbrücken, 14 June 1772; d Frankenthal, 5 March 1849) ran the family business after his father’s death, first on his own and then jointly with Josef Littig. Only about nine of his organs can be traced; his work did not attain the same quality as his father’s, and the firm ceased after his death....

Article

Christopher Kent

English firm of organ builders . It was established in 1980 by Dominic Gwynn (b Ealing, 18 Aug 1953), Martin Goetze (b Luton, 14 Sept 1951) and Edward Bennett (b Coln St Aldwyns, Glos., 18 Aug 1948) with the aim of rediscovering the pre-Victorian (classical) tradition of English organ building. Their instruments reflect the findings of archival and fieldwork research, and address the requirements of soloists and ensembles dedicated to historically informed performances of early music. They have also contributed to the conservation of Britain’s organ heritage with reports and pre-restoration surveys of significant instruments and contributions to organographical conferences and literature (writings by Gwynn are listed below). Restorations undertaken by the firm have included a number of chamber and barrel organs. Among the reconstructions are the Handel organ at St Lawrence, Little Stanmore, London (1994), the 1743 Thomas Griffin organ at St Helen Bishopsgate, London (...

Article

Kurt Lueders

French firm of organ builders. The founder, Victor [Victorino] Gonzalez (b Hacinas, Burgos, 2 Dec 1877; d Paris, 3 June 1956), trained with Cavaillé-Coll (1894–9) and worked for Gutschenritter, Limonaire and Masure before going into partnership with Victor Ephrème at Malakoff, near Paris, in 1921; from 1929 he and his son Fernand (1904–40) worked together as Etablissements Gonzalez in Châtillon. The influential support of Norbert Dufourcq and the organist André Marchal gradually led to the creation of the neo-classical or eclectic organ, seeking to fuse elements of the French classical organ with the then dominant late-Romantic style. Rudolf von Beckerath, who worked in the shop until 1936, introduced German influences. Georges Danion, who married Victor’s granddaughter, headed the firm after 1956, incorporating workshops in Rambervillers from 1963 and later Lodève, and transferring the headquarters to Brunoy in 1965. From the 1980s the company’s operations diminished, and by the end of the 20th century only the Lodève shop remained active....

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. Robert Gray (d 1796) was in business at Leigh Street, Red Lion Square, London, in 1774. By 1787 he had been joined by William Gray (d c1820), and a trade card of about 1795 advertises them as ‘Robert & William Gray, Organ, Harpsichord & Piano-Forte Makers’. Following Robert’s death William carried on business in his own name; he was succeeded by his son John Gray (d 1849) who had, by 1837, taken his son Robert into partnership.

The firm’s work was highly regarded in the early 19th century. Their tonal schemes reflected the growing taste for delicate voices and imitative reeds, but the Great Organ always contained a complete chorus and William Gray was one of the first to make regular use of Pedal pipes. Important contracts during this period included new organs for St Anne’s, Soho (...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

German firm of piano makers. C(arl) F(riedrich) Theodor Steinweg (b Seesen, 6 Nov 1825; d Brunswick, 26 March 1889), the eldest son of H.E. Steinweg, continued the family piano-making business in Seesen when his father and the rest of the family emigrated in 1850 to New York where they founded Steinway. In 1855 the German firm moved from Seesen to Wolfenbüttel, where in 1858 (Georg) Friedrich (Carl) Grotrian (b Brunswick, 13 Jan 1803; d 11 Dec 1860), who had sold his Moscow music shop and piano-making business, became Theodor’s partner. The firm then moved to Brunswick.

In 1865 Theodor emigrated to New York to assist his father, having sold his share in the business to Wilhelm Grotrian (b Moscow, 12 Aug 1843; d Brunswick, 21 Feb 1917, the son of Friedrich Grotrian), Adolf Helfferich and H.O.W. Schulz, who continued the business under the name C.F.Th. Steinweg Nachf. This trade name was changed to Grotrian, Helfferich, Schulz, Th. Steinweg Nachf. in ...

Article

Karl J. Raudsepp

Canadian firm of organ builders . It was founded in 1946 by Maurice Guilbault (1903–69), who had previously worked for Casavant Frères of St Hyacinthe, Quebec, and Antonio Delage. In 1962 the company was incorporated as Orgue Providence Inc., taking its name from the location of the workshop. Guilbault’s son André (b St Hyacinthe, 28 Nov 1937) joined the firm in 1955 and succeeded his father as head of the company in 1968. At about that time he was joined by Guy Thérien (b Iberville, PQ, 20 Nov 1947; d St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, 11 May 2001), a young apprentice voicer from Casavant Frères. The company adopted its present name, Guilbault-Thérien Inc., in 1979. A new and enlarged workshop was built to accommodate the expanding business in 1985.

