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Max Reger And Karl Straube


Pierre Lauwers
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I found this, a 222 page Pdf, in english, which seems slightly interesting:

 

http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/bitstream/1871/1108...ams_diss_ii.pdf

About the author:

 

http://www.churchmusicdublin.org/davidadams

 

Pierre

 

Hello Pierre,

 

This is David's Ph.D. thesis at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Here is the link for the indexes and preface:

 

http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/bitstream/1871/1108...dams_diss_i.pdf

 

It is indeed an interesting read.

 

Michael Hedley

Amsterdam

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I just finished reading the text, and found it quite excellent.

It definitively solves the question of the organs suitable for

Reger: late-romantic or Post-romantic, sonst nichts...There is

even a remark, found on a postcard sent by Reger, about an organ

"whose 2' and Mixtures stood out, screaming"....he he he...

 

Tough it is not clear which organs Reger really preffered, we may conclude

with a priority for Sauer organs round 1890.

 

Pierre

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I just finished reading the text, and found it quite excellent.

It definitively solves the question of the organs suitable for

Reger: late-romantic or Post-romantic, sonst nichts...There is

even a remark, found on a postcard sent by Reger, about an organ

"whose 2' and Mixtures stood out, screaming"....he he he...

 

Tough it is not clear which organs Reger really preffered, we may conclude

with a priority for Sauer organs round 1890.

 

Pierre

 

Interesting - I read recently a book co-written by Cecil Clutton and Col. George Dixon, in which (under the sub-heading The Nineteenth-Century German Organ) Clutton states:

 

"An indescribably dreary and stodgy affair, of hardly any interest or artistic importance. Its most successful exponents were the firms of Sauer, Reubke, and Walcker." *

In any case, Reger lived most of his adult life in a state of near-intoxication, eventually succumbing to a fatal (and alcohol-induced) heart-attack on 11 May, 1916, at the age of forty-three. This is not to belittle his achievements; Reger was known as an excellent orchestral conductor, a fine pianist and a master of improvisation on the organ.

 

After our carol service a couple of weeks ago, I played the fugue from the Fantasy on the Chorale 'Wachet Auf!' Personally, I preferred the clarity and vitality of the choruses of the Minster organ. I have two recordings of this work, one featuring the organ of Linz Cathedral - and which sounds superb and another which used the organ of the Riga Dom - in which the organ (though this may be considered the most suitable instrument on which to perform the works of Max Reger) sounded opaque, heavy and indescribably dreary.

 

 

 

 

* p. 47: The Organ; Its Tonal Structure and Registration: Grenville Publishing Company, London (1950).

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Interesting - I read recently a book co-written by Cecil Clutton and Col. George Dixon, in which (under the sub-heading The Nineteenth-Century German Organ) Clutton states:

 

"An indescribably dreary and stodgy affair, of hardly any interest or artistic importance*. Its most successful exponents were the firms of Sauer, Reubke, and Walcker." *

 

 

 

snip

 

 

* Whoops!

 

Dear Lord,

make us all sufficiently humble not to talk down everyone else's achievements or think that our tastes are (by definition) correct and everyone else's aren't.

Amen.

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""An indescribably dreary and stodgy affair, of hardly any interest or artistic importance. Its most successful exponents were the firms of Sauer, Reubke, and Walcker." *"

(Quote)

 

Notwhitstanding the respect I owe to Clutton and Dixon (I have that book), this goes not far beyond

continental preconceptions against the "Rosbifs", isn't it ?

 

This said, exactly like the british, the germans themselves are guilty of an insufficient recognition

and respect for their own romantic organs.

 

0-0 also:):(:)

 

Pierre

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OK, back to the topic now....

I would be interested to discuss Straube's

use of the Swellbox in the ppp.

There is a "stûût" (1) there....

 

Pierre

 

(1)- "Stûût", an untranslatable belgian word, means

something between the problem, the joke and the clash.

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* Whoops!

 

Dear Lord,

make us all sufficiently humble not to talk down everyone else's achievements or think that our tastes are (by definition) correct and everyone else's aren't.

Amen.

 

Well, quite. But then, Clutton was given to making blunt pronouncements about anything with which he did not agree - as a perusal of old back-issues of The Organ will show.

 

I would not necessarily agree with his statement, in any case. I quite liked the Sauer instrument in Sint Nicolas, Amsterdam (at which one of our contributors is organist) - although I found the fifty-four note compass on the claviers a little unfortunate. This said, I wanted to like the great Walcker organ at the Riga Dom, but I just found it too oppressive and dull, particularly when played loudly. It is true that there is an almost inexhaustible supply of quiet, etherial effects - but this seems to me to be greatly at the expense of what I would describe as proper choruses.

 

In addition, I still prefer my recording of the Reger from Linz Cathedral - there is a lightness and clarity to the textures which contrasts favourably with the turgid and indistinct billows of sound which emanate from the organ of the Riga Dom, thus making the already dense texture of Reger's music almost aurally inscrutable at times.

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Notwithstanding the number of ranks in the stop-list, there appears to me to be little actual brightness.

 

I have a recording of Riga somewhere (backwater Liszt etc.) and while the p to mf effects seem to be limitless and attractive the tutti comes over rather like a slightly distant harmonium!

 

AJJ

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Has anybody already read the text ?

 

Pierre

 

 

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

 

 

 

I've read it.......24 times to be precise!

 

I think I understand what it is trying to say, but I'm fairly certain that I think I can't understand it, without sitting at a huge German organ for the next 20 years.

 

On the other hand, I have those wonderful old recording of Germani playing Reger at Selby, and I think he was breaking all the rules.

 

I will confess, that when I learned "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben," I more or less ignored all the expression marks beyond the most basic, and just went from the musical notes. What I ended up with was something remarkably similar to what Germani did, and yet I deliberately didn't listen to the recordings when I learned it.

 

I even did the same naughty things, like soloing out the choral theme in the left-hand at one point, and then sliding unobtrusively onto the same manual with my right-hand, to keep the chorale melody in focus as it switched to the treble line. It works wonderfully, but it aint writ that way.

 

The simple fact is, we cannot play Reger in the way that Straube or Uncle Max intended us to do, because we don't have the same tackle. They don't have it the Bavokerk also, but Reger can sound absolutely stupendous when it is played welll on that instrument.

 

Reger remains the ultimate performer's nightmare if "authenticity" is being aimed at. Otherwise, we must interpret it as faithfully as possible, but within the confines of what is possible or impossible on any particular instrument. It is one of the reasons I so admire Reger's music, because like Bach's, it can be played very differently to marvellous effect. Believe it or not.......OK.....don't believe me......but I can play "H! G Z L" on the 11 speaking stop organ I play, and it actually works....more or less.

 

Then there is one of the best bits of musical "advice" I ever heard, which came from Philip Tordoff at Halifax PC.

 

I still chuckle at it to this day.

 

"Reger? Just pull out more stops and play less notes!"

 

B)

 

MM

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