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Mander Organs

Definitive performances?


MusingMuso

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You mention certain names, and pieces of music seem to stick to them like clams.

 

Carlo Curley = Sinfonia from Cantata 29 - Bach

 

Francis Jackson = Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue - Willan

 

Michel Chapuis = Almost anything by Bach

 

George Thalben-Ball - Ride of the Valkyrie

 

Heinz Wundrlich - Reger (all of it!)

 

The list is quite lengthy, and people will have their own ideas, but generally speaking, the really great performances become the standard or what we call "definitive."

 

Furthermore, if you put a dozen critical organists in a room and played the recordings, there would be a certain concensus.

 

Now I can understand how certain performers have made particular pieces their own, but what I can't understand is the fact that no-one ever seems to learn from them, and their own efforts fall well short of the "definitive".........not just by a bit, but by a mile.

 

If we know it when we hear it, why can't we listen, learn and match the very best?

 

MM

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Now I can understand how certain performers have made particular pieces their own, but what I can't understand is the fact that no-one ever seems to learn from them, and their own efforts fall well short of the "definitive".........not just by a bit, but by a mile.

 

If we know it when we hear it, why can't we listen, learn and match the very best?

 

MM

 

Not quite true... I don't think... whilst no-one would want to model a performance on the basis of a CD recording, I get many ideas from recordings, registrations (think F. Jacksons recording of the Willan you mention) articulation and projection ideas from many different Bach recordings, and tempos of course. I often get a real feel for how a piece should go from listening to a recording - and it pays to do your research before performing a piece for the first time. However, even if I love someone else's recording - my performances are always going to sound different - it's inevitable. Just because I dress in the same clothes, I'm never going to look the same as the next person - just not possible.

 

I think your definitive list will spark a good discussion. Here's another by virtue of her knowing the composer.

 

Messiaen - Jenifer Bate

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You mention certain names, and pieces of music seem to stick to them like clams.

This is a tough one. When I think about the organists with which I was most impressed live and on recordings, I find it hard to make a choice.

 

I hardly found fault with anything Latry ever recorded, but his Duruflé is the best I ever heard.

(Beats John Scott's by so much as a nose's length -- though "beats" is the wrong word, they are both just brilliant.)

 

Graham Barber's Whitlock, especially the sonata at Downside Abbey.

 

Vernet's late Bach at Grauhof.

 

Kynaston's recordings of virtuoso Italian music (Bossi, Respighi, Germani, Matthey, ...) AND his Allegro from Widor's Sixth at the RAH.

 

Christoph Bossert's Reger.

 

To the Ben-van-Oosten list I would like to add Vierne, with which he started his incredible French series.

 

And then, there were some surprises.

Marie-Claire Alain and Liszt was one. Guillou and Franck was another. (Sorry, all-new flame suit.)

 

Best,

Friedrich

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To the Ben-van-Oosten list I would like to add Vierne, with which he started his incredible French series.

 

I should like the Ben van Oosten Vierne* but already have 2 boxed sets of the Symphonie; Pierre Cochereau and Jeremy Filsell. I don't know if the latter is considered definitive but I play it an awful lot; the C-C in St Ouen is stunning... I also like Olivier Latry's "Pieces de Faintaisie" - quite superb.

 

*If Mrs Handsoff happens to read this, it is a hint.

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Duruflé Organ Works - Olivier Latry (St Etienne du Mont), Todd Wilson (St Thomas Aquinas, Dallas, Texas) John Scott (St Paul's)

 

Jongen - Sonata Eroica, David Sanger (Bath Abbey)

 

Saint-Saens - Danse Macabre, Nicolas Kynaston (Altenburg Dom)

 

Bach/Vivaldi - Concerto in D minor, Daniel Chorzempa (Arlesheim)

 

Reubke - Sonata Psalm 94, Simon Preston (Westminster Abbey), Roger Fisher (Chester Cathedral)

 

Langlais - Te Deum, David Lepine (Coventry Cathedral)

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Duruflé Organ Works - Todd Wilson (St Thomas Aquinas, Dallas, Texas)

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

 

 

I'm glad someone mentions that combination of organist and organ.....just superb.

