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Music Of 1921


father-willis
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Hello good people!

I've been asked to give a recital on an organ (not saying where!) which was built by H&H in 1921-biggish- tuba, ped ophicleide...you get the idea. I thought of playing some music from the time. So does anyone know of organ music written in or around 1921 (I know about B. Harwood) or where I might be able to find out about some?

F-W.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Hello good people!

I've been asked to give a recital on an organ (not saying where!) which was built by H&H in 1921-biggish- tuba, ped ophicleide...you get the idea. I thought of playing some music from the time. So does anyone know of organ music written in or around 1921 (I know about B. Harwood) or where I might be able to find out about some?

F-W.

 

 

Quite a bit of Karg Elert would work as PL suggested - not least because he was still composing in 1921. If you're serious about being 'in period' Reger and Liszt were fairly well out of the picture, being dead tends to limit creativity. Of course, big romantic stuff tends to work well if not always totally idiomatically on a big romantic job. The exception: H&H instruments don't sound particularly 'French' unless the heating has been off for a few weeks. If your venue is somewhere seriously affluent - you could try turning the heating system up several notches, this would have a similar effect. Mind you, it might dry out the soundboards to the extent that the slides don't draw properly - this will give you the authentic 'last tuned twenty years ago (by a drunk)' flavour! Sorry, I shouldn't make such awful suggestions.

 

So, 1920's.......and British.........

I can't resist starting with a personal favourite: Alec Rowley - Four Winds Suite

[Good luck with tracking down a copy. It exists in Braille - David Liddle plays it. The RCO Library have two movements of the four. I have them all (.... somewhere!)]

 

Easier to find....

Any Bairstow - it's all perfect for an H&H

shorter ones to try first : Prelude in C and Toccata Prelude 'Pange Lingua'

 

Howells Rhapsodies - C minor Sonata?

 

Alan Gray?

W.H.Harris - especially Flourish or Fantasy on 'Babylon's Streams'?

Healy Willan ?

Vaughan Williams ?

Brewer - esp. Marche Heroique

Stanford - several big chunks to choose from, some nice little ones too.

Cocker? In addition to Tuba Tune, his Four Pieces are well worth tracking down (Stainer & Bell)

Parry?

Elgar transcriptions?

 

 

 

Don't worry, you'll find something!

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There are some jolly works by Reginald Goss-Custard which I think are of the right period.  Nothing that will frighten the old ladies.

 

 

I second the Parry suggestion (a tad early maybe). Especially the Fantasia and Fugue in G. A big tuba works well towards the end of the fugue!

 

 

-MAS

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... If you're serious about being 'in period' Reger and Liszt were fairly well out of the picture, being dead tends to limit creativity.

 

Some would argue that, in the case of Liszt, his death had little impact upon his creative impulses....

 

(c.f. an earlier post, on a thread in which his Fantasy on Ad nos... was mentioned.)

:P

 

Seriously, Paul makes some good suggestions.

 

Also, there is the 'second' Elgar sonata - arranged, I believe, from the Severn Suite.

There is, of course, a wealth of French music - Vierne Symphonies up to and including No. 4; Widor Symphonies are rather earlier (No. 10 being completed in 1900).

 

However, there is always Dupré - how about his Trois Préludes et Fugues, Op. 7? (These were probably composed around 1908-11; l'Abbé Delestre claims to have performed them in the presence of Dupré himself in 1912.)

 

If the organ you are thinking of is that at Crediton, the French music will not sound particularly authentic. Howver, as has been previously stated, it is usually possible on most organs for a player with a good ear for timbres and a good sense of tonal architecture to give a satisfying performance of much mainstream repertoire.

 

If it has to be British music, how about the Irish Phantasy or Sonata in the style of Handel, by William Wolstenholme (1865-1931)?

 

Then there are, of course, the Stanford Sonati (or the Preludes and Postludes) - whilst he died in 1924, they would fit this organ like a glove - providing, of course, that I have correctly identified the instrument.

 

If you are considering Healey Willan and do not particularly like playing in E-flat minor, there is always his Festival - large sections of this are is virtually sight-readable and it is quite effective.

 

There is also the Alcock (1861-1947) Passacaglia - G minor is a more comfortable key than that of the Willan. However, I have no idea where one could purchase a copy of the Alcock - the trustees of the estate have not made his works readily available and, as far as I know, it has been out-of-print for years.

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I should have explained a bit: Of course, Lizt and Reubke are

anachronic stricto sensu.

But they sound great with Tromba and Tuba, really. Not

authentic for sure, but I find Harrison's reeds give them

a very appropriate "Klang".

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

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

 

 

We've all played big Reger works on Arthur Harrison organs....Big Trombas, Big Tuba, Big Open Diapason, Big Open Woods....octave couplers; the lot!

 

As a friend pointed out as I hammered my way through "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben,"

the counterpoint just disappeared in a whelter of disagreeable mudiness.

 

Pierre needs to know, that in England when people play Reger, they pull out more stops and play less notes.

