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MMD > Archives > October 2004 > 2004.10.17 > 02Prev  Next


Remembering David Junchen
By Douglas Henderson

Hello,  One of the 'Net newsgroups is having a series of emails right
now on the topic, "Who was David Junchen?"  While I never met David
personally, I had many years of intensive correspondence with him and
several 'phone calls.  I still wish I'd bought his 3-volume set of
theatre organ history books, and it's amazing that he got the last
one out as he was suffering from a terminal disease at that point.

Talking with and writing David was like dealing with a "fellow
arranger" -- we know _who_ we are, and this crosses lines into other
instruments, for I had similar exchanges with Jean Cuendet, the Swiss
musical box builder, back in the 1960s.

Arrangers, without stating anything openly, _know_ that rolls are
arranged and not hand-played, so those who go 'ga-ga' over some alleged
artist are never in our discussions.  Instead, people like us talk
about musical problems and solutions, especially how we adapted
something from another musical source for a piano, pipe organ or
orchestrion.

Our talks are not about Ampico spark chronographs, Welte mercury
troughs and the pseudo-technology of the 'reproducing' piano but,
instead, are of stepping ratios, paper travel speeds and, especially,
the _limitations_ of the player medium.  If you know what they can't
do, then the challenge is to work around them.

My last 'phone conversation with David concerned the sale of his
Leabarjan #5 perforator, used previously for arranging rolls.

My final postal letter from him concerned the publication of the third
book on organs.  Stupidly, I didn't know that time would be so short,
and that it would have been better to buy the first two then wait for
all three, which is what I was doing.  A local collector had the first
volume, so I could see the quality of his work in publishing this
series.

I believe he also rebuilt the pipe organ in Glendale, California, for
their auditorium.  My memory might be fuzzy, here, but I think it came
from Holland and was originally the "Traveling Moeller" used by Reginald
Foort in vaudeville tours for England, later seized during the War for
BBC use.

His premature death was a loss, for all who had exchanges with him
about player rolls and mechanical musical instruments.  There are many
"talkers" in the music roll field, but few _real_ arrangers who explored
the depth of their musical possibilities and then _perforated their
thoughts_, which proved the point.  His arrangements will live on,
along with the organ books.

Regards,
Douglas Henderson - Artcraft Music Rolls
Wiscasset, Maine, USA
http://wiscasset.nnei.net/artcraft/


(Message sent Sun 17 Oct 2004, 15:54:42 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  David, Junchen, Remembering

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