Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 106
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Actually I quite like the stained glass!

 

Each to their own! :):D

 

I took a couple of friends to have an evening on this organ a year or so ago. Two of us didn't know it, my other friend did. We found ourselves rather underwhelmed by it. It certainly didn't live up to expectations.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Patrick Coleman

You should try playing Bach on Peter Clark's Spaeth at Saint Peter's, Roath, Cardiff.

 

Perhaps the eye is moving away from the ball in this discussion. Bach's music seems to me to be about having fun. He is enjoying himself pushing the boundaries of convention without breaking them. I suspect the acid test of an enjoyable Bach performance is whether the performer is enjoying the experience. The majority of us (who simply wish we could play Bach properly) get a thrill from such performances, even on the least promising instruments.

Link to post
Share on other sites
You should try playing Bach on Peter Clark's Spaeth at Saint Peter's, Roath, Cardiff.

 

Perhaps the eye is moving away from the ball in this discussion. Bach's music seems to me to be about having fun. He is enjoying himself pushing the boundaries of convention without breaking them. I suspect the acid test of an enjoyable Bach performance is whether the performer is enjoying the experience. The majority of us (who simply wish we could play Bach properly) get a thrill from such performances, even on the least promising instruments.

 

 

Thanks for the unsolicited advertising Patrick! 'Tis true, anyone is welcome to have a look at it, a play of it or even come to the series of recitals planned for later this year, but more of that as and when on the recitals thread.

 

Yes, all great artists push the boundaries to the limit, but over time those boundaries of course change. In Bach's time the consecutive 5th was banned, fugal subjects had to be contained within an octave and so on. Beethoven had consecutives in a piece of his (I forget which) and when it was pointed out to him that this was "wrong" he asked "who says so?" "The rules" was the thin reply. "Well I say they are OK" said Ludwig van, in the imperious way in which. I suspect, he said most things including ordering his morning coffee. And William Matthias earned a living put of them.

 

The split infinitive is another case in point, and it seems now (to the regret of many) to be tolerated if not encouraged everywhere, even in academia. Thank you, James T Kirk!

 

Peter

Link to post
Share on other sites
The split infinitive is another case in point, and it seems now (to the regret of many) to be tolerated

 

Peter

 

Not here it ain't! :)

 

Consecutives are tricky: some think they're OK so long as they are intended while others think they are completely inexcusable. I've been somewhat surprised on several occasions when personages you would think should know better have completely missed them (both on paper and aurally). I subscribe to the Richard Marlow recognition scheme: Fifths "Waaah" and octaves "Honk"!

 

DW

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams

"In Bach's time the consecutive 5th was banned"

 

Simply NO! There are plenty around of that time and all are effective. It all depends if you know what you are doing and, more importantly, can hear on paper what you have written.

 

If you wish to see how to write consecutive octaves that sound fabulous just look at the end of 'O Taste and See' by Vaughan Williams, which, with other items for that occasion, deliberately cocked a snoop at the establishment. (Think about the opening of 'Orb & Sceptre' for example.)

 

If we expunge consecutives we will lose much of Puccini!

 

Barry Williams

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the unsolicited advertising Patrick! 'Tis true, anyone is welcome to have a look at it, a play of it or even come to the series of recitals planned for later this year, but more of that as and when on the recitals thread.

 

Yes, all great artists push the boundaries to the limit, but over time those boundaries of course change. In Bach's time the consecutive 5th was banned, fugal subjects had to be contained within an octave and so on. Beethoven had consecutives in a piece of his (I forget which) and when it was pointed out to him that this was "wrong" he asked "who says so?" "The rules" was the thin reply. "Well I say they are OK" said Ludwig van, in the imperious way in which. I suspect, he said most things including ordering his morning coffee. And William Matthias earned a living put of them.

 

The split infinitive is another case in point, and it seems now (to the regret of many) to be tolerated if not encouraged everywhere, even in academia. Thank you, James T Kirk!

 

Peter

 

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

 

 

It took me 7.5 seconds to realise that the fugue subject of the "Great" G Minor exceeds an octave.

 

Reger loved parallel octaves; pianist that he was.

 

As for "breaking the rules," does it come more deliciously ironic than Rossini's "Sins of my old age?"

 

I love that saying, whoever wrote it, that says, "Rules were made for the obedience of fools, and for the guidance of wise men."

 

On that thoroughly sensible basis, I used to end certain academic exercises using all sorts of strange chords, just for the laugh.

 

As one student said, "Parallel 5ths? Circles of 5ths? What do they think I am, a geometry student?"

 

:)

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
"In Bach's time the consecutive 5th was banned"

 

Simply NO! There are plenty around of that time and all are effective. It all depends if you know what you are doing and, more importantly, can hear on paper what you have written.

 

If you wish to see how to write consecutive octaves that sound fabulous just look at the end of 'O Taste and See' by Vaughan Williams, which, with other items for that occasion, deliberately cocked a snoop at the establishment. (Think about the opening of 'Orb & Sceptre' for example.)

