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MusingMuso

Off the beaten track

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I've been musing again.

 

Two thoughts occured to me, which take the form of questions.

 

What repertoire should we know that we don't?

 

More importantly, why don't we know it?

 

It really started when I wanted to remind myself of the music of Antalffy-Zsiross; the Hungarian composer. I was particularly keen to find a recording of his "Minnesang," which is one of the most beautiful quiet pieces I've come across.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI-Jt8XBCRo

 

However, on another thread, the mention of Herbert Howells and Vaughan Williams sent me on a bit of a search, as I reminded myself of the Italian Vaughan-Williams, Ottorino Respighi. What beautiful music he wrote, but then I discover that he wrote music for the organ, as well as organ with other instruments.

 

I found myself immersed in a world of beautiful Italian melody and fascinating transcriptions of Bach by Max Reger.

 

It prompted a bit of a stroll along unknown and largely overlooked highways and byways, and it was like walking down a country lane of a Sunday summer afternoon; delightful in the extreme.

 

So I thought I'd share some of these "finds" with everyone, and hope that they inspire.

 

Unfortunately, the new format only allows a limited number of video links per post, as they automatically form full size links, so I will have to perform multiple posts.

 

To start with, a couple of Preludes from Ottorino Respighi; one loud and one gentle:-

 

 

 

More to follow........

 

 

MM

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Continuing with Respighi, who has ever heard of his Suite in G major for Organ & Strings?

 

 

 

Of course, the whole world knows this, don't they?

 

 

 

The above is Reger at his most challenging and even musically perverse; re-writing Bach's no.9 Two Part Invention by adding a third part to create a Trio..

 

This is music for the fearless and ambitious student.

 

MM

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I'm sure he would make a fine juggler.

MM

Well. But it's a great thing he does, isn't it -- making one remember what is possible if you just practise properly. My favourite in this concern

I'm afraid. (And it's even phrased properly!)

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Well. But it's a great thing he does, isn't it -- making one remember what is possible if you just practise properly. My favourite in this concern

I'm afraid. (And it's even phrased properly!)

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

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

 

 

I'm not a violinist I'm afraid.....do they still use dead cats for the strings?

 

However, it looks and sounds highly virtuosic, to say the least.

 

With regard to Cameron Carpenter, I just wonder if he can't make his eyes revolve separately like a chameleon. There's just seems to be something totally different about the whole brain activity thing, and I cannot think of another single example of an organist who can play in six or seven parts at once, using a divided pedal with thumbs and fingers crawling around or stabbing at notes like a spider. The only other organist who could do similar, but much less complicated things, was Reginald Porter-Brown, who used to play at the Southpton Guildhall. He was known as the organist with three hands, but his techique probably didn't come close to what C-C is doing. I don't think it's even a question of practice, because I feel sure that 99% of organists would find the whole thing inconceivable.

 

I suppose Paganini and Liszt were the forerunners of this sort of virtuosity, but did they ever do anything this complicated, I wonder?

 

To astound and amaze is possibly a good way to earn a living, but I think I would prefer a little less virtuosity and a bit more musical intergity, which is why I would prefer to hear someone like Hector Olivera, who is firstly a musician and, in the virtuosity stakes, only a little less amazing, astounding and wide-ranging.

 

I bought a haggis to-day, which I'm going to microwave for a few hours. An orange and tracker action do not sound at all compatible to me, and the last thing we want to hear are pip-squeaks when the orange disintegrates.

 

MM

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Now moving on, have you ever wondered why the State Trumpet at St John-the-Divine, New York is known as the "Horn of the Apocalypse?"

 

Well, it seems capable of waking the dead, so why not?

 

This is from the Halloween Spectacular they hold each year in the cathedral.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE9-hduODcE&feature=related

 

 

I love the improvisation on "When the saints go marching in."

 

MM

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Here's something slightly different:-

 

(Nocturne for an Orange)

 

 

 

and........an equally unusual technique. (Unfortunately played on an infernal electronic)

 

(Sleigh Ride)

 

 

I'm sure he would make a fine juggler.

 

MM

 

Does anyone know where one can get a copy of 'Nocturne for an Orange'?

 

'Sleigh Ride' - Bloody Hell! I have enough trouble with Tom Trotter's arrangement! I might play it at tomorrow's lunch-time concert. Living up to its reputation as the snowiest city in Canada (possibly the world), St. John's got a double whammy of snow and high winds today. Almost total white-out on the roads, hoar frost on the Vox Humana. (When I think that the day I left Belfast in 2003 there was an inch of snow so the dustbins didn't get emptied....).

