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DaveHarries

Proms 2012 - Organ music

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Hi all,

 

Just looked through the schedule of the 2012 Proms season. The organ does not feature this year until fairly late in the season, which is a pity. What does feature sounds like it could be quite good and also it is better than no organ at all, of course.

 

Saturday 01st September, 4pm, Prom 66

Cameron Carpenter - organ

JS Bach - Prelude & Fugue in E flat Major (BWV552, St. Anne) (arr. Schoenberg / C. Carpenter)

JS Bach - Choral Prelude on 'Nun freut euch, lieben Christen' (BWV734) (arr. Buson / C. Carpenter)

JS Bach - Partita no. 3 in E major for solo violin (BWV1006) (excerpt) (arr. C. Carpenter)

C. Carpenter - Improvisation on B.A.C.H

JS Bach - Toccata and Fugue in F major (BWV540)

JS Bach - Prelude and Fugue in A major (BWV536)

 

Sunday 02nd September, 4pm, Prom 68

Cameron Carpenter - organ

Carpenter - Improvisation on the Bourée from Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV1009

JS Bach - Fantasia & Fugue in G Minor

JS Bach - Prelude & Fugue no. 15 in G Major (BWV860)

Bach / Mahler - Syncretic Prelude & Fugue in D Major (arr. Carpenter)

 

 

Monday 03rd September, 7:30pm, Prom 70

Desert Island Discs 70th Anniversary Prom

Features past castaways from the BBC Radio 4 series.

JS Bach's Toccata & Fugue in D minor (BWV565) is among the music choices. Wayne Marshall - organ

 

 

Away from the organ, proms 38, 40, 59 & 74 will be on my listening agenda.

 

As a side note, Prom 53 (1612 Italian Vespers) (22nd August) sounds like it will be really good: it includes a reconstruction of Gabrielli's colossal Magnificat a 20/28 con il 'sicut locutus'.

 

HTIOI,

Dave

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At the risk of sounding a bit dim, are this to be broadcast and, if so, on which channel?

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Hmm,

 

I just wonder what it is that JSB got wrong that CC can 'improve' on.......

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It's depressing to have to say this, but I just think the BBC needs new management top to bottom. If ever an organisation went from the best journalistic and programme-making excellence to what it is now, the BBC epitomises almost everything that is wrong with society.

Even the morning news is now a no-go area for me, because it has been reduced to a silly game of banter between two mediocre presenters.

 

I have no real gripe against Cameron Carpenter; though I doubt that I would travel to hear him unless he was doing something creative and new, which in this instance he will not be doing..

 

Let's be clear, because CC is certainly no Bach scholar or performer; even assuming that he gets all the notes in the right place and in the right order, which he surely will.

 

It's a classic case of the "beeb" chasing ratings, as if their future depended upon it. As such, the whole thing has become a cheap marketing exercise, where everything has to be light entertainment, sensationalistic or amusing. I am sure that whatever CC does, it will fall into all these categories, and if he can make a living doing it, good luck to him. However, what is likely to be heard will be completely at odds with the spirit of the "Proms."

 

If the BBC programmers cannot understand that the lowering of integrity of almost anything, amounts to "death by a thousand cuts," then they understand nothing. It is precisely why large organisations fail, by living on past reputations while cutting corners, reducing costs and quality and appealing to popular sentiment and misguided brand loyalty.

 

I would much sooner hear a talented young Hungarian organist demonstrating how to play organ-music properly, and then slaying the audience with a brilliant improvisation, and if we must have some degree of light-entertainment, let it be Hector Olivera.

 

Would any other branch of music put up with this sort of musical prostitution?

 

MM

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What is likely to be heard will be completely at odds with the spirit of the composer if his execrable performances on YouTube are anything to go by.

 

And then Wayne Marshall playing BWV 565 so fast the pipes don't have time to speak. Groan!

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This annual nod to the existence of organ music is symptomatic of the way that the BBC ignores the genre. It is a disgrace that the Albert Hall's wonderful instrument, which should be used in the Proms to showcase the range of music for the organ and the talent that this country produces in its players, is to be only to showcase a showman. Can you imagine how well something like a complete Vierne symphony or Dupré's Symphonie-Passion played by one our cathedral organists would be received? Instead, I expect that the usual "these you have loved(?)" orchestral and piano pieces will be dragged out again along with singalongwivdaDaleks.

 

Radio 3 under the present controller is a shadow of the great station that it was just a few years ago. I rarely listen now but when I do the constant exhortations to text, twit or email and the broadcasting of the resulting drivel make it no more than a talk station with musical interludes. The message board which the BBC operated has gone, no doubt in the name of budgetary cuts but equally likely so that management didn't have to read criticism of their efforts. The board dedicated to choral matters, although seemingly populated by bad-tempered know-it-alls with some thinly veiled distateful proclivities about the gender blend of choirs in the choral establishments did at least give listeners the chance to discuss choral and inter alia the organ music played as voluntaries. Criticism, often justified, about the BBC's sound balance at choral evensongs no doubt helped to make the decision to remove the message board.

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I have never heard CC in action and I agree that the RAH organ should have a better airing than it gets. BBC Radio 3 will be the broadcast channel and I believe that all 3 are to be broadcast. May be wrong with that though.

