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New College Bach


Matthew Martin

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I do not know which pieces Peter Hurford recorded at New College, although it should not be difficult to find out, but I can mention that Graham Barber made a recording at New College of music by Johann Nepomuk David which would have been in the mid to late 1970s.

 

I imagine that this is pretty a much a rarity now, and only on vinyl, but I remember it as a tremendous recording of some very fine repertoire that deserves to be better known.

 

Regards

M

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I do not know which pieces Peter Hurford recorded at New College, although it should not be difficult to find out, but I can mention that Graham Barber made a recording at New College of music by Johann Nepomuk David which would have been in the mid to late 1970s.

 

I imagine that this is pretty a much a rarity now, and only on vinyl, but I remember it as a tremendous recording of some very fine repertoire that deserves to be better known.

 

Regards

M

Many thanks M. I wonder if members who know or have heard the organ at New think it's good or otherwise?

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There are several recordings made on the New College instrument and issued on CD including:

 

Bach - organ works Vol2 / Peter Hurford (Decca 421 341-2)

Sonata No1 in E flat BWV525

Prelude in E flat BWV552/I

"Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit" BWV669

"Christe, aller Welt Trost" BWV670

"Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist" BWV671

"Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr" BWV676

"Dies sind die heilgen zehen Gebot" BWV678

"Wir gläuben all' an einen Gott" BWV680

"Vater unser im Himmelreich" BWV682

"Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam" BWV684

"Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir" BWV686

"Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Zorn Gottes wandt" BWV688

Fugue in E flat BWV552/2

 

Bach - organ works Vol3 / Peter Hurford (Decca 421 617-2)

"Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend" BWV726

Partita "Sei gegrüßet, Jesu gütig" BWV768

 

Bach - organ works Vol5 / Peter Hurford (Decca 421 631-2)

Prelude and Fugue in a BWV543

Prelude and Fugue in b BWV544

Prelude and Fugue in C BWV545

Fantasia in b BWV563

Toccata in E BWV566

 

Howells - choral and organ music Vol1 / Edward Higginbottom (CRD 3454) recorded 1987

De la Mare's Pavane (from Lambert's Clavichord) Op41

Flourish for a bidding

Jacob's Brawl (from Howells' Clavichord)

St Louis comes to Clifton

Walton's Toye (from Howells' Clavichord)

Paean (from Six Pieces for Organ)

Preludio "Sine Nomine" (from Six Pieces for Organ)

Psalm Prelude No1 (First set) Op32/1

 

Regards

 

Oscar

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Many thanks M. I wonder if members who know or have heard the organ at New think it's good or otherwise?

 

There was a recording by Murray Somerville quite early on in the organ's life.

 

As for 'good or otherwise' - like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. But I was invited to give a concert by the college just after it was completed and then a few other at later times - most notably one to celebrate the tercentenaries of Bach, Handel and D. Scarlatti. There is a private recording of it kept in London.

This organ in my early days was the one that most inspired me - it was an iconic instrument. It was/is brutal in appearance but that was the vision of its creators and of its time. The voltage that it generated was stunning and today I can still remember that concert - almost note for note - in 1985. But now it is somewhat different, so one must not really proffer any criticisms other than in its visual aspect, I suggest in our day and age. This has not changed. Playing "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben" when I was student with Germani in Rome was a total revelation at the turn of the 1970's as the texture was as sensational as a vast crystal chandelier. Every detail was apparent and nothing was hidden. It remains a great privilege to have played it many times and to have given countless lessons on it to the New College organ scholars and others in the university. The only other three organs in the UK from my early playing days that needed over-sized fuse boxes were St George's, Windsor Castle; Coventry Cathedral and the Royal Festival Hall.

It must be celebrated for what it was and what it does to inspire, even now - although in a re-cast way.

Best wishes,

Nigel

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There was a recording by Murray Somerville quite early on in the organ's life.

 

As for 'good or otherwise' - like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. But I was invited to give a concert by the college just after it was completed and then a few other at later times - most notably one to celebrate the tercentenaries of Bach, Handel and D. Scarlatti. There is a private recording of it kept in London.

This organ in my early days was the one that most inspired me - it was an iconic instrument. It was/is brutal in appearance but that was the vision of its creators and of its time. The voltage that it generated was stunning and today I can still remember that concert - almost note for note - in 1985. But now it is somewhat different, so one must not really proffer any criticisms other than in its visual aspect, I suggest in our day and age. This has not changed. Playing "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben" when I was student with Germani in Rome was a total revelation at the turn of the 1970's as the texture was as sensational as a vast crystal chandelier. Every detail was apparent and nothing was hidden. It remains a great privilege to have played it many times and to have given countless lessons on it to the New College organ scholars and others in the university. The only other three organs in the UK from my early playing days that needed over-sized fuse boxes were St George's, Windsor Castle; Coventry Cathedral and the Royal Festival Hall.

