It has been now eighteen years since I first saw [Rosales
Opus 11 at Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon]. I still
have my handwritten notes and impressions from that visit
(three years before my first laptop!). It was David Junchen
who urged me to see it most of all, and Grahame Davis, ...
and seemingly countless others. Sometimes it's difficult to
think back to those far more unyielding times, when its
fusing of the supposedly unfusable reflected the culture as
much as the instrument itself. It was a clear watershed,
amplified by so many people understanding that very fact
right from the start.
Jonathan Ambrosino, for the 20th anniversary of Opus 11
Every aspect [of Opus 24 in Walt Disney Concert
Hall, Los Angeles] is awe-inspiring, from the lush, restful
whispers of the Unda Maris and Voix Céleste right through to
the arresting tones of the triple tutti, crowned by the
heroic Trompeta de Los Angeles which appears in the Gehry
prospect (as do, remarkably enough, the 32' Violonbasse and
32' Contre Basson).
Two full symphony orchestras and a
chorus of five hundred singers could not equal the overall
power of this new organ when all appropriate registers are
engaged. Special mention must be made of the Llamarada
division which particularly pays homage to the glorious
Spanish organ-building history. Stops such as the soaring
Flautado grandiso and the cheerful Pajaritos (two pair of
birdolas/nightingales) lend a unique and memorable charm to
this most noble and notable of concert pipe organs.
On behalf of the Los Angeles
Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America, I would like
to thank you for your presentation "Organ Builder,
Acoustician and Client: Developing a Team Approach" on
February 17, 2004. The excellent historical
perspective and the detailed discussion of the issues
involved in the design and installation of pipe organs in
often difficult settings was presented in a very informal
manner and was easy to follow by the members of the
audience. I learned a great deal from the session and
I'm sure that the other members of the audience were equally
impressed. The numerous questions and comments from
the group demonstrated their interest in your presentation.
We were very privileged and pleased to have you as our
speaker and appreciate the time you took from your busy
schedule to talk to us. Thank you.
I hope that we can arrange for a visit to the new organ
in Walt Disney Concert Hall soon.
Vice-Chairman, ASA Los Angeles Regional Chapter
was with anticipation yet some skepticism that I came in
July 1988 to see and hear your Opus 11 at Trinity Episcopal
Cathedral in Portland. After playing only a few chords, I
immediately knew that this organ was something very special.
Indeed, I had never heard anything as exciting and brilliant
this side of France. It was bold yet elegant, powerful yet
subtle, exhilarating yet soothing. Everything about it was
superb: the colors, the voicing, the balances, the
flexibility, the action, the casework and facades, the
player comfort. In short, it was fabulous.
Click on image
to go to
Without a doubt, it is one of the
best organs ever built by anyone. I have had the pleasure
and honor of your friendship ever since that wonderful
experience in Portland. I admire many things about you: your
uncanny ability to work magic on stoplists and pipes; your
great knowledge and love of the work of Aristide
Cavaillé-Coll; your perfectionist attitude about making an
organ the best it can be; your honesty and loyalty; your
open-mindedness about new ideas and innovations. Your
talents have inspired me to learn more about the science and
art of organ building. I look forward to each and every new
Rosales with great anticipation. Indeed, each one is unique
and, in its own way, an American masterpiece. Bravo!
you know, I have played some splendid instruments, and I am
grateful for that. But on too many other occasions I have
wished for tonal production that is well balanced and at the
same time lends itself to a wide range of the literature.
Click on image
to go to
Opus 11 the musical phrases take on the proper meaning and
come to life as they should. And as a final attribute of a
practical nature, the stops are arranged in such a logical
manner that it is perfectly natural to just perform the
music without effort.
Some time ago I was discouraged
over what would happen to organ building in this country,
but you are now the "top man."
Catharine Crozier Gleason
was reassuring for me to play your Opus 11 at
Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon. I had
been looking at the specification and wondering if
the sound of the instrument would be as splendid as
the stoplist suggested. After playing the instrument
in rehearsal and in concert, all I can say is Bravo!
go to Delos
The four Harmonic Flutes
are really wonderful and it was gratifying to see
them take their rightful place in the palette of
tonal colors. Organ builders have ignored these
voices in recent times and I have missed them. They
add so much to the possibilities in the
registrations and are called for in much of the
French Romantic literature. Thank you for restoring
these stops to their rightful place.
