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Recital Health Warnings


DouglasCorr
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On overnight flights I always throw away the black eye screen things because I can’t sleep anyway. But now I think they may be worth hanging on to.

 

At the opening recital of the RAH organ, video screens showed us the pedals, the stops and keyboards. We were astonished by the technique required in pieces like the Liszt BACH (from a flamboyant edition?). But there was plenty of visual space to rest ones eyes on; just to listen, as in the olden days.

 

Recently I went to a recital in a Parish Church and a video screen occupied the whole of the centre of the nave. After some initial interest, on which sounds came from which manual and in getting visual cues corroborating stop changes - I started to go mad…. I couldn’t look away from the waving arms and legs. I couldn’t sit the other way around as there were pews and not chairs – time to put on the black overnight flight blind !!

 

Video screens: interesting; educational; crowd puller; nuisance?

 

Bring back the unseen organist!

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On overnight flights I always throw away the black eye screen things because I can’t sleep anyway. But now I think they may be worth hanging on to.

 

At the opening recital of the RAH organ, video screens showed us the pedals, the stops and keyboards. We were astonished by the technique required in pieces like the Liszt BACH (from a flamboyant edition?). But there was plenty of visual space to rest ones eyes on; just to listen, as in the olden days.

 

Recently I went to a recital in a Parish Church and a video screen occupied the whole of the centre of the nave.  After some initial interest, on which sounds came from which manual and in getting visual cues corroborating stop changes - I started to go mad…. I couldn’t look away from the waving arms and legs.  I couldn’t sit the other way around as there were pews and not chairs – time to put on the black overnight flight blind !!

 

Video screens: interesting; educational; crowd puller; nuisance?

 

Bring back the unseen organist!

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I share your feelings to some extent, but these screens do seem to encourage audiences. When we first arrived in Hereford the audiences at the recitals we attended at the Cathedral were quite thin. Since the video facility was installed the Nave has been well-filled whenever we have been there.

 

The truth is (and we organists should never forget this) that most Engish audiences find organ music rather boring unless there is some sort of angle to attract their interest.

 

You can always shut your eyes.

 

Regards,

 

Stewart Taylor

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I think, in this age of people having - and expecting - sensory overload when they go out, that video screens are a good thing. I've been to many recitals with no screen where people don't know what to do with their eyes.

 

the other thing is that the organ is the very devil to communicate with to an organist - organist is up there, unseen in the loft, doing truly remarkable things but nobody can see him. There just isn't that connection with the audience one sees with singers, violinists and pianists - or any other musician.

 

Also, non-organists are just fascinated with how an organ is played. Some marvel at the machine, others marvel at the skill required to play it. It's a big asset of an organ recital. Make the most of it.

 

Therefore, I feel that anything that helps connect the audience to the performer, keeps their interest, gets them absorbed or lessens that sense of isolation I get at organ recitals, is well worth it.

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I think the video screen at organ recitals have their place. Vindication of their use for me came in March last year when I attended Thomas Trotter's opening recital of the renovated 4M Harrison organ at Leicester Cathedral. The console is situated on a gallery at the West End of the Cathedral and so a video screen was the only way to see TT strut his stuff.

 

Halfway through the excellent recital, TT turned to the camera to address the audience downstairs, which included the great and good of Leicester. TT then proceeded to give a brilliant demonstration of each section of the organ, which is housed in 3 separate cases. Talking to the camera, TT highlighted individual stops of particular note and gave a brief demonstration of each on the organ. Not only was this educational for the audience below, it was a brilliant way of showing the money men what their money had been spent on.

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That sounds like a wonderful idea. I know our audiences at Romsey were entranced when we were able to show them the feet moving. Particularly important as there is a good 60 feet between the console and the first row of pews.

 

We have started using the screens occasionally in services, too, particularly when the nave is full - it enables those stuck in the outer aisles to be more involved in the service, and also helpful for the disabled and less mobile on occasions when we have processions or parts of the service happening outside. There are also those amongst most congregations who can't see as far as the altar, or the choir during the carol service. Probably not to everyone's taste, but what is?

