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Messiaen On Free Reeds


David Coram
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Guest spottedmetal
I just got made aware of this and thought it an absolutely stunning feat -

 

Thanks so much for this! Extraordinary gem. The variety of tone colours is so very astounding or is that simply the inadequacy of my computer speaker? Even the pedal bass is remarkably effective. Can one think one is hearing strings, flute, clarinet and trumpet chorus at times?

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

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Quite amazing. Just listen to all that purple!

 

It reminds me of a summer's evening in Stuttgart about ten years ago. I had gone into the city centre for a few beers, and on the way back I heard what sounded like organ music drifting down the street. Following my ears, I found a largish crowd gathered and at its centre a young woman playing BWV 565 on one of those things - and playing it extremely well.

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The accordian and other free-reed instruments have a very honourable place in music, and quite a few crossed-links with the organ, for obvious reasons.

 

I don't know how many of "straight" organists on here have heard of Simon Gledhill, who is one of the few really talented theatre-organ players in the UK, but his first love was originally the accordian. It was on this instrument that he first shot to fame, when he won the UK junior championship; or something like that. When Simon plays some of the big orchestral transcriptions, you can hear that accordian heritage in his blood, as he puts the most extraordinary expression into his playing, with quite distinctive "pulses," plucked from the world of accordian playing, and the immediate sforzandi of which that instrument is capable.

 

His style of playing is thus quite unique, and extremely musical, with perhaps the most striking (literally) version of the "Thunder and lightning polka" I have ever heard.

 

Of course, the close relative is the harmonium, which can do similar things with those knee-operated swells.

 

There is a huge repertoire for the harmonium, and music of a very high calibre from the likes of Guilmant, which is never heard played on the organ. The very best harmonium music is incredibly virtuosic, but unfortunately, the links I had to the mp3 recordings no longer seem to be valid.

 

From Hungary, the works of Feranc Kutor were written for manuals only or harmonium, but this is not pleasant salon music, but full blown, serious classical music, complete with fugues and things; some of considerable quality.

 

In fact, as music which can be played on the organ, Kutor's repertoire remains an undiscovered treasure-trove.

 

I'll see if I can dig out the links.

 

MM

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The accordian and other free-reed instruments have a very honourable place in music, and quite a few crossed-links with the organ, for obvious reasons.

 

I don't know how many of "straight" organists on here have heard of Simon Gledhill, who is one of the few really talented theatre-organ players in the UK, but his first love was originally the accordian. It was on this instrument that he first shot to fame, when he won the UK junior championship; or something like that. When Simon plays some of the big orchestral transcriptions, you can hear that accordian heritage in his blood, as he puts the most extraordinary expression into his playing, with quite distinctive "pulses," plucked from the world of accordian playing, and the immediate sforzandi of which that instrument is capable.

 

His style of playing is thus quite unique, and extremely musical, with perhaps the most striking (literally) version of the "Thunder and lightning polka" I have ever heard.

 

Of course, the close relative is the harmonium, which can do similar things with those knee-operated swells.

 

There is a huge repertoire for the harmonium, and music of a very high calibre from the likes of Guilmant, which is never heard played on the organ. The very best harmonium music is incredibly virtuosic, but unfortunately, the links I had to the mp3 recordings no longer seem to be valid.

 

From Hungary, the works of Feranc Kutor were written for manuals only or harmonium, but this is not pleasant salon music, but full blown, serious classical music, complete with fugues and things; some of considerable quality.

 

In fact, as music which can be played on the organ, Kutor's repertoire remains an undiscovered treasure-trove.

 

I'll see if I can dig out the links.

 

MM

 

Hi

 

Good to see a defence of the Harmonium! One slight correction though - the main expressive device on pressure harmoniums is the foot treadles - which along with a stop marked "Expression" which disconnects the reservoir - allows a vast dynamic range and very subtle expression. Mustel with the "Art harmonium" took this a stage further with his patented "Double Expression" which has pneumatic servo devices that vary the opening of the expression shades inr esponse to the wind pressure from the bellows. Very clever!

 

I would recommend a visit to the "Victorian Reed Organ Museum" at Saltaire (near Bradford). If I'm free I'll gladly pop round and demonstrate some of the organs.

 

I'm hoping to record some of the Christmas repertoire for Harmonium during this year - including some Guilmant and Cesar Frank. Much of the Guilmant works well on the organ, and indeed is registered (and in some passages written with different versions) to suit the strenghths and weaknesses of the 2 instruments.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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