 

I was going mention this Schudi organ on the American sojourn, but I couldn't find an on-line example of it. I have the disc....one of my favourites.

 

Now I've had another look, I find this:-

 

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2002/0202/

 

 

MM

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Messiaen - I would suggest a difficult one with both Dame Gillian and Jennifer Bate but for me it has to be Olivier Latry at Notre Dame.

 

Louis Thiry on Calliope, recorded in Geneva (?) c1972. The wind gives out spectacularly at the end of Dieu Parmi Nous ! Metzler organ, I think.

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:lol:

Louis Thiry on Calliope, recorded in Geneva (?) c1972. The wind gives out spectacularly at the end of Dieu Parmi Nous ! Metzler organ, I think.

 

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

 

 

I blinked when I read this,and thought, "Surely he means steam?"

 

Still, Messaien played on a steam boat on the Mississippi would certainly guarantee a seat after the first stop on the journey.

 

"Dieu parmi nous" with blueberry pie and a drop of Southern Comfot.....an organ crawl with a difference, for sure. B)

 

MM

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We seen to have lost the plot with this thread, but has anyone ever heard the recording of Francesco Finnoti playing the Schumann BACH fugues?

 

The quick "Lebhaft" one is blindingly aggressive and quick. It may not be definitive, but my God it is utterly without comparison. I cannot think of another recording which just grabs you by the throat, throws you around the room like a rag doll and hurls you at the wall. It makes the Reubke Sonata seem about as bland as cucumber sandwiches at the church fete.

 

If you can get it, or download it, do so, but pour yourself a stiff drink before pressing "play."

 

MM

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Complete Gigout - Gerard Brooks

 

Franz Schmidt: Toccata in C - Wayne Marshall at Coventry

 

Vierne's 1st - Jean Pierre Leguay at Notre Dame

 

and dare I mention...

 

Le****re W**y - Ben van Oosten at La Madeleine

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what about taking the editing into account, I heard an cd (re issued) a few months ago, and was told by the recording engineer that there were over 100 edits, before final mastering, does this happen in organ recordings? both old LP recordings and modern, just wondering, as I am a "non player" , but record many recitals myself

 

Peter

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what about taking the editing into account, I heard an cd (re issued) a few months ago, and was told by the recording engineer that there were over 100 edits, before final mastering, does this happen in organ recordings? both old LP recordings and modern, just wondering, as I am a "non player" , but record many recitals myself

 

Peter

 

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

 

An interesting question, and if you listen very carefully to "The Ride of the Valkyrie" played by Anthony Newman, as it appears on YouTube from an old LP record, there are distinct "moments" where I believe the recording-tape was spliced together. The give-away is in the background ambience, and I've often wondered why this occurs. Presumably. if there isn't a play-in period prior to the spot where a correction is required, the background acoustic ambience will not be the same. I also wonder if temperature and air-pressure differences play a part, because I have heard slight changes to the tuning on some old recording....presumably corrected much later or perhaps even on a different day.

 

I take my hat off to those who play on YouTube in one take, often without blemish. That's an art in itself I suspect.

 

Of course, it is often said that certain artists play better live, and others record better than a live performance, as was the case, I believe, with Glenn Gould.

 

Perhaps we have professional recording-engineers on board.....does anyone know for definite?

 

MM

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

 

An interesting question, and if you listen very carefully to "The Ride of the Valkyrie" played by Anthony Newman, as it appears on YouTube from an old LP record, there are distinct "moments" where I believe the recording-tape was spliced together. The give-away is in the background ambience, and I've often wondered why this occurs. Presumably. if there isn't a play-in period prior to the spot where a correction is required, the background acoustic ambience will not be the same. I also wonder if temperature and air-pressure differences play a part, because I have heard slight changes to the tuning on some old recording....presumably corrected much later or perhaps even on a different day.

 

I take my hat off to those who play on YouTube in one take, often without blemish. That's an art in itself I suspect.

 

Of course, it is often said that certain artists play better live, and others record better than a live performance, as was the case, I believe, with Glenn Gould.

 

Perhaps we have professional recording-engineers on board.....does anyone know for definite?