It must be celebrated for what it was and what it dose to inspire, even now - although in a re-cast way.

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

I was present at David Lumsden's opening recital at 3 pm on Whitmonday 26 May 1969 and vividly recall sitting in the stalls captivated by the new and gorgeous colours, not just aural but also visual in the kaleidoscopic shifts of light from the stained glass reflected in the movement of the swell shutters. I still have the commemorative programme - Gibbons, Stanley, de Grigny, Messiaen, de Heredia, Cabanilles, Liszt (BACH), Buxtehude and Bach Passacagalia.

 

JS

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I was present at David Lumsden's opening recital at 3 pm on Whitmonday 26 May 1969 and vividly recall sitting in the stalls captivated by the new and gorgeous colours, not just aural but also visual in the kaleidoscopic shifts of light from the stained glass reflected in the movement of the swell shutters. I still have the commemorative programme - Gibbons, Stanley, de Grigny, Messiaen, de Heredia, Cabanilles, Liszt (BACH), Buxtehude and Bach Passacagalia.

 

JS

 

It was broadcast too but unfortunately the 32ft reed was lacking - certainly in the Liszt. It was there by the time I visited!! It was an instrument to make a teen swoon.

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There was a recording by Murray Somerville quite early on in the organ's life.

 

Playing "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben" when I was student with Germani in Rome was a total revelation at the turn of the 1970's as the texture was as sensational as a vast crystal chandelier.

 

 

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

 

I bought the New College recording by Murray Somerville for exactly that work: Reger's "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben."

 

Even in the recording, that clarity and transparency was very apparent, whereas "the maestro" (Germani), sounded rather mushy (but very impressive of course), playing the same work at Selby Abbey.

 

The lack of clarity in so many British organs is, I feel sure, one of the principle reasons why Reger's music is not appreciated or enjoyed much in the UK, unlike in Germany, (natiurally), Austria, Holland, Hungary and America; among other countries

 

After all, it's only Howells with a sense of direction and a bit of counterpoint. B)

 

MM.

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

 

I bought the New College recording by Murray Somerville for exactly that work: Reger's "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben."

 

Even in the recording, that clarity and transparency was very apparent, whereas "the maestro" (Germani), sounded rather mushy (but very impressive of course), playing the same work at Selby Abbey.

 

The lack of clarity in so many British organs is, I feel sure, one of the principle reasons why Reger's music is not appreciated or enjoyed much in the UK, unlike in Germany, (natiurally), Austria, Holland, Hungary and America; among other countries

 

After all, it's only Howells with a sense of direction and a bit of counterpoint. B)

 

MM.

Hearing that recording made me want to experience it for myself - hence programming it when I played. The recording from Selby (which I heard on the radio first of all) was the reason that I wished to study with him.

I love these posts as it brings back so many glorious memories - hence my replies, if you can forgive their frequency. But it does stop me writing my memoires!

N

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I have a cassette tape (possibly a private recording?) made by David Dobson at New College. A variety of peices but it was the Aria by Floor Peeters which haunted me at the time. Whilst the New College Bach recordings were a revelation, I recall collecting all the Hurford LP Bach sets as they were issued. For sheer beauty the flutes at Melk Abbey in Austria had me spellbound.

 

The New College end of year lollipops recitals were a highlight; the organists came out of the door at the east of the Chapel all sucking giant lollipops as they made their way to the west loft. Items included the Spitfire Prelude using the chamade and In a Monastery Garden, with choir rising up from below the gallery rail complete with bird whistles. It did not do their (Paul Hale and Paul Trepte + others) careers any harm it seems! All such great fun.

PJW

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Summerville's recording of the Hallelujah was also the reason I bought that LP. It was my first real exposure to Reger and though I have never attempted that piece it inspired me to tackle some less demanding works of his - Dankpsalm (and others from that collection), Te Deum, Benedictus (predictable, I suppose!), and not a few of the smaller chorale preludes.

 

Is the Summerville LP still available as a CD?

 

Peter

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Hearing that recording made me want to experience it for myself - hence programming it when I played. The recording from Selby (which I heard on the radio first of all) was the reason that I wished to study with him.

I love these posts as it brings back so many glorious memories - hence my replies, if you can forgive their frequency. But it does stop me writing my memoires!

N

 

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

 

 

Isn't it interesting how a single performance can change lives?

