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Bossi Scherzo


peter ellis
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Guest Cynic
I am diligently pacticing this piece, which I love, but it does not seem to be becoming any easier under the fingers. Anyone else had trouble with this piece?

 

 

I'd love to give you moral support and say 'yes', but in the general scheme of things this is not a very tricky piece; I find it, for example, easier to play cleanly than the Gigout Scherzo, or the one in Vierne 2. Any of these are easier than your standard Bach (Trio Sonata) Allegro movement.

 

The one bit that 'gets me' if any of it does, is the RH skipping in octaves - staccato quavers. Here, I find it helpful to concentrate on the octave pattern, rather than the varied leap pattern - if you see what I mean.

I hope it is not rude to ask, do you have a teacher to steer you through?

 

The major problem with the piece for me is that I have yet to see a decent score - mine (as far as I know the only readily obtainable version in the UK) is riddled with (fairly obvious) misprints.

 

If it's a piece you particularly love, don't let any of these difficulties stop you. The best advice is: learn it slowly, fingering the difficult passages and sticking rigidly to these as you go! Anything learned slowly stands an excellent chance of working well when speeded up.

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My dear Cynic:

 

You'd better check your fingering because, aside from the stop changes, which can be tricky, this piece should fall very naturally under your fingers. If I can be of any help, please wire me.

 

emsgdh

 

My dear Cynic:

 

Sorry for that ! My reply was intended for Mr. Peter Ellis.

 

emsgdh

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I am diligently pacticing this piece, which I love, but it does not seem to be becoming any easier under the fingers. Anyone else had trouble with this piece?

 

 

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

 

 

I may be stating the obvious, but you'd be surprised how many otherwise fine performers get into the wrong gear right at the outset of this work.

 

IT STARTS OFF THE BEAT!!!!!!!!!

 

Amusing story time........concerning a very well known former cathedral organist who recorded this work, and made remarkable use of a very remarkable Tuba. (Answers by private reply)

 

I was very young at the time.....my only excuse......and on hearing this recording of the Bossi "Scarecrow" for the first time, and blinking at the music, I was aware of something immediately. The performer, (who shall remain anonymous) had clearly started mentally counting ON the beat at the start, and with remarkable subtlety, sort of bent the timing ever so slightly, and "caressed" it back onto the straight and narrow and almost getting away with it.

 

Eagle eyed me (bat eared?) spotted this straight away, and when I met said recitaliust, I tried to make a bit of a joke of it by suggesting that I knew the dark secret of his error.

 

To this day, I have a mental scar, as the said cathedral organist replied, "Oh dear! How very kind of you to point it out. I hadn't realised my mistake, but I expect it's too late to do anything about it now."

 

Fortunately, when it was next recorded on the same organ, he got it right!!!!!!!

 

Believe me, it can throw the whole work off track if that initial off-beat isn't maintained throughout, and it is such a very simple mistake to make.

 

MM

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Guest Cynic
For some reason it was easier when I woke up this morning? Thank you both for suggestions.

 

ps: Mr Cynic - you may be the owner of the least applicable alias - would that more cynics were like you :)

 

 

You're kind to say so.

 

I think it's the right alias. I chose it in a hurry but it certainly applies, notably to my opinions and experiences in connection with

1. God's Local Representatives and

2. Organ Advisers.

As far as the organs themselves and music written for them, I remain as addicted/entertained as anyone you'll meet. No problem sharing that enthusiasm!

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Guest Barry Williams
You're kind to say so.

 

I think it's the right alias. I chose it in a hurry but it certainly applies, notably to my opinions and experiences in connection with

1. God's Local Representatives and

2. Organ Advisers.

As far as the organs themselves and music written for them, I remain as addicted/entertained as anyone you'll meet. No problem sharing that enthusiasm!

 

 

It would be helpful to know the notational errors, in case I have missed any. Several obvious ones seem to have been recorded willy nilly, as with Vierne's Carillon de Westminster and the Finales from Symphonies III and V.

