Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Programming


David Coram
 Share

Recommended Posts

Right... often it's said that the same people hawk the same old programmes round again and again, and this is a turn-off not just for the gen pub but also for our own species.

 

Any thoughts therefore on favourite & least favourite pieces? What on a poster makes you think "I'll go" or "definitely not"? It's obviously a more complicated science than that, but as it's something we most of us criticise from time to time I'm guessing there are some fairly strong views out there...

 

Personally, in recital planning I pick a theme (doing lots of Scherzos at the moment) & then string things together in a logical sequence of keys, big works in the middle & fluff on the outside, alternating loud and soft wherever possible. Keen to understand other approaches & audience perspectives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right... often it's said that the same people hawk the same old programmes round again and again, and this is a turn-off not just for the gen pub but also for our own species. 

 

Any thoughts therefore on favourite & least favourite pieces?  What on a poster makes you think "I'll go" or "definitely not"?  It's obviously a more complicated science than that, but as it's something we most of us criticise from time to time I'm guessing there are some fairly strong views out there...

 

Personally, in recital planning I pick a theme (doing lots of Scherzos at the moment) & then string things together in a logical sequence of keys, big works in the middle & fluff on the outside, alternating loud and soft wherever possible.  Keen to understand other approaches & audience perspectives.

 

Messaien = stay at home and watch Coronation Street. I know he has an enthusiastic following but, to me, letting my cat wander ad lib over the keyboards would sound more musical.

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, John Scott playing La Nativite du Seigneur by Messiaen at St.Paul's made me cross the Northsea in 2002 & 2003. Hearing John Eliot Gardiner and The Monteverdi choir with Bach cantatas made me race to Muhlhausen in Thuringen (Germany) - a once in a lifetime concert for sure ...

 

Things like that ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two things attract me to a recital. Firstly, who is playing? I won't name names, but some recitalists are so good that it's worth risking a pogramme that I don't recognise simply because of the performer. Secondly, what is being played? If the entire programme is given over to a style or styles of music I like, or contains a great 'warhorse' that I like on an Organ I enjoy listening to ('Ad nos' at Westminster Abbey perhaps!) then need I say more? If there is a variety of styles and periods and the player is one I admire, or who has been recommended to me by somone I trust, again - say no more. But if the player is not known to me, and has chosen a programme of obscure 20th century music by composers I have never heard of, or ancient French music with all its fiddly trills and twiddles, with perhaps a bit of Bach thrown in to 'sugar the pill', then I am unlikely to attend. I realise this may not help, but that's how I do it! The same criteria applies to concert programmes also, not just Organ recitals. How often do I read a programme, shake my head and lament the waste of perfectly good Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart or (name a favourite or favourites) because the planners saw fit to allow Bartok or (name your own poison or poisons) to dominate. The proms are a case in point, but that's another topic.

 

Regards,

 

John.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... But if the player is not known to me, and has chosen a programme of obscure 20th century music by composers I have never heard of, or ancient French music with all its fiddly trills and twiddles...

Regards,

 

John.

 

But I like French baroque organ music (with all its fiddly trills and twiddles), especially if the instrument supports it.

 

There's not going to be any definitive answer to this question, of course, as we all have different tastes. To me, that is the main attraction of the organ: no two instruments are alike - such a great diversity of styles and sounds.

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I like French baroque organ music (with all its fiddly trills and twiddles), especially if the instrument supports it.

 

There's not going to be any definitive answer to this question, of course, as we all have different tastes. To me, that is the main attraction of the organ: no two instruments are alike - such a great diversity of styles and sounds.

 

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

 

Recitals are strange adventures; especially when there is no programme announcement prior to the event.

 

Looking back, I can recall a fair few. Perhaps top of my personal list would be Germani playing Reger at Leeds PC, Jane Parker-Smith suffering from a cold, yet able to tear into the Compton at Wakefield and play the Durufle "Toccata", Francis Jackson on form playing almost anything, anywhere, Ton Koopman as I sat grating my teeth one minute, and walking on clouds the next. Jos van der Kooy playing a wonderfully varied and romantic programme at Haarlem; including the Reger "Ein feste Burg."

 

Really great performances?

