Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Playing From Memory


Recommended Posts

I have read, with some amusement Mr Mitchell's comments and also found his biography very interesting, - incredible!

 

I look forward to hearing of his next recital, and hope it includes the Reubke, obviously played from memory! Perhaps it would not go so well at his home church of St Joseph's Ingrow - with only 11 stops at his disposal!

 

This type of forum is a wonderful place for people to parade all sorts of "cyber" talents, whilst hidden behind a shield of near anonymity.

 

My support will always go to those who are doing something worthwhile, and life enhancing in the real world.

 

 

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

 

 

I am equally amused by Mr Goodman's comments, but at the very least, I am prepared to address them.

 

I have in fact played the Reubke, in recital at St.Joseph's, with just 11 stops, and it worked remarkably well, as things unexpected often do there.

 

I am not alone. Dr Francis Jackson played Bach, Dubois and the Vierne 1st Finale for the opening recital back in 1975.

 

Jonathan Bielby played the Liszt BACH. I also played Reger Op.59 "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben" in the following recital series.

 

For tonal quality, it is on a par with, or considerably better than other organs with which I have been associated or given recitals on, which include Halifax PC, Hull City Hall, St.Bart's Armley, Grimsby PC, St Bride's Fleet Street etc etc

 

My last outing with the Reubke was a couple of years back at Halifax PC.

 

Should you require more information, please go to the primary source and ask me directly. I tend to find that secondary sources and hearsay are usually inaccurate.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 120
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

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

 

 

I am equally amused by Mr Goodman's comments, but at the very least, I am prepared to address them.

 

I have in fact played the Reubke, in recital at St.Joseph's, with just 11 stops, and it worked remarkably well, as things unexpected often do there.

 

I am not alone. Dr Francis Jackson played Bach, Dubois and the Vierne 1st Finale for the opening recital back in 1975.

 

Jonathan Bielby played the Liszt BACH. I also played Reger Op.59 "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben" in the following recital series.

 

For tonal quality, it is on a par with, or considerably better than other organs with which I have been associated or given recitals on, which include Halifax PC, Hull City Hall, St.Bart's Armley, Grimsby PC, St Bride's Fleet Street etc etc

 

My last outing with the Reubke was a couple of years back at Halifax PC.

 

Should you require more information, please go to the primary source and ask me directly. I tend to find that secondary sources and hearsay are usually inaccurate.

 

MM

I have heard it said that the organ of St.Joseph's (RC) Church, Ingrow is one of the best in Britain.

 

There is even a source to prove it:

 

http://www.knowhere.co.uk/Keighley/West-Yo...nfo/favbuilding

 

So how could anyone possibly refute that it should not be mentioned in the same breath as St Barts Armley with a source like that?

 

This surely must be recorded on the NPOR:

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N07254

 

I would be interested to hear a recording of the Reubke Sonata on this organ. I wonder if Musing Muso would be good enough to provide one? I am sure it would be all most interesting.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have heard it said that the organ of St.Joseph's (RC) Church, Ingrow is one of the best in Britain.

 

There is even a source to prove it:

 

http://www.knowhere.co.uk/Keighley/West-Yo...nfo/favbuilding

 

So how could anyone possibly refute that it should not be mentioned in the same breath as St Barts Armley with a source like that?

 

This surely must be recorded on the NPOR:

 

http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=N07254

 

I would be interested to hear a recording of the Reubke Sonata on this organ. I wonder if Musing Muso would be good enough to provide one? I am sure it would be all most interesting.

 

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

 

 

I think the late Cecil Clutton described it as, "One of the ten best small organs built in Britain this century."

 

It also generated considerable acclaim in the organ-press, has featured on radio with a broadcast by Simon Lindley and was also featured in the BIOS journal.

 

It really doesn't matter what I say about it, because the great and the good have said it for me.

 

During my tenure, the organ has been used for three international organ recital series and several choral/orchestral concerts. No visiting organist has ever questioned the effectiveness of the instrument, and all have thoroughly enjoyed playing it.

 

I think Dennis Thurlow knows what he is about, and he regards this organ as among his very best.

 

Those who pour scorn on something they have never heard, are in great danger of making chumps of themselves.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
=======================

 

 

I think the late Cecil Clutton described it as, "One of the ten best small organs built in Britain this century."