 

Barry Williams

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Guest Cynic
It would be helpful to know the notational errors, in case I have missed any. Several obvious ones seem to have been recorded willy nilly, as with Vierne's Carillon de Westminster and the Finales from Symphonies III and V.

 

Barry Williams

 

 

As bidden, I will list for you all I've found for the sake of completeness. I'd be surprised, Barry, if you haven't subconsciously already corrected them as you play. [all references are for UMP Edition]

 

Page 1 last bar, 5th RH note should be a quaver

Page 3 line one, bar two final Rh note shoudl be a semiquaver

line two, second bar LH notes should be Treble clef not Bass as printed

last line, second bar, quaver rest and semiquavers A flat B flat are missing from the LH part

Page 6 last line, third bar C sharp missing in RH

Page 9 line 3, bar two, quaver rest missing in RH

Page 10 line one, second bar, flat missing for high C

line two (and this one bothers me still!) bars 2 and 3 sound much better with B natural rather than flat as printed. I play B flat, but with some severe doubts.

Page 11 line two, bar two, quaver rest missing in pedal part

Page 12 line two, bar two quaver rest or dot missing in pedal part

 

 

Petty I know, but for a 4 minute piece this must be some sort of record!

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Guest Barry Williams

Thank you for this. As you say, most are instinctive, but they are worth noting.

 

It is appalling that modern scores have so many errors. Even books are not free from mistakes. My wife noticed over one hundred and twenety misprints in a recent book about John Paul II. The author was shocked on learning of these basic printing mistakes.

 

Barry Williams

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I think it's the right alias. I chose it in a hurry but it certainly applies, notably to my opinions and experiences in connection with

1. God's Local Representatives and

2. Organ Advisers.

 

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

 

 

I think I am able to share this also.

 

:)

 

MM

 

How fortunate for you that he responded with such restraint and humility!

 

 

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

 

 

I suspect that it was false humility, as he enjoyed turning the joke back on me!

 

Perhaps I should have taken a leaf out of the book of Sir George Thalben-Balls admirers, who used to cringe every time he got to a certain bar in the Reubke. No-one had the nerve to point out his mistake, which he had been making since Father Willis was alive.

 

:)

 

MM

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Guest Barry Williams

Is your cynicism with Diocesan Organ Advisers, DACs, 'other' organ advisers or all of them?

 

Barry Williams

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Guest Cynic
Is your cynicism with Diocesan Organ Advisers, DACs, 'other' organ advisers or all of them?

 

Barry Williams

 

Oh that's easy. I'm not cynical about the 'normal' ones who actually play in church and know what an organ is supposed to be there for.

 

 

Rant Alert!

 

The ones that 'get me' are the ones who pontificate from afar. I heard a wonderful classic example only a week or so ago. I'd better tell the tale in vague terms, but it goes like this:

 

Famous organ adviser (brilliant writer) parts company with builders and church officials on the subject of swell-pedals. Because the basic organ originated in the late 19th century, even though it was going to get a brand new case and brand new console (complete with the usual modern playing aids) said adviser insisted that it have two ratchet swell pedals rather than balanced ones.

 

The fabulous moment comes when the church finds an old engraving of the original organ in its original home clearly showing above the centre of the pedalboard...two balanced swell pedals! Naturally, they show this to him, (not surprisingly) expecting this to be some sort of clincher. This was emphatically Not Good Enough...the adviser still knew best!

 

I'm seriously cynical about the sort of high-up advisers who hold the purse strings on behalf of grant-aiding bodies. The sort of adviser who makes it a condition of a huge grant that an organ should have a mechanical action console, hand-blowing, foot-blowing, un-standard pitch, tracker one-stop pedal organ etc. etc. when this is not what the church wants and satisfying his whim increases the cost!

 

 

Rant over.

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Rant Alert!

 

The ones that 'get me' are the ones who pontificate from afar. I heard a wonderful classic example only a week or so ago. I'd better tell the tale in vague terms, but it goes like this:

 

Famous organ adviser (brilliant writer) parts company with builders and church officials on the subject of swell-pedals. Because the basic organ originated in the late 19th century, even though it was going to get a brand new case and brand new console (complete with the usual modern playing aids) said adviser insisted that it have two ratchet swell pedals rather than balanced ones.

