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Lemare's Bach


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While looking for something else, I stumbled on this page

http://imslp.org/wiki/Prelude_and_Fugue_in...nn_Sebastian%29

 

complete with a link to an mp3 of Edwin Lemare playing the piece on a Welte roll. (I love th comment that, owing to the weather, the organ is "a lttle out of tune".) The recording was apparently made last year on the Welte organ in Essen.

 

What does this tell us, apart from that even EH Lemare couldn't always keep a strict tempo? I found it quite fascinating, in a fairly horrible way, I must admit.

 

Best to all

Barry

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What does this tell us, apart from that even EH Lemare couldn't always keep a strict tempo? I found it quite fascinating, in a fairly horrible way, I must admit.

 

Best to all

Barry

 

Fascinating, if a little seasick-making at times. He starts the fugue at about crochet = 120, then brakes suddenly to around 100 at bar 46 in order to negotiate the more exposed pedal passages. What is more the articulation in the final pedal solo seems noticeably crisper than earlier on. And do my ears deceive me, or is he adding extra pedal crotchet A's in bars 104 & 106?

 

As always with player roll recordings, one always wonders how much post-production 'touching-up' went on. Take those player piano rolls of Gershwin and others, for example, where a glance at the keyboard shows them playing in about six octaves at once.

 

JS

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While looking for something else, I stumbled on this page

http://imslp.org/wiki/Prelude_and_Fugue_in...nn_Sebastian%29

 

complete with a link to an mp3 of Edwin Lemare playing the piece on a Welte roll. (I love th comment that, owing to the weather, the organ is "a lttle out of tune".) The recording was apparently made last year on the Welte organ in Essen.

 

What does this tell us, apart from that even EH Lemare couldn't always keep a strict tempo? I found it quite fascinating, in a fairly horrible way, I must admit.

 

Best to all

Barry

 

 

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

 

 

Good to hear from Barry again!

 

I think I am suspicious of this link, because it doesn't tie-up with what I know of Lemare's abilities, which really were quite legendary.

 

The following are also taken from player-rolls, and I think everyone will agree that they are in a different musical league entirely.

 

 

http://www.orgel.com/music/lemare-e.html

 

 

Lemare wasn't the highest paid concert organist in the world for nothing, when he was in America.

 

So what do we reckon the problem might be with the D major P & F because to quote the title of a TV programme, "Sorry, I haven't a clue."

 

MM

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We should have a thread entitled "Blasts from the past," because some of these player-rolls and old 78rpm recordings are sometimes quite amazing, and the quality of performance so high.

 

Here is one to enjoy, played by Clarence Eddy (who?), one of the most famous and travelled American organists of all time. He was 75 years of age when this was performed. (Didn't Guilmant or Vierne dedicate some of their works to Clarence Eddy?)

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOxTFUQSauw

 

For sheer fun, this takes some beating, played as a live duet with an old piano roll by the ever charming Jim Riggs. Just listen how the piano flies all over the place, and not a wrong note anywhere:-

 

 

They tell me that scholarship has improved performaces of Bach:-

 

Busoni from the 1920's

 

 

MM

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Fascinating, if a little seasick-making at times. He starts the fugue at about crochet = 120 ...

 

JS

 

I have heard a fugue described as 'musical knitting' - I suppose that the art of crocheting is after all similar....

In all seriousness, I think that some contributors here are both brave and adventurous. I only managed about fiteen seconds, before I had to stop the wretched thing.

 

What a God-awful noise - and a most un-musical speed.

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... I think I am suspicious of this link, because it doesn't tie-up with what I know of Lemare's abilities, which really were quite legendary.

 

The following are also taken from player-rolls, and I think everyone will agree that they are in a different musical league entirely.

 

 

http://www.orgel.com/music/lemare-e.html ...

 

MM

 

I am not so sure - the performance is still very fast - beyond what I would describe as musical. It is also reed-dominated. There appears, once again, to be nothing drawn above 4ft. pitch - unless, of course, the recording quality has resulted in suppressing most of the higher frequencies.

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That link for the Bach-Busoni Chaconne is not the whole piece because of old YouTube limits; here's a complete one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYLOzkreY28

 

Curiously the previous link says it was recorded in 1925 (Busoni died in 1924); but this one says 1914.

 

To show what a difference the player-piano itself can make, here's another - also complete, but in two parts:

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It is also reed-dominated. There appears, once again, to be nothing drawn above 4ft. pitch - unless, of course, the recording quality has resulted in suppressing most of the higher frequencies.

That could be a function of the organ on which the player mechanism is available, I suppose.

 

I agree it is fast beyond comfortable listening; though the way he controls his speed at the end works better than I had expected a bar earlier.