 

It also generated considerable acclaim in the organ-press, has featured on radio with a broadcast by Simon Lindley and was also featured in the BIOS journal.

 

It really doesn't matter what I say about it, because the great and the good have said it for me.

 

During my tenure, the organ has been used for three international organ recital series and several choral/orchestral concerts. No visiting organist has ever questioned the effectiveness of the instrument, and all have thoroughly enjoyed playing it.

 

I think Dennis Thurlow knows what he is about, and he regards this organ as among his very best.

 

Those who pour scorn on something they have never heard, are in great danger of making chumps of themselves.

 

MM

 

Then I will have to hear it with my own ears as it would be equally foolish to unquestioningly believe everything that is said about it. So you'll have to put that recording up...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I've heard it, and played it. MM very kindly answered a plea on this forum for somewhere to practice when work marooned me 150 miles away from home for the whole of the week leading up to a recital, and turned out on two consecutive (and bitterly cold) November nights to let me in to the church and out again a couple of hours later.

 

I can only speak for myself: I thought it was a superb instrument. The sound is stunning and the action precise, responsive, crisp and utterly unforgiving of the slightest inattention to detail of phrasing or articulation. After the first 5 minutes I was ready to slit my wrists. After an hour I was in heaven.

 

I must say, that I find some of the posts in this thread to have an unpleasant flavour of "who the hell does MM think he is, to criticise such a luminary as Nathan Laube". Could we stick to the convention that we argue about what's been said, not who's said it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyway, congratulations for this interesting post which proves that British people are able to speak to each others without much aggression and respect for others' opinions

In the French-speaking forums, such an exchange of views about a concert would have turn into a civil war!!!

This is a reason why there is no organ forum in France comparable to this one.

Link to post
Share on other sites
People use pseudonyms because that is the culture of on-line forums. To criticise people for using pseudonyms is as useless as bemoaning the use of first names rather than surnames by strangers. The world has changed.

 

Besides, it doesn't take much to discover who Musing Muso is if you want to do so. Those of us that have frequented this forum for some time value MMs contributions and often find great enjoyment in reading them even if we don't always agree with everything that he says: I suspect that's the way he would like it.

 

As someone with not inconsiderable performance experience, and even more experience attending concerts, standing ovations are not a good indicator of good playing. It is possible to manipulate audiences. Think, for example, that David Helfgott has received standing ovations. I remember reading publicity for an Australian boys' choir saying that they received a standing ovation at the end of a particular concert. Well, yes, of course, they finished the program with an arrangement of the national anthem and people stood for that! People stand when someone slots a round ball through some metal - I never understood that.

 

Shame that the pseudonym 'cynic' is already taken on this forum, or I'd think about using it myself.

 

In any case, I hope that my first few posts didn't offend any long standing members of these forums that have helped make my visits here often enjoyable, entertaining, thought-provoking, enriching and have contributed to my knowledge of my specialist area in life.

 

"Fiffaro" is entitled to hide behind his cloak of anonymity, if he wishes. Whilst I find this mildy irritating, I have neither the time nor the interest to discover who he (or she?) really is. I can say, however, that had he been present at the end of Nathan Laube's recent recital in Truro Cathedral, he would have realised that the standing ovation given to this amazing performer was simply the audience's way of saying thank-you for an evening of truly exceptional music-making. This spontaneous gesture had absolutely nothing in common with the mass hysteria of a sports crowd, nor standing for the national anthem!

 

I hope one day Mr Fiffaro will have the privilege of hearing Mr Laube play live. He will then perhaps understand what I am talking about. I suspect that at least some of his self-confessed cynicism would then melt away...

 

Geoffrey Morgan

Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I've heard it, and played it. MM very kindly answered a plea on this forum for somewhere to practice when work marooned me 150 miles away from home for the whole of the week leading up to a recital, and turned out on two consecutive (and bitterly cold) November nights to let me in to the church and out again a couple of hours later.

 

I can only speak for myself: I thought it was a superb instrument. The sound is stunning and the action precise, responsive, crisp and utterly unforgiving of the slightest inattention to detail of phrasing or articulation. After the first 5 minutes I was ready to slit my wrists. After an hour I was in heaven.