 

Jane Parker-Smith as mentioned, Jennifer Bate playing a superb Duccasse "Pastorale", Germani playing the big Reger B-A-C-H and most definitely Roger Fisher performing the Reubke at Chester during the IAO Congress there.

 

My point is, really outstanding music is comparitively rare, but when it happens, it lives with one for a very long time.

 

I don't really care what the programme is, but I do care about the performances.

 

In the recitals that I have given, I always tend to go for the "Heinz 57" variety pack....something deep, something frivolous, something to thrill and a nice tune or two for the old ladies....that sort of thing. However, with the players mentioned above, I would go to hear THEM.

 

How I regret never hearing Walcha play Bach at a live concert....that would have been wonderful.

 

Recitals are different things to different people, but if I have one gripe, it is the fact that GOOD 20th century music and contemporary music is seldom played unless it is Messaien or by some other Frenchman, dead or alive. I wish that people who are up to it searched out the best contemporary music; maybe some of that wonderful Czech music I'm always championing. We never get to hear these works because they're not French or German, and I for one am heartily fed-up with hearing Vierne's 1st and the Carillon de Westminster ad nauseum.

 

I know certain people like Howells, which is as good a reason as any for having a programme announcement. That way, I can arrive late or leave early or just nip out to the pub!

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

There are definitely a few things to avoid* (in my opinion) when drawing up a programme. David Coram's Scherzo theme might just get by, but too many of any one thing tends to get monotonous - I would be with Musing Muso and his Heinz programme.

 

*I once heard an all B.A.C.H. programme (at Bath Abbey) and although the works themselves were good, it took a lot of sitting through.

I once heard an all C minor/G minor programme (Shrewsbury School) and that really annoyed me!

 

 

Here would be my suggestions for making your programme easy to enjoy:

1. Contrast between items is vital, but it needn't be too dramatic - Buxtehude and Messiaen next to each other, for example. Buxtehude and Mozart would be a wide enough distance apart!

2. For goodness sake, vary the volume levels! Two pieces of fullish organ next to each other tend to make the organ sound less rather than more impressive.

3. Try to sneak some Bach in.... even on your typical English organ, it is what real music lovers like to hear (assuming you can play it cleanly). Even then, I have heard some poor playing over the years, but Bach's greatness always gets through - even if you follow the latest silly band-waggon and finish the G Major Fantasia on 8' echo flutes!

4. There should definitely be some lighter moments - these need not be all Lemare/Hollins/Ogden/Rawsthorne/Lefebure-Wely - though these are all good for encores. A Handel Organ Concerto with sparkling solos is light enough for anyone.

5. Try to include something English. This is my commonest moan. Frankly, it's what our instruments (mostly) do best and there's so much pleasant stuff, even if it is not all to 'art-work' standard. Warning - off at a tangent now! Last year I visited Durham Cathedral in order to hear the mighty Willis/H&H. I was with a pre-arranged trip (The Organ Club) and we had been told

a) that we couldn't get a play (I assume we were all considered either untrustworthy or incapable of handling such a precious thing as a cathedral organ) and

B) that we had to pay JL in order to persuade him to give us a half-hour recital!!

Anyway, my chief reason for mentioning this is, in his frantic half-hour of stunningly played masterworks, there wasn't one English/British piece - or anything like one.

 

 

My method for planning a programme goes something like this:

 

1.Pick a big work that I know is within the scope of the instrument. Watch for Tubas (or lack of) General Pistons (o.l.o.) missing top notes, 32-note pedalboard etc.

2. Pick a nice bit of Bach - major if the big piece is minor and vice versa

3. Pick a nice bit of English - maybe softer/colourful

4. Something really flashy if the big work isn't - this happens by the way!

5. Fill in the gaps, trying to include at least one thing that not many people play.

 

I would then check for overall length and variety of keys.

When I get to the venue, I will work in as many effects/colours as I can - quite deliberately. If I don't use a stop, it ought to be because it isn't in tune, not because I can't think of a use for it. If this sounds terribly 'organ-fancier' logic, I would point out that the more colours we give an audience, the more likely they are to enjoy the instrument and the overall experience.