 

Like Nigel, I was in awe of what I heard when Germani played Reger, and I remember well, (long before I had enough competence), vowing that I would someday learn that one Reger work, if none other. When I played it at my finals, I still recall digging out the Selby vinyl as I learned it, turning down the bass, using headphones and really searching for the inner beauty and detail in the counterpoint.

 

I don't think I've ever heard a better performance of it since, and that must cover the best part of 45 years.

 

I think I was all of 16, and totally beside myself when I heard Germani play at Leeds PC, and although I can't be certain, I think he performed the big Reger BACH. The sheer "presence" in his playing; the flow and the passion were simply overwhelming, and shaking his hand afterwards was like meeting a demi-God.

 

Heinz Wunderlich is probably his equal as a Reger performer, but my words, organists like this only come along once or twice in any one generation.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pU218658nc

 

MM

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

 

Heinz Wunderlich is probably his equal as a Reger performer, but my words, organists like this only come along once or twice in any one generation.

 

MM

 

Germani went to Leipzig with Straube for a time and most Reger works were made even more extraordinary by adding octaves here, and doubling there. It was also an eye-opener to know how Reger actually composed as well. My scores are littered with 'additions' which were part of the scene of those days.

N

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

 

Like Nigel, I was in awe of what I heard when Germani played Reger, and I remember well, (long before I had enough competence), vowing that I would someday learn that one Reger work, if

Heinz Wunderlich is probably his equal as a Reger performer, but my words, organists like this only come along once or twice in any one generation.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pU218658nc

 

MM

 

I agree. I was fortunate to be present at another revelatory opening (or rather reopening) recital, that of the huge Sauer organ in the Berliner Dom in June 1993, at which Wunderlich (Heinzi to his pupils) played Reger and his own Hiroshima Sonata. The whole audience in this vast building rose, as one, to its feet at the end. Call it the apostolic succession, if you will, via Straube, from the Grosser Max himself, but to me, it was pure genius. (91 in April and, as far as I know, still playing).

 

JS

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I agree. I was fortunate to be present at another revelatory opening (or rather reopening) recital, that of the huge Sauer organ in the Berliner Dom in June 1993, at which Wunderlich (Heinzi to his pupils) played Reger and his own Hiroshima Sonata. The whole audience in this vast building rose, as one, to its feet at the end. Call it the apostolic succession, if you will, via Straube, from the Grosser Max himself, but to me, it was pure genius. (91 in April and, as far as I know, still playing).

 

JS

Golly! I envy you! I have Wunderlich's recording of the Reger BACH at the Berliner Dom, which he made after the inaugural recital (which MM links to on Youtube). It's a really special, wonderful recording - it's unbelieveable he was 82 when he recorded it.
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Germani went to Leipzig with Straube for a time and most Reger works were made even more extraordinary by adding octaves here, and doubling there. It was also an eye-opener to know how Reger actually composed as well. My scores are littered with 'additions' which were part of the scene of those days.

N

 

 

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

 

 

How VERY interesting........

 

This is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine, which I don't pretend to fully understand, but of which I am aware. I think I've dubbed it "expressionism" before to-day, which is a way of suggesting that German organists often changed the dots quite freely, and often brought something new to interpretations as a consequence.

 

If I can re-find them....(Karl Bernard Kropft may be able to help if I recall correctly)....there are some histroic mp3 recordings available of some earlier 20th century organists in Germany, which include some quite fantastic and brilliantly effective "additions" to Liszt's music, as well as other things which cause raised eyebrows.

 

We tend to think of organ playing as that which requires perfect accuracy, (whereas pianists often take liberties), but with the Berlin (?) school, the organist seems to have been part performer and part co-composer; bringing great "expression" and very personal statements to bear.

 

That style travelled to America of course, and in many of the undoubtedly virtuosic performances of Virgil Fox, accuracy is often sacrificed to panache and his own desire to embrace the "expressionist" style.

 

On the subject of Heinz Wunderlich, I think it has been one of the great privileges of my life to have known his performances and extraordinary abilities all my musical life, and I recall listening over and over again to some of the Reger recordings I kept on quarter-inch, reel-to-reel tape; all recorded from Radio 3 at the time. Some of them were from the Nuremburg organ-festival, played on some of the great organs of that city; I think by Steinmeyer predominantly, but I stand to be corrected. I was all of 15 or 16 when I listened to these, and Wunderlich was THE outstanding performer even then; perhaps 45 years ago; presumably at the absolute peak of his powers.

 

Of course, the other great Reger exponent was Anton Heiller from Austria, in addition to Germani. I would also include, the late Melville Cook in England, who was by far the best Reger performer in the UK after the death of Brian Runnet in a car accident.