 

I must say, that I find some of the posts in this thread to have an unpleasant flavour of "who the hell does MM think he is, to criticise such a luminary as Nathan Laube". Could we stick to the convention that we argue about what's been said, not who's said it?

 

I have no doubt that the Ingrow organ is beautifully voiced. I find it difficult to believe, however, that works such as the Reubke Sonata or Reger's "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben!" can be made effective on an instrument such us this, with only three eight foot stops! I still hope that "Mr Muso" will post a recording of his performances on Youtube - so that I can be convinced.

 

Geoffrey Morgan

Link to post
Share on other sites
I must say, that I find some of the posts in this thread to have an unpleasant flavour of "who the hell does MM think he is, to criticise such a luminary as Nathan Laube". Could we stick to the convention that we argue about what's been said, not who's said it?

Quite. As the saying goes, play the post and not the poster. MM's views are either valid or not. They do not become more valid just because he is a nationally known performer, or less valid because he is not. And, while we're at it, can we also please get away from the ridiculous notion (which has been floated here before) that one is not equipped to assess a performance unless one can play to the same standard. Irksome as it is to be criticised by lesser mortals (and it happens at all levels of ability), non performers are perfectly entitled to like or dislike what they hear and are often perfectly equipped to make those judgements.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have no doubt that the Ingrow organ is beautifully voiced. I find it difficult to believe, however, that works such as the Reubke Sonata or Reger's "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben!" can be made effective on an instrument such us this, with only three eight foot stops! I still hope that "Mr Muso" will post a recording of his performances on Youtube - so that I can be convinced.

 

Geoffrey Morgan

 

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

 

 

Geoffrey makes a good point, but actually, the Reubke (more than Reger), was never written for extremely expressive instruments with effective swell boxes. I have never heard a typical Rover or Reubke organ of the period live, but if I can find it, there was once an mp3 example of an organ built by the Reubke firm on the internet, which made for fascinating listening.

 

With these mid-19th century German organs of that particular region, as I understand it (or fail to understand it maybe), it was the quality of Flutes and Diapasons which mattered most; the reeds of lesser importance. Now in that important respect, the little organ at Ingrow scores highly. The full pleno is stunning, but the three flute stops are not only different, they also blend perfectly each with the other. The limitation is a lack of mild string tone, but even that is not a major handicap due to the rather slow, deliberate and slightly Schulzian speech of the Great Principal. Indeed, the full organ sound with both Great 8ft stops drawn, is ideal for almost anything, from accompaniment to Bach. The huge Rohrflute, with a flood of sound, when combined with the Pirncipal 8ft, sounds like a second, larger English Diapason.

 

This is like licking paintings, trying to describe musical sounds in words, but suffice to say that 11 speaking stops goes an awful long way on this remarkable instrument.

 

Actually, of all the new organs in the UK, it is by far the most "Dutch" in character, and I think that's why I love it so much. Incredible though it may seem, the effect in the superlative acoustic of the church, is not far removed from the Bavo-orgel, and that description came from a recitalist from the Netherlands.

 

As for recordings, I have a bit of a problem. I have a DAT recorder which needs a new transformer after leaving it on for a week, I had my mixer stolen out of the car (with phantom power supplies built-in), and all I have are two superb studio microphones which I cannot use, plus a very high-end tape deck. However, the tape deck, a self-constructed stereo microphone with in-built Sony components and a separate battery/capacitance box, may do the trick, but then I would have to convert it to mp3, file it on the computer and upload it. It's a lot of hassle, but I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, don't hold your breath.

 

 

http://reubke-orgel.de/beispiele.htm

 

http://reubke-orgel.de/bilder.htm

 

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just refreshed my memory about the Reubke Sonata, because when this work is heard played on English and American organs, those who perform it tend to rely heavily on the swell box(es) and swell reeds in particular, but actually, there are two types of dynamic markings used by Reubke; the usual hairpins and the separate terms Crescendo and Diminuendo, which are not interchangeable. The former suggests the use of the Swell; the latter the addition or subtraction of stops. That perhaps shows the limitations and effectiveness of any enclosed departments on the German organs of the period; the more highly contrasted changes of dynamic allocated to stop changes.

