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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!

 

May I remind you that the original criticism in this thread was about the YouTube performance of the Reubke Sonata. That criticism was neither uninformed nor "bitchy" as you so charmingly put it. Musing Muso (a whimsical pseudonym, not one to hide his identity - most forum members know who he is) is indeed an "expert" who is unfailingly supportive of great performers present and future.

 

As far as the video is concerned, I have to agree with MM, I could not hear the words! I do not doubt Nathan Laube has prodigious talent, but I do not think it is unfair to say that this particular performance did not do full justice to the work.

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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?

Well said, Patrick. And Fiffaro makes an important, and sadly apposite, point about internet security: this is now how the world is. But in view of some of the less charitable postings I wonder what happend to "I disagree entirely with what you say - but defend your right to say it"? MM is loquacious and whimsical - that's his style, and it is unfathomable to see how it could case resentment. It's a bit like Dickens: skip the bits that you don't need to read. After all, he has only and simply said that he did not care for a certain performers interpatation. So what? Vive la difference!

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Well said, Patrick. And Fiffaro makes an important, and sadly apposite, point about internet security: this is now how the world is. But in view of some of the less charitable postings I wonder what happend to "I disagree entirely with what you say - but defend your right to say it"? MM is loquacious and whimsical - that's his style, and it is unfathomable to see how it could case resentment. It's a bit like Dickens: skip the bits that you don't need to read. After all, he has only and simply said that he did not care for a certain performers interpatation. So what? Vive la difference!

PS - sorry for the typos - I have wrecked some RH fingers!!

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Thank you to those who appear to have supported me without resorting to a noose. I have a fairly cast-iron disposition, and I was quite hoping that all this could be resolved on the 'Jerry Springer Show', complete with fisticuffs and a jeering (and somewhat bewildered) audience.

 

At one point, I was reminded of the riots at the first performance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."

 

I suppose that anyone daft enough to want to be a performer or a music critic, deserve what they get. If people stick their heads above the parapet, they are quite likely to have them blown off!

 

I still don't like that Reubke performance one bit; bullets or no bullets.

 

MM

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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.

 

 

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

 

 

It was a very good Civil War in France, I thought; not that I was present, even if my ancestors fled the Revolution and ended up in Wales, poor things.

 

Whatever happened to gentlemen slapping each other across the face with a leather glove, and challenging the other to a dawn duel with pistols?

 

Life is so colourless in the relative peace of the EU.

 

MM

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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.

Are not the people above who have written positively about Mr Laube's playing those who have heard him in person? And for the record, I have not colluded with anyone else who has commented on here in support of his playing.

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May I remind you that the original criticism in this thread was about the YouTube performance of the Reubke Sonata. That criticism was neither uninformed nor "bitchy" as you so charmingly put it. Musing Muso (a whimsical pseudonym, not one to hide his identity - most forum members know who he is) is indeed an "expert" who is unfailingly supportive of great performers present and future.

 

As far as the video is concerned, I have to agree with MM, I could not hear the words! I do not doubt Nathan Laube has prodigious talent, but I do not think it is unfair to say that this particular performance did not do full justice to the work.

 

 

My posting did not mention Musing Muso and I did not say his observations regarding that particular YouTube performance were bitchy. I am very pleased to learn that Musing Muso is in fact an "expert" and no doubt, if what you say is true, he will also make some positive comments when he hears Nathan Laube live. (In fact I have read much of what MM has to say and a great deal is very informative and helpful).

 

I do prefer to hear professional performances live; poor quality free recordings on YouTube are fine if you like doing things on the cheap.

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My posting did not mention Musing Muso and I did not say his observations regarding that particular YouTube performance were bitchy. I am very pleased to learn that Musing Muso is in fact an "expert" and no doubt, if what you say is true, he will also make some positive comments when he hears Nathan Laube live. (In fact I have read much of what MM has to say and a great deal is very informative and helpful).

 

I do prefer to hear professional performances live; poor quality free recordings on YouTube are fine if you like doing things on the cheap.