The firm began by rebuilding instruments using primarily electro-pneumatic technology. Examples include the electro-pneumatic rebuilding of the historic 1863...

Article

Margaret Cranmer and Kari Michelsen

Norwegian firm of piano makers and music publishers. The brothers Karl Hals (b Sörum, 27 April 1822; d Christiania [now Oslo], 7 Dec 1898) and Petter Hals (1823–71) set up as Brødrene Hals, piano makers, in Christiania in November 1847, having studied piano making abroad. They first made only oblique-strung upright pianos, but later changed to upright vertical and cross-strung instruments, better suited to the harsh Norwegian climate. They manufactured several thousand instruments and they also specialized in repair work. They received medals at exhibitions in 1862, 1866, 1867 and 1900. In 1890 the factory had 100 employees.

By 1869 their bichord and trichord upright pianos had three iron bars and metal plates bracing the deepest octaves, the larger trichord upright pianos having five iron bars with metal plates for all the strings. All vertical upright pianos had seven octaves whereas grand and cross-strung upright pianos had seven and a quarter octaves. In cross-strung upright pianos the strings were somewhat longer, giving a rich tone, the metal plate being fastened to an iron frame under the soundboard, and to three iron bars placed over it. The firm made harmoniums from ...

Article

Hans Klotz

revised by Hermann Fischer

German firm of organ builders. Philipp Furtwängler (b Gütenbach, Baden-Württemberg, 6 April 1800; d Elze, Hanover, 5 July 1867), a clockmaker in Elze, taught himself to build organs, completing his first instrument in 1838. He took his son Wilhelm (b Elze, 5 June 1829; d Elze, 3 Sept 1883) into the firm in 1854, and his son Pius (b Elze, 14 July 1841; d Hanover, 16 Jan 1910) in 1862, when the firm’s name was altered to Ph. Furtwängler & Söhne, Elze. Adolf Hammer (b Herzberg im Harz, 6 April 1854; d Hanover, 5 March 1921) entered the firm in 1883, in which year it moved to Hanover and changed its name to P. Furtwängler & Hammer, Hanover. Adolf Hammer’s nephew Emil Hammer (b Wesermünde, 22 Feb 1878; d Hanover, 3 Dec 1958) became managing director in 1921 and sole proprietor in ...

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. It was founded in Rochdale in 1861 by Thomas Hugh Harrison (b London, 27 Dec 1839; d Isleworth, 24 March 1912), whose father, another Thomas (c1807–93), had set up in business as an organ parts supplier in the New Road, London, in 1830. The son served an apprenticeship with Henry Willis, and then went north to exploit the demand for organs created by the building of churches and chapels in the industrial districts. He may have acquired Richard Nicholson's business when the latter moved away from Rochdale in 1861 (see Nicholson family). In 1870 he moved to Durham. His brother James (who had also been apprenticed to Willis) joined him in 1872 and the firm became Harrison & Harrison. The organs of this period are well-built, of good materials, and already reveal the concern for tonal refinement, and taste for smooth reeds, solid Pedal Organs and variety of string tone which were to become characteristic of the firm’s work after ...

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. It was founded in 1916 with the amalgamation of Wm. Hill & Son (see Hill family) and Norman & Beard Ltd of Norwich. Norman & Beard had been founded as ‘E.W. Norman, Organ Builder, Diss’ in about 1870. Ernest William Norman (1852–1927) had served a part-apprenticeship with J.W. Walker. After a few years he was joined in business by his brother, Herbert John Norman (1861–1936) and a premium apprentice, George Wales Beard. When Beard became a partner (c1886) the firm was known as ‘Norman Bros. & Beard’. By the end of the century they had a purpose-built works in Norwich, and reputedly employed 300 men.

The firm’s work was progressive. During the 1890s they sub-contracted for Robert Hope-Jones’s Electric Organ Co., and when it was obliged to close in 1899 they acquired his electric action patents. H.J. Norman also developed an exhaust-pneumatic action which was extensively used by the firm throughout the first half of the 20th century (its first successful application was in ...