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I've been thumbing through a list of works published in the US of items that claim to demonstrate the organ. Does anyone have any experience of anyone of them, or indeed any that aren't listed here.

 

The only one that comes to mind is the Arthur Wills one, which I have an excellent CD of.

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Guest Cynic
I've been thumbing through a list of works published in the US of items that claim to demonstrate the organ. Does anyone have any experience of anyone of them, or indeed any that aren't listed here.

 

The only one that comes to mind is the Arthur Wills one, which I have an excellent CD of.

 

I don't know about any of these, but Introduction and Grand Concert Variations on a Hymn Tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan [Onward Christian Soldiers!] (Sub-titled the 'Not -so-young person's guide to the organ') by Richard Francis is excellent and comes strongly recommended if you want something for this particular job. There is a commentator's part which talks everyone through all the colours etc. It has been performed quite a bit recently by a variety of players and recorded (sans commentaire) by Martin Setchell at Ludlow Parish Church. Unfortunately, Richard's website was not up-to-date when I last looked, he has recently moved house. It is published by Intrada Music in a volume along with further effective and comic pieces originally written for Alessandro Bianchi.

 

Intrada's website is at

www.intradamusic.nl

 

In passing, you may have read somewhere that the odd liverish reviewer has not appeared able to see the point of this slightly frivolous work. I am confident that any audience (of normal people) would!

 

[i should declare an interest; Richard is a friend of mine and I have recently recorded a good wodge of his music at Liverpool Met including a couple of comic numbers but also a stack of really splendid straight stuff. It's available from him or me. In the fullness of time I expect Allegro Music will stock it too.]

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I don't know about any of these, but Introduction and Grand Concert Variations on a Hymn Tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan [Onward Christian Soldiers!] (Sub-titled the 'Not -so-young person's guide to the organ') by Richard Francis is excellent and comes strongly recommended if you want something for this particular job. There is a commentator's part which talks everyone through all the colours etc. It has been performed quite a bit recently by a variety of players and recorded (sans commentaire) by Martin Setchell at Ludlow Parish Church. Unfortunately, Richard's website was not up-to-date when I last looked, he has recently moved house. It is published by Intrada Music in a volume along with further effective and comic pieces originally written for Alessandro Bianchi.

 

Intrada's website is at

www.intradamusic.nl

 

In passing, you may have read somewhere that the odd liverish reviewer has not appeared able to see the point of this slightly frivolous work. I am confident that any audience (of normal people) would!

 

[i should declare an interest; Richard is a friend of mine and I have recently recorded a good wodge of his music at Liverpool Met including a couple of comic numbers but also a stack of really splendid straight stuff. It's available from him or me. In the fullness of time I expect Allegro Music will stock it too.]

 

Thanks for this Paul, its all very interesting and not a name I've come across before. I've been to his site and he lists quite a lot of organ solo music. What did you record and what's worth the rest of us having a look at? In particular, do you play that suite of 60 pieces based on frescoes from the church in Denmark?

 

I haven't been able to find the Sullivan piece/volume on the Intrada website, though it being in Dutch didn't help!

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I've just been on a week's organ tour of the Netherlands, and heard "demonstrations" of some dozen or so organs, and I regret to say that none of the excellent works listed on the Opus Two web site were used for the purpose. Instead we were subjected to such tripe as Trio Sonatas and Preludes and Fugues by Bach, Mendelssohn Sonatas, Franck's A minor Chorale, a suite by some guy called Boellmann and chorale preludes by Buxtehude, Bohm and Brahms. This was most disappointing, and I am sure Franklin D Ashdown's "Scenes from the Life of a Doctor" would have demonstrated the instruments far better. The piece based on the patient with an Epididymal Cyst is particularly fine, I think.

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I've just been on a week's organ tour of the Netherlands, and heard "demonstrations" of some dozen or so organs, and I regret to say that none of the excellent works listed on the Opus Two web site were used for the purpose. Instead we were subjected to such tripe as Trio Sonatas and Preludes and Fugues by Bach, Mendelssohn Sonatas, Franck's A minor Chorale, a suite by some guy called Boellmann and chorale preludes by Buxtehude, Bohm and Brahms. This was most disappointing, and I am sure Franklin D Ashdown's "Scenes from the Life of a Doctor" would have demonstrated the instruments far better. The piece based on the patient with an Epididymal Cyst is particularly fine, I think.