 

MM

 

all i know, is that a superb organist made a recording and a friend edited it, so i know this happens in real life, of course the edits may have just been a slight slip, in an other wise brilliant performance or the edited piece was musicly superior, and was spliced in. The resulting CD's were brilliant tho. But i agree with MM, that some players are better live, and some better under studio conditions, where the luxury of having a bit more care is available.

On a side note, anyone going to hear a technical "wundekind" at Bridlington Priory tomorow (sat)??? :wub:

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

 

An interesting question, and if you listen very carefully to "The Ride of the Valkyrie" played by Anthony Newman, as it appears on YouTube from an old LP record, there are distinct "moments" where I believe the recording-tape was spliced together. The give-away is in the background ambience, and I've often wondered why this occurs. Presumably. if there isn't a play-in period prior to the spot where a correction is required, the background acoustic ambience will not be the same. I also wonder if temperature and air-pressure differences play a part, because I have heard slight changes to the tuning on some old recording....presumably corrected much later or perhaps even on a different day.

 

 

MM

 

Hi

 

Yes, the audible edits will almost certainly be down to the lack of a play-in - and reflects poorly on the producer for not making sure this was available. Mind you, music editing isn't that easy at the best of times. If you listen closely, you'll probably hear some of the edits in my You Tube recording of "Fugue sur deux themes mutuellemnt incompatible" posted the other day. A couple of sections are lifted from the recording I made when I was rehearsing.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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what about taking the editing into account, I heard an cd (re issued) a few months ago, and was told by the recording engineer that there were over 100 edits, before final mastering, does this happen in organ recordings? both old LP recordings and modern, just wondering, as I am a "non player" , but record many recitals myself

It can happen in any recording, even ones of a single live performance. Typically, one performance will be taken as the basis, and small parts of one or more alternatives will be put in where they are considered an improvement. If there is only one performance, sometimes an identical passage may be repeated (e.g. to remove a loud audience noise), or a tiny part may simply be removed (to take out a short but audible noise). It is important that the editor and producer do not lose sight of the whole performance when making changes that are individually trivial, because it is not that hard to destroy the flow; the critic Paul Griffiths used so say that he could detect edits because the performance sounded as if it was about to fall apart - and then didn't!

 

Paul

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About recording and cuts in a performance, three stories spring to my mind.

 

I used to work for a small record company (Ars Musici), and when they were about to close down, got the opportunity to have a look at the score archive. I found, among other things, a protocol score of a Beethoven quartet where, in the slow movement, there were up to four cuts per measure throughout. The protocol belonged to a recording that turned out to be brilliant, won several prizes and sounds fantastic indeed.

 

And yes, cutting appears to be quite difficult in organ music. On Heinz Wunderlich's (otherwise flawless) early Reger recordings at the Kemper in St. Jakobi, Hamburg, there are few but clearly audible cuts, given away be the reverberation, or the lack thereof.

 

I have a recording of the Mussorgsky "pictures", done in a West-German concert hall, recorded by a top-notch company and played by a concert organist who is quite busy as teacher and recitalist. I always wondered why the recording sounded so entirely uninteresting -- until I heard him play the piece live at the cathedral in my home town. I had never heard so sloppy playing in my life. On leaving after the recital, I met an organist friend, who, instead of a greeting, just said: "What was that?!"

 

If his playing was like that for the recording as well, I assume that it was cut to shape, so to speak, with the said pale result. But this is only a suspicion.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Hi

 

Yes, the audible edits will almost certainly be down to the lack of a play-in - and reflects poorly on the producer for not making sure this was available. Mind you, music editing isn't that easy at the best of times. If you listen closely, you'll probably hear some of the edits in my You Tube recording of "Fugue sur deux themes mutuellemnt incompatible" posted the other day. A couple of sections are lifted from the recording I made when I was rehearsing.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

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

 

This sounds definitive enough to me, and whilst it's only organ related, it should please Tony no end.

 

Talk about nifty fingers!

 

 

MM

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

 

This sounds definitive enough to me, and whilst it's only organ related, it should please Tony no end.

 

Talk about nifty fingers!

 

 

MM

Fine indeed. But this is more expressive and rhythmic:

 

And I couldn't resist adding this link:

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