 

The fabulous moment comes when the church finds an old engraving of the original organ in its original home clearly showing above the centre of the pedalboard...two balanced swell pedals! Naturally, they show this to him, (not surprisingly) expecting this to be some sort of clincher. This was emphatically Not Good Enough...the adviser still knew best!

 

I'm seriously cynical about the sort of high-up advisers who hold the purse strings on behalf of grant-aiding bodies. The sort of adviser who makes it a condition of a huge grant that an organ should have a mechanical action console, hand-blowing, foot-blowing, un-standard pitch, tracker one-stop pedal organ etc. etc. when this is not what the church wants and satisfying his whim increases the cost!

Rant over.

 

Didn't know you also worked on this here in Holland :):):ph34r::ph34r:

 

Where was it again? an imported 19th century romantic english organ re-tuned to mean-tone (mean as in 'evil/sadistic'?), somewhere up north here ....

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I'm seriously cynical about the sort of high-up advisers who hold the purse strings on behalf of grant-aiding bodies. The sort of adviser who makes it a condition of a huge grant that an organ should have a mechanical action console, hand-blowing, foot-blowing, un-standard pitch, tracker one-stop pedal organ etc. etc. when this is not what the church wants and satisfying his whim increases the cost!

Rant over.

 

High up on the list of examples being a large 4-manual instrument in the South (next to the sea) which I guess Cynic, I, and a number of others here know rather well. The one with a mobile electric action console in the nave which is used most days and for all Sunday services (which the church asked for) and the console in the fairly distant loft with ingenious right-angled tracker action which is used for tuning, occasional duets, and... er, that's it (which the advisor asked for).

 

IMVHO the tracker action isn't even very good... :)

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Guest Cynic
High up on the list of examples being a large 4-manual instrument in the South (next to the sea) which I guess Cynic, I, and a number of others here know rather well. The one with a mobile electric action console in the nave which is used most days and for all Sunday services (which the church asked for) and the console in the fairly distant loft with ingenious right-angled tracker action which is used for tuning, occasional duets, and... er, that's it (which the advisor asked for).

 

IMVHO the tracker action isn't even very good... :)

 

 

Nor are several other things if we are both thinking of the same establishment.

 

To be fair, some significant improvements have been made since official 'completion'; all of them down to the dedication, expertise and sheer doggedness of the present organist who has refused to accept 'no' from the organ-builders as an answer.

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Guest Barry Williams
==============================

I think I am able to share this also.

 

:)

 

MM

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

I suspect that it was false humility, as he enjoyed turning the joke back on me!

 

Perhaps I should have taken a leaf out of the book of Sir George Thalben-Balls admirers, who used to cringe every time he got to a certain bar in the Reubke. No-one had the nerve to point out his mistake, which he had been making since Father Willis was alive.

 

:)

 

MM

 

 

Interesting! I bought (many years ago, for £1) one of the last remaining (in this country) printed copies of the very first edition of the Reubke. (It follows the manuscript very closely.) Quite a few people seem to have been playing wrong notes and soloing out non-solos, or the orginal score is seriously wrong in a number of places. I played this piece for a musical diploma in 1976 and was warned by my teacher to use Ellingford's edition, as this as what the examiners would be used to. I gather that some of the errors were perpetuated in a famous recitalist's edition published years ago. Ralph Downes wrote a pertinent letter about some of these mistakes, all a long time ago.

 

GTB was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1896 and appears to have taken up the organ (as a second study, with F E Sewell,) when he went to the Royal College of Music in 1911. The RCO records show that he passed the ARCO in July 1913. 'Father' Henry Willis died on 11th February 1901.

 

Barry Williams

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Nor are several other things if we are both thinking of the same establishment.

 

To be fair, some significant improvements have been made since official 'completion'; all of them down to the dedication, expertise and sheer doggedness of the present organist who has refused to accept 'no' from the organ-builders as an answer.

 

It is true that as a result of tens of thousands of pounds being spent within eight years of a major rebuild this instrument is better - but it is still not very good, in my opinion. It is not that large, incidentally, Nachthorn.

