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Everything posted by davidh

  1. As an elderly beginner, I would welcome some advice about a few problem passages. I have read Barbara Owen's book, "The Organ Music of Johannes Brahms", and she recommends that it should be played on a single manual, without pedal. My first problem is in bar 3, where there is a semibreve G# and the semiquaver decoration in voice 2 rises as far as the G#. One option is to interrupt the long held note so that the second voice is heard, and the other is to treat the second voice at that point as a rest - in which case it sounds as though it has dropped out rather than rising to the G#. Similar problems also occur later. I can manage the G# - d# stretch in bar 2, but bar 15 defeats me. d# is sounded with b, and then the b drops an octave, which is more than I can stretch. Would it be permissible to simply repeat the first b in the same octave, or is there another way to do it?
  2. If only there were an R R Terry fan club! I suspect that some of his choral music is still performed, but very little has been recorded. It is more than 50 years ago that I heard, for the first and the last time, his setting of the Good Friday Improperia (The Reproaches) and I would like to hear them again.
  3. Life is a brief lottery, but then you die anyway. MM There is a paradox here. As the probability of dying is exactly 1.0, any action taken to reduce the risk of dying from one cause must increase the risk of dying from others.
  4. Does anyone know what incense does to organ pipes? Corrosive or preservative?
  5. Scarpa An octave trumpet used to clear the building. Scharf Cymbel The percussionist had better mind his fingers. Schönprincipal A glamorous Head Teacher Sordini A stop of dubious reputation Thirty-Fifth, Flatted The tuner trod on this one Tibia Vulgaris Well, aren't they all! Trigesima Sesta A painful nerve disorder Vox Virgina A stop which has never encountered a Vox Amorosa Haemiol A blood disorder Hellpfeife For playing the devil's music Hautboy A chest of drawers divided into two sections. Heckelphone Device used to interrupt political speakers Gingrina In Spanish-speaking countries, a small female foreigner Fistula Largior Another painful medical condition Dolce Mixture A dessert consisting of fruit and ice cream, with a Cornetto Dwarsfluit An instrument for accompanying the chorus, Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, As off to work we go. And finally, from the Encyclopedia of Organ Stops, this one which sounds very rude:- Fuchsschwank In describing this unlikely “stop”, whose name comes from the German “fuchs” (fox), “schwanz” (tail), and “schwank” (joke), I could not possibly improve upon Wedgwood, whose entry reads as follows: "One of the strange accessories sometimes found in old German organs. A stop-knob bearing the inscription “Noli me tangere” (“Do not touch”) was attached to the console. As a reward for their curiosity, persons who, regardless of this injunction, touched the knob, thereby set free the catch of a spring, causing a huge foxtail to fly out into their faces. Sometimes the foxtail was simply attached to the stop knob. Having once drawn the tail out of the jamb, it was a matter of some difficulty to replace it. Meanwhile, the recalcitrant culprit was subject to the chaff of his comrades. There is a foxtail near the dwarf “Perkeo”, guarding the great Tun at Heidelberg Castle. St. Andrea, Erfurt; St. Gertrud, Hamburg."
  6. See http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O58901/positive-organ/
  7. Bass Quint - the villain in "The Turn of the Screw".
  8. I recall a minister many years ago who had a glass-fronted music cabinet in his study. There were two shelves, labelled "Secular" and "Sacred". The secular shelf held several pairs of old shoes, some of which he must have worn while gardening. The sacred shelf held a pair of shiny preaching boots.
  9. I regularly meet a Muslim, and in the course of conversation we found that we were both great enthusiasts for organ music, although music has no place in the mosque, and as a Quaker I worship at Meeting in silence, where everyone who enters the room does so quietly. I don't say that they are silent until the meeting begins, because the worship begins at the time that the first person enters and sits in the silence. I am fortunate enough to quite frequently worship in other congregations, and I find the chatter before and after the service quite distracting, especially when the organist is annoying the talkers by playing music. It seems to me that either the organ music is mere entertainment, in which case it has no place in worship, or else it is a part of the worship and deserves to be treated as such. Few people (but not all) would consider holding private conversations during the prayers, the bible readings or the sermons. If I were a member of the clergy (and I am sure many people are glad that I am not), I would certainly lay down the law on a lack of reverence in any part of the service.
