Jump to content
Mander Organs
MusingMuso

Improvising And National Styles Of Composition

Recommended Posts

Sometime during 2003 (I think it was late summer) I started to get interested in the organs, organ-music and organists of Eastern Europe, as you probably all know. It has been a fascinating (and ongoing) journey of discovery, and about a year ago I stumbled across a remarkable improvisation or two; especially one played by Julian Gemablaski in Poland.

 

However, I lost one of the best from my sound-files, but now rejoice in the fact that I have re-discovered it.

 

I have previously mentioned Czech organs, organists and composers, but Hungary remains something of an untapped subject for me in so-far as the organ-music and performers are concerned. Nevertheless, certain things creep out of the organ-case from time to time, and the Hungarian organist Istvan Ruppert was one such discovery.

 

As I have started to lift the lid on Hungary to some extent, I have become aware of a quite extraordinary depth. Hungary certainly has organs....very large organs indeed.....in the various Basilicas and Concert Halls, in places like Budapest, Koscial, Eeger and Szeged. The style of organ-building seems to follow or at least be influenced by both German and Parisian cultural strains, in a quite interesting way. Indeed, Budapest is something of an organ mecca, judging by the amount of organ-concerts which take place there.

 

As in England, there is a certain diversity of religious influences, which include Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Jewish traditions....a rich source of tunes and influences.

 

This was the country which spawned Feranc Liszt of course, and a school of keyboard virtuosity second to none. My brother, who travels quite extensively as a scientist, tells me that, of all the academic establishments, it is the Hungarian ones he is most wary of; more Nobel Prizes awarded to Hungary than anywhere else, apparently.

 

So enter the name of a young organist/improviser/clarinetist and composer, by the name of Bálint Karosi; a name which may mean something to some on this board, due to the fact that he was the winner of the Dublin Organ Competition in 2001, studied with Lionel Rogg and is now all of 26 years of age.

 

The organ playing samples to be heard on his web-site are impressive enough, but a few things I found outstanding. Especially interesting are three improvisations; the first of which is quite an extraordinary and unique one. His own Toccata is also to be heard as a part sample, and this too is very interesting and exciting, but fiendishly virtuosic by the sounds of it. The use of rhythm is especially vivid, and I would certainly like to hear more of this work. It sounds like the sort of technique is required for which the Liszt "Ad nos" is but a limbering-up Etude on the way!

 

Go to the following site, check this young virtuoso out, and don't miss the recordings; especially the improvisation "Által mennék", which I think must be based on some old folk-tune or other....maybe. I never liked the bagpipes before!

 

As my brother suggest, the Hungarians can be quite scary, and this young man is good....very, very good!

 

http://karosi.orgona.org/index_en.htm

 

MM

 

PS: There is another young organist/pianist, who gives concerts of the WHOLE organ/piano works of Liszt.....eeeeek!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome!

 

Puts certain other net circulated perfomances, improvisations and compositons into perspective.

 

However, I'm a little alarmed by the fact that the website gives the impression that he is playing Widor VI at Sion. That I would be interested to hear!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a follow-up to my post about the Hungarian organist, here is a site which will give an idea of just how the Hungarians like the French sound.

 

The performance, by whom I do not know, is perhaps a little patchy and under-rehearsed, but the Vierne Finale from the 1st Symphony is deceidedly better than that to be heard elsewhere on this board!

 

The organ is known however, and it is the large instrument in the Matthias Templon, Budapest, originally re-built by Rieger from an earliuer organ as a late romantic instrument and now re-built by Rieger-Kloss as Opus 3450. (3450 organs....that's an awful lot of pipes)

 

Here are the links to the sound-files, and also details about the organ:-

 

http://nagygergely.hu/downloads/orgona/vie...20-%20final.mp3

- Vierne - St Matthius, Buda, Hungary

 

http://nagygergely.hu/downloads/orgona/bac...%20fantasia.mp3

Bach - G Minor - St Matthius, Buda, Hungary

 

http://nagygergely.hu/downloads/orgona/vie...20pastorale.mp3

Vierne - Pastorale - St.Matthius, Budapest, Hungary

 

To find information about the organ, it will be necessary to click on the stone carvings on the left of the screen....you'll soon get to grips with it!