 

Dave

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I have never heard CC in action and I agree that the RAH organ should have a better airing than it gets. BBC Radio 3 will be the broadcast channel and I believe that all 3 are to be broadcast. May be wrong with that though.

 

Dave

 

Thanks.

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I have never heard CC in action and I agree that the RAH organ should have a better airing than it gets. BBC Radio 3 will be the broadcast channel and I believe that all 3 are to be broadcast. May be wrong with that though.

 

Dave

 

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

 

 

After my initial outburst, I should redress the balance a little. Cameron Carpenter probably has the finest organ-technique the world has ever seen. (You don't have to take my word for that, because Paul Jacobs at the Julliard School said much the same thing), As a consequence, he is able to do things with the instrument which might hitherto have been considered impossible, and this I suspect, is where the problem lies, because he has chosen the path of total virtuosity as a way of blowing people away by outright technique and showmanship above all else.

 

Hearing Cameron Carpenter is not like hearing Rachmaninov or Prokofiev. They had virtuosity in abundance, but at a depeer level, they were fabulous musicians and mediums of artistic expression. Prokofiev was quite a horrible person; so arrogant as to refuse to speak to his fellow students, whom he considered to be beneath him....which they were.

 

Cameron Carpenter, even more so thgan Virgil Fox before him, draws attention to his technique, and therefore to himself rather than the music.

 

OK.....as a showman he is brilliant, as a technician he is on a different planet to the rest of us, and as a musical circus-act, something to behold.

 

However, rightly or wrongly, I believe that we are there to interpret and act as an intermediary between an audience or congregation and what the composer intended. We must also do that with respect, with feeling and with a clear idea of what the composer was trying to say.

Impressive though CC may be, I just feel that he lacks musicianship and any sense of musical feeling, whereas another great virtuoso/showman, the Argentinian-born organist Hector Olivera, (only a notch or two down in the technical stakes from CC), is first and foremost a musician; everything else being subservient to that.

 

I just wouldn't want to hear an organist constantly drawing attention to himself and his fabulous virtuosity, because the first victim of all this is the music.

 

MM

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Frankly, I put Cameron Carpenter and Wayne Marshall on a par, closely followed by Carlo Curley. All of them are showmen with egos far too big for the music they ultimately destroy.

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One of the great teachers of choir training in the USA relates how his mentor observed him taking a choral rehearsal as a preparation for his Master's degree. Afterwards she called him into her room and called him a liar. This shocked him and he asked her what she meant. She then explained that the rehearsal had been all about him and not about the music they were rehearsing.

 

I have said this before and I shall carry on saying it; every musician should read The Musician's Soul by James jordan (GIA). It is a short and very readable book but it has had a profound effect on me.

 

Malcolm

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Frankly, I put Cameron Carpenter and Wayne Marshall on a par, closely followed by Carlo Curley. All of them are showmen with egos far too big for the music they ultimately destroy.

 

..........and sadly the BBC would rather broadcast one of these three organists than any other.

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

 

 

Cameron Carpenter...has chosen the path of total virtuosity as a way of blowing people away by outright technique and showmanship above all else.

 

Hearing Cameron Carpenter is not like hearing Rachmaninov or Prokofiev. They had virtuosity in abundance, but at a depeer level, they were fabulous musicians and mediums of artistic expression.

MM

 

 

Absolutely. However, might it be argued that CC is following in the steps of Liszt, rather than those of Rachmaninov. Whether or not this legitimises the liberties that he takes with the music of others is another matter.

 

It could be interesting to hear an organ transcription of Schoenberg's orchestration of BWV 552:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMjJhaWl4rI&feature=related

 

Big, 'Technicolor' sound, of course. However, the array of orchestral colours do serve to highlight the counterpoint (as, of course, one would expect with Schoenberg). I can imagine this working, given that the prerequisites of a large enough instrument and a skilful enough player will be met.

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I would agree with much of the above.

 

In addition, it seems a shame that the BBC (or the Proms committee) have chosen to book the same performer two days running, particularly when - as has been hinted - he tends to polarise people's views on his playing. I would also agree with the points made by Nick Bennet and mgp.

 

Still, at least there is only one performance of a hackneyed, over-played work (BWV 565).... I think that I have made this point before, but I do wonder how long it would take the concert-going members of the public to complain vociferously if their favourite orchestras programmed such works as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the William Tell Overture and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik regularly.

 

Whilst at least the RAH organ is getting an airing, it is difficult for me to imagine why genuine music-lovers would begin to take the organ seriously as a concert instrument, if they keep hearing the same tired old repertoire - the only difference being whether it is performed at white-hot speed, or just slow enough to register the breaks between movements....

 

On this point, I wonder how the RAH organ will cope with all that Bach? Whilst it has a vast array of tone-colours and certainly some diapason chorus work (including the G.O. now split into two divisions), I still cannot quite think of it as an 'ideal' medium for the works of Bach. (Although certainly the music in its greatness is fully able to transcend any perceived flaws in the vehicle used for its performance.)

 

It is a little like hearing the Elgar Sonata (in G) at the RFH - I did not particularly care for that, either.

 

Ah well - it must be admitted that at least the organ will be heard. And, if watching an albino stick-insect cavorting around the elegant H&H console is your thing, then you should enjoy it.

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