 

It's a particularly nasty sounding toaster, isn't it? I'd like to hear him play it on a Wurlitzer.

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Now moving on, have you ever wondered why the State Trumpet at St John-the-Divine, New York is known as the "Horn of the Apocalypse?"

 

Well, it seems capable of waking the dead, so why not?

 

This is from the Halloween Spectacular they hold each year in the cathedral.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE9-hduODcE&feature=related

 

 

I love the improvisation on "When the saints go marching in."

 

MM

 

Wow!!! A medieval miracle play brought into the twenty-first century! Fabulous!

 

I have to go and lie down in a dark room for a while after hearing that organ.....

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Does anyone know where one can get a copy of 'Nocturne for an Orange'?

 

'Sleigh Ride' - Bloody Hell! I have enough trouble with Tom Trotter's arrangement! I might play it at tomorrow's lunch-time concert. Living up to its reputation as the snowiest city in Canada (possibly the world), St. John's got a double whammy of snow and high winds today. Almost total white-out on the roads, hoar frost on the Vox Humana. (When I think that the day I left Belfast in 2003 there was an inch of snow so the dustbins didn't get emptied....).

 

It's a particularly nasty sounding toaster, isn't it? I'd like to hear him play it on a Wurlitzer.

 

 

=-===============================

 

 

Now don't get me started about snow......it's all to do with groupels and dendrites and snow temperature.....just ask a friendly Olympic downhill skier.

 

All you need to know, is that the colder snow gets, the better it is to drive upon, because the extreme cold removes most of the water content....I know this from spending time in Finland. Canada "enjoys" about the same winter temparatures. Powder snow is about 3% water by volume.....fluffy is the word we're looking for.

 

Over here, snow is wet and slippery by and large, but last year was an exception; as was 1982/3.

 

I'll have a dig around for the "Nocturne l'orange," but I'm not over optimistic. A pithy little work.

 

Did you know that the viscosity of marmalade varies, according to the relative density of the pith which forms part of the mulch....there are good years and bad years in the mysterious world of the Seville orange.

 

Why is marmalade a good winter food?

 

It gets rid of the Chivers! (Boom Boom)

 

MM

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It's a particularly nasty sounding toaster, isn't it? I'd like to hear him play it on a Wurlitzer.

Absolutely. And what is more -- we do have one in Berlin, and a big one it is, too. I hope the two will meet one day.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Absolutely. And what is more -- we do have one in Berlin, and a big one it is, too. I hope the two will meet one day.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

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

 

 

I've heard that this is a good Wurlitzer, and at 16 ranks, man enough to have an impact in the museum, but what a sad yet heart-warming story.

 

I think it's wonderful that a dedicated American GI could spend his own money and a lot of time repairing the damage to the organ, and it's rather sad that no one should feel that he should re-imbursed for the materials and parts. I suppose that's where enthusiasm and personal dedication are beyond price when it comes to restoring things which deserve to be restored.

 

In a way, it reminds me of Geraint Jones and his love of Steinkerken. He and his wife loved the place, and of course, he adored the lovely Schnitger organ there; performing on it many times as part of the British Council effort to build-bridges and renew friendships between nations. He broadcast on BBC Radio 3 from Steinkerken, and I recall my absolute delight in heairng its clear, fresh tones for the very first time, along with those of Rot-en-der-Rot, Otterbouren, Weingarten, Innsbruck and numerous other instruments heard in the series, during which he talked about the instruments and performed music of the period rather well. These were the English equivalent to what E Power-Biggs was doing in America and on record.

 

Great memories from someone who, at the time, was a young and impressionable teenager.

 

There was such quality on the BBC in those days, and of course, it all co-incided with the programme, "Britain's cathedrals and their music" with Sir John Bejamin.

 

It's almost inconceivable to-day, but at the tender age of 14, I had become aware of all this and more; even to the extent that we heard recitals from far flung places such as Sydney, (with Peter Hurford) and even Prague, with Jiri Ropek performing.

 

What went wrong?

 

MM

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=-===============================

 

 

Now don't get me started about snow......it's all to do with groupels and dendrites and snow temperature.....just ask a friendly Olympic downhill skier.

