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The Colours Of The Organ


Martin Cooke
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I wonder if anyone plays any of the pieces from this book published by Novello in 1960. There is a long Benedictus by William Lloyd Webber whose organ music I enjoy - does anyone know the Nuptial March (3rd of Three Recital Pieces, published by Mayhew)? - and then there's also the Diversion onm the Mixtures by Jackson. What about Holiday Trumpets - Sowerby? I would almost lay money on not a single organist in thsi country playing it! Come to think of it, does anyone play any Sowerby at all?

Martin.

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I seem to recall thinking that Jackson's Diversion for Mixtures was the best of the bunch. Pretty much unplayable over most of south-west Britain of course...

 

 

Excellent item, tricky but very exciting.

[i really must dig that book out again.]

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Guest Hector5
I wonder if anyone plays any of the pieces from this book published by Novello in 1960. There is a long Benedictus by William Lloyd Webber whose organ music I enjoy - does anyone know the Nuptial March (3rd of Three Recital Pieces, published by Mayhew)? - and then there's also the Diversion onm the Mixtures by Jackson. What about Holiday Trumpets - Sowerby? I would almost lay money on not a single organist in thsi country playing it! Come to think of it, does anyone play any Sowerby at all?

Martin.

 

 

Some Sowerby music is superb - 'Comes Autumn time', 'March for a Joyous Occasion', 'Requiescat in Pacem' - Holiday Trumpets is not the very best of his output.

 

 

One really neglected composer whose work appear sin the album is Desmond Ratcliffe. Many years ago when I worked for the RSCM my organ teacher gave me a piece of Ratcliffe's music. Our nice publications man (Frank Johnson, a lovely man) told me that Ratcliffe worked for Novellos. I wrote asking about the rest of his output, and was delighted to receive a parcel with his complete organ works as a gift. There's some wonderful stuff there, including a stunning Scherzo. His music is similar to that of Robert Ashfield, - very nicely crafted and worth playing.

 

For information I have just been trying out some of David Briggs' latest output at church this evening - definitely worth a detour!!!!!!!

 

Hector (recovering after having rehearsed Stanford in A and For lo, I raise up!)

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I seem to recall thinking that Jackson's Diversion for Mixtures was the best of the bunch. Pretty much unplayable over most of south-west Britain of course...

Oh, I dunno, Vox! I was only thinking after a concert this evening how good the mixtures (and mutations) are on http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch...ec_index=D05906.

 

Actually, thinking about it, you have a point. There are a lot of octopods around here! Aarrr, us don' doo Mixtures round these 'ere parts, do us!

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Yes, I would have to agree that the Paignton/Teignbridge area does represent something of an oasis in this distinctly down-at-Hele area.

 

I'm told that old Harry Moreton was very proud of how he had had the Swell Mixture on his pre-war Hele at St Andrew's, Plymouth, subdued so that it could be used with any single stop on the organ - even the Swell Echo Gamba!

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Yes, I would have to agree that the Paignton/Teignbridge area does represent something of an oasis in this distinctly down-at-Hele area.

 

Down-at-Hele :lol:

 

I'm told that old Harry Moreton was very proud of how he had had the Swell Mixture on his pre-war Hele at St Andrew's, Plymouth, subdued so that it could be used with any single stop on the organ - even the Swell Echo Gamba!

Crumbs! At least, I hope, he didn't combine it with the Voix Celeste! :unsure:

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What about Holiday Trumpets - Sowerby? I would almost lay money on not a single organist in thsi country playing it! Come to think of it, does anyone play any Sowerby at all?

Martin.

 

Martin, I wouldn't put too much money on that bet ; Kevin Bowyer recently played the entire collection, including Holiday Trumpets, in his Glasgow series. 'Pageant' was quite fashionable around 15 years ago ; I remember Jane Parker -Smith, Gillian Weir and Thomas Trotter all playing it at the RFH within the space of a few years, although Thomas Trotter refers to it as 'junk music'. I also remember enjoying a recording of the Symphony from a recital given by Gillian Weir at the Crystal Cathedral at about the same time ; what I enjoyed was the utter vulgarity of a performance that just kept GETTING LOUDER AND LOUDER AND LOUDER ....

 

Which leads me off at a slightly different tangent.

 

Kevin Bowyer plays and records so much, it slightly begs the question of whether all of that music is really of the first order.

 

Compare that to Keith John who once observed (rather foolishly, in my view) that the reason he played so many transcriptions for the organ was that the original organ repertoire 'contained so little good music'.

 

May I suggest that the truth lays somewhere between those two positions ? Is that hornet's nest I can suddenly hear ?

 

Best regards,

M

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On a related topic: OUP published their "Modern Organ Music" and "Easy Modern Organ Music" books in the 60s (& possibly 70s, I thibnk). Are any of these still in print? I've got ! & 2 of Modern Organ Music but nothing else. Musicroom have nothing and OUP website has nothing....