  10. Just one minor correction; the order in which messages are transmitted depends partly on the order in which the keys are depressed, but also in the order in which the scanning process identifies them. Even on a tracker system the pallets will not be opened quite simultaneously when a chord is played - the issue is whether the spread is audible. The MIDI system is not a piece of hardware or a piece of software, but a standard written on paper. This should guarantee that any two pieces of equipment bult to the standard should be able to talk to each other, but it also means that any improvements in the performance will take it outside of the standard. That's not a problem with a closed system in which both transmitter and receiver go beyond the standard. There are also the inherent limitations of electric actions. There are some useful articles on MIDI for organists, one covering what an organist might expect when playing large chords very quickly, and touch sensitivity of mechanical actions - which some organists would hope that electric actions might be able to emulate. http://www.pykett.org.uk/midi_for_organists.htm http://www.pykett.org.uk/response_speed_of...ric_actions.htm http://www.pykett.org.uk/touchsens.htm
  11. I have been to a number of recitals which probably sounded wonderful in the organ loft, but were a disaster where the audience sat because lack of articulation and strong resonance reduced the music to a shapeless blur. If only the organist had heard his playing as we did! Sometimes in the audience, sometimes as page turner, I knew just how different the sounds were. An organ with MIDI facilities can allow a player to "record" everything and then to have it replayed exactly as he played it, so with the opportunity to hear the music as everyone else will hear it. As another correspondent wrote, MIDI is almost universal on electronic instruments. It is not uncommon on pipe organs with electric actions, including Notre Dame in Paris.
  12. I first encountered the Couperin Organ Masses on Piet Kee's 1954 recording from Alkmaar - just the Qui Tollis Peccata Mundi from the mass for"convents". He played it more slowly than any other performance that I have heard - but I think that the piece benefits from that slow tempo. Later I heard many of the movements played on English organs, and bought the score. It was a long time before I heard them on authentic French instruments. They were all very beautiful, but apparently a ragbag of short pieces with no obvious links or overall structure. Eventually I learned of the alternatim nature of the pieces, and heard them performed as intended, each piece preceded by the chant which was taken over by the organ, but with members of the congregation able to sing (if only mentally) the chant along with the organ work. Does anyone know if the chants are available online, or if there are any organ editions which include the chants?
  13. There's more at http://icking-music-archive.org/ByComposer/Boyvin.php As for the piece quoted above, it's the first that I have seen where the pedal part goes as high as f and as low as the A (below the usual bottom C). My thanks to all who have replied to my original request, which I had thought was a simple question that would only puzzle an amateur like myself - there was no one "right" answer and the responses have been much more interesting than I expected. David
  14. The "Dialogue sur la Voix humaine", couplet 6 of the Messe pour les Convents (Qui tollis peccata mundi) is almost entirely playable on the manuals alone. The exceptions arise in the last few bars when there is at least one stretch, if not two, that would be possible only for exceptionally large hands, so most people would find the pedals necessary. The final section is marked "Les 2 mains sur la Voix humaine". It seems logical to take the lowest voice on the pedals from the start of the section, but the tremblement in the fourth bar doesn't seems likely on the old French pedal boards. Presuming that the lowest voice is to be played on the pedals, what would be a suitable registration?
  15. No, but I have a copy of the Gaudeamus (from the Four Improvisations on Gregorian Themes) which I would be happy to post to the first person who sends me a private message with their name and address - once the snow has cleared round here.
  16. This is Psalm 150 (anonymous English organ piece, c.1680) played by Timothy Roberts. Does anyone know where the score is published?
  17. I have seen one Dutch church (in Delft?) in which the console has been boxed in with glass or plastic to make a little cosy cabin for the organist without having to heat all of the space, which would not be at all healthy for the instrument.
  18. davidh


    It might be worth looking at http://www.eocs.org.uk/ where the Secrectary of the Society could put you in touch with both amateurs and professionals who have experience of a wide variety of electronic instruments. David Hitchin
  19. Quoting Werckmeister: Schnarrwerk, ist unterweilen Narrwerck Ist est aber rein and guth so er frischtes Herz und Muth Schnarrwerk is often the work of fools, but when it is pure and good it rejoices heart and mind.
  20. Are we limited to organs in the UK?
  21. The tierce, once an important part of cornet stops, became an embarrassment when organs were built or retuned to equal temperament, because equal temperament has very poor major thirds, and equal temperament and natural harmonic thirds really grate. Presumably this wasn't too painful in the lower part of the compass.
  22. Agreed, but "baroque practiceS" would be even more appropriate, as there were several conventions (and lack of them) and it isn't always easy to know what the composer or copyist intended.
  23. I have noticed this on other Bach scores. I think that is because they were conceived in terms of the old modes rather than the modern major/minor scales - but I am sure that more knowledgeable people will correct this idea or explain it more fully.
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