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Carl Wienrich


Peter Clark
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When I was a teenager I bought my first organ LP on the MFP label, Bach Organ Works by Carl Weinrich. It contained 4 works : T&F 565, the Passacaglia and Fugue, Prelude and Fugue in A minor and the little E minor Prelude and Fugue. I'm not sure how these pereformances would be rated now, but I have a nostalgic yearning to hear them again. Does anybody else remember this disc? Is is still available in any form?

 

Thanks

 

Peter

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When I was a teenager I bought my first organ LP on the MFP label, Bach Organ Works by Carl Weinrich. It contained 4 works : T&F 565, the Passacaglia and Fugue, Prelude and Fugue in A minor and the little E minor Prelude and Fugue. I'm not sure how these pereformances would be rated now, but I have a nostalgic yearning to hear them again. Does anybody else remember this disc? Is is still available in any form?

 

Thanks

 

Peter

 

 

Oh my word! This was my first organ LP, too! I, too, was a teenager, and I bought it from W.H. Smith's in Burnley, as I recall, some time before 1972.

 

I have just listened to it for perhaps the first time in twenty years. The organ is in the Varfrukyrkan in Skanninge, Sweden. It's a 1939 Marcussen incorporating 10 ranks from 1772. Inevitably, it is perhaps a little on the shrill side for modern tastes, and either it was recorded far too close-miked, or the church has no acoustic. Unfortunately, my copy sounds like I have played it with the tip of the poker at some time.

 

The Ryder University website says of the performer, "Carl Weinrich (1905-1991), a student of Mark Andrews, Abram Chasins, Marcel Dupré, and Lynwood Farnam, was Head of Westminster's Organ Department from 1934 to 1940. He is known for his involvement in the organ reform movement in America, his recordings of Bach, and his premiere of Schoenberg's Variations on a Recitative. In addition to his career as a church musician and recitalist, he taught at Columbia University and was Director of Music at Princeton University Chapel from 1943 to 1974." The sleeve note states that he recorded the entire JSB organ works at Skanninge.

 

I think the performances still rate pretty well. He doesn't change registration much - perhaps only the addition and subtraction of the pedal reed as he changes manual - basically it's the "draw the stops then play the piece" style of playing. The articulation is crisp, and the inner parts come through clearly. Tempi are brisk but not too fast, with only a little rallentando at cadence points. Possibly his playing might be considered to be a little on the "mechanical" side.

 

As for getting hold of a copy, you may be in luck: this site http://www.gilbertandsullivanonline.com/cb.../lps/organ.html seems to have one for sale.

 

How things have changed since 1970! In those days, WH Smith's in Burnley had a large record department, a good half of it devoted to classical music. The lady who ran it was very knowledgable, too; "You can't go wrong with Klemperer, Fischer-Dieskau and Schwarzkopf" I remember her saying when I asked about Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem. And on the covered market in Burnley (wherever that was) there was a stall that sold sheet music. It had a good selection of pocket scores - I've still got some that I bought there as a teenager, including the Rite of Spring and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. A final memory of that period is going to hear David Munro and the Early Music Consort playing in the reference library in Burnley Library. They must have been booked before they became famous. It wasn't a particularly large venue, and it was packed with a very enthusiastic audience, matching the equally enthusiastic performers.

 

O tempora! O mores!

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Oh my word! This was my first organ LP, too! I, too, was a teenager, and I bought it from W.H. Smith's in Burnley, as I recall, some time before 1972.

 

 

As for getting hold of a copy, you may be in luck: this site http://www.gilbertandsullivanonline.com/cb.../lps/organ.html seems to have one for sale.

 

 

Thanks Nick. I assume it hasn't been transferred to CD then - I can find noting on the web. Yes, I have fnd momeries of that album, but I think MFP also relaeased one by Virgil Fox, though once again the details escape me. Anyway I'll trace that link though what Bach is doing on a G&S website beats me!

 

Peter

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I have an LP of Carl Weinrich at Boston Symphony Hall, with the following programme:

  • Franck, Pièce Héroïque
  • Liszt, Weinen Klagen Sorgen Zagen
  • Mendelssohn, Sonata #1
  • Brahms, Fugue in a flat minor

I bought it out of simple curiosity: after all, here's the man who premiered Vierne's Symphony #6, so I wanted to know how he actually played. The result: not exactly my cup of tea, too rigid for my taste (especially the Liszt, which could do with a lot more drama).

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There is a hilarious website devoted to Music for Pleasure.... nothing to do with organs, but it did remind me of those cheap records we used to take to our teenage parties. It's at:

 

http://www.vinylvulture.co.uk/pages/mfp.htm

 

By the way for my 50th last month I arrived at the party to JSB's Passacaglia & Fugue - not my idea That would have been cheesy!) but a thoughtful gesture by the venue's manager.

 

Peter

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too rigid for my taste (especially the Liszt, which could do with a lot more drama).

 

Yes, that rather agrees with my view that the Bach was a trifle mechanical.

 

I hadn't realised who this guy was until this thread started. I've been assuming he was a competent nobody for all these years. Evidently not.

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