Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by sprondel

  1. Wouldn’t that rather be the Diapente? If it was in fact the Diapason (“through all tones”), then, my, things were tight down in Greece then already! Best, Friedrich
  2. sprondel


    The fourth Canon from the Art of Fugue runs back crosswise. Even Bach took two attempts to make that satisfying. One of the strangest pieces of music I ever heard. On the organ I like it best with (l. h.) Rankett 16, Rohrflöte 4, Waldflöte 2 + trem and (r. h.) a light jeu de tierce (minus the Quarte and perhaps the flûte). Best, Friedrich Ah, no. That is certainly not palindromic. But you might try the 14 Goldberg canons, there must be something there.
  3. As to te most cohesive Widor symphony, I would always go for the Romane. I find it an overwhelming, if not necessarily easy-to-grasp, piece of truly symphonic literature. For the Second I always had a soft spot, maybe because it was the first Widor Symphony I experienced as a whole. The Salve Regina, I admit, is a bit strange within the context, but it also is a very good piece. So even if the Hunt Scherzo seems to go better with the lovely Pastorale, I am not sure which to prefer. In recital, it might be a good choice to go as Ben van Oosten did: the Salve Regina with the Symphony, the Scherzo as an encore. The penultimate Adagio is one beautifully dark piece! I wonder why no-one has mentioned the Third so far. It has a beautiful sad hue about it, ranging between Serious (1st mov), mildly melancholic (Minuet) and dramatic (Finale), and there is a monumental March in this one as well, that quite benefits from being played not too heavy-footed. That being said, the Widor movements that are played in recitals the most -- VIth, 1st and last, Vth 1st, 4th &5th, Gothique 1st -- are, I suspect, in fact the best compositions, apart from the Romane as a whole. He was a good composer, but did not always arrive at the same level of quality. In that context, I still find II 1st a pretty fine composition. Best, Friedrich P. S. There is a very fine recording by Joris Verdin who plays all of four op. 13 in their original versions. Talking about coherent. Not all movements as interesting as in the later editions, but the symphonies in themselves much more homogenous. And a brilliant organ. See also .
  4. I’m afraid this is not far from the truth. Kafka’s friend and later editor, Max Brod, relates a credible story about a Prague pub crawl with Reger, at which, on last order’s call, the master ordered “the next table full of beer”. When being admonished by the publican that curfew was due, Reger answered: “Whatever the guest orders, he might finish” and continued drinking and telling embarrassing jokes to everyone who wasn’t out of the door quick enough. Best, Friedrich
  5. MM, it’s even on this one! And yes, Max might have been able to mistake it for one of his own, at least from somewhere between pint #22 and #25. Best, Friedrich
  6. I can’t help letting my brains do their thing. If they hear disaster and desperation depicted with no active opposition, and a chorale follows, the very image of order and spiritual formality and inviting to sing along, telling me more or less clearly “All’s fine” -- they start wondering. I take your point, however, that this is not the only way of a musical experience. Then again, if acting as a musician, I wonder if I could avoid interpretation on a semantic level -- especially in cases like this, where the semantics are so radically exposed. This very piece actually is a brilliant paradigm for this kind of consideration. Thanks, Vox Angelica! Best, Friedrich
  7. In my ears, this piece is the most satisfying of Liszt's, musically speaking, and of course it needs a careful dramaturgy of sound and timing, as it is quite long; the general advice being that one mustn't tell the same joke twice, and that in the end the impression should be that of an an overall development. If I was an organist and considered programing the piece, however, I would think at least twice. Other than the other of Liszt's organ works, it does have an unequivocal message, which is unveiled in the end by the chorale "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan". The impression of the variations is one of deepest desperation and grief, however much one might question or resist it; and the chorale brings a sense of resignation while lying the matter into God's hand, giving yourself up completely. If I take that message seriously, I should be ready to give it -- or to pass it on --, and know to whom I give it. Listeners might find consolation as well as embarrassment in the message. So the question is, do you? Of course the same is equally true for St Matthew's Passion, or for the Creed, for that matter. Considering that, maybe it is what makes this piece great music. If this was an opera and I was the director and had to stage the end, I would try to find means to leave the answer open