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Music To Avoid Treading In

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I've heard a few of the smaller pieces (can't remember which ones) and I've generally like it. There was one piece I heard that I really liked - I asked the organist what it was and I've now forgotton. It was quite low and dark in texture, with a lot of repeated chords and a lot of brooding energy. It was electric!

 

So I keep an open mind about Langlais, Te Deum aside...

 

 

This could have been 'Chant Heroique' from Neuf Pieces.

It is in memory of Jehan Alain and quotes from Litanies.

'Electric' would be a good description for this, though since it builds to fff maybe I've got the wrong movement.

 

P.S. [about three minutes later....]

Oops! I was reading through this fast growing topic and hadn't then reached Stephen Farr's suggestion (same as mine). We agree at any rate!

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I tried to get into Simon Preston's Alleluyas, but a lot of it sounds a bit like the Munsters.
I heard a rumour (not long after he wrote it) that SP himself lightheartedly referred to it as "A Young Person's Guide to Messiaen".

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I think I'll put on Jane Parker-Smith playing Lefebure-Wely to listen to while I conduct my enquiries since Priory have yet to release any of the 3 CDs from Liverpool Metropolitan CathedraL devoted to LWs music. An essential purchase and bound to become a best seller!!

I've just been enjoying David Sanger's Meridian CD of Lefébure-Wély from Exeter College, Oxford. I can't really imagine three whole CDs of it, though.

 

And of course Balfour Gardiner's Evening Hymn should be in Latin!

 

Paul

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In English?!  Never! It sounds far better in Latin! But, there we go again - exactly as Paul says - 'One man's meat is another man's dead sheep'.... or whatever it is.
I do seem to be in a minority on this (though not all that big a one). A lot of it has to do with the hardness of the initial consonant on "Te" (and again on "terminum") The softer English "Thee" lends itself better to the full, warm-blooded sound that I like to aim for in this piece. There are other examples elsewhere in the piece. Of course you need to make sure that the initial vowel is full and rich, but so you do too with the Latin. Mind you, I got to know the piece first in English which probably has a lot to do with it.

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I love Lemare's Andantino in Db.

 

I have all three Hindemith Sonatas.  I started to sight read the 1st movt of Sonata no.1 and got bored after about 30 seconds and stopped.

 

I tried to get into Simon Preston's Alleluyas, but a lot of it sounds a bit like the Munsters.

 

I was given a whole load of stuff by, Thiman, Sumsion, Pritchard, Wills, and lots of obscure music by English composers I never heard of.  They are OK for sight-reading fodder.  I find Matthias a bit tedious. And Stanford isn't exactly inspiring.

 

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

 

I guess Lee is referring to the 1st Andantino, and lovely it is too.....with trems.....but what you really need is a Compton "Solo Cello" and a packet of travel pills.

 

I've never played a single thing by Thiman, Sumsion, Pritchard or Wills, but I do like Simon Preston's "Alleluyas." As for Matthias and Stanford, I can take them or leave them along with most other British (or Irish) composers; permitting myself a moment of reverence for the works of Bairstow, Jackson and Healey-Willan.

 

The point I would make, is that the best so-called "light music" is often a whole lot better than the lighter sorts of "classical" music, which is exactly why I play things by Gershwin and many of his contemporaries.

 

THIS is Americana at its' formidable showmanship best, and it's when one understands this, that things like the Middelschulte "Perpetuem Mobile" make sense; or for that matter, Hector Olivera playing "the flight of the bumble bee" on the pedals.

 

Thaaa-t-s entertainment, folks!

 

The funny thing is, Lemare was so utterly brilliant musically and technically, and if we could just through the unfashionable cloud of "orchestral" playing, we would hear that for ourselves instantly.

 

When I've listened to Reger and Bach long enough, I need something else, and what better than to slide onto the bench of a Wurlitzer and, with an impish grin, reach for the Tibias and Trems?

 

You just enjoy that Andantino Lee!

 

Take no notice of what anyone says about it.....even if it is rubbish.

 

MM

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Many pieces from Franck's "L'organiste" are way below the composer's actual ability, and are dreadful to listen to.

 

 

Hi

 

L'Organiste is really Harmonium music - and comes to life played on a good French Harmonium (a Mustel with double-expression for choice). There is no way that a swell box can get the same sort of subtle expression that is available on the Harmonium.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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

 

I'm sorry, I've never heard of Caleb Simper.