 

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

 

I have to say that I wasn't listening to either the quality of the instrument or that of the recording. I hear things from 78rpm records and know what the performer was doing and saying 70 years or more ago.

 

In fairness to Nathan Laube, there is absolutely no-way that his organ-playing is bad or inadequate. From what I've heard, I just sense a slight emotional detachment as well as a prodigious technique and flawless delivery, and perhaps I really want to see him push to the highest level, of which he is probably very capable.

 

Actually, if I want to really rattle a cage or two, I would say that his performance of the Reubke is as good as those often played by Sir George Thalben-Ball; often to rapturous acclaim.

 

We are, after all, talking about tiny nuances and inflections, as well as a particular approach to melodic phrasing. Above all, the Reubke cries out for the tenuto approach and quite liberal freedom in the tempi, which is really saying that it follows the pianistic style of Franz Liszt and his contemporaries in the Berlin school, and that requires a bit of wildness and raw passion.

 

MM

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My posting did not mention Musing Muso and I did not say his observations regarding that particular YouTube performance were bitchy. I am very pleased to learn that Musing Muso is in fact an "expert" and no doubt, if what you say is true, he will also make some positive comments when he hears Nathan Laube live. (In fact I have read much of what MM has to say and a great deal is very informative and helpful).

 

I do prefer to hear professional performances live; poor quality free recordings on YouTube are fine if you like doing things on the cheap.

I am well aware of what you actually wrote in your first posting here. In the context of other discussion in the thread it was hardly surprising that I misinterpreted your contribution.

 

I find it equally difficult to interpret the real meaning behind the words: I am very pleased to learn that Musing Muso is in fact an "expert" or the suggestion that what I said about him might possibly be untrue. Indeed, your tone sounds distinctly patronising.

 

On your other point, the quality or cheapness of the YouTube clip has no bearing on the interpretation of the music.

JC

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

 

I have to say that I wasn't listening to either the quality of the instrument or that of the recording. I hear things from 78rpm records and know what the performer was doing and saying 70 years or more ago.

 

In fairness to Nathan Laube, there is absolutely no-way that his organ-playing is bad or inadequate. From what I've heard, I just sense a slight emotional detachment as well as a prodigious technique and flawless delivery, and perhaps I really want to see him push to the highest level, of which he is probably very capable.

 

Actually, if I want to really rattle a cage or two, I would say that his performance of the Reubke is as good as those often played by Sir George Thalben-Ball; often to rapturous acclaim.

 

We are, after all, talking about tiny nuances and inflections, as well as a particular approach to melodic phrasing. Above all, the Reubke cries out for the tenuto approach and quite liberal freedom in the tempi, which is really saying that it follows the pianistic style of Franz Liszt and his contemporaries in the Berlin school, and that requires a bit of wildness and raw passion.

 

MM

 

Yes, I can now understand your point and I guess a few cages are rattling as I type! Let's hope they stay caged. But I would say 'certainly' rather than 'probably'.

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Playing from memory has, for me, certain benefits and yet an equal share of drawbacks. I believe that everyone is quite different and thus some players rather prefer not to be encumbered still with the score after careful meticulous study and preparation when performing, whilst others prefer to maintain a close link with it on the stage/console. For me - so long as I am convinced and swayed by the performance, they could do it on their head if that's how comfortable they felt to discharge their interpretation. Liszt has much to answer for in this memory and concert lark! He was a one-off genius in so many ways and others have followed his trend-setting maverick style.

To many in an audience who go because they love music and are not themselves particularly adept at playing, if at all, to see a performer playing from memory is more of a miraculous moment than actually enjoying the results. That is perhaps why more and more screens appear at concerts when surely in a musical context, it is the performance that we want to hear. I find it quite off-putting to see an organist on the screen as it is a distraction, especially when placed in a rather spectacular piece of architecture. The music and the place is all I personally prefer both as player or listener. Again - personal preferences - and why (after seeing the size of screen set before the West case in Gloucester), I sloped off to sit alone in state in the magnificent awe-inspiring Choir. But others unaccustomed to actually seeing an organ being played, could marvel at the supreme command of the performer. As an organist I knew, so had no need to watch.