 

OK, I get the subtle point you're making.

 

Of course the works you mention are the real thing and 'demonstrate' the organ very adequately. However, in preparation for a demonstration to a group of primary school children, I'm not sure they will get the message through to kids so young. The works listed on the site mentioned all tell some sort of story and involve a narrator (much like the Wills piece I mentioned earlier), and they MAY do it better. They might not, that's why I posted the request.

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OK, I get the subtle point you're making.

 

Of course the works you mention are the real thing and 'demonstrate' the organ very adequately. However, in preparation for a demonstration to a group of primary school children, I'm not sure they will get the message through to kids so young. The works listed on the site mentioned all tell some sort of story and involve a narrator (much like the Wills piece I mentioned earlier), and they MAY do it better. They might not, that's why I posted the request.

 

I think if most (not all) primary school childrens' first "taste" of the organ were say the St Anne P7F, they might find it a bit of a turn off. However if you can, as I intend to soon, show that the organ can handle (whoops! no pun ontended!) things like the Pink Panther, the Thunderbirds theme, Harry Potter and (now that the 4th installment is finally due out) the Indiana Jones theme you may get some real interest whch will in time lead on to JSB and the rest of that lot. The idea of having a narator alongside is one I am going to give serious consideration so many thanks for introducing this topic. It's given me a few more ideas.

 

Peter

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[i should declare an interest; Richard is a friend of mine and I have recently recorded a good wodge of his music at Liverpool Met including a couple of comic numbers but also a stack of really splendid straight stuff. It's available from him or me. In the fullness of time I expect Allegro Music will stock it too.]

 

And what a positive review in OR of both your playing and the quality of the music.

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...things like the Pink Panther, ....

 

In the 1980s an amazing version of the Pink Panther theme was broadcast on 'The Organist Entertains'. It was a transcription of the opening theme which accompanies the cartoon sequence which opens 'The Pink Panther Strikes Again', where he's being chased through places like night clubs, cinemas, etc. The Sound of Music, theme, Big Spender, etc are all woven in.

It was recorded at Coventry Cathedral. (possibly by Paul Leddington-Wright (?) if the memory cells are doing their job...)

Does anyone have a recording of it or, better still, has the score been published? Inet searches haven't thrown up anything.

P.

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I've just been on a week's organ tour of the Netherlands, and heard "demonstrations" of some dozen or so organs, and I regret to say that none of the excellent works listed on the Opus Two web site were used for the purpose. Instead we were subjected to such tripe as Trio Sonatas and Preludes and Fugues by Bach, Mendelssohn Sonatas, Franck's A minor Chorale, a suite by some guy called Boellmann and chorale preludes by Buxtehude, Bohm and Brahms. This was most disappointing, and I am sure Franklin D Ashdown's "Scenes from the Life of a Doctor" would have demonstrated the instruments far better. The piece based on the patient with an Epididymal Cyst is particularly fine, I think.

 

The logic of this attititude is that (1) the best way to learn to swim is to be thrown into the deep end of the pool and be left to get on with it and (2)children/beginners should begin their encounter with literature by being asked to read Bleak House, David Copperfield , Great Expectations & War and Peace with Treasure Island orThree men in a Boat standing in for the Boellman. Though it is admittedly many years ago I seem to remember that my own children's first encounters with reading involved something that was purpose built to introduce them to the subject and had neither claim nor pretension to be great literature. I would have thought that "organ demonstrators" were intended to serve an equally practical and important purpose, paying due regard to the limits of the human attention span when asked to take on board something strange or new. To allow people to access literature or any other facet of the printed word they need both to master the skills of, and acquire the taste for, reading. Likewise, for people to appreciate the high points of the repertoire listed their attention must first be engaged and they must not be turned off. Anyone who thinks that you can achieve this with an unrelieved diet of Bach, Buxtehude, Brahms or Franck, even with the addition of a little Boellman, needs to get out more.