 

:P

 

MM

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You certainly need to pull less stops on a Harrison

for Reger than on any romantic german organ, where

50% at least of the stops are soft...

The Trombis are good for climaxes, accents. Soft

combinations are what you need 80% of the time.

Worst for Reger are baroque or modern mixtures

-far too harsh- which transform Reger's climaxes

into cries.

Maybe you should try these Dulciana choruses,

the Viole d'orchestre, the "Geigens".... That's Harrison

too, not only Tromba and Tuba.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Worst for Reger are baroque or modern mixtures

-far too harsh- which transform Reger's climaxes

into cries.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Ah Pierre! You mean like those big Steinmeyer organs I've been trying to track down, and of which Reger approved and to which Straube attached his name in many instances. Straube approved of the neo-classical movement.

 

My love of Reger was first sparked by the incredible sound of Reger's music played at the "Meistersangerhalle" Nuremburg. I've still got the BBC recording somewhere.

 

MM

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It is perfectly true Straube jumped in the Orgelbewegung

express train.

Helmut Walcha played Reger on romantic organs as well

-that was before his career as a star-.

Players may be subject to changes.

 

But the fact remains a Reger's Tutti offers a completely

different dimension on a romantic organ with something

like 16-16-8-8-8-8-8-8-4-4-Tierce Mixture-reeds.

Something less violent by far.

Friedrich told us Steinmeyer organs still had something

of the romantic style -up to 1960-. A 1930 Steinmeyer

is nothing like an "Orgelbewegt" organ.

 

Let's have a look at Crediton's specification: there is

all you need for Reger there:

 

http://www.holycrosschoir.com/organ-spec.htm

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
It is perfectly true Straube jumped in the Orgelbewegung

express train.

Helmut Walcha played Reger on romantic organs as well

-that was before his career as a star-.

Players may be subject to changes.

 

But the fact remains a Reger's Tutti offers a completely

different dimension on a romantic organ with something

like 16-16-8-8-8-8-8-8-4-4-Tierce Mixture-reeds.

Something less violent by far.

Friedrich told us Steinmeyer organs still had something

of the romantic style -up to 1960-. A 1930 Steinmeyer

is nothing like an "Orgelbewegt" organ.

 

Let's have a look at Crediton's specification: there is

all you need for Reger there:

 

http://www.holycrosschoir.com/organ-spec.htm

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Sorry to put a damper on Devonian things but surely Reger needs an instrument through which shines his immense handling of counterpoint. I am sorry also to say that on Romantic UK organs it is most often the norm that the listener is bathed in vast quanties of sound in varying degrees of loudness but hearing little of the true detail. This is perhaps not Reger as he and Straube intended. I had a teacher who had lessons with S in Leipzig and so passed on the history of Reger and his music. Crediton I fear might not be a Reger organ for counterpoint. As a general point I would suggest that a good Bach organ is also good for Reger. (What is a good Bach organ I hear folk gasp?!!) For my ears Reger and Hindemith on the Bavo in Haarlem are quite a revelation after the sonic booms of the UK. One of the finest (perhaps the finest sounding performance of Reger for me) in UK was Nicolas Kynaston at St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield 1986. Recorded too by the BBC. A rather under-heard instrument perhaps. And a great place to sit too. Harrison organs are frequently not quite the ticket unless for playing the softer and gentle works. The rip-roaring scores need a luminance of sound to display their virtues or else those endless hours of learning are somewhat wasted (until you get a chance of, say, playing the newly restored Walcker in Annaberg! Phew! There's a hidden beauty.)

As for Crediton, I would get somebody to play so that you can judge what the audience hears. The position is to one side, I think. It's another case of ears - all ears and taste.

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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Sorry to put a damper on Devonian things but surely Reger needs an instrument through which shines his immense handling of counterpoint.

 

As a general point I would suggest that a good Bach organ is also good for Reger. (What is a good Bach organ I hear folk gasp?!!) For my ears Reger and Hindemith on the Bavo in Haarlem are quite a revelation after the sonic booms of the UK. One of the finest (perhaps the finest sounding performance of Reger for me) in UK was Nicolas Kynaston at St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield 1986. Recorded too by the BBC. A rather under-heard instrument perhaps.

 

 

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

 

 

I absolutely agree with Nigel Allcoat on this, and I too have been wowed by Reger at St.Bavo, as if this was the type of organ Reger should really have been writing for. My words, they have to work at it though!!

 

The Huddersfield organ has an interesting pedigree, in so much as it was an early attempt at building a tracker-action, eclectic/werkprinzip instrument. I might go so far as to suggest that the original builder was groping in the dark. The voicing was carried out by Booth of Leeds, I believe.

 

When it was first heard, it was an odd collection of pipes; some of which seemed right and others which seemed wrong. Romantic-sounding flutes rubbed shoulders with some bright chorus-work, and the reeds were, if I recall, a bit rough and ready at the opening.