Please accept my congratulations for a
successful instrument and best wishes for the
success of your future work.
With warmest regards,
continue to build organs of rare and unsurpassed tonal
beauty. It has been a joy to play several of your new
instruments in the last few years, including the
privilege of recording the extraordinary organ at
The instruments speak with
individual and highly flavored, yet refined accents. The
innate beauty of each stop shows great finesse of
voicing, and the effect of the ensembles is invariably
convincing and satisfying, from the simple combination
of 8' and 16' foundation stops to the shuddering power
of the tutti.
review of disc
But perhaps the truest accolade
I could give is that once seated at the console, I find
it next to impossible to leave; the repertoire refuses
to exhaust itself. The timbres that emerge are
astonishingly profuse, like the handkerchiefs out of the
magician's hat - and even having settled on a particular
choice of stops, one wishes to hear it continuously,
basking in the tremendous richness of sound. We
organists are deeply grateful for such works of art.
There is no question that you are a master builder, but
I think that you are a genius as well.
With great admiration,
Diane Meredith Belcher
had a truly fabulous time playing your magnificent
instrument at Trinity. It worked beautifully for my program
- or rather I should say that almost any program would be
perfectly rendered on such a fine eclectic organ - and I
thoroughly enjoyed getting to know its subtleties. Not to
mention reeds that I'd die for...
Thank you again for being such a
fine organ builder. It's artists like you that keep me in
this line of work. The Trinity organ has revitalized my
whole attitude towards performance!
I want to add my own note of appreciation and admiration to
so many others who have congratulated you on this great
accomplishment. I am sure that many other organ builders
would have simply given up when faced with so many
obstacles. It is a real tribute, not only to your skill as a
craftsman, but also your patience as a person that this
project is now complete.
And what a superb instrument it is!
I always knew that we would someday have a good organ. What
I didn't realize until last week is that we have instead a
masterpiece. Surely the musical world will now sit up and
take notice of this remarkable instrument played by
The Rev. Kirk Stevan Smith,
St. James' Episcopal Church, Los Angeles, Calif.
What a joy it was to place my hands upon your exceptional
instrument at St. James Episcopal Church, L.A., the other
night. It is one of those exceptional marriages of builders
and acoustic that make the instrument fairly beg to be
played. Such wondrous "marriages" are hard to come by. The
beauty, warmth, color, variety, subtlety, cohesiveness and
ease with which the organ speaks is like a miracle. Bravo!
Keep up the good work. I look forward to more of your
instruments and especially encourage you to give us more
such instruments with electric consoles and your wonderful
Clay Christiansen, Tabernacle
The Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah
Just as the best-equipped harpsichordist is not likely to
have a Baffo for Frescobaldi, a Zell for Bach and a Tibaut
for Louis Couperin, so no organist can expect more than a
Fisk or Rosales in his hall - nor should he!
Bruce Brown, San Francisco,
Keith Toth, Danbury, Connecticut
played the Rosales organ at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in
the empty building back in September, and finding the
instrument quite aggressive from the console, and
remembering the long thread on PipOrg-L about that subject
some while back, I approached the evening recital by Douglas
Cleveland with real interest. This was to be my chance to
evaluate to my personal satisfaction this instrument about
which we have all heard so much. I was, in fact, cornered on
the porch by a Portland native, with whom I am happily
acquainted, and he made his feelings quite clear, to the
affect that he really finds the instrument overpowering.
Well, I want to weigh in with my
vote - I had no trouble arriving at a clear judgement, for
what that might be worth. Where I feared I might be
overpowered and beaten by noise, I found only real
excitement and thrill, and lots of ravishingly beautiful
sounds at lesser decibel levels as well. That's really it!
Douglas played a brilliant, flawless, and totally musical
concert for us - a "lot of notes." The complete Vierne 2nd,
the Tournemire Victimae Paschali, the Franck
Priére, Deux Esquisses, Opus 41 of Dupré, E
Minor and B flat Minor, and already completely
drained (Douglas looked at the end like he had not moved a
muscle all evening), we had one final burst of emotion,
singing (which at an OHS convention, is worth the trip
alone) St. Clement "The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended." I
was a puddle on the floor. We all have recitals we will
remember forever - this is one to add to my personal list.
Thank you OHS, thank you Douglas, thank you Manuel Rosales.
What a night!
in Glorious Portland Reviews, June 1997