 

I'd better not say where and who, but I recently heard a medium-length recital on a famous big organ and we heard Full organ several times, fullish organ several times, flutes several times - including one individual flute time after time (nice stop but there are/ were others to choose from for variety) and we didn't hear any strings or soft solo colours - the organ is absolutely packed with fabulous strings and orchestral reeds.

 

I'm not particularly good at it, but some people's recitals are worth going to just for the introductory remarks:

I would cite in this regard:

Roy Massey, Dame Gillian, Gordon Stewart, Geoffrey Morgan and Simon Lindley as perfect examples (when in the mood). RM is at his absolute best when no clergy are present in the building. It is a fact, the better the chat, the less you notice when RM (a particularly talented exponent of this art) goes back to play a piece you have heard several times before on the same humble stops he left off playing four minutes ago. By now, of course, they seem fresh and interesting. A splendid trick which he brings off regularly - it's a gift!

 

I don't think colleges of music deal with programme planning at all. It doesn't help when in certain institutions the professors appear to plug their few favourite composers with every student. I'm probably molesting a hornet's nest here: but a few years ago everyone seemed to come out of the R.A.M. playing Bach, Vierne and Messiaen and eschewing everything else. The same teachers also cover Oxbridge!

 

Someone fairly recently in an interview (maybe Dame GW) described a good programme as a meal... I reckon that's not a bad analogy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Messaien = stay at home and watch Coronation Street.  I know he has an enthusiastic following but, to me, letting my cat wander ad lib over the keyboards would sound more musical.

What makes a good recital? Like trying to nail jelly to the wall, it's a tricky one.

 

Messiaen in small doses in a recital can be really memorable. I recall a Sunday afternoon recital at Westminster Cathedral which featured excerpts from La Nativite du Seigneur. Can't remember the player, but was bored rigid until "Di parmi nous" which, on that organ, just blew me away! Another Messiaen moment was hearing a ground shaking Appartion de l'eglise eternelle at King's. But complete Messiaen works - forget it.

 

Good programming is vital, and should not be compromised. I attended a memorable almost all-French recital Colin Walsh gave at Westminster Abbey during the Martin Neary years. It had concluded with the last movement of Vierne's Symphonie VI that, with its jazzy syncopations, had the audience almost dancing out of the Abbey. Note the "almost-all French" comment. In his introduction, Dreary self-deprecatingly recalled how after Colin Walsh had submitted an all-French programme for the recital, he had rung the Lincoln organist to tell him, "Oh, but we must have some Bach!"

 

Christopher Herrick's series of Organ Fireworks and Organ Dreams recordings is, of course, a great marketing gimmick, even though the overall listening experience of each series is somewhat relenting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Barry Oakley

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

 

 

Recitals are different things to different people, but if I have one gripe, it is the fact that GOOD 20th century music and contemporary music is seldom played unless it is Messaien or by some other Frenchman, dead or alive. I wish that people who are up to it searched out the best contemporary music; maybe some of that wonderful Czech music I'm always championing. We never get to hear these works because they're not French or German, and I for one am heartily fed-up with hearing Vierne's 1st and the Carillon de Westminster ad nauseum.

 

 

MM

 

I would also add Widor's 5th Symphony Toccata to your list. It's been flogged to death. But I listened today to some Hungarian organ music which for most part I found enjoyable.

 

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/0546/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would also add Widor's 5th Symphony Toccata to your list. It's been flogged to death. But I listened today to some Hungarian organ music which for most part I found enjoyable.

 

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

 

Thank-you Barry for that interesting link to the "Pipedreams" programme of Hungarian organ-music played by Istvan Ruppert; the football playing organist who has a hint of the Magyar Horseman about him!

 

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/0546/

 

I had previoulsy heard from an expert in America that contemporary Hungarian organ-music is worth hearing, and this seems to confirm it. They are not very good at promoting themselves it seems, and I have really struggled to investigate Hungarian music; unlike Czech music, which seems to be well organised and fairly well-known.

 

Istvan Ruppert is a very good organist; judging by the performances on the programme, and I always think it a pity that we don't hear more from this interesting part of the world which, after all, gave us Ferenc Liszt. It's also interesting that the Hungarian organ-building tradition included the firm established by Josef Angster, who had worked with Cavaille-Coll in Paris, and returned to his homeland to build quite French-sounding instruments.

