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Flamboyant showpieces

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I'll weigh-in on this one.

There is a superb French toccata that very few people play.  It's "Electa ut sol" by Dallier.  The pedal theme is virtually unforgettable and, being in E-flat Major,  a 32' reed is not necessary for success.  I played it quite a bit over a five to ten-year period and always got raves for it.

Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY

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Some flamboyant pieces are among the great works for the instrument, but if you want to be thoroughly vulgar without having to practice too much, there's always Scotson Clark's "March aux Flambeaux", which you can find on IMSLP:

https://imslp.org/wiki/15_Marches_for_Organ_(Clark%2C_Scotson)

I rather like Herbert Chappell's "Songs of Praise", which was recorded at New College, Oxford, and used as the signature tune for the television programme for some years. Not hard to play, but very effective.  A slightly breathless recording here:

 

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How about the Toccata "La vallée verte" sur le thème 'Pat le facteur' by Edward Marsh. (or, in English, Toccata "The Green Valley" on the theme of Postman Pat) A somewhat extraordinary piece written for Kevin Bowyer. It is recorded on Kevin's Organ Extravaganza! album, and the score is available here: https://www.scoreexchange.com/scores/2779.html

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I suppose it depends on exactly how much flamboyance you want, but I've always found Nieland's 'Marche Triomphale' attractive to listen to and to play, and it's not too difficult either (probably around grade 6 or 7 I should think).  I first came across it while still at school, and it might benefit from a more frequent airing over here, unlike in the Netherlands where almost everyone seems to know it.

CEP

 

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What fascinating replies, I've discovered three pieces I didn't know already. I'm now wondering if the Marsh Toccata is within my grasp, but for the price of a cheap download I might well chance it...

In the same spirit, a couple of favourites from me. I've recently discovered the Organists Charitable Little Organ Book, which includes two excellent pieces which aren't difficult and in my view is worth the tenner spent for these two alone. https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product711528/variant711528/organists-charitable-trust-little-organ-book/

One is Philip Moore's Paean - this performance is a touch on the slow side for my taste.

The other is David Bednall's Fanfare-Processional, which frustratingly does not appear to be on YouTube, although if you have Spotify you will be able to find a recording. Neither is especially difficult, and the Bednall in particular is a stonking piece (ideally needs a solo reed).

Not in that book but another favourite of mine is Ernest MacMillan's Cortege Academique - again ideally needs a solo reed.

 

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4 hours ago, Philip said:

What fascinating replies, I've discovered three pieces I didn't know already. I'm now wondering if the Marsh Toccata is within my grasp, but for the price of a cheap download I might well chance it...

In the same spirit, a couple of favourites from me. I've recently discovered the Organists Charitable Little Organ Book, which includes two excellent pieces which aren't difficult and in my view is worth the tenner spent for these two alone. https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product711528/variant711528/organists-charitable-trust-little-organ-book/

One is Philip Moore's Paean - this performance is a touch on the slow side for my taste.

The other is David Bednall's Fanfare-Processional, which frustratingly does not appear to be on YouTube, although if you have Spotify you will be able to find a recording. Neither is especially difficult, and the Bednall in particular is a stonking piece (ideally needs a solo reed).

Not in that book but another favourite of mine is Ernest MacMillan's Cortege Academique - again ideally needs a solo reed.

 

For Paean, what about this speed? 

 

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OOTH, I am aware that you probably have an interest in the second performance, but I have to say that, personally, I find Kerry Beaumont's speed much more musical. What creates excitement is rhythm, impetus and élan/panache, not speed. Although there is such a thing as taking a piece too slowly, speed is not crucial to musical excitement. In fact, sometimes it can actually destroy it. One should always play principally for those who are not already acquainted with the music and it's worth remembering that such people may not be very quick on the uptake. People need time to assimilate what's going on musically. The faster you play, the less you may communicate.

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20 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

OOTH, I am aware that you probably have an interest in the second performance, but I have to say that, personally, I find Kerry Beaumont's speed much more musical. What creates excitement is rhythm, impetus and élan/panache, not speed. Although there is such a thing as taking a piece too slowly, speed is not crucial to musical excitement. In fact, sometimes it can actually destroy it. One should always play principally for those who are not already acquainted with the music and it's worth remembering that such people may not be very quick on the uptake. People need time to assimilate what's going on musically. The faster you play, the less you may communicate.

