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The X-factor returns


MusingMuso
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As the X-factor is back on TV once again, I thought it would be nice to have our own X-factor discussion with examples.

 

The pop mogul Simon Cowell once said, "I can't tell you what the X-factor is, but I know it when I hear it."

 

It could be something old, played in a new way, or opening our eyes to new elements. It could be lyrical beauty beyond belief, or so elegant as to be exquisite.

Perhaps it is just sheer panache combined with musicianship, or something new and inventive, which brings imagination to the fore.

 

It could be all these things combined, or even re-inventing something we thought we knew.

 

Here are a few examples from YouTube. Is it just me, or are these marvellous performances which stand apart from the rest, and which can truly claim to have the "X-factor?"

 

The first is from the young Czech organist, Pavel Svoboda.

 

 

Isn't the "Vigilie per organo" by Luboš Sluka very interesting?

 

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The second I find absolutely fascinating; crossing the boundary between classical and popular music, and possibly bettering the original piece by Jean Michel Jarre.

 

The piece is "Equinox" re-invented by the talented Xaver Varnus, playing a concert at the Palace of the Arts, Budapest,Hungary.

 

 

Compare it to the original if you will:-

 

 

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This needs absolutely no introduction or build-up. Dr Francis Jackson was the absolute master of nuanced phrasing and elegant virtuosity. It may "only be the Dubois," but is there a better example anywhere?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG5pIS43Rbs...feature=related

 

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For sheer entertainment value and as an example of an organist multi-tasking, this takes some beating. Notice the utter delight of the audience....what a showman!

 

 

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Then there are historic performances, utter elegance and meticulous attention to detail. Wim van Beek is utterly delightful in the following:, and the organ is quite good also.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lYzvcyAFlU

 

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Sometimes, it has nothing to do with technique or virtuosity, but simply being faithful to what the composer intended.

 

Does organ music come any more beautiful or humbling than this?

 

 

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Finally, in no particular order of merit, two absolutely stunning examples of musicianship and extreme virtuosity combined.

 

 

 

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Like Simon Cowell, I cannot define what the X-factor is, but I'm fairly certain that everyone on the board will agree with me that these organists have it.

 

There must be others.

 

MM

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Like Simon Cowell, I cannot define what the X-factor is, but I'm fairly certain that everyone on the board will agree with me that these organists have it.

 

There must be others.

 

MM

 

A nice collection!

 

Yes, the X-factor is a magical thing. Not organ music, but another example of highest skills combined with much fun in performing is the "Moscow Art Trio" - I do not link a certain clip here, as there are many to choose from, and I could not decide...

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