 

As time has gone on, the organ has got better and better, and now, it is possibly a quite unique sound. It is perhaps this blend of romantic and neo-baroque which makes this instrument especially good for Reger, and places it in a sort of Anglo-Walcker category....maybe even Anglo-Hungarian.

 

I quite like it after 30+ years of tonal evolution.

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
============================

The voicing was carried out by Booth of Leeds, I believe.

 

 

MM

 

I think that I would be correct in saying that it was the Woods of Huddersfield who did all the work - with some help from Walkers - especially in case design and other bits and bobs. Keith Jarvis (the Poly organist - and then University Organist) was the spearhead/curator/tittivator/warden of this noble instrument. I shall always remember the opening concert given for the IAO Congress in about 1985. Never had people heard a 32' reed quite like it. An electrifying and cohesive organ sound lifted listeners from their seats.

I got the impression that the Woods (father Philip and son David) would have had a much quieter life if their works had not just been around the corner in the town. They were constantly 'on call'. Such nice people. Great dedication to their Art. Are they still in Huddersfield by the way?

 

Best wishes,

NJA

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

 

 

Pierre needs to know, that in England when people play Reger, they pull out more stops and play less notes.

 

I thought that was the point.Ie you did the first to facilitate the second .In a 24/7 world where time is at a premium you have to save it somewhere. I think it was the late Gordon Reynolds who said that the advantage of adding full swell at the end of a Bach fugue was (1) it thrilled the listener and (2) saved on practice time.

 

Personally I doubt if it is possible to hear (or at least register in the brain) all that is going on in some of Reger's denser works - the ones that should have been printed in white on black paper to save money. I have worked quite hard at trying to understand Reger but I am beginning to think that I am going to have to quit before time runs out for me, although I do quite like David Goode's Bath recordings.

 

Brian Childs

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For clarity, I would recommend the Roger Fisher recording of Hallelujah! Gott zu loben at Chester Cathedral - no muddy, boomy sound, here.

 

Paul Morgan's version at Exeter Cathedral is also excellent - with a little re-scoring to highlight certain fugal voices.

 

I would imagine that one would run out of notes at Sint Bavo? Neither would I wish to be beholden to two registrants in order to perform a major work.

 

It would be interesting to hear a recording, though.

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I have worked quite hard at trying to understand Reger but I am beginning to think that I am going to have to quit before time runs out for me, although I do quite like David Goode's Bath recordings.
It was learning the Symphonic Fantasia and Fugue when I was a student that did for me. It must be one of his most harmonically tortuous (not to say torturous) pieces. I only bought it because I was intrigued by how black it looked - fistfuls of notes that you could hardly see for the beams joining them together. I did eventually manage to get to grips with the Fantasia, but the satisfaction was entirely joyless and cold-blooded. After that I just couldn't face learning the Fugue and I've never touched a note of Reger since. It is a good piece though.
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I think that I would be correct in saying that it was the Woods of Huddersfield who did all the work - with some help from Walkers - especially in case design and other bits and bobs. Keith Jarvis (the Poly organist - and then University Organist) was the spearhead/curator/tittivator/warden of this noble instrument. I shall always remember the opening concert given for the IAO Congress in about 1985. Never had people heard a 32' reed quite like it. An electrifying and cohesive organ sound lifted listeners from their seats.

I got the impression that the Woods (father Philip and son David) would have had a much quieter life if their works had not just been around the corner in the town. They were constantly 'on call'. Such nice people. Great dedication to their Art. Are they still in Huddersfield by the way?

 

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

 

 

With all respect to Philip Wood, he was never a great tonal man, but relied on others.

 

I "think" I'll stick with what I stated, in that Booth did the original voicing at Huuddersfield, so far as I recall, but it was so long ago, I can't remeber the exact details or the sources of information. However, it "may" have been from an opening recital booklet, when the organ was first installed.

 

I think Booth did quite a lot of work for many local organ-builders, and they still do. They're quite good with Wurlitzer brass-trumpets too!

 

David Wood is an excellent chap and something of a Cavaille-Coll enthusiast.

I was personally very pleased for him when he secured the re-build at Blackburn Cathedral.

 

MM

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
I would imagine that one would run out of notes at Sint Bavo? Neither would I wish to be beholden to two registrants in order to perform a major work.

 

 

Just to end my input on all this, it came as a complete shock to be asked to record the Alexander Glazunof Fantasie on The Bavo. Not enough notes I said. Play down an octave and we will adjust the registration, they said. And so they did - crescendi and all! What incredible fun it all was, and every note heard as if on the score. The two (paid by the Town) registrants knew their stuff (one now the Church Organist). I have the radio recording to prove it. And this was a piece written for Dupré at St S in Paris. The same goes for really modern music too on this extraordinary instrument.

 

Best wishes for a fruitful week.

NJA

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Most interesting - and I am happy to accept that this would work; but I confess that I find the idea of salaried registrants slightly odd, even if they are extremely proficient.

 

Oh well, if the music sounds OK, then it must be alright - but I still would not wish to rely on such a method. Do the registrants have equally able deputies, in the event of illness or accident?

:lol:

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