 

Some of the larger Hungarian instruments are certainly worth hearing.

 

My brother, (who travels to Hungary quite often), tells me that the Hungarians are formidable academics, and get more Nobel awards than any other European nation.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Following on from the Hungarian organ-music thing, I'm sure that a few may be interested in some seriously good music which they can listen to, from the Czech Republic.

 

Would anyone believe a multiple keybaord concerto, for Piano, Organ and Harpsichord?

 

The music of Robert Mimra was unknown to me until I discovered the following:-

 

http://www.freemusic.cz/mimra/kapela_mp3.html

 

Be sure to listen to the two movements of the concerto, but especially to the melodic beauty of the Cantabile movement......someone is still writing good tunes!

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2. For goodness sake, vary the volume levels! Two pieces of fullish organ next to each other tend to make the organ sound less rather than more impressive.

 

I fully agree. Personally, I find listening to individual stops, or perhaps two or three at the most, fascinating.

 

On the other hand, I would like to hear at least one piece in a recital played tutti with 32' reed (if present).

 

The key, as you have said, is variety of sounds as well as variety of musical style.

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe H.H. should have had his name changed, for Marketing reasons,

to Howelski.

 

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

 

That's an hilarious thought!

 

The Roman Abramovic of English Church Music, but probably not first division, unlike Chelski FC.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

up a programme. David Coram's Scherzo theme might just get by, but too many of any one thing tends to get monotonous - I would be with Musing Muso and his Heinz programme.

 

Variety being the spice of life I too would support the "Heinz 57" approach. It is possible to have too much of a good thing so that even all JSB recitals can pall unless planned with exceptional care and performed with outstanding flair. For lesser lights, it is seldom going to be possible to provide a programme where each individual piece is clearly distinctive and incapable of being confused with another. Better not to try, especially if the objective is to encourage more people to attend organ recitals and take an interest.

 

Here would be my suggestions for making your programme easy to enjoy:

1. Contrast between items is vital, but it needn't be too dramatic - Buxtehude and Messiaen next to each other, for example. Buxtehude and Mozart would be a wide enough distance apart!

2. For goodness sake, vary the volume levels! Two pieces of fullish organ next to each other tend to make the organ sound less rather than more impressive.

 

Heartily agree. I also think that Sumner's advice that it was usually a mistake to begin with a very loud work (he advised something requiring a moderate level of power) because the ear then adjusted to this as "normal" volume level reducing the options available for later remains valid. Personally I find the power of a really big organ produces greater impact the more restraint is applied to its use. Likewise such procedures as coupling solo to great to add the tubas to full organ share the same tendency to an inverse ratio between frequency of use and impact on the listener.

 

3. Try to sneak some Bach in.... even on your typical English organ, it is what real music lovers like to hear (assuming you can play it cleanly). Even then, I have heard some poor playing over the years, but Bach's greatness always gets through - even if you follow the latest silly band-waggon and finish the G Major Fantasia on 8' echo flutes!

 

Agree Bach's genius transcends the medium but he is entitled to help from the executant. Contemporary reports suggest (at least to me) that Bach went to considerable lengths to explore the resources and capabilities of any organ he encountered and then played to its strengths. Someone playing his music on a typical English Organ should surely follow his example and make the best use of the instrument they are playing rather than try to achieve the impossible by making a 1930s Harrison sound like a Silberman, an illusion which while possibly capable of being achieved for a moment of time is not, I think, capable of being sustained throughout the entire length of BWV 582 or BWV548

 

4. There should definitely be some lighter moments - these need not be all Lemare/Hollins/Ogden/Rawsthorne/Lefebure-Wely - though these are all good for encores. A Handel Organ Concerto with sparkling solos is light enough for anyone.

 

Well perhaps most people rather than everyone

 

5. Try to include something English.

 

Hear Hear

 

If this sounds terribly 'organ-fancier' logic, I would point out that the more colours we give an audience, the more likely they are to enjoy the instrument and the overall experience.