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  • 1 year later...

At a recital I gave last week I was for the first time shown on screen and people said to me after that it did make a difference seeing a human being in action as it were and not just hearing a disembodied flow of sound from somewhere at the back of the church. Another thread on this forum recently discussed the "nerdy" image that organists sometimes have with the public. If this technology can help in showing the man or woman behind the music, then that can only be a good thing. And I bet many a football-crazy cynic could be persuaded to think again after watching as well as hearing someone play the Bach D major Prelude and Fugue!

 

Peter

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Hi everybody

re. the discussion on recital health warnings and the "visibility" of the organist, the article by Hector C. Parr on the web , titled "Organs and the music lover" is interesting (and his others)

Search for www.c_parr.freeserve.co.uk/hcp/muslov.htm

 

Jonathan

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Guest Lee Blick

I think these video screen things are great. Anything to make the listener realise the organ is actually being played by a musician and not by itself. I hate it when a member of the clergy or a host announces "The organ will play....." Makes me want to stick the auto-play feature on and bugger off for a pint. Or shout at the console. "Bloody play will ya!"

 

I do think some health warnings need to be given when organ recitals take place without the screens for their coma-inducing qualities. Some don't even have applause in between pieces to wake you up!

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Thomas Trotter done the same you mention when he reopened a Richard Bower organ at Dereham Parish Church.

 

THe first video screen i ever saw was of Daniel Roth, when he came to Norwich a few years back. For strong players, such as Mr. Roth (or indeed, Thomas Trotter) i have certainly found this a useful experience, and have spent as much time studying the technique of these top players as i had intently listening to the music. There are sometimes things you can incorporate into your own playing, so from an educational point of view they are good.

 

It also makes recitals more user-friendly, because to the non-affeciando, staring aroudn for 90 minutes whilst music you may or may not know / like isplayed can be a bit on the boring side (so im told) - this would certainly give something for the eyes to do

 

I suppose if you don't like them, you must be able to sit somewhere else in the church? not everywhere can have full view of the screen surely?

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At a recital I gave last week I was for the first time shown on screen and people said to me after that it did make a difference seeing a human being in action as it were and not just hearing a disembodied flow of sound from somewhere at the back of the church. Another thread on this forum recently discussed the "nerdy" image that organists sometimes have with the public. If this technology can help in showing the man or woman behind the music, then that can only be a good thing. And I bet many a football-crazy cynic could be persuaded to think again after watching as well as hearing someone play the Bach D major Prelude and Fugue!

 

Peter

 

 

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

 

If anyone ever suggests training cameras on me, I shall insist on the whole thing.

 

I shall arrive at the venue like Sir Elton John; brushing people aside whilst calling them "Pigs", "Animals" and "Vermin."

 

I shall then proceed to the dressing-room (vestry?), demanding chocolates, fine-wine and eye-shades; snarling at the page-turner, "I don't DO Milk Chocolate darling. Get out of my sight!"

 

Then there would have to be a complete hissy-fit, throwing things around and breaking them, before finally rolling into a ball and crying, "I can't go on."

 

I would then cast plastic-smiles to the camera during well rehearsed "difficult" sections, fling myself about a bit, roll my body left to right across the keyboards at the end of each piece, and after the final tour de force, leap onto the organ bench with arms oustretched to work the applause.

 

As most organists tend to be elder statesmen, they would only have to watch the televised House of Lords to pick up a few ideas about "playing to the gallery."

 

Knowing what most organists are like, perhaps it isn't such a good idea, because they'd probably end up resembling a sort of musical Boris Johnson.

 

:P

 

MM

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

 

If anyone ever suggests training cameras on me, I shall insist on the whole thing.

 

I shall arrive at the venue like Sir Elton John; brushing people aside whilst calling them "Pigs", "Animals" and "Vermin."