 

If we expunge consecutives we will lose much of Puccini!

 

Barry Williams

 

 

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

 

Let's not forget one of the most beautiful of all organ pieces, the "Berceuse" by Vierne.

 

It's just love on a sticker.

 

:)

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Almost anything on this organ is apt to send me to sleep. (I assume we are thinking of the same one.)

Yes.

 

The place with the funny stained-glass?

Yes.

 

I took a couple of friends to have an evening on this organ a year or so ago. Two of us didn't know it, my other friend did. We found ourselves rather underwhelmed by it. It certainly didn't live up to expectations.

Underwhelming is the world. With seventy-odd stops, the Tuba anoraks assume that it is world-shaking; instead it's just dull. The last new Edwardian organ in England? Our beloved Drake has buckets more colour and life.

 

I suspect the acid test of an enjoyable Bach performance is whether the performer is enjoying the experience. The majority of us (who simply wish we could play Bach properly) get a thrill from such performances, even on the least promising instruments.

Agreed, but the least promising instruments surely evoke far less joy than the most promising. You could play Bach on a pub upright (with the special jangly tuning) and enjoy it to an extent but it would be far more rewarding on a Metzler.

Link to post
Share on other sites
"In Bach's time the consecutive 5th was banned"

 

Simply NO! There are plenty around of that time and all are effective. It all depends if you know what you are doing and, more importantly, can hear on paper what you have written.

 

Consecutives fifths were banned in Bach's time and already had been for centuries. The fact that he occasionally wrote them does not alter that - though it may say things about Bach. They are not unknown in Mozart either, though I've never felt any of the ones I've seen are likely to have been deliberate. Even Homer nods occasionally.

 

The rules of classical harmony exist basically in order to help ensure "good style". To the trained ear, in four-part harmony consecutive octaves (and doubled thirds) sounds weak, while consecutive fifths sound coarse. That's not to say that all examples necessarily will, but the rule of thumb is valid. But it does require a critical ear to hear them. Everyone who has taught four-part harmony and has pointed out a consecutive fifth in a student's work will have heard the retort, "I can't hear anything wrong." Usually it means that the student has not yet developed the critical sensitivity to hear what is wrong.

 

The reason why people like Vaughan Williams got away with writing consecutive fifths is that he made them a consistent feature of his style. Two of the composers who had the thankless task of dissecting my offerings were at pains to point out to me that the key to a successful modern harmonic style is to be consistent in whatever you do. It's no good writing bars and bars of Duruflé-like harmony and plonking a bar of pure Mendelssohn in the middle of it - it will stick out like a sore thumb. Vice versa is just as true. And if you are dealing in discords, you have to be consistent in the type of dissonances you use.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been to a number of recitals given by some very good (nationally-known) players on a very large heavy-sounding Romantic four-manual built only fifty years ago...

 

Mind you, if this is the organ that I think that you are refering to (does it have a HUGE Pedal Department and every big reed playable from every division, does it have octave coupolers on the Gt, and is the funny 'stained glass' at the west end of the building?), then it should be said in its defence that it is poorly sited in a completely rubbish acoustic.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams
====================

 

Let's not forget one of the most beautiful of all organ pieces, the "Berceuse" by Vierne.

 

It's just love on a sticker.

 

:)

 

MM

 

Yes, but although they are consecutive fifths, they are also secondary sevenths and thus resolve inwards, as is most effective.

 

Barry Williams

Link to post
Share on other sites
Mind you, if this is the organ that I think that you are refering to (does it have a HUGE Pedal Department and every big reed playable from every division, does it have octave coupolers on the Gt, and is the funny 'stained glass' at the west end of the building?), then it should be said in its defence that it is poorly sited in a completely rubbish acoustic.

I think that must be another organ, Paul. This one doesn't have Gt octave couplers and the stained glass is at the east end. The Great reeds are available on the Choir, but not on the other manuals. However, the pedal department is quite big (21 stops) and the acoustic is (fairly) rubbish.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that must be another organ, Paul. This one doesn't have Gt octave couplers and the stained glass is at the east end. The Great reeds are available on the Choir, but not on the other manuals. However, the pedal department is quite big (21 stops) and the acoustic is (fairly) rubbish.

Fair enough, Vox - I thought that you were talking about Manchester Cathedral (which I quite like, thought it doesn't suit all tastes).

Cheers,

Paul.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, I never said I liked it! I only said I found it electrifying in terms of communication and control. I love the musicianship. That's not the same as liking the performance.

 

In terms of communication, musicianship and control in a performance - there is little else left aside from good taste (which is, of course, subjective).

 

David, are you sure that you do not like this performance?

 

In any case, it could be argued that musicianship is strongly linked to good taste - although this may be difficult to define satisfactorily to a large number of musicians.

 

:)

Link to post
Share on other sites
The memorial service (not concert) took place at the Church of St Giles-in-the-Fields in London, and somehow, I just can't see Francis's Festal Flourish working so effectively on Bill Drake's organ restoration there.