 

Extraordinary days and extraordinary memories, when great organ music still had a following and could be heard on the radio.

 

MM

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

 

 

How VERY interesting........

 

This is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine, which I don't pretend to fully understand, but of which I am aware. I think I've dubbed it "expressionism" before to-day, which is a way of suggesting that German organists often changed the dots quite freely, and often brought something new to interpretations as a consequence.

 

MM

 

If I remember rightly, you have only to see and play the Straube editions of composers' works that were printed to see how the 'extras' got included. The main reason from Germani's point of view was to enhance the theme - not by the addition of stops but the addition of another octave by the use of the hand. A subtle way, in other words to increase prominence within the texture. Playing these legato in the first section of Halleluia! was a feat to stretch technique. They also were suggested by him for octaves in the pedal. His stories of how Reger and Straube collaborated on Max's compositions after a drunken evening out, make the often ridiculous dynamic changes understandable. Few also realize that Reger composed a number of works at the same time in his room and he went to one manuscript to another in rotation as the muse took him - a little like a bee collecting pollen from the garden border. Therefore the scores were open waiting to be attacked with PPPP's and FFF's at whim. But like most stories you must always take things with a pinch of Salz - especially with Germani. He was quite an imp at such things. But the gist must be true.

Best wishes,

N

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If I remember rightly, you have only to see and play the Straube editions of composers' works that were printed to see how the 'extras' got included. The main reason from Germani's point of view was to enhance the theme - not by the addition of stops but the addition of another octave by the use of the hand. A subtle way, in other words to increase prominence within the texture. Playing these legato in the first section of Halleluia! was a feat to stretch technique. They also were suggested by him for octaves in the pedal. His stories of how Reger and Straube collaborated on Max's compositions after a drunken evening out, make the often ridiculous dynamic changes understandable. Few also realize that Reger composed a number of works at the same time in his room and he went to one manuscript to another in rotation as the muse took him - a little like a bee collecting pollen from the garden border. Therefore the scores were open waiting to be attacked with PPPP's and FFF's at whim. But like most stories you must always take things with a pinch of Salz - especially with Germani. He was quite an imp at such things. But the gist must be true.

Best wishes,

N

 

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

 

 

I don't think I have to suspend my beliefs for a moment with this. It's what I would expect from an organist (Straube), who would probably not have been able to rely on heavy-pressure solo reeds to make a point; even if they were known in Germany in due course.

 

A further interesting point which I discovered the hard way, (possibly due to being quite small in stature), was that conventional pedal techniques often work against the music, and for Reger, I tend to have very specific ways of playing very specific moments, which permit far greater control of rubato playing. The opening flourish of the Hallelujah springs to mind especially, and whether written that way or merely hinted at by the texture, (I don't have the copy in front of me), I tend to use great rhythmic freedom at the opening, both in the ascending pedal flourish and in the chords which follow. It certainly grabs the attention that way, and anything else sounds flat and dull by way of comparison, yet it's surprising how many organists do dull the music by a rock-solid, pedantic approach. That free sense of rubato rhythm and the use of extensive tenuto, IMHO, are the only ways of bringing out the joy, the pathos and even....dare I suggest ....the hint of madness in the music.

 

It also re-assures me, because I have always, in a particularly quiet section, soloed out the chorale theme with the thumb on a lower manual, and as the chorale theme moves to the treble and the top-most part, I change manuals; first with the right hand, and then with the left also; thus bringing a melodic crescendo to bear. Without this, the chorale is simply buried among the harmony; telling me that Reger was far more a pianist than he ever was an organist. I suspect that this is why Reger and Straube needed to have those collaborative drinking episodes, so that they could be creative together in terms of precise detail; probably in the sobriety of the next morning.

 

What you will never find is that written into the score!

 

It's when you start to realise all this, that you begin to appreciate the enormity of the task as it applies to all of Reger's works. To achieve even the most basic competence takes a long time, but to achieve the performing genius of someone like Heinz Wuinderlich, is to dedicate almost a whole lifetime of study.

 

MM

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I've found the archive recordings to which I was referring, and of VERY great interest are the recordings made by Alfred Sittard. Not only does he play Reger, but the most amazing "expressionist" performance of the Liszt "Ad Nos," with a very considerable number of additional notes.

 

I think it is absolutely brilliant, but others may disagree.

 

You decide!

 

http://ihorc.blogspot.com/search/label/Alfred%20Sittard

 

You need to scroll down the page quite a way to find the recordings of Alfred Sittard, and then click on the appropriate work to hear the archive recording.

 

MM

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