 

Personally, I am still saddened that the original rebuild was such a disaster. It could have been so much better.

 

I think that this church would have done far better without the consultant.

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Interesting! I bought (many years ago, for £1) one of the last remaining (in this country) printed copies of the very first edition of the Reubke. (It follows the manuscript very closely.) Quite a few people seem to have been playing wrong notes and soloing out non-solos, or the orginal score is seriously wrong in a number of places. I played this piece for a musical diploma in 1976 and was warned by my teacher to use Ellingford's edition, as this as what the examiners would be used to. I gather that some of the errors were perpetuated in a famous recitalist's edition published years ago. Ralph Downes wrote a pertinent letter about some of these mistakes, all a long time ago.

 

GTB was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1896 and appears to have taken up the organ (as a second study, with F E Sewell,) when he went to the Royal College of Music in 1911. The RCO records show that he passed the ARCO in July 1913. 'Father' Henry Willis died on 11th February 1901.

 

Barry Williams

 

 

----------------------------------------

 

 

Equally interesting, because the Ellingford copy is the one I started with, and because it has all my copious markings, warning signs, (pairs of spectacles drawn on it and a chequered flag after the last bar!)

 

After working the beast to death over the past weeks, the copy started to disintegrate, so I got a new one: this time the "Wiener Urtext" edition.

 

I don't see very many differences frankly, but of course, the registrtaion and the solo suggestions are missing. I suppose this is where knowledge comes in, because it is necessary to think in terms of a mid-romantic German organ, and guess at what is intended. I must confess that this puts a whole new slant on that quiet section around page 3 or 4 (marked Larghetto), which tends to suggest two fairly equally balanced sounds on two different manuals, but of different timbre, which may explain the manual doubling of the solo melody on both manuals at the same time.

 

I don't think that Ellingord was necessarily wrong, it's just that he wasn't actually right, but on an English organ, what he wrote works well enough.

 

I've left this bit to last, and I am now regretting this slightly, because it isn't quite so straightforward as I thought.

 

I'm afraid that all the very difficult bits remain intact, with a particularly nasty bit (one of the bits that were simplified in the Ellingford edition) at the exact point that a page turn is required!

 

Still, it's refreshing to be able to see the notes, rather than all the fingering and the warning marks I have written-in over the years. Someone unkindly suggested that my old copy was like that modern art done by chimpanzees, which once appeared at the Tate!

 

MM

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Guest Barry Williams

I am relieved that someone else finds certain passages tricky. I asked my teacher for guidance on the fingering of the left hand part where the pedal first enters in the fugue - the awkward diminished seventh. He simply said " Oh, we all find that bit difficult."

 

I have not seen the Weiner Urtext edition but it obviously merits examination. Thank you for mentioning it.

 

What a splendid swashbuckling piece the Reubke is! I first heard it some forty four years ago when Richard Popplewell gave a glorious performance in Croydon Parish Church (before the H & H rebuild.) I did not want it to end! We have much to be grateful to Ellingford for and I still refer to my (equally tatty) copy from time to time.

 

Barry Williams

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Nor are several other things if we are both thinking of the same establishment.

 

To be fair, some significant improvements have been made since official 'completion'; all of them down to the dedication, expertise and sheer doggedness of the present organist who has refused to accept 'no' from the organ-builders as an answer.

 

We obviously are! Sheer doggedness is the least of it - we spent a interesting hour investigating turbulence rumblings in the wind supply a couple of months ago (never thought I'd have to say that :o ), and I'm kept up to date with the latest exchanges with the builders...

 

It is true that as a result of tens of thousands of pounds being spent within eight years of a major rebuild this instrument is better - but it is still not very good, in my opinion. It is not that large, incidentally, Nachthorn.

 

Personally, I am still saddened that the original rebuild was such a disaster. It could have been so much better.

 

I think that this church would have done far better without the consultant.

