Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wikipedia Wednesday #1: John Loosemore's huge organ

If I keep introducing new stuff this week, I'm going to have one wicked combo chain. The idea behind Wikipedia Wednesday is that I click "Random article" on Wikipedia's main page and post the opening paragraph or whatever comes up, along with any commentary I have on it. Well, sorta. I had to cheat/tweak it because everything that came up the first, second, and third time was either too short (not even a paragraph) or outside of my purview. I don't know enough about Indian cinema or Imams to comfortably talk about either, so I reserve the right to keep clicking until something comes up. In the future, I might restrict it to three or four clicks, then work with whatever I end up on. Anyways, here's what I finally got:
John Loosemore (August 1616 – April 18, 1681) was an English builder of pipe organs. He is best known for his organ at Exeter Cathedral in Devon, which he completed in 1665.

John Loosemore was born in Barnstaple where he was baptized on August 25, 1616. His father was also a builder and repairer of organs, and passed on the trade to his son John, who moved to Exeter sometime before 1645. The other two sons of the family, Henry and George, also had a connection with organ music as they were eventually appointed organists at King's College, Cambridge and Trinity College, Cambridge, respectively, probably under the patronage of Dudley North, 4th Baron North.

During the rule of the Puritans in Exeter from 1646-1660, church music was frowned upon. Many church organs, including the previous instrument in Exeter Cathedral, were vandalized or destroyed during the English Civil War. During this period, Loosemore was employed primarily in repairing organs and building other keyboard instruments for private ownership. One of his virginals dated 1655 has been preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Alright, so he made pipe organs during the English Civil War and when the Oliver Cromwell and his lot ruled England. Interesting time period and the Puritans' disapprobation to church music and his livelihood undoubtedly added a lot of drama and potential danger to his life. The article has a picture of the organ he built for the Exeter Cathedral, so let's check that out.

By Karl Gruber (Own work, present version Wikimedia Commons)
[CC BY 3.0 at], via Wikimedia Commons
Okay, that is very, very, very impressive. That is so fucking cool looking, damn. It looks like something that ought to be in a gothic novel or in either Warhammer Fantasy or Warhammer 40k. Amazing.

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