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Mander Organs

Dafydd y Garreg Wen

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About Dafydd y Garreg Wen

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  1. Thank you for the recommendation. It’s not a piece I know well. Had a recording (now mislaid ...) of Stephen Cleobury playing it at King’s. Surprising I haven’t at least had a hack through it now so many scores are available on line, for I am partial to a decent passacaglia. Possibly it was with vague memories of it that I had some hopes of the Marche and was thus the more disappointed. Then again, might merely have been a bad day when I looked at it. 🙂🙁
  2. Thank you for the information. The excitement mounts .... I was a bit put off Alcock by hacking through his Marche Triomphale a while ago. It struck me as jolly difficult, and not very grateful on the ear. If I put in the effort of learning it I doubted anyone would thank me for it, so time better deployed elsewhere. The G major Impromptu seems a more approachable and useful piece all round.
  3. Is the Bardon version published yet? When I looked the website said “in preparation”.
  4. I was looking for this a while ago on the strength of a reference in Hardwick’s British Organ Music of the Twentieth Century. Slightly frustrating that it’s out of copyright and as observed above two other impromptus by Alcock are easily available, but it has been reprinted by Fitzjohn Music Publication in A Walter Alcock Organ Album: https://www.impulse-music.co.uk/fitzjohnmusic/organ/
  5. Ha! Printed it off a while ago, haven’t got round to playing it. Perhaps the ghost of Harry Gabb is giving me a hint.
  6. American accents generally (regardless of sex) have more “twang” than British, that is the higher harmonics are more developed, which gives them more carrying power etc. This is why a party of Americans will seem so noisy. Combine that with the higher pitch of a woman’s voice and you get the sharpness and power you refer to (exactly the same phenomenon we’ve been discussing above in connexion with “strong” mixtures, perceived loudness, etc.).
  7. To quote Dr Pykett on another thread, “Why keep life simple when it can be made more difficult?” There are a fair number of people in the organ world for whom this would seem to be a guiding principle 🙄🙄
  8. Returning to the Whitlock ... the thing that always niggles is the slurring in bar 3. I’ve always taken it to be careless engraving, for it neither agrees with the way the theme is phrased elsewhere, nor seems to make musical sense. Or is there some subtlety here I’ve been missing ...?
  9. I’d forgotten the Lemare. Must dig it out. As Tony N. observes, not as tricky as it looks on the page (or sounds when described).
  10. Yes, it probably is harder than if one were playing on the Swell and were just extending the thumb down to play a note or series of notes (i.e. literally thumbing *down*). You’re trying to find your feet (as it were) on the Swell, having leaped up there with the leftmost part of your hand, at the same time as thumbing the F# on the Great, which makes it harder to ensure both notes sound at exactly the same time. It might help as a preliminary stage to practise some ordinary thumbing down first, to get the hang of one hand being on two manuals. Play a note (or two notes) on the Swell; whilst holding it/them add another note on the Great with the thumb. When that’s all right, start playing the thumb note at the same time as the other(s). Move on to the Whitlock leaping when you’ve mastered this. You might try treating the F# and C# sequentially too as a first step (adding an extra beat to allow this). Play the F# followed by the C# on the extra beat, and also C# first followed by the F#. When this is nice and easy, eliminate the extra beat and play the notes simultaneously as Whitlock wrote. You may find this helps - reculer pour mieux sauter. (I find this sort of thing works better if one keeps to a definite beat (granted that one is messing around with the number of beats in the bar) rather than just adding a vague bit of extra time.)
  11. Specifically in this instance, you play the tenor line on the Great as usual; but when you get to the antepenultimate bar you move your hand to the left to play the F# with your thumb (on the Great) just as normal, but at the same time you slant the hand so your fourth finger is in place to play tenor C# on the Swell; then you lower the hand/fingers so both keys are depressed simultaneously and the two notes sound together. In the next bar the fifth finger plays the B natural - you just have to remember to keep the thumb down on the F# key on the manual below whilst you change notes above. More complicated to describe than do!
  12. It’s called “thumbing down” and wasn’t uncommon in English organ music of Whitlock’s period: http://www.organbench.com/419797270/3950764/posting/ In essence, instead of extending the hand horizontally to play notes some distance apart on a single keyboard as one normally does, one stretches it vertically (diagonally) to play notes on two different keyboards. This one is a simple example, where only a single note has to be played by the thumb. It gets trickier when you have to play an actual line, but it’s not an especially difficult technique, once you’ve reprogrammed your mind to cope with playing on two parallel planes with the same hand, not just a single one. It does help if the keyboards aren’t too far apart of course ....
  13. Excellent. Thank you for very much for these pointers and links.
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