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Mushel's Toccata

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I have two versions of this. The OUP one, edited by Noel Rawsthorne, starts on a common chord lying between Tenor C and Middle C. The other, in a Peters volume entitled Twentieth Century Organ Music from Russia and Eastern Europe starts an octave higher and also has other differences, most notably B flats in the penultimate chord instead of B naturals. Does anyone know which version is Mushel's original? If anyone has the whole suite from which it comes, that would presumably answer the question. Or was Mushel responsible for both versions?

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Guest Roffensis
I have two versions of this. The OUP one, edited by Noel Rawsthorne, starts on a common chord lying between Tenor C and Middle C. The other, in a Peters volume entitled Twentieth Century Organ Music from Russia and Eastern Europe starts an octave higher and also has other differences, most notably B flats in the penultimate chord instead of B naturals. Does anyone know which version is Mushel's original? If anyone has the whole suite from which it comes, that would presumably answer the question. Or was Mushel responsible for both versions?

 

There are indeed two versions of the Mushel Toccata as you rightly say. Apart from the B flats etc, one also has a Glissando at the end, the latter being the version played at Liverpool Cathedral whenever I have heard it live or recorded there. I would suggest that the Noel Rawsthorne OUP edition is the original, as it was he who discovered it, and made it known in this country, although he may well have added the part I refer to? again I cannot see Edition Peters publishing a version that is altered. Ian Tracey would surely know, and you might look at his website and email him? I am sure he will be delighted to help.

Richard Astridge

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Thanks, Richard. I'll do that.

 

Glissando? I'm sure that's not in either of the scores I have. I suspect a bit of showmanship there!

 

For what it's worth (not much, since I'm only guessing) I would put my money on the OUP/Rawsthorne version being adapted. I haven't got my copy in front of me (at work!), but I'm sure it says something about him having added the registration markings. Perhaps his intervention went a bit beyond simple registration? The Peters version has both the Toccata and another movement from the same suite, which perhaps makes it marginally less likely to be a rearrangement.

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Thanks, Richard. I'll do that.

 

Glissando? I'm sure that's not in either of the scores I have. I suspect a bit of showmanship there!

 

For what it's worth (not much, since I'm only guessing) I would put my money on the OUP/Rawsthorne version being adapted. I haven't got my copy in front of me (at work!), but I'm sure it says something about him having added the registration markings. Perhaps his intervention went a bit beyond simple registration? The Peters version has both the Toccata and another movement from the same suite, which perhaps makes it marginally less likely to be a rearrangement.

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I remember when Noel Rawsthorne first started playing this piece and on one occasion, when I was turning the music for him, he was using a photocopy of the music on separate sheets that were not easy to turn and keep on the music desk, so would assume that he would have access to an `original' version.

 

Frank Fowler

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I remember when Noel Rawsthorne first started playing this piece and on one occasion, when I was turning the music for him, he was using a photocopy of the music on separate sheets that were not easy to turn and keep on the music desk, so would assume that he would have access to an `original' version.

 

Frank Fowler

 

Stephen Roberts from the USA played the whole Suite from a Russian edition here a few years ago. There were a lot more differences than those - and the piece was a good deal more interesting.

 

B

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I too remember Noel Rawsthorne playing this a lot in and around Liverpool in the '60s, something of a party piece. The OUP version he edited with his Liverpool Cathedral registration in mind, but he certainly used to play it elsewhere with the repeat an octave higher (thereby encouraging me to do the same, which I still do).

The glissando "crept in". His first recording, on a 1965 Ryemuse 7" EP, is played staright, but he puts in the glissando on the 12" LP from the following year. The LP has recently been reissued on CD by Priory, also every track on the EP except the Mushel on a different CD.

NR was not without showmanship skills. Also, he was inclined to edit and re-edit music in such a way as to remove the ineffective complications of composers & previous editors. Well, at least ineffective in such a building as Liverpool Cathedral. Anything to make life easy, I think.

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Thank you very much indeed for that, Peter. It certainly looks as though the OUP text is likely to be the less trustworthy of the two.

 

The Peters volume also has the Aria from the same suite, so its version of the Toccata always seemed more likely to be the more accurate (though I do wonder whether some ties are missing). It also has the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek Toccata by Sergei Slonimsky and the otherwise rather hard to come by Passacaglia by Shostakovitch.

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Guest Barry Williams
Thank you very much indeed for that, Peter. It certainly looks as though the OUP text is likely to be the less trustworthy of the two.

 

The Peters volume also has the Aria from the same suite, so its version of the Toccata always seemed more likely to be the more accurate (though I do wonder whether some ties are missing). It also has the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek Toccata by Sergei Slonimsky and the otherwise rather hard to come by Passacaglia by Shostakovitch.

 

 

The Peters edition is undoubtedly the correct version, apart from a couple of editorial mistakes (not of notes.) The OUP version is an arrangment. The latter does not accord with any of the Russian performances, whereas the Peters does.

 

Barry Williams

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The Peters edition is undoubtedly the correct version, apart from a couple of editorial mistakes (not of notes.)  The OUP version is an arrangment.  The latter does not accord with any of the Russian performances, whereas the Peters does.

 

Barry Williams

 

If the OUP edition is the one made by Rawsthorne then THAT will be the correct version: he has (or at least had) the only original copy of the work in the UK as it was given to him by Mushel and 'smuggled' out of the USSR. The Pedal glissando is, apparently, part of an original but optional coda written by Mushel himself - this didn't appear in the edition created by Rawsthorne but he used it to effect in recitals, explaining the origin.

 

Dr. Noel is still around, so maybe we should get the chapter and verse from him rather than guessing?

 

David Wyld

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Guest Barry Williams
If the OUP edition is the one made by Rawsthorne then THAT will be the correct version: he has (or at least had) the only original copy of the work in the UK as it was given to him by Mushel and 'smuggled' out of the USSR. The Pedal glissando is, apparently, part of an original but optional coda written by Mushel himself - this didn't appear in the edition created by Rawsthorne but he used it to effect in recitals, explaining the origin.

 

Dr. Noel is still around, so maybe we should get the chapter and verse from him rather than guessing?

 

David Wyld

 

 

I obtained the following from a reliable source:

 

" Noel Rawsthorne was dismayed to find a young Russian composer prohibited by his government to perform his own compositions. In a kind of bustle after a Rawsthorne recital a young man thrust a copy of his music into Rawsthorne's hands. Noel Rawsthorne took it away, looked at it and liked it. He transcribed it and published it and then presented the young man with a copy of his composition on the next tour. The irony was that all of the Russian audience unbeknowingly applauded their fellow countryman (forbidden at that time to compose or even perform) for his composition in the guise of Rawsthorne."

 

It seems that a third version of the piece was published in America.

 

Has anyone seen the other three movements of the suite? (The Peters edition only has the Aria and Toccata.)

 

 

Barry Williams

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A good friend of mine has the russian printed copy of the complete suite. Lots of gipsy dancing and a big glissando at the end of the toccata. The placing of the chords is different to the oup edition they're often up an octave and the piece is supersized quite a bit. Rawsthorne plays this russian version more or less (though nothing was ever less with Rawsthorne. ) My friend then produced the russian piano edition of it.

The composer seems to be known as Georghi Mushella (stressed 2nd syllable) in Uzbekhistan.

More to follow.

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