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

 

The following are also taken from player-rolls, and I think everyone will agree that they are in a different musical league entirely.

 

 

http://www.orgel.com/music/lemare-e.html

 

MM

 

I am afraid I don't agree. The performance of the "jig fugue" is execrable in my opinion.

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I am not so sure - the performance is still very fast - beyond what I would describe as musical. It is also reed-dominated. There appears, once again, to be nothing drawn above 4ft. pitch - unless, of course, the recording quality has resulted in suppressing most of the higher frequencies.

There is a limit to the information contained in the roll and no guarantee that the playback speed is exactly the same as the recording speed. What is recorded are changes in tempo rather than absolute tempo. Even factors such as the thickness of the paper can affect the speed of the machine on either recording or playback - or both.

 

As I understand it, a registrant is needed for the playback machine, so even if it were identical to the recording instrument, the result is unlikely to be exactly as the performer heard it.

 

The specification of the playback instrument is:

 

I. MANUAL C-c4

Principal 8’

Vox coelestis 8’

Viol d’orchestre 8’

Gambe 8’

Flöte 4’

Bourdon 8’

Klarinette 8’

Traversflöte 8’

Oboe 8’

Sesquialter II

 

II. MANUAL C-c4

Principal 8’

Vox coelestis 8’

Viol d’orchestre 8’

Gambe 8’

Flöte 4’

Bourdon 8’

Klarinette 8’

Traversflöte 8’

Saxaphon 8’

Saxaphon 16’ extension of 8'

Oboe 8’

Trompete 8’

 

PEDAL C-f1

Subbaß 16’

Flöte 8’

 

...so not much upperwork to be found!

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There is a limit to the information contained in the roll and no guarantee that the playback speed is exactly the same as the recording speed. What is recorded are changes in tempo rather than absolute tempo. Even factors such as the thickness of the paper can affect the speed of the machine on either recording or playback - or both.

 

As I understand it, a registrant is needed for the playback machine, so even if it were identical to the recording instrument, the result is unlikely to be exactly as the performer heard it.

 

The specification of the playback instrument is:

 

I. MANUAL C-c4

Principal 8'

Vox coelestis 8'

Viol d'orchestre 8'

Gambe 8'

Flöte 4'

Bourdon 8'

Klarinette 8'

Traversflöte 8'

Oboe 8'

Sesquialter II

 

II. MANUAL C-c4

Principal 8'

Vox coelestis 8'

Viol d'orchestre 8'

Gambe 8'

Flöte 4'

Bourdon 8'

Klarinette 8'

Traversflöte 8'

Saxaphon 8'

Saxaphon 16' extension of 8'

Oboe 8'

Trompete 8'

 

PEDAL C-f1

Subbaß 16'

Flöte 8'

 

...so not much upperwork to be found!

 

 

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

 

 

Exactly right John; the point I was going to follow up with.

 

I recall an old organist having a duo-art Steck player-piano when I was a kid, and we spent endless hours pedalling away at it, putting one roll in after the other.

 

You had to add expression and set the tempo on a slide, which rather tempted us to play Liszt and Chopin etudes at 120 crotchets a minute.....mind blowing!

 

However, in my home town, at a catholic church, there was an Aeolian player-organ; long since gone. However, an old priest kept all the player rolls!

 

Now I wonder what they may contain?

 

I shall have to ask him and see if I can have a dig through them.

 

MM

 

 

PS: Nelson Barden in America, uses a restored orchestral organ in good condition. I shall see if I can find the link to this, because this would be the instrument used in the examples I supplied re: Danse Macabre, the Jig Fugue and the delightful and tricky Study in Accents.

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I am not so sure - the performance is still very fast - beyond what I would describe as musical. It is also reed-dominated. There appears, once again, to be nothing drawn above 4ft. pitch - unless, of course, the recording quality has resulted in suppressing most of the higher frequencies.

 

 

----------------------------------

 

 

 

As I said earlier, I shall have to remind myself of the details of the restored player-organ heard in this recording/playback, but I suspect that the re-play is a bit fast. I doubt that anyone could pull off the Danse Macabre at that speed and still make changes of registration....it just beggars belief. But my words, what a phenomenal technique lies beneath the playing, whatever the actual tempo may have been. If you listen to the Jig Fugue critically, the phrasing and accuracy are startling, but the speed of playback does detract from that a little. (See PS below)

 

From what I know of Lemare, and his reputation, that D Major P & F just cannot be right, and goes against all the evidence.

 

MM

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Having just come across another player-roll of Lemare playing the BWV565, I think I have to review my understanding, and say that he may well have played Bach VERY fast indeed; presumably in as showy manner as possible.