There used to be a bit of a fad about organists not looking down at their feet when playing. If it means that there is a difference between playing a correct key or not - then look! The same goes with having music as far as I am concerned.

I would be interested to hear from those who do perform from memory at different venues whether they rely more constantly on pistons and sequencers than on hand registration. I would certainly feel more at home playing a large work using the former as on an unfamiliar instrument I would certainly not want to constantly be thinking about which stops are where.

All the best,

N

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As a friend of Nathan Laube, I would like to write one final time on this matter.

 

I agree with Nigel that I couldn't care less if a musician plays from the score or not, to come to a point where the score in not required is however standard for top grade performers on most other instruments in recital or concert. In the case of students from Curtis Institute (where Nathan studied) it is also standard teaching to learn to play the organ from memory. What I personally find miraculous is the massive number of registration changes which are also accomplished from memory, and in Nathan's case using generals, divisionals, and stepper/sequencers - usually finding the most convenient button or toe stud for that particular moment in the piece. Even more astounding when only 15 hours may have been spent in preparation.

 

For the non organist audience it does seem rather odd not to be able to see a performer, when they are up in a loft such as Truro or Exeter, and I think big screens have played a good part in attracting extra people back to organ recitals once they have seen such a big screen. Nathan has also commented to me that he prefers to be in close contact with an audience rather than tucked miles away, so a screen is a poor second best in this respect to a mobile or nave console where the audience are physically close. All Souls Langham Place with it's handsome Harrison & Harrison console right at the front of the platform is ideal in this respect.

 

To go back to the point at which I came in - The Reubke performance, all I would say is that the Youtube video is now 16 months old, and was recorded when Nathan was 20 years old. I am pretty sure he would say he prefers to play the work differently now, and I can honestly say that his Reubke performances this summer in the UK (he played it at Exeter Cathedral, Gt Torrington Church and All Souls, Langham Place) were amongst the best I have heard, in my 30 odd years of hearing recitals, and I was present at the re-opening recital at All Souls Langham Place in 1976 when George Thalben-Ball played it, and I remember being an amazed teenager! Nathan's 2010 UK performances were all different as one might expect, and took into the account the acoustic, as well as other important factors. They were recorded on Video, but it will be Nathan's decision alone if any of them reach Youtube!!

 

It was interesting for me to hear some of the same works he played in 2009 played again this year. Again they have bloomed, with a much enhanced level of artistry and musicianship.This maturing process in his playing is a very natural one and will continue for many years - he is now studying in France with some of the very best this world has to offer.

 

He will be returning in November this year to play one of the re-opening recitals at St Michael's Cornhill, London, and there are several recitals already in the pipeline for next year. I would urge everyone who has been interested by this thread to go and hear a LIVE Nathan performance.

 

Best wishes to all,

Paul Goodman

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where the score in not required is however standard for top grade performers on most other instruments in recital or concert. In the case of students from Curtis Institute (where Nathan studied) it is also standard teaching to learn to play the organ from memory.

 

For the non organist audience it does seem rather odd not to be able to see a performer, when they are up in a loft such as Truro or Exeter, and I think big screens have played a good part in attracting extra people back to organ recitals once they have seen such a big screen. Nathan has also commented to me that he prefers to be in close contact with an audience rather than tucked miles away, so a screen is a poor second best in this respect to a mobile or nave console where the audience are physically close. All Souls Langham Place with it's handsome Harrison & Harrison console right at the front of the platform is ideal in this respect.

Paul Goodman

 

Playing not from a score has become 'standard' by convention although rarely do you find a Duo etc. on any stage with the pianist playing without a score. Rostropovitch though springs to mind as about the only exception either as 'cellist, pianist or conductor. There is a great difficulty for some memorized repertoire when playing on a mechanical instrument and where registration helpers are needed. They need the score if the player doesn't.

