If you are a social media addict as I am, and in particular a member of a number of organists groups you will be used from time to time seeing comic draw stop names that have for the most part been photoshopped by someone with a sense of humour, ’Fast Forward Sermon’ ‘Mute Preacher,’ ‘Sport Chanel’ and ‘Sudoko’ are just a few that come to mind.
One that I did not understand is to be found at Lausanne Cathedral where a number of stops refer to Fern on Great and Fern on Swell and to add to my confusion they did nothing. I later found out that a separate division called Fernwerk was prepared for when the instrument was installed in 2003. This actually means ‘far away’ and refers to an ‘Echo’ division that was finally commissioned in 2013 after my visit. So mystery solved and a new term added to what I thought was a pretty extensive organ vocabulary.
However, as organ stops go the one shown on short video that you will see below has really amused me. This particular organ builder and his customer clearly both have a genuine sense of humour. The name on the stop is Raushwerk which is of course a valid name and most likely indicates a small-scale reed stop so anyone pulling it will have quite a surprise
If you look closely on the left below the keyboard shelf you will see as the drawstop is pulled a cabinet appear that contains a bottle of schnapps and some glasses. Perhaps this is a feature added as the sermons are especially long and it is an altogether kinder way of dealing with the problem, well at least for the organist if not the congregation. You will need to travel to Ratzeburg Cathedral to pull it for yourself and enjoy hospitality of a kind I have yet to find in any organ loft I have visited.
If you know of any more amusing or unusual drawstops then please do let us know.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.