At danger of this going off topic...I agree with Vox that fast isn't always better. That said, Kerry Beaumont's pace is a bit slow for my liking, but having just tried the suggested speed (quaver = 200-208) it sounds like he is fairly close to 200, so maybe I'm wrong! I have to admit when I started playing this piece I didn't check the metronome marking and just played it how it felt right. This was not in a building like Coventry Cathedral, of course.

On the second performance (and I hope what follows doesn't offend!) I quite like it at the speed you get at about 1:50 (the return of the opening material). This to my ear is slower than the opening though, which I agree is too fast. The return of the opening material is, from my knowledge of the piece, also played more accurately, and I wonder if these factors are connected (for instance, the first chords of bars 1 and 2 both sound wrong to me - they should be the same as in bars 4 and 5 which sound right). You can find a preview of the first page online if you don't know the piece and wish to refer. Indeed, I actually listened to this recording but opted not to link to it, largely for these reasons. As a disclaimer, I'm no professional and I know my playing isn't 100% accurate by any means, but in a piece with this rhythmic crispness I think some slips can become quite obvious.

But those chords at the end are delicious. Great piece!

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On 18/07/2018 at 15:36, emsgdh said:

I'll weigh-in on this one.

There is a superb French toccata that very few people play.  It's "Electa ut sol" by Dallier.  The pedal theme is virtually unforgettable and, being in E-flat Major,  a 32' reed is not necessary for success.  I played it quite a bit over a five to ten-year period and always got raves for it.

Karl Watson, Staten Island, NY

It's a bit of a devil to play though! :)  I have to say that I love all five of Dallier's Cinq Invocations., which make a great alternative to Vierne's impressionism. No. 2, O clemens, O pia, is within even a modest player's grasp, very atmospheric and worth anyone's time. Vierne mentioned Dallier briefly in his memoirs, but clearly didn't like him.

As for flamboyant pieces, this one is great fun but fiendishly difficult. This performance is super, but there's an even more jaw-dropping one by Roger Sayer at the Rochester Cathedral organ on a CD from Regent. 


 

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17 hours ago, Philip said:

At danger of this going off topic...I agree with Vox that fast isn't always better. That said, Kerry Beaumont's pace is a bit slow for my liking, but having just tried the suggested speed (quaver = 200-208) it sounds like he is fairly close to 200, so maybe I'm wrong! I have to admit when I started playing this piece I didn't check the metronome marking and just played it how it felt right. This was not in a building like Coventry Cathedral, of course.

On the second performance (and I hope what follows doesn't offend!) I quite like it at the speed you get at about 1:50 (the return of the opening material). This to my ear is slower than the opening though, which I agree is too fast. The return of the opening material is, from my knowledge of the piece, also played more accurately, and I wonder if these factors are connected (for instance, the first chords of bars 1 and 2 both sound wrong to me - they should be the same as in bars 4 and 5 which sound right). You can find a preview of the first page online if you don't know the piece and wish to refer. Indeed, I actually listened to this recording but opted not to link to it, largely for these reasons. As a disclaimer, I'm no professional and I know my playing isn't 100% accurate by any means, but in a piece with this rhythmic crispness I think some slips can become quite obvious.

But those chords at the end are delicious. Great piece!

On 19/07/2018 at 05:07, Philip said:

What fascinating replies, I've discovered three pieces I didn't know already. I'm now wondering if the Marsh Toccata is within my grasp, but for the price of a cheap download I might well chance it...

In the same spirit, a couple of favourites from me. I've recently discovered the Organists Charitable Little Organ Book, which includes two excellent pieces which aren't difficult and in my view is worth the tenner spent for these two alone. https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product711528/variant711528/organists-charitable-trust-little-organ-book/

One is Philip Moore's Paean - this performance is a touch on the slow side for my taste.

The other is David Bednall's Fanfare-Processional, which frustratingly does not appear to be on YouTube, although if you have Spotify you will be able to find a recording. Neither is especially difficult, and the Bednall in particular is a stonking piece (ideally needs a solo reed).