I have been intrigued by the varying posts about a player from the USA - Nathan Laube. I must confess his name is quite new to me but as he has the endorsement from Geoffrey (Morgan), then I certainly will look out for his recitals. It is so wonderful to know that so many fine musicians still are finding their way to the organ loft. However, at all times I think the player's duty is to the music firstly and so I am somewhat mystified that such a performer has his thoughts more on how he reacts with an audience and not positioned as close as possible to the organ. Through the instrument we are communicating surely with the audience and so need the opportunity for exquisite bonding. But, even at Langham Place I am quite disturbed by the time-lag which fundamentally destroys for me the nuances of articulation and thus the overall interpretation that is in one's mind. But again of course, a personal preference from a past-it.

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

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I have been intrigued by the varying posts about a player from the USA - Nathan Laube. I must confess his name is quite new to me

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

 

 

The name Nathan Laube can't be that new to you Nigel - you are Facebook friends with him!!! but you have so many FB friends - maybe he slipped into rather than through the net!!

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I have been intrigued by the varying posts about a player from the USA - Nathan Laube. I must confess his name is quite new to me

 

All best wishes,

Nigel

 

 

The name Nathan Laube can't be that new to you Nigel - you are Facebook friends with him!!! but you have so many FB friends - maybe he slipped into rather than through the net!!

 

I always allow people to be friends when they request on Face Book unless there are spurious identities or they have no connection with anyone else - but I have never had anything from him, as I would have remembered his rather unusual name. He is obviously a silent friend. So his name is now almost new.

N

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As a friend of Nathan Laube, I would like to write one final time on this matter.

 

I agree with Nigel that I couldn't care less if a musician plays from the score or not, to come to a point where the score in not required is however standard for top grade performers on most other instruments in recital or concert. In the case of students from Curtis Institute (where Nathan studied) it is also standard teaching to learn to play the organ from memory. What I personally find miraculous is the massive number of registration changes which are also accomplished from memory, and in Nathan's case using generals, divisionals, and stepper/sequencers - usually finding the most convenient button or toe stud for that particular moment in the piece. Even more astounding when only 15 hours may have been spent in preparation.

 

For the non organist audience it does seem rather odd not to be able to see a performer, when they are up in a loft such as Truro or Exeter, and I think big screens have played a good part in attracting extra people back to organ recitals once they have seen such a big screen. Nathan has also commented to me that he prefers to be in close contact with an audience rather than tucked miles away, so a screen is a poor second best in this respect to a mobile or nave console where the audience are physically close. All Souls Langham Place with it's handsome Harrison & Harrison console right at the front of the platform is ideal in this respect.

 

To go back to the point at which I came in - The Reubke performance, all I would say is that the Youtube video is now 16 months old, and was recorded when Nathan was 20 years old. I am pretty sure he would say he prefers to play the work differently now, and I can honestly say that his Reubke performances this summer in the UK (he played it at Exeter Cathedral, Gt Torrington Church and All Souls, Langham Place) were amongst the best I have heard, in my 30 odd years of hearing recitals, and I was present at the re-opening recital at All Souls Langham Place in 1976 when George Thalben-Ball played it, and I remember being an amazed teenager! Nathan's 2010 UK performances were all different as one might expect, and took into the account the acoustic, as well as other important factors. They were recorded on Video, but it will be Nathan's decision alone if any of them reach Youtube!!

 

It was interesting for me to hear some of the same works he played in 2009 played again this year. Again they have bloomed, with a much enhanced level of artistry and musicianship.This maturing process in his playing is a very natural one and will continue for many years - he is now studying in France with some of the very best this world has to offer.

 

He will be returning in November this year to play one of the re-opening recitals at St Michael's Cornhill, London, and there are several recitals already in the pipeline for next year. I would urge everyone who has been interested by this thread to go and hear a LIVE Nathan performance.

 

Best wishes to all,

Paul Goodman

 

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

 

 

I hope that this rather vindicates what I said about a performer maturing, and I am quite prepared to believe that Nathan Laube plays things quite differently now, after only 18 months. If the truth be known, we all change the way we play things as time goes on, and I shudder to think how fast I played Bach, for instance, in my younger days; something I wouldn't dream of to-day.

 

As for GTB, didn't he record the Reubke at Langham Place for Vista?