 

[i]Variety again. Equally valid as with programme planning

 

If I can add a couple of comments from the perspective of the man in the stalls rather than at the console, I would say that players need to give more thought than some appear to do to:-

(1) the likely composition of the audience - all OAPs are unlikely to appreciate a programme consisting entirely of Reger, Messiaen and Hakim

(2) The resources that they are going to have at their disposal. I know for a fact of one instance where a quite famous player of a former generation turned up to give a recital expecting a 4 manual town hall organ to be confronted with a 1960s 3 manual neo-baroque ultra low pressure job. I venture to think that anyone who is expecting an audience to pay to hear them play owes that audience the courtesy of taking the trouble to find out the nature of the organ on which they are going to be performing and should refuse to agree to play until that information has been provided to him or her. While information is in the public domain about many organs , especially over the internet, that information is not necessarily up to date. To give an example of what I mean, anyone agreeing to give a recital at Holy Trinity Hull needs to know whether the tuba is actually still off,so that they know whether there is any point in programming the Cocker or Lang Tuba Tunes. I do not doubt for a second that that information would be provided by Paul (which is why I felt safe using it as an illustration) but I know it is not invariably available, though the extent to which the fault is one of not asking for it as opposed to those who are asked not bothering to respond is something on which I have no information.

(3) The need to be entertaining. Going to any concert is supposed to be for pleasure and relaxation. If the experience does not provide that the audience will vote with its feet. In fact the problem may well be, given the sort of attendance that many recitals get, that it already has !! If you want to attract them back then a mixture of Merulo, Muffat and Messiaen probably wont do the job!Someone fairly recently in an interview (maybe Dame GW) described a good programme as a meal... I reckon that's not a bad analogy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Barry Oakley

 

To give an example of what I mean, anyone agreeing to give a recital at Holy Trinity Hull needs to know whether the tuba is actually still off,so that they know whether there is any point in programming the Cocker or Lang Tuba Tunes. I do not doubt for a second that that information would be provided by Paul (which is why I felt safe using it as an illustration).

 

 

Actually, Brian, by chance Paul gave me the news yesterday that the Holy Trinity Tuba is now back on song along with the Great and Bombarde Cymbals and part of the Pedal Trombone ranks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(2) The resources that they are going to have at their disposal. I know for a fact of one instance where a quite famous player of a former generation turned up to give a recital expecting a 4 manual town hall organ to be confronted with a 1960s 3 manual neo-baroque ultra low pressure job. I venture to think that anyone who is expecting an audience to pay to hear them play owes that audience the courtesy of taking the trouble to find out the nature of the organ on which they are going to be performing and should refuse to agree to play until that information has been provided to him or her.

 

Hi

 

That's why we are trying to keep NPOR up to date! (A never-ending task!)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Hi

 

That's why we are trying to keep NPOR up to date! (A never-ending task!)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

Your work is invaluable but I would have thought it beyond the resources of any organisation reliant on the voluntary co-operation of others to be able to maintain its records in a state of total accuracy in real time. It would be quite unrealistic to expect it. Whilst you can reasonably hope to maintain accurate stop lists , it would surely be unreasonable to expect to rely on the register in order to discover that the church was vandalised last night and pipes from the choir clarinet stolen, or that the swell is out of use because of water damage from a leaking roof. Indeed I assume some transitory faults (like blown fuses or rodent damaged wiring) would not be sensible to record since they might well have been corrected before the entry recording their occurence was made. I am sure that much of this information is passed on without problems, particularly where a discernible event has produced a clear consequence. I suspect that the source of most difficulties result from the processes of decay in an instrument whose maintenance has not been as thorough as might have been desirable, perhaps through shortage of funds. Suddenly an incipient problem asserts itself and becomes a very noticeable fault. Only those intimately connected on a regular basis with an instrument are in any position to give an accurate account of what the situation is NOW, at the time when the hapless visitor arrives to perform.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

To give an example of what I mean, anyone agreeing to give a recital at Holy Trinity Hull needs to know whether the tuba is actually still off,so that they know whether there is any point in programming the Cocker or Lang Tuba Tunes. I do not doubt for a second that that information would be provided by Paul (which is why I felt safe using it as an illustration).

Actually, Brian, by chance Paul gave me the news yesterday that the Holy Trinity Tuba is now back on song along with the Great and Bombarde Cymbals and part of the Pedal Trombone ranks.

