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Mander Organs

David Surtees

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Posts posted by David Surtees

  1. If there were a culture in this country that valued the organ, the demise of Christianity would not be an issue. It is worth comparing the situation here with that in the Netherlands. In an increasingly secular society many churches have closed, but the organs (often of huge historical significance) remain in use. The number of organ recitals that take place seems staggering, and they are by and large very well supported.

    It seems unlikely to me that the Dutch organ building industry will die out any time soon. 

  2. Those two comments, from John Lill and András Schiff, are very perceptive, perhaps suggesting that those pianists that are successful in transferring Bach’s music to the piano are those that have some affinity for the instruments on which it was originally composed, even if they don’t play them themselves. I know a pianist (who doesn’t play the organ) said to me that she had a much greater appreciation for Bach’s music after playing a harpsichord for the first time. As far as my own experience is concerned, I now have no inclination to play Bach on the piano, but before I learned either the organ or harpsichord, it was one of my greatest joys. 

  3. Definitely agree with VH’s comments regarding András Schiff. He’s one of the few pianists who I enjoy listening to play Bach. His depth of feeling for the music is unsurpassed. 

    As far as Bach piano transcriptions go, the only one I care much for is Brahms’ version for left hand of the Chaconne from the D minor partita. Unashamedly romantic, but still with the character of the piece intact. 

  4. Thanks for this. Will make sure to listen. Though I might have to catch the second one one iPlayer (or whatever it is called these days) as have a rehearsal at the same time. 

    On a related note, does anyone know if any of the OrganFest was recorded? Would be great to hear some of the concerts for those off us who weren’t able to make it. 

  5. As far as i can work out, the B&H edition is not for organ and piano. Rather it is either for organ or two pianos. In the case of the two piano version, the first pianist plays the manual parts of the organ version, and the second pianist plays the two staves at the bottom of the score. The note on IMSLP seems to suggest that both versions are by Liszt, the with the organ version being the original. 

  6. What a fascinating piece. I've never come across it before, nor Porter Heaps, for that matter. Given that the organist James Welch is from Palo Alto, where Heaps lived in his retirement, it is entirely possible the piece has never been published, and Welch was given a copy personally by the composer. 

  7. The Ahrend organ in the Reid Concert Hall at Edinburgh University is tuned to Werkmeister III, and is to my mind an incredibly versatile instrument. I once heard a performance of the Brahms fugue in Ab minor on it, which was fascinating and surprising, and really opened my ears to the possibility of playing 19th century music in an unequal temperament.

    Most of my practice is done on a toaster with a limited selection of historic temperaments, and I tend to leave it in Werkmeister, finding it to be more interesting than Kirnberger or Valotti, and more versatile than Meantone or Pythagorean (the other options). 

    As far as piano tunings are concerned, there were some interesting comments in the obituary thread for Jean Guillou on this forum regarding Serge Cordier and his temperaments, which were designed for the piano, although translated to other instruments such as organs. 

  8. On 25/04/2019 at 00:24, DariusB said:

    And there’s at least one piece by Florence Price - the first African American woman to have a piece performed by a professional symphony orchestra - in the series King of Kings - organ music by black composers, which is well worth investigating with some really interesting music.  Though I admit it’s not much - and on a related topic, we could do with more organ recitals by women as well! 

    Florence Price wrote a fairly significant body of organ works including a sonata and a suite (No. 1, although I don’t think there is a No. 2), as well as a host of smaller works. They are published by ClarNan editions, in four volumes edited by Calvert Johnson. Unfortunately ClarNan do not have a distributor in Europe, so their music has to be ordered from an American supplier, with associated exhorbitant postage costs. 

    Other female composers worth checking out include the Swede Elfride Andrée, whose Symphony No. 1 is a masterpiece. Her Symphony No. 2 features a brass band as well as the organ, but is not quite up to the standard set by the first, in my opinion. 

    Johanna Senfter was a pupil of Reger, and wrote several chorale preludes, clearly inspired by her teacher. Here is the Fantasie und Fuge über Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern: 


  9. 1 hour ago, biggestelk said:

    With some help from Google translate...

    The Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, said on France Inter that "the organ seems to be quite achieved" , while remaining cautious and emphasizing that "it is too early to make a total diagnosis" .... 

    The French word Franck Riester used was « atteint », which implies the organ has been affected, or reached by the fire. “Achieved” is an odd translation in that context. 

    Also just seen on social media:


    Selon Mgr Benoist de Sinety, vicaire général de l’archidiocèse de Paris, l’orgue de Notre-Dame de Paris est « pratiquement totalement détruit ».

    According to Mgr Benoist de Sinety, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Paris, the Notre-Dame organ is “practically completely destroyed.”

  10. 1 hour ago, MusoMusing said:

    The funny story concerns a trip on a Boston Tube Train, when I overheard a very animated (loud) conversation, coming from people with a rather peculiar dress code.

    What I heard, was, "Marylin Mason is just the greatest".

    I was sitting next to one of their number, and being in the middle of the appreciation society, I couldn't help but agree with the comment; suggesting that she was a brilliant performer.

    With a cold gothic stare, came the reply, "Marylin Manson is a guy!"

    I know the story got back to her, and caused some amusement, so I was delighted to have brought a smile to her face.


    As a lover of both organ music, and heavy metal, this amuses me greatly. 

  11. It would appear (2104 BST, 2204 Paris time) that the flames have returned to the North tower. The fire has been burning for over 3 hours now, and the firefighters are not certain to be able to stop the spread of the fire, according to French media. 

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