for the audience to answer. In a recital programme, that meant not to let it stand as the last piece, but complement the message by another. Doesn't need to be Lefébure-Wély, but a bit of Messiaen might be in order; first and last movement of L'Ascension, par example. There are possibilities to leave the end open in registration as well. For example, if you consider a tutti end as the equivalent to a jubilant, or even exuberant, symphonic finale, it might be heard as encompassing everyone in one truth reveiled in this very moment -- according to symphonic thinking in the Beethoven tradition. Not using the tutti, on the other hand, might transport another message. For example, the registration might be more formal in character, like just a plenum with an 8-foot reed in the pedal (together with 16-foot flues of cource), in the end maybe with the 16-foot reed added; or the colour of that final sound might get another character that leaves to the listener the possibility of keeping a distance. Just my thoughts. Best, Friedrich
  8. Why not make it 6' and a little more depth and have a stopped 10 2/3' plus 6 2/5'? If the room takes the sound, it would most probably be much more acceptable. And if the room does not help in effecting the combination tone, it hardly will make a Rankett 32’ bloom. Best, Friedrich
  9. Thanks, most interesting! (Would have done even better with a tiny little bit of editing, too.) And there we have a list of must-see-must-hear organs by our host: Poitiers Clicquot Hamburg Schnitger (-Ahrend) Freiberg Silbermann (Cathedral large/small? St. Petri?) Saint-Omer Cavaillé-Coll Schwerin Ladegast Best, Friedrich
  10. “The organ produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected by the keyboard” That’s the shortest definition yet, and a good one, in my opinion. All three constituents of the instrument in one sentence. The only point which is a little blurry is “at the keyboard” -- “console” or “playdesk” would have been more precise, but then, those terms are technical vocabulary already, as opposed to “keyboard”. So, this notwithstanding: Wow.
  11. The Ravel transcription works surprisingly well, considering that it is taken from one of the most refined scores in all orchestral music on this planet. Most of all I like how Paul Carr handles the tempo here, as he treats it relentlessly symphonic. Never any allowance for a piston here or a finger-change there. It all flows seamlessly, which makes up for most of what the organ (any organ) lacks compared to the impressionist orchestra. Most impressive! Best, Friedrich
  12. This has been most interesting, and since no-one else has said it: Thanks David, you are a hero, dust-covered as they come. Best, Friedrich
  13. Dear members, here comes a nice read from the Wall Street Journal featuring Grammy-winning organist Paul Jacobs. Best, Friedrich
  14. When in my early teens, I took an interest in Reger’s music, and my father gave me three of Wunderlich’s recordings that had appeared on his own label »Arp Schnitger Records«. When listening to these, I at first did not notice the incredible faithfulness and cleanliness of his playing. Only later, after hearing many performances of works such as the »Inferno« fantasia op. 57 or the I, P & F op. 127 with its endless figurations, I noticed how extraordinary Wunderlich’s playing actually was. His recording of the variations op. 73 remained on my record player for weeks, and often had to serve as a lullaby (there, I was mad), as the record was to be turned for the fugue, and side one ended with the ethereal ppp of the closing variation. All this was recorded on the very odd (and, to most others, infamous) Kemper he had had built south of “his” Schnitger. I, too, never heard him in concert, but found it interesting to follow his recordings over the decades. Through an acquaintance, I got by a private copy of a recital Wunderlich played in July, 2005, at the colossal Sauer of the Berliner Dom. That live performance changed much of my view of Wunderlich as being the hyper-controlled fingers-and-feet player type. There is an ardent »Wedge« (BWV 548) interpretation, with many visiting notes in the beginning but gaining steadiness and virtuosity in the course; and a classically clear Mendelssohn »Vater unser« sonata. Mind, he played it at age 86! I was amazed to hear the Sauer fit him like a glove -- after all those Orgelbewegung-and-worse organs on which he had recorded previously. An overwhelming experience in listening to this recording was his rendition of Reger’s D-Minor sonata (op. 60). Such a clear imagination of what that music was about, and such smoothly flowing musical rhetorics. The real high-point was the “introduction” that is followed by the fugue: Here, Wunderlich plays as if he was just inventing the music, witty, quicksilvery, and as sardonically fiery as if Puck himself was dancing madly over the majestic Sauer console. What a spirit, and what a natural organist!
