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Vox - I have no quarrel with that.

 

However, I am both saddened and puzzled that it is considered necessary to attempt to coax the music-loving promenaders to like organ music by playing either transcriptions of light music - or by engaging artists who may be considered eccentric - with a playing style to match.* I cannot help but wish that the opportunity had been taken to present the audience with music actually written for the instrument - choosing works which were reasonably tuneful and accessible, yet nevertheless were more 'mainstream' repertoire. I genuinely doubt that, in the long term, this will have a lasting positive effect on the world of organ music.

 

Having a good professional orchestra based a few miles away, I note from their concert season programmes of the last few years that it is apparently not necessary to resort to a similar tactic for those attending orchestral concerts.

 

 

 

* By this, I do not refer to Richard Hills.

 

Yes, I do appreciate where you are coming from and I don't disagree at all. I am afraid I am a product of my age. Fifty years ago, when I was just beginning to learn the organ, we were all being encouraged to promote the organ as a serious musical instrument equal to any other God or man had devised. Gone were the days when the organ was a one-man band, a mere - and inferior - substitute for an orchestra. It deserved recognition in its own right. It was an instrument with its own dedicated, quality repertoire [even if you had to scratch around a bit to find it], one nothing inferior to any other orchestral instrument that might be featured in a recital of serious classical music. One's target audience was not the [often musically blinkered] fellow organist, but the general classical music lover. So arrangements were frowned upon because they promoted the degenerate image of the organ. One played only genuine organ repertoire. One also embraced those organs, often indiscriminately termed neo-Baroque, that actually allowed one to hear the internal structure of the music clearly rather than just an indistinct, but seductively enveloping mush of sonority. Sonority certainly still had its place (Howells et al. were by no means personae non grata) but all the different types of music equally deserved to be heard to their best advantage - and so the eclectic organ became the ideal.

 

The vision failed. Organs and organists never did achieve co-equality with the mainstream orchestral instruments.* So we have returned to our allotted niche: the all-purpose entertainer.

 

The fact is that the organist-entertainer has long come in both classical and popular guises. The town hall (and church) organist often played arrangements of tuneful classical movements, orchestral, chamber and choral alike. Cinema and theatre organists might do this too, but primarily went for more popular and more improvisatory renditions of popular songs and melodies - and at their best did so with no less (or even greater?) aplomb.

 

It's all good.

 

However, as I said, I'm a product of my age and I still hanker after a more serious acceptance of the organ. But it isn't going to happen, so we might as well learn to revel in its all-purpose capabilities.

 

* There have been isolated exceptions. One can instance Peter Hurford and Gillian Weir.

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Had a message on Facebook this morning which was posted on the page of Norwich Cathedral:

 

"Join our Organist, David Dunnett, and Priory Records for the launch of 'The Grand Organ of Norwich Cathedral' DVD next Thursday at 1.00pm - free to attend for everyone http://www.cathedral.org.uk/news/launch-of-dvd-to-celebrate-the--grand-organ-of-norwich-cathedral-.aspx"

 

Clip here from the new Norwich DVD. The piece is "Live Wire" (Iain Farrington).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnJmbFns7xo

 

Dave

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I've been off these boards for quite some time, finally getting some time to post again...

 

I was privileged to be asked to give one of the 25 minute post-mass concerts at St. Louis. King of France RC in St. Paul, MN USA this past Tuesday, 10 Dec, 2013. Here are a couple of YouTube clips - the first 2 pieces:

 

David German: Festive Trumpet Tune



Daniel Gawthrop: Largo - Mvt 2 from 1st Organ Symphony

 

Enjoy,

 

- giwro

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(organ specs here )

Two more videos:

Marius Monnikendam - Elevatio from 12 Inventions:



Joyce Jones- Pedal Variations on "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder"

 

Enjoy, and pardon a couple of slips in the Variations :wacko:

 

- Giwro

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Not sure if this clip has been posted but it is archive footage of the building of the organ at Guildford Cathedral in 1961.

Most interesting.

 

As I was watching it I couldn't help thinking, wow, those pipes look like they're getting on a bit and hardly fitting for a brand new cathedral. The trusty NPOR came to my rescue and I discovered that the organ was almost a hundred years old when it was installed in the cathedral, having originally been a large 3 manual Nicholson dating from the 1860s which Harrisons converted to a four-decker in 1899.

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I thought some of you may like these videos, of Sietze de Vries's improvisations, at the Groningen Martinikerk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk75PrwcTNU

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtOvd22kppQ

I've chosen these two as the tunes are quite recognisable to English-speaking readers but there are plenty more: the channel devoted to Sietze de Vries is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Mr19740105

 

You'll have to wait a bit until the fugue on Ein Feste Burg but it's worth the wait.

Although Sietze is quite often found at a British organ console during the school holidays accompanying the Roden Girl's Choir on a cathedral visit, it would be great to hear him in concert in the UK.

 

There's also an article about him in the most recent Choir and Organ.

 

His website at www.sietzedevries.nl has plenty more recordings and clips.

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Not sure if this has been shown already, but what do you do if you can't decide whether to invest in a pipe organ or in two concert grand pianos? The answer of course is to get the two pianos, mount them on top of each other and clip a pedalboard to the lower one! Bach's Passacaglia as yoj've never heard it before....

