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MMD > Archives > April 1999 > 1999.04.20 > 07Prev  Next

"Taj Mahal" & Mortier Organ Recordings
By Jack M. Conway

Hi Group, Robbie asked if recordings of the Taj Mahal were issued
commercially.  Yes.  "The Taj Mahal In Concert", AIG-1 Stereo.  Issued
by American International Galleries copyright 1978.  A 33 1/3 rpm
Stereo recording.  The tunes include: Tennessee Waltz, Dixie - Yankee
Doodle Dandy, Mazurka, Wooden Heart, Beer Barrel Polka, Que Sera, My
Wild Irish Rose, When the Saints Go Marching In, Cuckoo Waltz, Puppet
on a String, Wonderful Copenhagen, Why Don't My dreams Come True?,
Yellow Rose of Texas, Why Did I Kiss that Girl?, So, What's New?, and
Boogie Woogie.

As someone else mentioned it has a lot of facade but most of the pipes
are in a small chassis in the center of the facade.  The Taj was built
in 1922 for St. Jean's Palace in Antwerp by Theotiel Mortier.  It was
installed in 1924.

It is a 101-key book organ.  Some 200 music books were commissioned.
The instrumentation included approximately 700 organ pipes, a xylo-
phone, several drums, wood blocks, castanets, a huge temple bell
(similar to a locomotive or church bell), and many other effects.
It also has two larger-than-life-size statues and 1000 colored lights
on three light changing circuits.

In 1952 the Taj played its last note and was boarded up.  The Taj
was sold to Q. David Bowers in 1977 and rebuilt by Ron Cappel and his
staff.  New music was commissioned from Arthur Prinsen and the Taj was
ready to play again.

When AIG moved to a smaller building in the Irvine, California, area,
the Taj would not fit under the ceiling.  They constructed a pit in the
floor deep enough for the Taj to fit.  When that location closed the
Taj went into storage at California Movers warehouse.  After that I
lost track of it.

Another outstanding Mortier recording is "Continental Superstar
the Magnificent Mortier" It features the 92-key Mortier from the
Prinsen-Ghysels Collection in Brussels, Belgium.  A CJMO Record,
RPL 722 Stereo.

I love Mortier's!  They have a characteristic sound that says
"I am a Mortier!"

Jack M. Conway, Los Angeles, California, USA

(Message sent Tue 20 Apr 1999, 16:48:52 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Mahal, Mortier, Organ, Recordings, Taj

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