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David Surtees

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Everything posted by David Surtees

  1. There was (possibly still is) an Aria by Rawsthorne published by Mayhew, but I don’t have a copy so not sure if it’s the same piece. Have never come across the Wachet Auf piece though.
  2. Surely the easiest programme depends on the organist, and how well the know each piece. If you had been playing a particular piece for years, and knew it inside out, surely you might find it easier than a technically less demanding piece, that was completely unknown.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:
  5. 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: According to Mgr Benoist de Sinety, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Paris, the Notre-Dame organ is “practically completely destroyed.”
  6. As a lover of both organ music, and heavy metal, this amuses me greatly.
  7. The Paris firefighters are now reporting that the fire is lessening in intensity, and the building will be saved, according to France24. But there is, I imagine, little hope for anything inside.
  8. 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.
  9. From the pictures on France24 at least one of the towers is in flames.
  10. I believe the new King’s Cambridge rebuild featured a pedal divide.
  11. The resources section of the RCO website, i.rco.org.uk has a vast array of teaching resources aimed at all levels. Although most of the material is only available to members, you can register for a guest account, which will enable you to see the range on offer.
  12. Completely off topic (sorry), but the French organist Charles Balayer, who is professor of Hammond at the Conservatoire in Toulouse, has written pieces that call for both instruments, such as this Jazz Litany, which features a rather interesting chamber organ:
  13. Thank you, for the extremely thorough replies. It seems the relationship between the two is not quite as simple as one being an arrangement of the other.
  14. I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me regarding the origins of this piece, Shostakovich’s only work for organ. It is frequently described as an organ arrangement of the interlude from Lady Macbeth. But I have also heard that the piece was originally written for organ, as the theatre in Leningrad where it was premiered had an organ; and only subsequently orchestrated. Does anyone know which is true?
  15. Don’t have any services over Christmas, but yesterday took part in an informal concert at a friend’s church. My contributions were Buxtehude’s Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland, a jazzy setting of Angels we have heard on high by Gunther Martin Göttsche (which the audience loved), and Brahms’ Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen.
  16. I heard Daniel give a recital at St Mary’ Edinburgh in the summer, and heeard him say then that he was very busy finishing off projects he had started while at Westminster, in addition to his duties in Durham. I guess this was one of those projects.
  17. I wasn’t born then, and I still think of the traditional counties as the correct designations.
  18. Having just begun a music degree, as a mature student, I have noticed a wide range of musical knowledge amongst my fellow students. Grade 5 theory is required for admission, but some barely seem to be at that level. There is a wide range of playing abilities as well. I myself barely passed Grade 7 in the summer (though I did audition as a pianist before switching to organ as my principal study), while others have performance diplomas.
  19. My condolences to you and your family. If that is what he wanted, then of course you have done the right thing. The musical choices you have are all very fine, and I’m sure a fitting way to remember your father. Incidentally I remember reading somewhere that the Toccata was originally written for a funeral, before Widor included it in his Symphony, but can find no source for it now, and have no idea if it is apocryphal.
  20. Well, glotta (or glossa) is Greek for tongue. Don’t know about the first half of the word, but there are several words in English that begin chryso-, all with Greek origins and seemingly related to gems or precious metals.
  21. St Mary's Episcopal, Edinburgh is to be restored next year, also by Harrison's. They had an organ gala last night in celebration of the organ, but I wasn't able to make it.
  22. I have had some rather strange requests for exit music, including Mendelssohn’s War March of the Priests. It makes a nice change to the wedding march. Also one couple wanted the theme tune to the A Team (that was a lot of fun to arrange for the organ). For entry music I’ve probably had Pachelbel more often than any other. For a couple who didn’t have anything in mind, but wanted something reflective for the entry of the bride, I chose Morning from Peer Gynt, which worked well.
  23. This is very true. The best electronic organs should be indistinguishable from a recording of a pipe organ. There are various reasons why this is not quite true in practice, but some electronics do come very close. With YouTube videos, you have the added factor of compression to take into account, which makes it harder still to distinguish. It is a very different matter to compare the two in the flesh, as it were, and I have yet to come across an electronic that convinced me after prolonged listening.
  24. There are many collections of music suitable for such purposes. A particular favourite of mine is the three volume series published by Bärenreiter entitled Sonntagsorgel. The first volume contains mostly festive pieces which make great (mostly short) postludes. The second has meditative and pastoral pieces which work well as preludes and interludes during the service. And the final volume contains chorale-based works. Although these are from the German tradition, many of the tunes are of course well known in the English speaking world as well, and so work well here. Details of volume 1 can be found here, and the others by clicking on “related products”: https://www.baerenreiter.com/en/shop/product/details/BA9287/
  25. A friend of mine recently introduced me to the music of René Louis Becker. The outer movements of his first sonata are certainly flamboyant. Here's the first movement, Preludium Festivum, played by Damin Spritzer: And here is the final toccata, played by Gert van Hoef: There is also a separate toccata, his opus 32, which is in a similar vein.
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