Mighty Kotzschmar!

We got a rare opportunity yesterday afternoon to look close up at the famous Kotzschmar organ and hear it played in the Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. An organist friend from Brunswick, Maine, sent out an email to a bunch of people saying she had the organ for a half-hour, and planned to play Bach, Franck, and Alain. So we rushed down to Portland to get there at 3:30pm for the half-hour free concert. There were maybe ten people in that vast auditorium to hear this Behemoth of 6,620 pipes with a five manual (keyboard) console send enormous reverberations careening magnificently throughout the hall, enveloping all, as our friend, Grace Lewis-McLaren, played the Prelude in G Major by J. S. Bach, the Chorale in E Major by Caesar Franck, and Litanies by Jehan Alain. The organ is named after Hermann Kotzschmar, in whose honor the organ was given in 1912. He had been the organist and choir director at First Parish Church, Unitarian Universalist, in Portland for 47 years. For more information see here.

  1. Valentin’s avatar

    Well ..

    You must know this :

    Kotzschmar sound (pronounced) like romanian
    word coshmar.
    Coshmar (cosmar, actually) mean …


  2. Mardé’s avatar

    OK, pretty good one, Valentin. Yes, it could be a mighty nightmare (translating from the Romanian!). That isn’t so far-fetched either — some people have tender ear drums, and what if a blast from a 64 foot pipe, say, were just enough to cause puncture? That would be agonizing for the poor devil. Ricard Strauss’ Thus Sprak Zarathustra would be a good one to test ear drums on, not to mention Verdi’s Requiem….. But am I snowing you with my musical knowledge? Well, you Romanians had some great musicians too, right?

  3. Valentin’s avatar

    Well, on summer heat, fact you are snowing
    me is not quite bad thing :-))

    Yet I`m far less into classical music than
    espected. Stil, I have promised to myself I`ll
    try to find time to have a listening-time for
    a pipe orgy .. ops, organ. I know is at least
    one in Bucharest, in a chatolic cathedral but
    I have no idea when is playing and what .. I
    think I`ll sure listen many many times Joan
    Baez`s ‘Love song for a stranger’ prior to reach
    to listen .. pipes :-))

    Anyway, I like Beethowen more ..

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    “Well, on summer heat, fact you are snowing
    me is not quite bad thing :-))”

    Funny you should mention that. It’s the hottest day of the year here today! Maybe same in Bucharest?

    Interesting you mention Joan Baez. I used to see her play in person back in the 1960’s in Brookline, Massachusetts.

    I like Beethoven, too.

  5. Valentin’s avatar

    Well, I missed to see her on 1960 on
    Massachusetts. Not only becouse is so far
    away from the place I was (and still am) that
    time, yet also coz I was only ~4 y old that
    time ..

    Here was 2 days storm and cold – cold for a
    summer time – but now heat started to take
    over again ..

  6. Mardé’s avatar

    ~4 y old in 1960? Well, that at least makes you just over half a century now, on my side of the divide 😀

    I just looked up Bucharest on a map of Romania and see that it might be almost 100 miles from the Black Sea. So, I guess your weather is a little different from that of Constanta? Or maybe not.

  7. twoooooooooeetie’s avatar

    Yes – that’s a wonderful organ. My mother used to give a recital there every year in their summer series. I think I even turned pages for her once or twice.

  8. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks again, twoooooooooeetie, for this comment. That’s two comments in about five minutes! I didn’t know your mother gave recitals on the mighty Kotzschmar, and that you even turned the pages for her. Amazing! That must have been quite a thrill.


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