 

Thanks

 

Peter

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Kevin Bowyer plays and records so much, it slightly begs the question of whether all of that music is really of the first order.

 

Compare that to Keith John who once observed (rather foolishly, in my view) that the reason he played so many transcriptions for the organ was that the original organ repertoire 'contained so little good music'.

 

May I suggest that the truth lays somewhere between those two positions ? Is that hornet's nest I can suddenly hear ?

 

Best regards,

M

 

Oh no! Not another of those music appreciation/bashing(usually the latter) threads! Even though they are interesting, the cumulative effect of reading through them is depressing as somewhere along the line, every composer or work you hold dear is rubbished by someone.

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Oh no! Not another of those music appreciation/bashing(usually the latter) threads! Even though they are interesting, the cumulative effect of reading through them is depressing as somewhere along the line, every composer or work you hold dear is rubbished by someone.

 

 

Let me try and cheer you up.

 

It's a maverick opinion, but I think there's a place for almost anything in a good programme. One just has to choose items very carefully and each item must justify its inclusion in one way or another. Light works don't have to be very high quality to serve a really serious purpose: a cleanser between strong tastes, or a chance for the listener to relax between heavy pieces. I would also use less striking pieces with particular stops in mind - I have often learned things like this because they're in the right keys, move at the right speed or use the right stops.

 

The few pieces I can't easily find use for are ones that take themselves far too seriously for their actual quality. To set a few folks typing, much Rheinberger sometimes comes into this category for me - unless played by Roger Fisher who has the perfect touch and always makes this stuff sound like fine music.

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On a related topic: OUP published their "Modern Organ Music" and "Easy Modern Organ Music" books in the 60s (& possibly 70s, I thibnk). Are any of these still in print? I've got ! & 2 of Modern Organ Music but nothing else. Musicroom have nothing and OUP website has nothing....

 

Thanks

 

Peter

 

I have all of these I think - 'not sure whether they are still available though.

 

AJJ

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Let me try and cheer you up.

 

It's a maverick opinion, but I think there's a place for almost anything in a good programme. One just has to choose items very carefully and each item must justify its inclusion in one way or another. Light works don't have to be very high quality to serve a really serious purpose: a cleanser between strong tastes, or a chance for the listener to relax between heavy pieces. I would also use less striking pieces with particular stops in mind - I have often learned things like this because they're in the right keys, move at the right speed or use the right stops.

 

The few pieces I can't easily find use for are ones that take themselves far too seriously for their actual quality. To set a few folks typing, much Rheinberger sometimes comes into this category for me - unless played by Roger Fisher who has the perfect touch and always makes this stuff sound like fine music.

 

At last, someone who shares my (up to now) hidden feelings about Rheinberger.

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When I was young Rheinberger was distinctly out of fashion. I know I found his slow movements unbearably saccharine. He has since been rehabilitated to a certain extent and my reaction is less strong than it was. Some of those slow movements are really quite nice. I find the one in the 12th sonata most satisfying and the cantilena from the 11th is superb and not at all cloying. Others I still find a bit beyond the pale. But so much of Rheinberger's music is merely pleasant without being gripping. Everything is very professionally handled, but somehow it lacks the crucial spark that will ignite the enthusiasm. I think the main problem is that, with some honourable exceptions (notably the whole of the 12th sonata), his themes lack any strong character. Take the fugue from the 4th. The subject is a minim followed by a string of chromatically descending crotchets - hardly the most tuneful melody and no rhythmic interest either. This sort of thing is so typical of Rheinberger that I have to think it's probably an entirely conscious part of his style - but it doesn't do him any favours.

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I'm delighted to read this as I don't know the 12th Sonata. However, one sonata that I DO know and play is the 7th in f-minor. Each of its 3 movements is excellent, with beautiful themes splendidly developed. This may sound odd but E. P. Biggs was a fan of this work and played it in recital, off and on, into the middle 50's. I assume he studied it with G. D. Cunningham.

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I seem to recall thinking that Jackson's Diversion for Mixtures was the best of the bunch. Pretty much unplayable over most of south-west Britain of course...

 

 

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

 

I love Frank Jackson's "Diversion for Mixtures," but I always have a problem with it.

 

It's finding an organ suitable on which to play it. It's one of those pieces which only really sounds right on the organ it was written for, and even the organ at York Minster has changed a bit.

 

Not many instruments have very light choruses, mutations and upperwork, against such individual-sounding reeds; the very things which Dr Jackson explored in this excellent and very exciting piece.

 

In fact, the only organ other than York that I can think of, and which may do justice to the piece, is that in Hull City Hall.

 

I'm sure there must be others....I'm sure it would work well at St.Brides' coming to think about it.

 

MM

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