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The logic of this attititude is that (1) the best way to learn to swim is to be thrown into the deep end of the pool and be left to get on with it and (2)children/beginners should begin their encounter with literature by being asked to read Bleak House, David Copperfield , Great Expectations & War and Peace with Treasure Island orThree men in a Boat standing in for the Boellman. Though it is admittedly many years ago I seem to remember that my own children's first encounters with reading involved something that was purpose built to introduce them to the subject and had neither claim nor pretension to be great literature. I would have thought that "organ demonstrators" were intended to serve an equally practical and important purpose, paying due regard to the limits of the human attention span when asked to take on board something strange or new. To allow people to access literature or any other facet of the printed word they need both to master the skills of, and acquire the taste for, reading. Likewise, for people to appreciate the high points of the repertoire listed their attention must first be engaged and they must not be turned off. Anyone who thinks that you can achieve this with an unrelieved diet of Bach, Buxtehude, Brahms or Franck, even with the addition of a little Boellman, needs to get out more.

 

Eloquently and perfectly summed up, Brian. :)

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I found another one, anyone heard it? Its by Bob Chilcott.

 

MR.MAJEIKA & THE MAGIC ORGAN . . . . . . . . . OCR033 / 9780193558380 . . . . . . . . . . £7.00

For organ and narrator, with children's voices, this is a tale of witchcraft and sorcery in music and

words, thrilling, entertaining and occasionally bizarre, and enlivened hugely by an assortment of

comical organ effects. The character of Mr Majeika comes from the successful series of children's

books by Humphrey Carpenter, who wrote the text for this work. Duration 18 minutes

 

I like the concept of comical organ effects, it happens to us all one Sunday or another. My first Sunday in my last post, hadn't realised how unstable the music desk was, and the hymn book fell forwards towards me, making Cage like cluster noises on the Solo, Swell, Great then Choir before reaching my lap.

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Just because you play a four manual, there's no need to brag... :P

 

Sorry, hadn't meant to...

 

What's more it was a rather fine four manual too!

 

And still is after the rebuild, much better in fact.

 

Anyway, back to the original point. Someone must know somebody who has heard the Chilcott. OUP don't publish things if they aren't going to sell.

 

A little more Googling (is that a verb in the Englsih language now?) and it was written for the opening of the Symphony Hall organ, and is due to be performed there again on the 6/7 June. Its also had a perfomance in the Cadogan Hall in London.

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The logic of this attititude is that (1) the best way to learn to swim is to be thrown into the deep end of the pool and be left to get on with it and (2)children/beginners should begin their encounter with literature by being asked to read Bleak House, David Copperfield , Great Expectations & War and Peace with Treasure Island orThree men in a Boat standing in for the Boellman. Though it is admittedly many years ago I seem to remember that my own children's first encounters with reading involved something that was purpose built to introduce them to the subject and had neither claim nor pretension to be great literature. I would have thought that "organ demonstrators" were intended to serve an equally practical and important purpose, paying due regard to the limits of the human attention span when asked to take on board something strange or new. To allow people to access literature or any other facet of the printed word they need both to master the skills of, and acquire the taste for, reading. Likewise, for people to appreciate the high points of the repertoire listed their attention must first be engaged and they must not be turned off. Anyone who thinks that you can achieve this with an unrelieved diet of Bach, Buxtehude, Brahms or Franck, even with the addition of a little Boellman, needs to get out more.

I agree it's better to start off with Enid Blyton than James Joyce. But I don't think we're comparing like with like here.

 

As a 7 year old I was getting a lot of pleasure listing to Bach's preludes and Fugues on the organ and already thought them far superior to mid 80s pop music. I also enjoyed singing Purcell and Handel. Lots of other children were also quite capable of singing this sort of music and/or listening to a Beethoven Symphony. However, Messaein totally baffled me - I was not a great exponent of abstract 20th C art as a 7 year old.

 

I think we can underestimate children's ability to absorb and appreciate music of quite high complexity and somehow intuitively grasp musical quality. Children in my church will tell me that they think "Make me a channel of your peace" is total pants but they like the jig fugue. I was doing the same when I was 7.

 

Learning to read is an acquired skill, with small steps identifying individual letters before going onto whole words. You don't need to learn in the same way to understand and listen to music - you don't need to learn what an A sounds like and how it's different to a C before a child can listen to music. It's more like speaking or looking at something.