 

http://www.matyas-templom.hu/eng/index1.html

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His own Toccata is also to be heard as a part sample, and this too is very interesting and exciting, but fiendishly virtuosic by the sounds of it.

 

Splendid! I think that I detect shades of Naji Hakim.

 

This has set me thinking of stylisyic influences that might come to bear on composers from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, through the traditional music of their respective cultures. Anyone out there looking for an idea for a PhD?!

 

Many thanks for supplying the link, MM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
His own Toccata is also to be heard as a part sample, and this too is very interesting and exciting, but fiendishly virtuosic by the sounds of it.

 

Splendid!  I think that I detect shades of Naji Hakim.

 

This has set me thinking of stylisyic influences that might come to bear on composers from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, through the traditional music of their respective cultures.  Anyone out there looking for an idea for a PhD?!

 

Many thanks for supplying the link, MM.

 

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

 

I don't believe I'm still wide awake at 2.30am!

 

An absolutely intriguing set of pieces, coming from Spain, are the four "Saetas" by Eduardo Garcia Torres; based on the Andalusian Gypsy songs of that name, which were song spontaneously during Holy Week at Seville (and presumably elsewhere). (Torres was organist of Seville Cathedral...his dates 1872-1939)

 

If ever the Middle-East meets the West, this is it, and it is beautiful music.

 

I'm not sure it is in print.

 

I also have a CD on which is a truly magical improvisation by Joyce Jones, played on the vast Moller (+) at Westpoint Military Acdemy, NJ, which she bases on a popular Japanese song called (I hope I spell this correctly!) "Aki Tombo." (The Red Dragonfly).

 

What astonished me is the remarkable fusion of what we may regard as "French" modal harmony and Japanese modal melody, with all those 4ths and odd notes in the scale. It was worth buying this CD for that one improvisation alone....absolutely fantastic, and peacefully subdued throughout.

 

Of course, had Jehan Alain lived longer, we may have seen much more of this, because like Messaien, he was interested in Eastern Rtyhms and modality. Messaien used "Tallus" rhythms from the Hindi culture, I believe.

 

Well, that's 3 organists who had/have a vested interest!

 

 

MM

 

PS: I SHOULD go to bed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As my brother suggest, the Hungarians can be quite scary, and this young man is good....very, very good!

 

I agree:

Read about Jenö Jandó - the Hungarian pianist who recorded/records for Naxos.

Look at his repertoire, and try to think that he plays it all (and hów!) from memory .....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree:

Read about Jenö Jandó - the Hungarian pianist who recorded/records for Naxos.

Look at his repertoire, and try to think that he plays it all (and hów!) from memory .....

 

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

 

 

Well, I expect if these Hungarians weren,t playing Transcendental Meditations and doing something worthwhile, they'd all be mad Magyar horsemen with streaming blond-hair and sharp blades, creating mayhem across Europe as they once did.

 

Art is obviously a calming influence.

 

More seriously, Istvan Ruppert impresses also; especially since he took up the organ after being a professional football-player at around age 24 or something!

 

His rise back home was meteoric, and he is quite a champion of modern and contemporary Hungarian music.

 

I think there are talented people of whom we may not be fully aware....but I'm on to them!

 

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
==========================

 

More seriously, Istvan Ruppert impresses also; especially since he took up the organ after being a professional football-player at around age 24 or something!

 

MM

 

So - do we look out for David Beckham at the RFH, when the Harrison goes back in?

 

:wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
An absolutely intriguing set of pieces, coming from Spain, are the four "Saetas" by Eduardo Garcia Torres; based on the Andalusian Gypsy songs of that name, which were song spontaneously during Holy Week at Seville (and presumably elsewhere).  (Torres was organist of Seville Cathedral...his dates 1872-1939)

 

If ever the Middle-East meets the West, this is it, and it is beautiful music.