 

In the original copy, there are also slanted hairpins, which mean something else yet again. This annotation is used to encourage the performer to play tenuto, or over-legato, to suggest growing tension without dynamic change.

 

Reubke premiered this work at Merseburg Cathedral of course, and the style of Ladegast (the organ builder), was quite different to that which we know to-day, and followed an altogether more classical style than that which many imagine to be right for this work. (This why Reubke works on a Schulze organ, but not Reger).

 

I hope I haven’t been unfair to Mr Laube in my criticism of his performance. I was merely trying to point out certain deficiencies in his understanding of Reubke’s style. He gets the notes right of course, and if there are any errors of rhythm, I haven’t noticed them. In actual fact, although the Reubke Sonata was about as ambitious as it used to get for the FRCO examination, it isn’t technically in the stratosphere. Generally speaking, the notes lie well beneath the fingers and toes, and there are no nasty surprises, save for a couple of bars which caused me grief and probably still will when I come back to it.

Since writing all this, I’ve discovered that I am not alone in criticising the lack of real emotion in Nathan Laube's performances, but that said, this is has to be balanced by an army of people who think otherwise, and who would walk across broken glass to hear him perform.

 

As for the emotions and the suffering comment, I was probably quoting that old tart Sir John Gielgud, but it really is relevant. Reubke was dying when he wrote this sonata, and he knew it; the long battle with the tuberculosis which blighted and ended his life coming to a tragic and undoubtedly painful climax. The sonata is probably as much about Julius Reubke as it is about the 94th Psalm, and it’s all there in the music. The performer NEEDS to feel the pathos, the tenderness and the absolute frustration and rage in order to play this work convincingly, and if that cannot be FELT, it is best left alone. Those are emotions which are difficult to fake.

 

I feel much the same about Reger; self obsessed, melancholic, intellectually brilliant, alcoholic and possibly suffering from manic-depression. I find that all this is disturbingly represented in the music, but maybe that’s just me.

 

MM

Link to post
Share on other sites
Since writing all this, I’ve discovered that I am not alone in criticising the lack of real emotion in Nathan Laube's performances, but that said, this is has to be balanced by an army of people who think otherwise, and who would walk across broken glass to hear him perform.

 

I've attended quite a few recitals by organists famous enough to make certain people "walk across broken glass" to want to be there and sometimes the bigger the celebrity the bigger the disappointment on hearing a cacophony of wrong notes and the feeling "crikey, I play that pice better myself".

 

Getting the right notes right is a good starting point. In fact, sometimes any more than that is a bonus! If the performer at least bothers to get the notes right (assuming that they, and not the organ., are the source of the bum notes), I'm preprared to be more tolerant of and give credit for different styles and interpretations.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I feel much the same about Reger; self obsessed, melancholic, intellectually brilliant, alcoholic and possibly suffering from manic-depression. I find that all this is disturbingly represented in the music, but maybe that’s just me.

It's not just you.

 

I doubt that anyone can play convincingly, as well as understand, Reger' music who hasn't met, and openly fought, The Beast Within his- or herself.

 

Best,

Friedrich

Link to post
Share on other sites
we are getting off the point here

 

When can Colin Mitchell (alias Musing Muso) post a video on Youtube of him playing the Reubke at St Joseph's Ingrow???

 

If he hasn't got a camera a decent "high end" phone will do!

We got off the point some time ago. This is a tiresome storm in a teacup that contributes nothing of value to this forum!

JC

Link to post
Share on other sites
we are getting off the point here

 

When can Colin Mitchell (alias Musing Muso) post a video on Youtube of him playing the Reubke at St Joseph's Ingrow???

 

If he hasn't got a camera a decent "high end" phone will do!

 

Why should he? Most forum members are, I'm sure, quite happy to accept what MM has said without further justification.

 

Some of the posts here are too close to a personal vendetta for my taste.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why should he? Most forum members are quite accept to accept what MM has said without further justification.

 

Some of the posts here are too close to a personal vendetta for my taste.

Here, here!

 

It seems to me that one or two newcomers to the forum have jumped straight in wearing size 12 wellies, without having first absorbed the "house style" of the forum i.e. informed discussion which is not necessarily consensual, but which nevertheless remains friendly.