 

 

Thank you for the information. Do you happen to know what the current state of play is in St Mary's , Stafford, an instrument in which I take some interest since my wife is from Stafford.

 

Brian Childs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk

With regard to the question about the importance of knowing enough about the instrument in advance, I must tell you this little story which I swear is true!

 

About ten years ago I got to give an opening recital by default. It was a fun affair. Trevor Tipple of Worcester (an excellent builder, by the way and a very good organist too) had tidied up an old 2-manual John Nicholson organ in a Cotswold Baptist Church. I planned to attend the (well-publicised) opening recital because A MAJOR NAME would be playing. The programme as advertised said, works by Bach, Mozart, Elgar, Mendelssohn etc. etc.

 

The instrument had five stops on the Great - no problem

Three stops on the Swell from TC up (no bass octave) A hitch-stick

One octave of Pedal Bourdon pipes and a permanently coupled Great to Pedal.

 

A week before the concert The Gloucester Organists' Association received notifcation that the recital was off. The recitalist had (only now) discovered the limitations of the instrument......

 

Anyway, I played instead and enjoyed myself. I have to admit, finding even an Elgar arrangement that would play adequately was a challenge - I think I ended up with a wooden-leg version of Chanson de Matin. I assume (from the MAJOR NAME's current repertoire) that the Elgar speculatively programmed was the first movement of the G major Sonata - I would have loved to see that!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Barry Oakley
Thank you for the information. Do you happen to know what the current state of play is in St Mary's , Stafford, an instrument in which I take some interest since my wife is from Stafford.

 

Brian Childs

 

I am not really acquainted with the present state of play of St Mary's large H&H. It's a while since I heard it. I believe it's not used much these days, if at all, because of much needed renovation which I don't think they presently have the funds for. I am sure they now use the 3-manual west end organ by Giebe, renovated some years back by HN&B. I know the organist at St Mary's, Harry Hitchin, and will try and obtain the latest situation.

 

Barry Oakley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

 

That's why we are trying to keep NPOR up to date! (A never-ending task!)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Your work is invaluable but I would have thought it beyond the resources of any organisation reliant on the voluntary co-operation of others to be able to maintain its records in a state of total accuracy in real time. It would be quite unrealistic to expect it. Whilst you can reasonably hope to maintain accurate stop lists , it would surely be unreasonable to expect to rely on the register in order to discover that the church was vandalised last night and pipes from the choir clarinet stolen, or that the swell is out of use because of water damage from a leaking roof. Indeed I assume some transitory faults (like blown fuses or rodent damaged wiring) would not be sensible to record since they might well have been corrected before the entry recording their occurence was made. I am sure that much of this information is passed on without problems, particularly where a discernible event has produced a clear consequence. I suspect that the source of most difficulties result from the processes of decay in an instrument whose maintenance has not been as thorough as might have been desirable, perhaps through shortage of funds. Suddenly an incipient problem asserts itself and becomes a very noticeable fault. Only those intimately connected on a regular basis with an instrument are in any position to give an accurate account of what the situation is NOW, at the time when the hapless visitor arrives to perform.

 

Hi

 

Your comments obviously are right - by reference to NPOR should (hopefully) prevent a player turning up expecting one organ and finding something totally different! Having said that, one of the most important fields to consult in NPOR surveys is the survey date (and latest update date) - if there several years back - or missing - then don't assume the organ is still there or playable! Some of the surveys date back to information that's derived from archives over 100 years ago - and many of the thousands of organs recorded by the late Charles Drane date from the 1940's-1950's - and he didn't always record the date when he saw an instrument either!

 

Having said that - in my opinion it's as well to have a contingency plan anyway - after all, part of the instrument may become unusable (cipher or action fault) even during a concert - or a note on a reed might go off tune.

 

NPOR is a useful source of information, but by its very nature, it doesn't have all the answers!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
Right... often it's said that the same people hawk the same old programmes round again and again, and this is a turn-off not just for the gen pub but also for our own species. 

 

Any thoughts therefore on favourite & least favourite pieces?  What on a poster makes you think "I'll go" or "definitely not"?  It's obviously a more complicated science than that, but as it's something we most of us criticise from time to time I'm guessing there are some fairly strong views out there...