What? No Mirabilis? I hear you say...

 

Hmmm.... this sounds like an organ in which I would be interested....

Link to post
Share on other sites
"In Bach's time the consecutive 5th was banned"

 

Simply NO! There are plenty around of that time and all are effective. It all depends if you know what you are doing and, more importantly, can hear on paper what you have written.

 

!

 

Barry Williams

 

Barry, I always understood that Bach got round this by inverting parts, so eg the tenor would (temporarily) go under the bass part of maintaini9ng their normal position would result in a consecutive...

Best wishes

 

Peter

Link to post
Share on other sites
Barry, I always understood that Bach got round this by inverting parts, so eg the tenor would (temporarily) go under the bass part of maintaini9ng their normal position would result in a consecutive...

Best wishes

 

Peter

 

Quite - Fifths are only inverted fourths!

 

DW

Link to post
Share on other sites
Barry, I always understood that Bach got round this by inverting parts, so eg the tenor would (temporarily) go under the bass part of maintaini9ng their normal position would result in a consecutive...

Best wishes

 

Peter

He very often did, but I have certainly seen the odd true consecutive fifth. Just don't ask me to quote chapter and verse!

Link to post
Share on other sites

"I love that saying, whoever wrote it, that says, "Rules were made for the obedience of fools, and for the guidance of wise men."

 

 

Douglas Bader.

 

 

 

"The split infinitive is another case in point, and it seems now (to the regret of many) to be tolerated if not encouraged everywhere, even in academia. Thank you, James T Kirk!"

 

In fact, the split infinitive rule is nothing more than an outmoded superstition. In Latin the infinitive is one word, and so it was once thought that the English two word infinitive should not be interrupted. This is a rather tenuous basis for a rule, and, thankfully, the prejudice seems to be dying out. Attempts to avoid splitting the infinitive often result in clumsy sentence constructions, in which the carefully un-split infinitive is so conspicuous as to draw undue attention to itself. The Douglas Bader quotation above should be borne in mind here. Anyway, enough of that; I should go boldly back to work.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest spottedmetal
He very often did, but I have certainly seen the odd true consecutive fifth. Just don't ask me to quote chapter and verse!

Um . . . consecutive fourths, consecutive, fifths, octaves and inversions . . . Wonderful stuff which we all enjoy. But it proves the gist of what I was saying . . . that it all goes above a congregation's head so they talk - it's ivory tower stuff irrelevant to them - . . . no point in throwing pearls before swine - except of course where there is a really inspiring organ . . . unless, with the most inspiring gem of an organ we can think of, the congregation are . . . .

 

Herbert Murill's another composer to look at to keep a congregation's attention. They might talk, but they'll be enjoying the music as more than musak.

 

Sad that there are fewer cinemas with churches than organs. Perhaps the secret of holding an audience as well as a congregation was a posting in a cinema, as Ralph Downes according to my Godmother. After serving as a cinema organist, perhaps the RFH organ was not a surprising revolution.

 

Thinking of that, it's instructive to listen to Carlo Curley's CD played on that organ. I put it on and suddenly it dawned that I didn't know that instrument could sound like that. Apparently the mics were especially installed in or near the chambers.

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

Link to post
Share on other sites
In fact, the split infinitive rule is nothing more than an outmoded superstition. In Latin the infinitive is one word, and so it was once thought that the English two word infinitive should not be interrupted. This is a rather tenuous basis for a rule, and, thankfully, the prejudice seems to be dying out.

 

Attempts to avoid splitting the infinitive often result in clumsy sentence constructions, in which the carefully un-split infinitive is so conspicuous as to draw undue attention to itself. The Douglas Bader quotation above should be borne in mind here. Anyway, enough of that; I should go boldly back to work.

 

'Superstition'?

 

I tend to think that several hundred years of its being a rule would tend to suggest something more than "a tenuous basis".

 

If you want clumsy sentence construction then the instance I saw at an antiques sale takes some beating: on a nicely-done, green and red enameled sign hung over a rather grand dealer's wares -

 

"We are pleased to also BUY" - I challenge anyone to suggest that this, a split infinitive at its worst, is anything other than extremely ugly.

 

It seems to me (as a simple, Grammar Schooled chap) that when these rules are forsaken either through wanton disregard or by sheer ignorance or carelessness, the results are telling enough - this applies both the the rules of grammar AND Harmony. How many on this list have recollections of the Kitson harmony books? These were standard reading when I was at School and, later, Walter Piston was de rigeur. The fact that they are now almost completely disregarded is very clearly demonstrated by the appalling efforts to which we are subject in the name of 'Contemporary music' - at least all of the letters of the word which I would use to describe it are in the word 'Contemporary'!

 

DW B)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Fair enough, Vox - I thought that you were talking about Manchester Cathedral (which I quite like, thought it doesn't suit all tastes).

Cheers,

Paul.

I assumed the building in question to be Coventry Cathedral. Might it not be simpler if you were to just tell us?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...