 

Sq.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why should he? Most forum members are, I'm sure, quite happy accept what MM has said without further justification.

 

Some of the posts here are too close to a personal vendetta for my taste.

 

Couldn't agree more. I've always found MM to be entertaining and informed, and have not enjoyed some recent comments and tone here very much at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Last summer, I drove from London to Christchurch Priory to hear Nathan Laube's recital there, and taking technical facility as a given, I was immediately drawn by his ability to make and communicate music on the organ. I have no time for showmanship and lack of musical depth which is found in certain virtuosi today, and Mr Laube's playing sets him apart from these prestidigital performers. From my experience at Christchurch, Mr Laube's performance of a transcription of Rossini's William Tell Overture provided ample evidence that he has already discovered "how to handle a good tune".

 

Organ Recitals are often dull, uncomfortable and full of 'experts' who take great pleasure in criticising every detail - regardless of who the recitalist may be. I too attended the Nathan Laube Recital at Christchurch Priory and yes, the usual bitchy critics were in attendance: BUT not one of them had a bad word to say!

 

Furthermore, I counted a number of highly regarded Organists who had indeed travelled a great distance (not over broken glass) to hear this young man give his English debut performance. I can only guess that they had watched the Youtube clips and decided they wanted to see Mr Laube perform live in order to make a balanced decision or judgement?

 

In fact, there was an excited buzz during the interval - for those of us present we felt we were witnessing something quite special. Nathan Laube did not use any trickery, long-over-the-top anecdotes to fill the programme or ludicrous hand gesturing and silly showmanship. The performance was controlled, disciplined and musically moving. Mr Laube does indeed have an enviable technique, he also has a mastery of registration and has a gift to memorise the music. But by far the most valuable gift is his musicianship which he shares with his audience in a completely open way - I was moved by the performance which conveyed a sense of spirituality so often lacking in so many of today's performers. The music spoke throughout.

 

In this sad an busy world, it is a rare thing to find inner peace and many Organists (even though they may strive to learn music from memory and perform it in church) do not seem to be able to communicate any kind of faith. I have had my fill of 'hollow' performances and went hear Mr Laube with a fairly cynical viewpoint. But I came away refreshed and inspired to raise my own standards.

 

Anyway, I enjoyed hearing a good tune being handled well and don't mind if the notes on the page are played from memory or from the score - as long as they communicate something of the wonder of creation in all it's beauty.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for those who are expressing positive comments for MM. My contribution was an attempt to do that, but I think was ultimately used to fan the fire.

 

 

 

I'm sure others have noticed that those three, now, posters that are so positive about Mr Laube's playing all have very low numbers of posts. My experience in online forums leads me to smell a rat when a number of low posters start pushing a product, particularly in such a strident way.

 

 

 

On the OT topic of anonymity and pseudonyms, IT security experts advise people not to post on forums in a way that allows obvious identification. There are people who sell information they glean from haunting forums to others who use that information to know when to break into people's homes. Posting time patterns, for example, provide information, as well as comments about holidays, or in our case, statements about intentions to attend concerts would be dangerous.

 

 

 

This was brought home to me on another forum that I've been very active on in the last year, a house building forum, where recently the members in my city suffered a spate of break ins. In one case, a forum member had previously posted plans of her house, later putting photos of an expensive purchase on the forum. Muddy footprints went straight to the room with the item, the thieves not even looking in other rooms to see what else was there. From what was happening, it was clear that the forum had an observer who was passing information on.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Patrick Coleman
I don't think anybody (least of all MM) is disputing anybody's right to disagree with MM's opinions of Mr Laube's playing. What I think is being disputed is what seems (certainly to me and possibly to several others) to be an overly personal way of so doing.

 

I agree. We of a certain vintage :unsure: seem to me to have been the last generation to learn how to argue robustly without descending to ad hominem, personally offensive, points. This forum has always been strictly policed (usually by its members) to avoid the unpleasantness which exists on so many other forums where people feel able to vent their spleen on others without standing fully behind their views. The forum is unusually informative and educative as a result.

 

If contributors (old or new) want to act as 'trolls' could we ask them please to go and find somwhere else to troll, and to allow this forum to retain its own particular (possibly old fashioned) character?

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...