 

All you need to know, is that the colder snow gets, the better it is to drive upon, because the extreme cold removes most of the water content....I know this from spending time in Finland. Canada "enjoys" about the same winter temparatures. Powder snow is about 3% water by volume.....fluffy is the word we're looking for.

 

Over here, snow is wet and slippery by and large, but last year was an exception; as was 1982/3.

 

I'll have a dig around for the "Nocturne l'orange," but I'm not over optimistic. A pithy little work.

 

Did you know that the viscosity of marmalade varies, according to the relative density of the pith which forms part of the mulch....there are good years and bad years in the mysterious world of the Seville orange.

 

Why is marmalade a good winter food?

 

It gets rid of the Chivers! (Boom Boom)

 

MM

 

Canada is a big place and the effects of winter vary greatly. In St. John's, because we're stuck out so far east into the Atlantic, it isn't as cold as in the prairies but it's a damp cold and feels worse than the temperature would suggest. Similarly, we get a lot of damp snow. Driving is ok if you have studded tyres, suicidal if you haven't.

 

At least the climate means that they heat the churches properly.....

 

I wish I liked marmalade, but i don't. I like Marmite......

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Canada is a big place and the effects of winter vary greatly. In St. John's, because we're stuck out so far east into the Atlantic, it isn't as cold as in the prairies but it's a damp cold and feels worse than the temperature would suggest. Similarly, we get a lot of damp snow. Driving is ok if you have studded tyres, suicidal if you haven't.

 

At least the climate means that they heat the churches properly.....

 

I wish I liked marmalade, but i don't. I like Marmite......

 

 

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

 

 

Ah yes! I'd forgotten that you were in Newfoundland, which is over Greenland and left a bit. I recall flying over it and thinking how big it was, because I started to eat a meal on board a 747 as we started to fly over land, and when I finished it, nothing much seemed to have changed down below.

 

Had it been the UK, we'd have flown over two countries and be half way across the English Channel in the same sort of time.

 

Well, I'm sorry you get wet snow, but at least if it snows heavily while you're at the cathedral, you could probably dig your way to Duckworth Street to enjoy a nice, warming Indian curry.

 

MM

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Now some people play the Durufle Toccata and the Germani Toccata, and even very fast versions of the Widor Toccata, but for sheer accuracy and dexterity, I reckon this to be one of the most amazing things I've ever heard.

 

 

 

Moto Perpetuo by Niccolo Paganini, Organ Transcription played by the Hungarian organist Szilárd Kovács

 

 

 

 

I love the video, which reminds me of those "London to Brighton in 5 minutes" railway films in black & white.

 

MM

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Well, I'm sorry you get wet snow, but at least if it snows heavily while you're at the cathedral, you could probably dig your way to Duckworth Street to enjoy a nice, warming Indian curry.

 

MM

 

If i slid down the hill on my backside, I'd end up next door to the curry emporium you probably have in mind....

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There ya go!

 

You can't hide from Google Earth, which I checked to see how far St. John's sticks out into the Atlantic........quite a long way it would seem!

 

Canada is quite different to Russia I suspect, which has a more or less uniform climate across 4,300 miles of East-West terrain north of the high mountain ranges.

 

MM

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Quite incredible and very expressive. This gent has managed quite a feat.

 

I could almost like it as an instrument.

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Quite incredible and very expressive. This gent has managed quite a feat.

 

I could almost like it as an instrument.

 

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

 

 

I think we've visited the mysterious world of the Bayern Accordian previously, and somewhere, there is a performance/transcription of the Reger Toccata & Fugue in D minor, which is just magnificent. I think it may be the same performer.

 

It looks like a terrifyingly difficult instrument to play, and I would love to hear one live in a good, resonant room.

 

Russia is a big place, and the Ukraine is not exaclty small.

 

I wonder if this marvellous tradition is very localised, like Tuvan throat-singing, which is different..... to say the least.

 

MM

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I hope Barry Jordan has already posted this clip under the "You Tube" topic, but if not, I would be astonished.

 

If he did, then it is worth repeating, because I was totally ignorant of the composer Augustus Gottfried Ritter, who after being organist of Mersberg Cathedral, moved on to the Magdeburger Dom, from where we hear this work, played on the magnificent new Schuke orgel.

 

I can't help but think that this is a rather special instrument, even though I am only able to judge from the recording.

 

 

 

 

MM

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