 

Judge for yourselves:-

 

 

 

 

MM

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

 

I recall an old organist having a duo-art Steck player-piano when I was a kid, and we spent endless hours pedalling away at it, putting one roll in after the other.

You had to add expression ............................

 

 

 

 

However, in my home town, at a catholic church, there was an Aeolian player-organ; long since gone.

 

 

However, an old priest kept all the player rolls!

 

Now I wonder what they may contain?

 

I shall have to ask him and see if I can have a dig through them.

 

 

If the Steck piano was Duo-Art then the expression was automatic (unless the D-A mechanism had packed up?).

 

We have an Aeolian 'Grand Organ' player organ in the Drawing Room at home, but all of the rolls which I have are transcriptions of orchestral pieces, I don't think we have any 'real' organ music as such. I'd be interested to know if your priest DID keep the rolls, just to know what is on them.

 

DW

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Has this already been mentioned on the forum?

 

It contains another Lemare roll (Mendelssohn, Ruy Blas overture). The organ is mostly in splendid shape and tune; sometimes you notice compass limitations in the treble (Reger, Benedictus). The tempo in the Lemare arrangement is as fast as it is in the Bach pieces mentioned above. Perhaps we shouldn't forget that virtuoso piano training was behind all this, and in Lemares times was still much influenced by the brilliant style established by players like Hummel and Mendelssohn, and continued by the likes of Clara Wieck and Sigismund Thalberg.

 

I for one find nothing wrong with the D major, except for the tuning of course. You may argue that the piece has virtuosity written all over it, and play it accordingly.

 

Best

Friedrich

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If the Steck piano was Duo-Art then the expression was automatic (unless the D-A mechanism had packed up?).

 

We have an Aeolian 'Grand Organ' player organ in the Drawing Room at home, but all of the rolls which I have are transcriptions of orchestral pieces, I don't think we have any 'real' organ music as such. I'd be interested to know if your priest DID keep the rolls, just to know what is on them.

DW

 

Is this Aeolian 'Grand Organ' player part of a 'conventional' organ console? I ask this because I recently heard rolls played on a "Duo Art player" housed in a separate console in a house in Exeter which I thought was stated to be the only working one in Europe. A fascinating machine akin to an early juke box, I think it managed 10 rolls at a time. [ http://www.paulmorrismusic.co.uk/ ]. Unfortunately, I was not making notes of what was heard (or the organists) but one classed as an improvisation was definately 'proper' organ music by Daquin I think.

PJW

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If the Steck piano was Duo-Art then the expression was automatic (unless the D-A mechanism had packed up?).

 

We have an Aeolian 'Grand Organ' player organ in the Drawing Room at home, but all of the rolls which I have are transcriptions of orchestral pieces, I don't think we have any 'real' organ music as such. I'd be interested to know if your priest DID keep the rolls, just to know what is on them.

 

DW

 

 

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

 

 

I don't profess to know anything much about player organs/pianos, but I have often marvelled at the complexity of them.

 

I probably know more about machinery with card control or punch-tape mechanisms; and that from 45 years ago.

 

When I next see the pirest in question, I shall ask him about the rolls, which he says he kept when the Aeolian player-organ was scrapped. I vaguely remember the instrument from which they came, and played it a couple of times. I recall that it had a saxophone stop, and an organ-builder told me that it had mercury-dip key contacts......could this be true?

 

I should have taken more note of it, but as it sounded rather dreadful in a fairly big acoustic, I was quite dismissive of the thing at the time.

 

MM

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I for one find nothing wrong with the D major, except for the tuning of course. You may argue that the piece has virtuosity written all over it, and play it accordingly.

 

Best

Friedrich

 

I don't mind the tempo, as such, although it does seem to me to minimize the already pretty minimal depth of quite a bit of the piece. But the lurches in tempo are not exactly organic, are they?

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I enjoyed the Lemare recording - very clear clean playing. But then I wondered if this was simply because the recording technique would (obviously) not capture any echoes!

 

I then wondered about the building - would Lemare have been playing in a reverberant or dead acoustic? I think you don't really understand his performance style without knowing the building.

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

When I next see the pirest in question, I shall ask him about the rolls, which he says he kept when the Aeolian player-organ was scrapped. I vaguely remember the instrument from which they came, and played it a couple of times. I recall that it had a saxophone stop, and an organ-builder told me that it had mercury-dip key contacts......could this be true?

 

Mine is all pneumatic. I haven't ever heard of an electric one.

 

DW

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Mine is all pneumatic. I haven't ever heard of an electric one.

 

DW

 

 

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

 

You see? I'm completely ignorant of these machines. I shall have to dig on the net a bit and find out more.

 

MM

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