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF864Fev0ws

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Not sure if this has been shown already, but what do you do if you can't decide whether to invest in a pipe organ or in two concert grand pianos? The answer of course is to get the two pianos, mount them on top of each other and clip a pedalboard to the lower one! Bach's Passacaglia as yoj've never heard it before....

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF864Fev0ws

 

I am sure that this is very clever - but what is the point? It still sounds infinitely better on an organ (at least one of reasonable quality and design). This appears to be one of the most cumbersome performance methods which I have ever seen.

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A very fine rendition on the world's third best organ ;)

 

As a point of interest, am I right in thinking that Jan Mulder doesn't do the triple pedalling in the final Andante maestoso, except in the final chord? I wouldn't blame him at all. It never sounds well on an English organ and I would have expected a Cavaillé-Coll to sound worse rather than better in this respect. Either way, I just can't hear all the written notes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVLU72d1_10

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Superb performance and instrument, I agree. For the record, which are your best and second best?

 

A purely personal opinion, but (1) Naumburg and (2) St Sulpice.

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As a point of interest, am I right in thinking that Jan Mulder doesn't do the triple pedalling in the final Andante maestoso, except in the final chord?

 

I couldn't hear them either, but it's rather difficult to judge. However he does seem to miss out other bits and pieces as well, to the extent I hit the 'pause' button after a while so I could get my copy of the music out. For instance, the stalking staccato figuration in the pedals seems to be omitted over several bars at one point (difficult to specify in writing here as my score doesn't have bar numbers). And the left hand part seems to be virtually missing 4 bars before the final Tempo Primo.

 

I've found similar things occurred with other recordings of this Sonata. One memorable 'ouch' was when Robert Joyce at Llandaff let his foot drag on and on on the pedals at one point when it should long have been lifted during the Pastorale. Rather odd that it should have made it to the final pressing (vinyl of course in those days) because surely it would have been easy just to re-record it.

 

Mind you, might it be my copy and not their fault at all? I use Eaglefield Hull's edition of 1912 (lovely, large, thick, yellowed pages I might add). Am I missing out on later research perhaps?

 

CEP

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Thank you for posting this, it is indeed astonishing - and fantastic.

 

I have a great respect for the talents of Pierre Pincemaille. His improvisation skills are stunning. And on this superb instrument, the osmosis between player and instrument is quite apparent; much like that of Cochereau and the Cavaillê-Coll instrument at Nôtre-Dame de Paris.

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Thought this would be of interest. It is the final hymn and recessional music from a Christmas Mass at Cologne Cathedral in 2010. Excellent music: I believe the piece of music right at the end was written by the cathedral organist, Winfried Böning. I did see the title of that piece somewhere but can't recall it.

 

 

Dave

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Hello,

Thought this would be of interest. It is the final hymn and recessional music from a Christmas Mass at Cologne Cathedral in 2010. Excellent music: I believe the piece of music right at the end was written by the cathedral organist, Winfried Böning. I did see the title of that piece somewhere but can't recall it.

 

 

Dave

 

after the final christmas carol "Menschen, die ihr wart verloren" (now Number 245 from the "Katholische Gebet- und Gesangbuch"), Bönig plays a modulation from D major to C major (2:30 to 3:30) and then it is a setting of the french carol "Ou s'en vont ces gais Bergers". Perhaps from a french composer like Balbastre or Dandrieu.

 

Cheers

tiratutti

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Hello,

 

after the final christmas carol "Menschen, die ihr wart verloren" (now Number 245 from the "Katholische Gebet- und Gesangbuch"), Bönig plays a modulation from D major to C major (2:30 to 3:30) and then it is a setting of the french carol "Ou s'en vont ces gais Bergers". Perhaps from a french composer like Balbastre or Dandrieu.

 

Cheers

tiratutti

Thanks for that. I had a look at the renditions of both those composers and then, on a related link, came up an arrangement by Michel Corrette and I think it may be his. This sounds the closest to what is heard on that organ in Cologne:

 

 

Dave

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As a point of interest, am I right in thinking that Jan Mulder doesn't do the triple pedalling in the final Andante maestoso, except in the final chord? I wouldn't blame him at all. It never sounds well on an English organ and I would have expected a Cavaillé-Coll to sound worse rather than better in this respect. Either way, I just can't hear all the written notes.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVLU72d1_10

 

The only way I can manage the triple pedalling in the Guilmant is by playing in socks rather than shoes.

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Here's a clip I really like. I heard this piece on Howard Goodall's "Organ Works" series on TV several years back: I think I still have the videotape with the series on! However until last night, when I found this clip in a related link to something else I was watching, I had never known what the piece was. And bearing in mind the organ's side (6m, 101 stops, 141 rks if the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stiftsbasilika_Waldsassen is correct although the 6 manual console may also play the choir instrument but I am not sure and the article doesn't specify) it is not surprising how grand this piece sounds on here.

 

 

Dave

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When one finally sees the detached electric console in the video it confirms that the piece could not have been played on Brandenstein's original organ (mechanical action, wind raised by human muscle power), even if Wagner had been around then and someone had done the transcription.

 

I wonder what the original organ sounded like.

 

CEP

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