Not in that book but another favourite of mine is Ernest MacMillan's Cortege Academique - again ideally needs a solo reed.

 

For Paean, what about this speed? 

I agree with you! The tempo at 1:50 is 'just' right! Not to slow or fast, its a steady but outgoing tempo.

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I wonder if this thread has led down a rather 'off piste' route to rather - (to me) - unfamiliar works. I wonder if OOTH was possibly looking that might expand from pieces such as these which, are more mainstream 'flamboyant' pieces that a young organist would do well to start getting their hands around or, at least, listen to. There is a considerable variety of difficulty in teh following list - many will be available on IMSLP. 

Martin.

 

Vierne - Final in D (Symphony 1)

Vierne - Carillon de Longpont

Boellmann - Toccata from Suite Gothique

Widor - Toccata

Widor - Symphony 6 - various

Mulet - Te es Petrus

Mulet - Carillon Sortie

Bonnet - Variations de Concert (is that right??

Dubois - Fiat Lux

Dubois - Toccata

Mushel - Toccata

Percy Fletcher - Festival Toccata 

Leighton - Paean

Howells - Psalm Prelude Set 2 No 3

Howells - Paean

Gordon Jacob - Festal Flourish

Myron Roberts - Hommage à Perotin

Bruhns - P & F in E minor

Quite a bit of Buxtehude - eg the big G minor piece and P & F  in F sharp minor

Lots of JSB - T & F  in F, Pièce d'Orgue, for example

Mozart - Fantasia in F minor

Rheinberger - Finale from Sonata No 3 in G

Messiaen - Dieu parmi nous

Messiaen - Transports de joie

Dupré - P & F in B major

Lefebure-Wely - Sortie in E flat

Smart - Postlude in D

Reger - Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Mathias - Jubilate

 

and...

 

 

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Here's a few  more quite flamboyant and probably lesser known pieces, which are reasonably playable and whose scores are available on imslp:

Otto Dienel (1839-1905)  Concert-fuge in C minor, opus 1

William Ralph Driffill (1870-1922) Allegro Vivace from Suite No.2 in E minor

Driffill also wrote a fine F minor toccata which appears more frequently on Youtube.

Another fine toccata is that by Jules Grison, which has a motif loosely based on the fugue subject of BWV565 and demands the full resources of the organ over its meandering course:

 

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1 hour ago, Contrabombarde said:

Here's a few  more quite flamboyant and probably lesser known pieces, which are reasonably playable and whose scores are available on imslp:

Otto Dienel (1839-1905)  Concert-fuge in C minor, opus 1

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing the Dienel. I love his chorale preludes, but have never come across this piece before. Definitely looks worth checking out. 

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A few more to occupy a wet Sunday in England (with apologies if they have already been mentioned):

 

Fantasia & Fugue in C minor, C P E Bach (Wq 119/7).  Several renditions available on youtube e.g:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1foNnTJ1G2A

 

Prelude & Fugue in E flat, Saint-Saens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV7GkrFoUtI

 

Marche Triomphale, W G Alcock.

Not on youtube as far as I can see, in fact it's probably not particularly well known, but the sheet music seems to be widely downloadable (and good luck with it is all I can say!).  Very 'Imperial' in style, almost Elgarian.  It's the final track of Daniel Cook's CD of Alcock's organ music played at Salisbury cathedral (PRCD 1008).

CEP

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Thomas Ospital is scheduled to give recital in a fortnight's time (18th August) on the organ of the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, commencing at 12 noon.

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On 03/08/2018 at 20:51, Zimbelstern said:

Jean Guillou’s Saga No. 6 is certainly a show piece! There’s another YouTube video featuring Jean Guillou playing it himself while a dancer scales the walls of St. Eustache! 

https://youtu.be/VloFCpS7lNM

Well, the performance with the dancer is quite something. I'm led to believe that interpretive dance is all the rage as a form of worship in certain churches, though not the kind of churches that usually have pipe organs. 

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A friend of mine recently introduced me to the music of René Louis Becker. The outer movements of his first sonata are certainly flamboyant. Here's the first movement, Preludium Festivum, played by Damin Spritzer: 

And here is the final toccata, played by Gert van Hoef: 

There is also a separate toccata, his opus 32, which is in a similar vein. 

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