Not too surprising, really. There's a lot of Moorish history in Andalucia, not least the Alhambra Palace in Granada (which, coincidentally I was walking around this time last week).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not too surprising, really. There's a lot of Moorish history in Andalucia, not least the Alhambra Palace in Granada (which, coincidentally I was walking around this time last week).

 

 

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

 

 

I heard Segovia play guitar in the grand courtyard of the Alhambra on a gentle, warm, early summer's day.

 

Easily one of the finest musical "moments" I have ever experienced.

 

Yes, the Moorish influence reminds us that, when Christianity was little more than controlled barbarism, the Islamic world was cultured, educated and dignified.

 

With a graceful bow, they left their treasures behind and departed Spain.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So - do we look out for David Beckham at the RFH, when the Harrison goes back in?

 

:wacko:

 

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

 

Just hope to God that Victoria isn't with him....she may want to sing!

 

:wub:

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
====================

IWith a graceful bow, they left their treasures behind and departed Spain.

 

MM

 

I rather thought it was not quite this gentle and there was rather more of a"final solution" feel to it than this way of putting it would imply. After all it was the country of "their most Catholic Majesties" that gave us Torquemada who apparently scored over 2000 (burnings that is). Certainly they left their treasures behind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
======================

 

!

 

An absolutely intriguing set of pieces, coming from Spain, are the four "Saetas" by Eduardo Garcia Torres; based on the Andalusian Gypsy songs of that name, which were song spontaneously during Holy Week at Seville (and presumably elsewhere).  (Torres was organist of Seville Cathedral...his dates 1872-1939)

 

If ever the Middle-East meets the West, this is it, and it is beautiful music.

 

I'm not sure it is in print.

 

Alan Spedding recorded number 4 at Beverley Minster back in the early 1970s. On the basis that organists' NEVER throw out music he might still have a copy which he would be prepared to lend you if you are in a position to call in aid the Old Pals Act[/color]

 

I also have a CD on which is a truly magical improvisation by Joyce Jones, played on the vast Moller (+) at Westpoint Military Acdemy, NJ, which she bases on a popular Japanese song called (I hope I spell this correctly!) "Aki  Tombo." (The Red Dragonfly).

 

I have this too but it does use a harp stop and this will not meet with the approval of PCND

 

PS: I SHOULD go to bed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I rather thought it was not quite this gentle and there was rather more of a"final solution" feel to it than this way of putting it would imply. After all it was the country of "their most Catholic Majesties" that gave us Torquemada who apparently scored over 2000 (burnings that is). Certainly they left their treasures behind.

 

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

 

I shall avoid getting into history lessons, but the Moors were the civilising, tolerant and extremely educated people; the Christians intolerant, vindictive, stupid and untrustworthy.

 

I think the imagery I suggested relates to the departure of the last Moorish ruler, who on leaving Granada, looked back, bowed his head and "wept like a woman because he could not defend it as a man."

 

Thus, the Moors left Granada or converted to Christianity, and a remarkbale civilsation was effectively banished, following which, Spain went into decline.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
======================

 

I shall avoid getting into history lessons, but the Moors were the civilising, tolerant and extremely educated people; the Christians intolerant, vindictive, stupid and untrustworthy.

 

I think the imagery I suggested relates to the departure of the last Moorish ruler, who on leaving Granada, looked back, bowed his head and "wept like a woman because he could not defend it as a man."

 

Thus, the Moors left Granada or converted to Christianity, and a remarkbale civilsation was effectively banished, following which, Spain went into decline.

 

MM

 

I do not disagree with what you have said in the first two paragraphs, and agree with the third if one is talking about a moral decline but hardly a material one since the wealth of the New World Empire was just beyond the horizon while in terms of culture the achievements of Cervantes (Don Quixote) and Velasquez are hardly insignificant.