 

I'd agree that it isn't as good as it might have been, and that recent efforts have made significant improvements (swell reeds are the first things that come to mind, although I do like the new Harmonic Flute too!). But I wouldn't describe the instrument as a disaster. Maybe I'm just a parochial yokel, but I would far rather have that instrument than any number of the examples of 'organised firewood' produced by the Hele workshops between 1880 and 1910 that defy musicality altogether. At least the resident virtuoso makes it make music B)

 

(Incidentally, how large is large, if IV/60-odd isn't? I wasn't talking S. Sulpice scale here!)

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I am relieved that someone else finds certain passages tricky. I asked my teacher for guidance on the fingering of the left hand part where the pedal first enters in the fugue - the awkward diminished seventh. He simply said " Oh, we all find that bit difficult."

 

I have not seen the Weiner Urtext edition but it obviously merits examination. Thank you for mentioning it.

 

What a splendid swashbuckling piece the Reubke is! I first heard it some forty four years ago when Richard Popplewell gave a glorious performance in Croydon Parish Church (before the H & H rebuild.) I did not want it to end! We have much to be grateful to Ellingford for and I still refer to my (equally tatty) copy from time to time.

 

Barry Williams

 

 

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

 

 

What a splendid word....."swashbuckling!"

 

The fiendish bits in the fugue are found in bars 69 through 74.

 

Howeve, problems apart, it really gets up my nose that people go to the trouble of learning this work, and then play it in such a pedestrian manner, as if in fear of getting the slightest note wrong.

 

Without panache and "devil" (Sorry God!) it just falls flat, and unless "Con Fuoco" actually means something more than "slightly annoyed," it's best left off the menu.

 

This was the Liszt Circle for heaven's sake, who wowed people with brilliant virtuosity; not smoothing them over with musical caresses.

 

For me, that means pushing the envelope and taking things to the limit, and on the day, I will just go for it.

 

God only knows how I will pull it off with just a half-hour practice before the recital, and people milling around during the flower festival. I'll just have to rely on mental "hyperdrive" I suppose.

 

:unsure:

 

MM (worried of W Yorks)

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

For me, that means pushing the envelope and taking things to the limit, and on the day, I will just go for it.

 

God only knows how I will pull it off with just a half-hour practice before the recital, and people milling around during the flower festival. I'll just have to rely on mental "hyperdrive" I suppose.

 

:unsure:

 

MM (worried of W Yorks)

Reubke... Just the thing for a flower festival B) However, I'm sure it is better that you are presenting the complete piece rather than the extraordinary decision to just play part of it at this year's Proms! (also part of the Elgar G major Sonata in the same programme). I'm sure it will go splendidly.

JC

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Guest Barry Williams

Do you remember that splendid recording of Arnold Richardson doing the Reubke at the RFH? Despite the organ it remains one of the finest performances I have ever heard - just as you describe, con fuoco.

 

His performance of the Brahms' Fugue in A flat minor on the other side is terrific too; Richardson captures the beauty and intensity of the writing. I wish they would reissue that LP as a CD.

 

Barry Williams

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I'd agree that it isn't as good as it might have been, and that recent efforts have made significant improvements (swell reeds are the first things that come to mind, although I do like the new Harmonic Flute too!). But I wouldn't describe the instrument as a disaster.

 

In which case, perhaps you should have been present at the first concert involving an orchestra to take place after the initial rebuild. I had the task of accompanying the Duruflé Requiem and playing the organ part in Saint-Saëns' Third Symphony. The full organ (used all the way through the loud parts) was completely inaudible - as the 'resident virtuoso' will be able to confirm, since he was present. Towards the end, in sheer frustration, I even got my page-turner to add fistsful of notes, in a vain attempt to get the sound of the organ out. This made no difference, apparently. For the record, the orchesra was composed of students and was not that loud - or particularly large.

(Incidentally, how large is large, if IV/60-odd isn't? I wasn't talking S. Sulpice scale here!)

 

I was thinking also of the effect. Whilst practising for the last lunch-time recital which I played at this venue, I experimented with observing how much of the organ I could subtract from the registration before there was an audible difference. To be honest, with the Nave section drawn, little else shone through.

 

More details later - it is now time to teach once more.

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