 

If so, I've got the record, which has been played twice I believe. The trouble is, it was about the same time that Roger Fisher blew me away at Chester playing the same work, after which I couldn't listen to most other performances. I also heard GTB play the same work at Clitheroe PC, Lancashire, and it left me stone cold, even though it was accurate to a fault.

 

It's a pity the whole of the Reubke Sonata recording below isn't in the archives of "Pipedreams," but for sheer hair-raising panache and artistic interpretation, Wolfgang Rubsom certainly "rewards the proud after their deserving."

 

Cecil B de Mille would have liked this, I feel sure:-

 

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2004/0420/ The Reubke Fugue starts at 52m 48s

 

Quite what he is doing at the end, I'm not sure, but it isn't as written, even if it is certainly superbly effective.

 

This is my kind of Reubke, I think....mercurial and something of a hair-raising, white-knuckle-ride.

 

With regard to console control and registration changes, it's usually just a matter of learning what things sound like, learning what's on the pistons and learning where things are. With modern consoles, there is a certain standardisation, so it usually isn't THAT difficult. Even so, learning the console AND the acoustic considerations takes time, and for a concert involving big romantic works, three or four hours is something of a minimum I would have thought; especially with detached consoles. Theatre organ consoles are infinitely more complex, and I know some performers who can just more or less jump on and play them instantly.

 

As for sequencers, I've never used one in my life, and do not feel deprived. To me, they're just one more thing to go wrong potentially, and a missed cue can cause musical chaos. Call me "old school" if you will.

 

MM

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Good grief! I seem to have stirred up a hornets' nest! I had no idea all this was ongoing, not having checked the Board for a while.

Could I refer everybody back to JustaDad's comments on Nathan's concert at Canterbury? It was exactly that sort of gig in Truro. I'm sure that everyone who went to that event will go to another organ recital. I just hope that they have as much fun.

 

And if Mr Goodman has any contact with Nathan (or maybe he reads this forum himself!), the only thought that we could come up with was that, surely, the point of the 'cello ensemble at the beginning of the William Tell is that all the voices are similar, and soloing out the melody seemed to be against the concept. But maybe Nathan tried this and it didn't work. And we are not worthy... etc. No other comments, m'lud.

 

Thanks Paul for arranging the tour.

 

(Was there a cipher on the 'seagull' stop? The hazards of Truro... :( )

 

Ian CK

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Liszt has much to answer for in this memory and concert lark! He was a one-off genius in so many ways and others have followed his trend-setting maverick style.

 

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

 

Oh! Indeed Nigel.

 

Lest we forget, Liszt and his circle were the ones who placed the composer centre stage and demanded accuracy in both the notation and the performance. Before that, the performer was as much the composer as the composer himself, and in this respect, every interpretation of Bach is a different work from the same notes played by someone else.

 

It really marked the birth of the virtuoso celebrity showman, and a rite of passage for individuality: a kind of revolution in fact.

 

I know that I once went to an organ-recital at Huddersfield Town Hall, but the organist was indisposed at the last moment. As luck would have it, a famous pianist, Genina Fielkovski (Sp?) stood in as concertiser at the Steinway piano, and instead of Bach and Vierne, we heard Rachmaninov,Ravel, Chopin and Feranc Liszt, and I wouldn't have missed it for all the oil in Russia.

 

I can quite understand why people fainted at those Liszt concerts....I was a jibbering wreck by the end of the Transcandental Meditation........played entirely from memory of course!

 

MM

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I MADE A MISTAKE.

 

 

Reubke was never a part of the Berlin School, but well known as part of the Weimar Circle of Liszt and his associates.

 

 

Incidentally, here is an interesting recording, played in full, on the great Walcker organ at the Riga Dom, which I stumbled across.

 

 

http://soundcloud.com/nicotagliente/reubke-mp3

 

 

I suspect the organist is wrestling with the 'beast' a bit, and the acoustic is immense, but it demonstrates (I hope) the sort of sound associated with Reubke, without heavy pressure reeds and fanfares, but an enormous palette of diferent timbres.

 

MM

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