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Zimbelstern

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About Zimbelstern

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  1. Ornamentation in Bach’s “O Mensch bewein”

    Thank you skf1967. I wasn’t aware of the Hans Fagius book, so that’s very useful.
  2. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    All the Spanish organs I have seen or played, although located in a similar position in relation to the floor plan, have been raised up quite or very high, either in a gallery, on the wall, or above the choir. Maybe this was for acoustic reasons, or simply so as not to take up space ground level. The choir in old Spanish churches is often situated in the middle of the church, or even further back, totally enclosed on three sides, with iron gates on the side facing the altar. A good example is the church of Nava del Rey, not far from Valladolid. You’ll see what I mean in these photos. https://goo.gl/images/3Xq6yo https://goo.gl/images/KNA4FR I went to the inaugural recital of the newly restored organ there in 2015, given by Juan de la Rubia, who is the organist of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. A very impressive instrument. The region is littered with baroque organs waiting for restoration.
  3. Ornamentation in Bach’s “O Mensch bewein”

    Thanks David. I’ve been using the latest Breitkopf edition, but I’d forgotten I had a copy of the Novello edition edited by Walter Emery. You’re right - many of the ornaments are written out. It’s a start!
  4. P D Collins Organ At Turner Sims

    “at least as far as the window rises up behind it, the organ should be protected from further threats of weather damage by means of a small brick wall or a strong piece of sheet iron placed inside the window” (J.S.Bach)
  5. Passiontide is not far off, and I am considering a performance of Bach’s “O Mensch bewein dein Sünde gross”. I am, however, rather worried about playing the ornaments. I have a copy of Paul Badura-Skoda’s excellent “Interpreting Bach at the Keyboard”, but do not have the time at the moment to undertake an in-depth study of the c. 300 pages devoted to ornamentation, so cannot yet see the wood for the trees, although the book has unsettled me in relation to using Bach’s own ornament tables as they stand. Does anyone know of an edition or an analysis of this work which gives a clear and comprehensible guide to how to interpret the ornaments? Modern so-called “Urtext ” editions give huge amounts of information as to sources and variants, but almost no help with actually playing pieces. The only alternative seems to be to listen to a selection of different recordings and make notes. I don’t want to get bogged down in controversy - I’d be happy with three or four succinct summaries with justifications so I can make my decision. I think information under the following headings for each kind of ornament would be helpful: 1. Starting note 2. Length 3. Tempo 4. Use (or not) of rubato
  6. (Not) blowing into organ pipes

    I recall reading somewhere that in the past there was a serious problem with rats eating organ pipes because of the lead salts. Or perhaps they still do!
  7. Max Drischner

    If you search for Drischner on the Contrebombarde site you will see that someone called Carson Cooman has recorded and uploaded this piece, so that could be a useful lead.
  8. "Organs & Organists" book now freely available online

    Could you please tell us where this book is “freely available online”?
  9. Speech rhythm

    Perhaps that’s why Pope John XXII declared in 1324: ”But certain practitioners of the new school, who think only of the laws of measured time, are composing new melodies of their own creation, with a new system of note values, that they prefer to the ancient, traditional music. The melodies of the Church are sung in semibreves and minims and with grace notes of repercussion. Some break up their melodies with hockets or rob them of their virility with discant, three-voice music, and motets, with a dangerous element produced by certain parts sung on text in the vernacular; all these abuses have brought into disrepute the basic melodies of the Antiphonal and Gradual. These composers, knowing nothing of the true foundation upon which they must build, are ignorant of the church modes, incapable of distinguishing between them, and cause great confusion. The great number of notes in their compositions conceals from us the plainchant melody, with its simple well-regulated rises and falls that indicate the character of the church mode. These musicians run without pausing. They intoxicate the ear without satisfying it; they dramatize the text with gestures; and, instead of promoting devotion, they prevent it by creating a sensuous and indecent atmosphere. . . . However, we do not intend to forbid the occasional use—principally on solemn feasts at Mass and at Divine Offi ce—of certain consonant intervals superposed upon the simple ecclesiastical chant, provided these harmonies are in the spirit and character of the melodies themselves, as, for instance, the consonance of the octave, the fifth, the fourth, and others of this nature; . . . for such consonances are pleasing to the ear and arouse devotion, and they prevent torpor among those who sing in honor of God.”
  10. Speech rhythm

    I’m afraid I cannot debate with you in detail on this question because my knowledge and understanding are not great enough. My point was really in relation to Gregorian chant. Inasmuch as I have a basic understanding of the relationship between the rhythm and accents of Latin words and the melodies composed to accompany them, I stand in awe of the experts in the field, none perhaps more so than Dom Joseph Gajard of Solesmes. In his book “The Rhythm of Plainsong” he sets out the nature of the relationship between the pronunciation of Latin and the chant. This is (for me a least!) a highly complex subject, and I would not wish to try to summarise in a few sentences what he achieved so convincingly in such a short book.
  11. Speech rhythm

    Again I have to say I am no expert in these matters, but the way I see it is this: plainsong has no regular metre, and so can accommodate different accent patterns (providing, of course, the singers know how to pronounce Latin correctly!).
  12. Speech rhythm

    Apart from the inappropriate nature and foursquare rhythm of the melody for such a hymn, how does that work with the second line of the first verse (Unum Patri cum Filio), given that the the first syllable of unum is accented, not the second?
  13. Speech rhythm

    Forgive me, I’m not an expert in these matters, but the monks are singing in Latin, albeit in a very fast, staccato style. A couple of years ago I attended a course on Gregorian chant in the Benedictine monastery in the Valle de los Caídos near Madrid in Spain. We sang Vespers every day with the monks. It did not sound anything like this, but then the speech rhythm of modern Spanish and Italian is not so distant from that of Latin. The speech rhythm of English is very different from that of Latin. One reason why Gregorian chant should be sung in Latin is because of the stress and accentual patterns of the language. The accent in English often falls on the last syllable of a line (hard ending), whilst in Latin the accent is normally on the penultimate syllable (soft ending). If you think of the words of, say, “There is a Green Hill Far Away” you will see what I mean. Gregorian chant can sound unnatural and stilted sung to English (essentially a Germanic language). which is no doubt the reason why we have Anglican chant. Reformation composers saw this immediately and could work in both idioms - thus Tallis’ responses. Tallis’ Canon would not work with a Latin text without modification (compare with Byrd’s canon “Non Nobis Domine”. (A modern example of a chant written specifically for English would be Martin Shaw’s Anglican Folk Mass). It can be done - a good example is J. H. Arnold’s Compline using “traditional language”. One of the interesting things about the Bairstow is that he softens some hard endings by using accented passing notes in some of the voices!
  14. Speech rhythm

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  15. Speech rhythm

    Bairstow gives directions for chanting at the beginning of “The Lamentation” as follows: ”The Lamentation should be chanted quite slowly, but in speech rhythm. The syllables apportioned to the bars following rhe reciting bars must not be sung slower than the recitation (Bairstow’s italics).” There are certainly passing notes in the chants. We’re including this wonderful setting in a Lent concert. It will be interesting to see how it works out in practice.
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