Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

E Power Biggs


Guest Barry Oakley - voluntarily dereg
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Barry Oakley

I think it was last week and possibly Musing Muso, who within one of his many postings raised a question as to who E Power Biggs tutors were. From a bit of research I have accurately discovered that G D Cunningham was his main tutor and that he also had some lessons from Stanley Marchant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Barry Williams
I think it was last week and possibly Musing Muso, who within one of his many postings raised a question as to who E Power Biggs tutors were. From a bit of research I have accurately discovered that G D Cunningham was his main tutor and that he also had some lessons from Stanley Marchant.

 

 

Whilst a student at the Royal Academy of Music he had aural training with the famous Ernest Read. His fellow students called him 'horse Power Biggs' because he played everything so fast.

 

Barry Williams

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whilst a student at the Royal Academy of Music he had aural training with the famous Ernest Read. His fellow students called him 'horse Power Biggs' because he played everything so fast.

 

Barry Williams

 

I was fascinated when I recently discovered a remastered recording of Fritz Heitmann playing the Sauer organ of Berlin Cathedral in 1940 and 1944: Incredible vitality and speed, really at the edge of good taste [close to the style of some Ton Koopman recordings...], but well articulated, too - and what a performance on this fully tubular pneumatic action! In 43 minutes playing time there is only one unlucky situation in the Pedal, the rest remains practically free of wrong notes, and without any editing. Maybe that this "speed factor" supported Heitmann and Biggs in becoming friends during Heitmanns 1950 US tour....?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was fascinated when I recently discovered a remastered recording of Fritz Heitmann playing the Sauer organ of Berlin Cathedral in 1940 and 1944: Incredible vitality and speed, really at the edge of good taste [close to the style of some Ton Koopman recordings...], but well articulated, too - and what a performance on this fully tubular pneumatic action! In 43 minutes playing time there is only one unlucky situation in the Pedal, the rest remains practically free of wrong notes, and without any editing. Maybe that this "speed factor" supported Heitmann and Biggs in becoming friends during Heitmanns 1950 US tour....?

 

 

=============================

 

 

I wonder if Herr Kropf could tell us a little more about Prof.Fritz Heimann?

 

He was obviously a very important figure in the German organ-world, but his is not a name I have come across before, and I therefore perhaps fail to appreciate the significance of him.

 

I confess to a certain ignorance of German performance scholarship and practice; other than being extremely bored by Schweitzer and rather puzzled and curious about the "romantic" Bach performances I have sometimes stumbled across.

 

I enjoyed (that I think is the right word) a re-creation of a typically German romantic interpretation of Bach when I was in Holland, and which I found quite moving, but completely contrary to everything I have ever learned.

 

In the English-speaking world, there seem to have been very different origins in musical interpretation, and whilst English organists delivered "Symphonic Bach," people like Virgil Fox (possibly a very bad example), were giving us a more distinctly German-inspired "Orchestral Bach." (Presumably learned from Middelschulte and blended with Stokoswki).

 

To hear old recordings of Lemare and George Thalben-Ball rip through Bach, is a bit like watching old films of Auto-Unions hurtling around the Nurburgring: speed being the most important factor. (George Thalben-Ball used to race an ERA around a pre-war Brooklands)

 

To hear the few rare recordings of German organists of the same period, is rather like watching a horse and cart saunter around the Nurburgring; from time to time almost drawing to a halt to admire the scenery or nibble at the grass.

 

Nowadays, (apart from Ton Koopman), we seem to have "Euro Bach," rather like a bus-full of Brussels delegates riding around the Nurburgring and making notes, before discussing "safety issues" and "greenhouse emissions."

 

We seem to have become so uniform, and in some ways, I regret that.

 

I think I quite like the concepts of arm-waving Gallic Bach full of ornamentation, a more controlled German Bach in which every musical layer is carefully crafted and then matched to the next, English alcoholic Bach which just gets louder and more aggressive, American Evangelical, 3D technicolor Bach (with chamades) with the organist shouting to the audience "Can you whistle?"

 

At least, there is Ton Koopman "The Flying Dutchman" to keep us bemused.....a Dutch Bach lost in the mists of time and in the middle of the Zuiderzee; desparately searching for a true heading, but entirely at the mercy of the prevailing winds.

 

I think I quite like the idea of not quite knowing what to expect, and not being quite sure what it is that one has just listened to.

 

The curious thing is, that every organist recognises a good Bach performance when they hear it, and every organist knows how it should be played.

 

Perhaps Bach is the ultimate survivor of us all?

 

MM (Musing "I've met Michael Schumacher" Muso)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

=============================

I wonder if Herr Kropf could tell us a little more about Prof.Fritz Heimann? [et seq]

 

Oh yes, I will answer about Fritz Heitmann soon, as time permits. And I just want to say that I love MM's descriptions of today's Bach options - I was on location when John Scott Whiteley recorded 21st century Bach here in Neuenfelde - a very special experience, though a nice one (but this is covered by another thread in this forum...)... Regarding Koopman, I want to post something nice (at least I would say it's nice, though he himself is angry about the whole story...), and first I want to state he is a really nice guy and vital musician... but:

In Duderstadt, near Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany, two churches have recently cancelled Koopman-Concerts for the coming Händel-Festival there, due to the reason that they fear that Koopman will damage the instruments!! Users of a german organ forum have collected several occasions where this happened, including myself, being whitness to the scene in 2002, that Jürgen Ahrend himself pulls out a key of a small italian organ restored by him and situated in Lübeck Cathedral, which gets stuck several times, standing side by side with the player, Mr. Koopman!

And the instrument worked perfectly before and after Ton's performance... I would never talk about bad technique or bad taste (though discussable), only about "too much inner energy"... ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...