 

For the avoidance of any doubt I am not an admirer of Torquemada nor of those who devised the "final solution" to the problem of European Jewry. It is interesting, if rather pointless, to speculate on whether we would be facing our present problems with extreme Islamicists had events in Spain followed a different path.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do not disagree with what you have said in the first two paragraphs, and agree with the third if one is talking about a moral decline but hardly a material one since the wealth of the New World Empire was just beyond the horizon while in terms of culture the achievements of Cervantes (Don Quixote) and Velasquez are hardly insignificant.

 

For the avoidance of any doubt I am not an admirer of  Torquemada nor of those who devised the "final solution" to the problem of European Jewry. It is interesting, if rather pointless, to speculate on whether we would be facing our present problems with extreme Islamicists had events in Spain followed a different path.

 

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

 

It was far worse than moral decline. They burned books of great rarity, the irrigation system fell into disrepair, they rampaged around South America and destroyed another wonderful civilisation (The Incas), they embraced genocide at home and abroad and....worst of all.....gave the Netherlands a hard time.

 

The Dutch threw them out, we sank their ships and they got absorbed into the Habsburg dynasty.

 

In a nutshell, they were barbarians supported by a positively evil catholic regime. The Moors had given them civilisation, universal education, universities, great cities, paved streets, science, culture, medicine and fine art on an unprecedented scale. They even re-introduced the ancient books of Greece and Rome. The new rulers were vain-glorious, war-mongering despots without much in the way of brains.

 

Gothic cathedrals and gilt-covered organ-cases do not a civilisation make....but they help of course!

 

The Moors had come from Morocco, and they were all men. By the next generation, they were half Spanish; extremely tolerant of all faiths and cultures.

They were not the Taliban, and for that reason, I doubt that there is anything other that a tentative link between the Moors and extreme Islam, save for the fact that the Moors intruduced explosives into Europe!

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In a nutshell, they were barbarians supported by a positively evil catholic regime.
Isn't that a slightly intemperate assessment though? I'm not sure the Spaniards were really so much worse than other European countries. Life was cheap and terribly non-PC in those days. Spain wasn't the only country with expansionist tendencies or the only one that wanted to stamp out what they regarded as undesirable culture/values. Henry VIII would have done the same thing to France if he had had the wherewithal. And look at what went on during the English reformation. In Italy the Medicis weren't exactly saints either. For people in power modern concepts of equality and human rights just didn't exist. Any suggestion of such things would have been received with a stare of blank incomprehension.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
=====================

 

Quite probably!

 

It must have been the Sherry..........

 

:blink:

 

MM

 

I suppose we can thank the Spanish for chamade trumpets as well though all those battle pieces doubtless add support to your assessment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
======================

 

I don't believe I'm still wide awake at 2.30am!

 

An absolutely intriguing set of pieces, coming from Spain, are the four "Saetas" by Eduardo Garcia Torres; based on the Andalusian Gypsy songs of that name, which were song spontaneously during Holy Week at Seville (and presumably elsewhere).  (Torres was organist of Seville Cathedral...his dates 1872-1939)

 

If ever the Middle-East meets the West, this is it, and it is beautiful music.

 

I'm not sure it is in print.

 

I also have a CD on which is a truly magical improvisation by Joyce Jones, played on the vast Moller (+) at Westpoint Military Acdemy, NJ, which she bases on a popular Japanese song called (I hope I spell this correctly!) "Aki  Tombo." (The Red Dragonfly).

 

What astonished me is the remarkable fusion of what we may regard as "French" modal harmony and Japanese modal melody, with all those 4ths and odd notes in the scale. It was worth buying this CD for that one improvisation alone....absolutely fantastic, and peacefully subdued throughout.

 

Of course, had Jehan Alain lived longer, we may have seen much more of this, because like Messaien, he was interested in Eastern Rtyhms and modality. Messaien used "Tallus" rhythms from the Hindi culture, I believe.

 

Well, that's 3 organists who had/have a vested interest!

MM

 

PS: I SHOULD go to bed!

 

The Saetas were pretty popular when published; Germani certainly played them. I think there's an Amphion CD of FG playing one at Westminster Cathedral c. 1947.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...