  15. Absolutely. And what is more -- we do have one in Berlin, and a big one it is, too. I hope the two will meet one day. Best, Friedrich
  16. Well. But it's a great thing he does, isn't it -- making one remember what is possible if you just practise properly. My favourite in this concern I'm afraid. (And it's even phrased properly!) Best, Friedrich
  17. Sorry if I was being too frank about this. That information might have come as a bit of a shock to some of us. Best, Friedrich
  18. While the story may be based on true elements -- such as Reger's drinking, his ability to compose prodigiously fast, and Straube's superior mastery of the instrument --, it probably is not a true story, though there is a chance. First, Straube was appointed Thomaskantor only in 1918; Reger had died two years before that. Second, when Straube was organist to St Thomas -- he had been appointed in 1903 -- he did not live in such proximity to Reger as to allow for such a spontaneous communication.The famous “Straube manuscripts”, copies of new works sketched down hastily for the friend, were communicated by post between Weiden and Wesel, where Straube was organist; this communication ceased before Reger left his parents’ house for Munich. Only later, when Reger lived in Weimar and taught in Leipzig, they met regularly, but that was way past Reger’s most productive period in composing organ music. It might have happened then, only what work it would have been? There was one over which they reportedly went into intense communication: Opus 135 b -- only from that one Reger actually cut material instead of adding some. Third, Reger was most prolific in writing organ music when he went through a long sober period. Most of his organ music was composed in Weiden, when Reger, who had escaped death by drinking and depression only narrowly, was closely watched and never allowed out unaccompanied by his family, and later, when he was a newly-wed living in Munich and making an effort out of love to his wife Elsa who had divorced her first husband for him. When later he resumed drinking, most of his organ music had been written, and there were no further works of the character mentioned in the anecdote except Opus 135 b (see above) and Opus 127. Now, that is the one single possibility where the story might fit, since Opus 127 was written in a time when Reger was drinking heavily again, saw Straube regularly, and put a lot of notes, many of which are arguably superfluous, into a horribly difficult piece of music that he later dedicated to Straube. So, after all, the story may be true in such a way as fact, sometimes, is worse than cliché itself. Best, Friedrich
  19. Dear list, it was just posted to the German orgelforum.info that the great musician, teacher, and musicologist Gustav Leonhardt passed away yesterday in Amsterdam. Best, Friedrich
  20. I received my set of the "Great Cathedral Organs" on Thursday, having ordered it after I read the lively exchange on the topic. I never knew of the set before I heard from the board. I just submitted my review to the editor of the Fonoforum, hoping that it will be out sometime soon. To cut it short, I was blown away by the music. Noel Rawsthorne at Liverpool: What a player! Christopher Robinson at Worcester (of all organs!) with Bach's 9/8: Such grandeur and elan, a real classic and new favourite of mine! And so on -- there is so much brillant music making here. There was only one organ-player combination that sounded like constant struggle of man, machine and high-pressure reed attack, and all three, in my ears, are exonerated by a later Priory recording that is simply brillant (GEO 9). Speaking of which. Did anyone mention what Germani did with his feet in the first measures of Reger's "Halleluia"? That's not unlike the solo violin's entrance in the Brahms concerto. I had to play and replay it several times until I believed it. Some music! Thank you all for discussing it, and making me aware of this treasure box. Best, Friedrich
  21. By all means, yes. Is there an organ arrangement? If not: Where is Cameron Carpenter when you really need him? Best, Friedricih
  22. Dear MM, my turn to say sorry if I missed the irony … Not ”our“ strength, they say. It's just that I have more than one soft spot for Big Max. I daresay that his ”too many notes“ comment might be challenged here and there, but when at his best (and most sober), he certainly wrote very fine music (I find myself thinking of that Jonathan Safran Foer book »Extremely loud and incredibly close« -- might have talked about Reger, mightn't he?). Speaking of which: My favourite recording of opus 73 remains Donald Joyce at Norwich. To my ears, he really grasped what Reger was after, and brings it out extraordinarily well. Best, Friedrich
  23. Oh please. Opus 145 is quite popular with British players. No. 2, »Dankpsalm«, is the very first track on the very first CD of Priory's »Great European Organs« series, played at King's College by Stephen Cleobury. Just listening to the infamous No. 7 (»Siegesfeier«), I find it a bit predictable. The Haydn Hymn in the end, squarely harmonized and as regular as to hurt in the ears is simply bad taste. The overlong final cadenza, however, might be modified by playing it in general diminuendo (oh how sweet that would sound in the Berliner Dom!). Then, the piece might disclose its similarity to Schumann's »Die beiden Grenadiere«, with the same foreboding. Completely against Reger, of course, who, as most people not only in Germany, was nationalist and war-crazy (sometimes I feel glad that he did not live into the 'thirties). But a more bearable piece it would be. No. 2, with Cleobury at King's, is still wonderful. And now, he plunges into the Mendelssohn A-Major … Best, Friedrich
  24. There is the Stomping Dutchman. Only he starts with a Ton. Best, Friedrich
  25. :angry: BTW, over here, it's just the other way round – the Brits have something and it sounds good, so we do want to have it too! Best, Friedrich
  • Create New...