 

I shall then proceed to the dressing-room (vestry?), demanding chocolates, fine-wine and eye-shades; snarling at the page-turner, "I don't DO Milk Chocolate darling. Get out of my sight!"

 

Then there would have to be a complete hissy-fit, throwing things around and breaking them, before finally rolling into a ball and crying, "I can't go on."

 

I would then cast plastic-smiles to the camera during well rehearsed "difficult" sections, fling myself about a bit, roll my body left to right across the keyboards at the end of each piece, and after the final tour de force, leap onto the organ bench with arms oustretched to work the applause.

 

As most organists tend to be elder statesmen, they would only have to watch the televised House of Lords to pick up a few ideas about "playing to the gallery."

 

Knowing what most organists are like, perhaps it isn't such a good idea, because they'd probably end up resembling a sort of musical Boris Johnson.

 

:P

 

MM

 

 

Can I book my tickets now please??

 

P

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Guest Lee Blick
I shall arrive at the venue like Sir Elton John; brushing people aside whilst calling them "Pigs", "Animals" and "Vermin."

 

You have never heard my vicar on a Sunday morning, nursing a hangover

 

I shall then proceed to the dressing-room (vestry?), demanding chocolates, fine-wine and eye-shades; snarling at the page-turner, "I don't DO Milk Chocolate darling. Get out of my sight!"

 

Thats my assistant organist

 

Then there would have to be a complete hissy-fit, throwing things around and breaking them, before finally rolling into a ball and crying, "I can't go on."

 

That's me during the Sunday morning warm-up when we can't get 'O Thou the Policeman's Ball' right.

 

Been there, done that :P

 

In these CCTV shots of the organist's feet it would be nice to see the cam roving up a little, especially if it was Jennifer Bate...

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In these CCTV shots of the organist's feet it would be nice to see the cam roving up a little, especially if it was Jennifer Bate...

 

 

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

 

 

No, no, no!

 

This is the organist you really want for those sort of shots......flowing hair, beautiful eyes, big smile.

 

 

http://www.music.lv/organ/images/organists/viluma_lt.jpg

 

 

Naturally, I'm thinking of the one in the middle.....honest. :P

 

MM

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Guest Lee Blick
================================

No, no, no!

 

This is the organist you really want for those sort of shots......flowing hair, beautiful eyes, big smile.

http://www.music.lv/organ/images/organists/viluma_lt.jpg

Naturally, I'm thinking of the one in the middle.....honest. :P

 

MM

A definate improvement on Miss Denise Hewitt :P;)

 

Or maybe Organum Nudum could be another innovation.

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

No, no, no!

 

This is the organist you really want for those sort of shots......flowing hair, beautiful eyes, big smile.

http://www.music.lv/organ/images/organists/viluma_lt.jpg

Naturally, I'm thinking of the one in the middle.....honest. :P

 

MM

Yum! ;)

 

Though I think this one of her is better. I particularly like the way Naji is almost succeeding in not grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat.

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A definate improvement on Miss Denise Hewitt B);)

 

Or maybe Organum Nudum could be another innovation.

 

 

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

 

Please do not speak so of the ever delightful and very fetching Miss Hewitt.

 

I've been trying to get together some sort of cult fan-club; largely on the basis of that coy smile of hers, the way she flicks her golden locks and the way she wiggles her bottom before every performance.

 

I hesitate to announce recording-contracts and forthcoming CD's, because the last thing with which her star qualities are connected, is music.

 

Viva Denise!

 

MM

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I knew it, I knew it! Miss Hewitt is YOU. Oh what joy! :unsure:

 

 

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

 

 

Your sources are questionable. Miss Hewitt is obviously a lady of ample proportions with chubby cheeks, whereas I am mean-looking and skinny.

 

The only "compliment" I ever got, was when a 6th former declared that I had the sort of profile to be found on ancient Roman coins.

 

His mock exams I crucified with the ruthlessness of the Mafia!

 

B)

 

MM

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