 

Personally, in recital planning I pick a theme (doing lots of Scherzos at the moment) & then string things together in a logical sequence of keys, big works in the middle & fluff on the outside, alternating loud and soft wherever possible.  Keen to understand other approaches & audience perspectives.

 

Play the right music on the correct organ, I say. Simple as that. Don't be clever- just play good music too. Understand the music and be persusive in the performance of it. BUT - Why is it that organists of varying standards inflict Organ Recitals on the public? Far better pianists don't push themselves forward as concert givers all the time. Elevating students and giving them professional style concerts (like the silly Oundle thing) enlarges egos and heads mostly and diminishes musical standards and proper professional platforms. I have heard too many young players playing totally inappropriate music to a public that was left bewildered and battered by FF FFF FFFF & Tutti.

 

Dominic Hyde-Perceval

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dominic: are you really interested in pipe organs and organ music? I have been moderating on-line discussion boards for about 9 years, and something about your posts seemed to ring false and prompted me to make further enquiries about you. As a result of what I have discovered, I will be keeping a close eye on what you write here. In the meantime, may I ensure that you know that the moderators have the last word about what is advertised here.

 

Mander Organs webmaster

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Play the right music on the correct organ, I say. Simple as that. Don't be clever- just play good music too. Understand the music and be persusive in the performance of it. BUT - Why is it that organists of varying standards inflict Organ Recitals on the public? Far better pianists don't push themselves forward as concert givers all the time. Elevating students and giving them professional style concerts (like the silly Oundle thing) enlarges egos and heads mostly and diminishes musical standards and proper professional platforms. I have heard too many young players playing totally inappropriate music to a public that was left bewildered and battered by FF FFF FFFF & Tutti.

 

Dominic Hyde-Perceval

 

Here goes then...

 

I will actually do quite a lot to defend Oundle, whatever I think of its competitive nature (despite what it says in the programme - how can you be non-competitive AND give prizes?). Enlarging egos and heads is a small by-product of a highly inspirational and motivational experience for a hundred or so young people every year who, no matter what their ability or potential or aspirations, will all benefit in some way from going, musically, personally and socially. Without such events, who knows how many would give up. We all know it's hard enough to find a practice instrument, find a reasonable teacher or find any reason to take up the instrument in the first place, or keep going once you have. Aged 13 it's even harder still. Better for egos and heads to be temporarily enlarged than constantly downtrodden, deflated, demotivated and dispirited - easier by far to allow the natural processes of growing up to correct the balance lateron and have an enthusiastic youth yearning to succeed, than to try and motivate older children with Oortmesen trios after they have already established interests in other areas. This is another thread on its own, I think.

 

People "inflict" organ recitals on the public because there is a public that is willing to be inflicted with them, in parish churches up and down the land, every week. It's a valuable source of fundraising for cash-strapped churches (who knows how many organs have been saved with funds raised in this way?), it's another opportunity for fellowship during the week for many who may not get out much, and it's invaluable experience for those trying to come into the profession. I am presently among this number. There is much experience to be gained before, as you say, reaching a professional platform defined by - well, what, exactly? Without experience of conquering concert nerves, getting used to unfamiliar instruments and giving thought & consideration to programmes, how is this to be done, especially when the other "hothouse" routes into the profession (music colleges and conservatoires) are not always open, either through lack of academic ability or lack of funding? Does my unconventional entry route to the profession make me any less hard working, musically capable, committed or entertaining than the next person? There are also questions of learning how to get engagements, marketing, management, organisation, all seldom taught but often hard to learn. Far better for young players, I think, to get exposure and experience through giving free lunchtime concerts to people that want to hear - the good ones will go on to get better and become successful by virtue of what they have done, the frauds and over-inflated egos will soon be shown for what they are and disappear, but both will have to apply themselves to achieving a standard of technical proficiency and musical thought if they are to have any hope of being invited back, and this alone will increase their musical experience, which should always be for pleasure and the pleasure of others regardless of how you try to earn a living.

 

What constitutes "good" music is often rather subjective, like only reading "good" poetry or looking at "good" paintings. Surely whether or not something is effective, efficient and sincere in what it sets out to achieve is the only standard by which we can call ourselves qualified to judge?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...