 

Maybe a better analogy is art - children will quite readily identify with paintings done by the grand masters. OK, they don't get all the sublties of what's going on in a Rembrandt but they're probably going to understand it and appreciate some of its qualities it more than a rather scarily dessicated Picasso! Similarly, they'll understand and enjoy Handel's Messiah far more than Tournemaire's l'orgue mystique!

 

However, I have to say as a polite, well-behaved 7 year old, I could only take so much of looking at pictures in an art gallery before I got bored and tired. I needed something to capture my interest and excitement. Organ music did it for me!

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I think we can underestimate children's ability to absorb and appreciate music of quite high complexity and somehow intuitively grasp musical quality. Children in my church will tell me that they think "Make me a channel of your peace" is total pants but they like the jig fugue. I was doing the same when I was 7.

 

Glad to hear this and wish it were a universal attitude - but here we are going down the "what do they do in schools?" avenue again. Example: they held a school "leavers Mass" at St Peter's last week which is what is says it is. BUT did they take to opportunity to use the organ, a pretty damn fine 3 manual less than two yars old? Did they see this as a chance to introduce teenagers to the repetoire, even if just a couple of hmns and a voluntary? No they did not. Instead we got the usual sub-Seekers 60s stuff and afterwards those repsonsible for clearing up found a greasy piece of paper which had presumambly earlier been home to some chips or a kebab, and some empty drinks cans. Which just about says it all. About the teachers, that is.

 

Peter

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Guest Patrick Coleman
Glad to hear this and wish it were a universal attitude - but here we are going down the "what do they do in schools?" avenue again. Example: they held a school "leavers Mass" at St Peter's last week which is what is says it is. BUT did they take to opportunity to use the organ, a pretty damn fine 3 manual less than two yars old? Did they see this as a chance to introduce teenagers to the repetoire, even if just a couple of hmns and a voluntary? No they did not. Instead we got the usual sub-Seekers 60s stuff and afterwards those repsonsible for clearing up found a greasy piece of paper which had presumambly earlier been home to some chips or a kebab, and some empty drinks cans. Which just about says it all. About the teachers, that is.

 

Peter

 

Rant alert

 

Who called the shots when the liturgy was planned and executed? Five gets you ten it wasn't the children: if they'd prepared and 'owned' it the whole thing (especially the behaviour) would have been different. One of our local schools last Christmas wanted to prepare and lead a Christmas service in church instead of the usual concert. The Y6 children used their IT skills to research and construct a very creative combination of a christingle and lessons and carols format. They allowed me to comment on it, and they insisted as non-negotiable that it should contain such elements as a confession and profession of faith, and also an array of what they called 'real' carols, and could they have the 'real' organ too.

 

They came and practised exhaustively and put on an event that was dignified devotional and disciplined. Need I add that the school serves the most deprived part of a generally deprived area. They edified their families and they edified us, and did more to promote the Church than I could do in months of visiting.

 

The moral is obvious, and one of the parts they most enjoyed was singing with our more-than-pretty-damn-fine organ. No games or gimmicks; just involvement and encouragement. One of the reasons why we are starting to get youngsters seeking to be involved in choral worship and one of them has just started to learn to play Bertha.

 

Of course, none of this would have happened without the bridges we have been building into the lcoal community. Incidentally, and more to the point of this thread, what makes the most impact is 'real' organ music played with genuine flair and panache. Watered down stuff is boring.

 

Oh, and PS they want to try Evensong next.

 

end of Rant

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About the teachers, that is.

 

Peter

 

But not all teachers - my year 9s wrote some really rather interesting 'permutations' on the D minor T&F - Toccatas are 'cool' apparently!.

 

AJJ

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A few weeks ago, Lawrence was asked to play at two RC confirmation services. It was a novel experience for him given what he's used to (Anglican/Cathedral tradition). The thirty voice choir all sang the melodies and there was a music group of two flutes, two guitars and a bongo. The church is modern and they have a toaster - a rather nice one, with good amplification. Each evening about 40 candidates were confirmed and about 300 people were in the congregation.

 

At the end of the first service it was party time and the congregation broke into photo groups, laughing and chatting and celebrating - and completely ignoring the voluntary (which had been left to L's discretion as had the choice of all the filler music through the service).

 

The first night he played JSB's Fantasia in G Maj and it got completely swamped by the noise of the congregation. On the second night he played the Toccata in D Maj by Lanquetuit (which he had bought the previous day). Soon there were a dozen people gathered around the console watching him play and by the end 300+ people were clapping enthusiastically. Then they got on with their photos.

 

(I don't remember seeing Lanquetuit mentioned here. There's a clip of Jon Hope playing the toccata at Blackburn on YouTube that I'll put in the YouTube thread.)

 

Give people the right, good music and they'll enjoy it even if they've never heard anything like it before.

 

Best wishes

 

J

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I agree it's better to start off with Enid Blyton than James Joyce. But I don't think we're comparing like with like here.

 

 

I think we can underestimate children's ability to absorb and appreciate music of quite high complexity and somehow intuitively grasp musical quality. Children in my church will tell me that they think "Make me a channel of your peace" is total pants but they like the jig fugue. I was doing the same when I was 7.

 

 

Maybe a better analogy is art - children will quite readily identify with paintings done by the grand masters. OK, they don't get all the sublties of what's going on in a Rembrandt but they're probably going to understand it and appreciate some of its qualities it more than a rather scarily dessicated Picasso! Similarly, they'll understand and enjoy Handel's Messiah far more than Tournemaire's l'orgue mystique!

 

However, I have to say as a polite, well-behaved 7 year old, I could only take so much of looking at pictures in an art gallery before I got bored and tired. I needed something to capture my interest and excitement. Organ music did it for me!

 

I fully agree that learning to read and developing the ability to appreciate music are not that much alike. I also completely accept that [some] young children can often absorb material of considerable complexity : as a 10 year old I read Harrison Ainsworth's novel Old St Paul's, which I found completely turgid,prolix and all but unreadable when I returned to it as an adult 40 years later. However, the target audience for "organ demonstrators" was not just children but "beginners" and adult beginners often find the learning process more difficult than do children. Of course, motivated and able adults will learn more quickly than unmotivated and less able children, but I assume that no one is setting out to make a case for only recruiting the intellectual elite as appreciaters of organ music. Even those of us with a distinct dislike for political correctness in all its forms would find that hard to swallow. And while you were indeed blessed to find organ music had a kind of natural appeal to you, you can hardly be asserting that the same is true for all people, or even most people, at a particular stage of development. Were that to be the case, then the organ recital would be a flourishing form of musical entertainment everywhere playing to packed houses and there would be TV broadcasts on a regular basis. Sadly, this is not the situation in the real world as even the most cursory glance at the topics discussed on this board amply demonstrates.

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A few weeks ago, Lawrence was asked to play at two RC confirmation services. It was a novel experience for him given what he's used to (Anglican/Cathedral tradition). The thirty voice choir all sang the melodies and there was a music group of two flutes, two guitars and a bongo. The church is modern and they have a toaster - a rather nice one, with good amplification. Each evening about 40 candidates were confirmed and about 300 people were in the congregation.

 

At the end of the first service it was party time and the congregation broke into photo groups, laughing and chatting and celebrating - and completely ignoring the voluntary (which had been left to L's discretion as had the choice of all the filler music through the service).

 

The first night he played JSB's Fantasia in G Maj and it got completely swamped by the noise of the congregation. On the second night he played the Toccata in D Maj by Lanquetuit (which he had bought the previous day). Soon there were a dozen people gathered around the console watching him play and by the end 300+ people were clapping enthusiastically. Then they got on with their photos.

 

Give people the right, good music and they'll enjoy it even if they've never heard anything like it before.

 

Best wishes

 

J

 

 

Yes, that sounds like confirmation in a typical RC church - except in our case the organ doesn't get played, and hasn't been at confirmations for something like 12 years. This is because the schools have decided, on their behalf, that the children don't like the organ.... it sounds as if Partick is having more success in his wood's neck.

 

No Alastair, of course not all teachers. It just happens to be my unfortunate lot that it is the case here.

 

Peter

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