 

Was he a copntrapuntist?

 

:)

 

MM

 

Dear MM,

 

Remember writing this ? I think the post dates from February 18th but a search will surely find it....

 

"mistakes were made," then it has rather more to do with musical-mistakes than organ-building mistakes, and I could ramble on, not just about Schweitzer and the "orgel reform" pack-hounds (I can never spell the German word Orgelbe...whatever it is!), but also about the whole early-music movement, including Dolmetch in London. Pierre mentions Lawrence Phelps, and his "mistakes," but at least he was a thinker and doer, who responded to the challenge of taking the organ back from whence it came, to the job of being suitable for the mainstream heritage of proper organ-music, which had largely passed England by, as everyone wallowed in the sentimentality of Caleb Simper. (Yes, I know this is a gross over-simplification!) That a man like Robert Hope-Jones could ever be considered a serious organ-builder, is testament to the waywardness of English creativity around the turn of the last century. I would include America in that same equation....we lost him...they got him!

 

 

But you are dead right about Lemare. Who today plays to a packed house. Now I must begin my search for a recording of the complete works of Caleb Simper since PCND indicated a desire that I should .... or perhaps I have got that the wrong way round. Byeee.

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Dear MM,

 

Remember writing this ? I think the post dates from February 18th but a search will surely find it....

 

everyone wallowed in the sentimentality of Caleb Simper.

 

 

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

 

That wasn't me....I was framed!

 

Damn those lawyers!!

 

:)

 

MM

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I heard a rumour (not long after he wrote it) that SP himself lightheartedly referred to it as "A Young Person's Guide to Messiaen".

 

I seem to remember hearing that Alleluyas was written at short notice, because the publishers had been let down by a French composer who failed to submit. I wonder who that could have been.....?

 

H

 

I'm off to hunt for some gems in The Village Organist

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Guest Lee Blick
The Village Organist

 

Ugh, I got a pile of that sort of stuff somewhere - 'Gems for the Organ', 'Organ Uplift' (do you remember THAT series with titles based on organ double entrendres), 'Victorian Organ Album' etc etc.

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Ugh, I got a pile of that sort of stuff somewhere - 'Gems for the Organ', 'Organ Uplift' (do you remember THAT series with titles based on organ double entrendres), 'Victorian Organ Album' etc etc.

 

 

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

 

You may send it my way......I'm going to make jam this summer.

 

MM

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I seem to remember hearing that Alleluyas was written at short notice,  because the publishers had been let down by a French composer who failed to submit.  I wonder who that could have been.....?

 

H

 

I'm off to hunt for some gems in The Village Organist

There's a piece by a well known French 20th c composer in the companion volume of Modern Organ music Vol 1. Has anyone ever played it? I'd be interested to know what you thought if you had....

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I came across a lovely piece in the Village Organist (I have a few copies of this sort of thing for sight-reading practice). It was "A Lament" by John E West. Nice piece - a rare gem in this series.

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Having been so unkind to Edwin H.Lemare and his delightul "Moonshine & Roses,"

(better known as "Beer and Black Magic" in the north), perhaps we should re-dress the balance slightly.

 

His delightful "Rondo Capriccio" (a study in accents), a scorching performance of his "Dense Macabre" transcription and a brilliantly opaque and very fast "Jig Fugue" can be heard on the following URL:-

 

http://www.orgel.com/music/lemare-e.html

 

This guy could PLAY!!

 

MM

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There's a piece by a well known French 20th c composer in the companion volume of Modern Organ music Vol 1. Has anyone ever played it? I'd be interested to know what you thought if you had....
I know the one you mean. I've read it through two or three times, but I don't think I've ever got to the end. It strikes me as stylistically uneven without any great strength of musical character - a bit like a transcription of a routine, uninspired improvisation. Maybe it comes to life on a Cavaillé-Coll. But, like I say, I don't actually know the piece, so it's quite likely I've missed the point entirely.

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Anything by Mendelssohn leaves me feeling short-changed, apart from the C minor Prelude and Fugue which seems to be far better than any of the other organ works.

Oh thank goodness at least someone else isn't a raving fan of Mendelssohn. I love his orchestral and piano works but get the feeling that he was actually trying to bake a blancmange when he wrote those organ sonatas. And I HAVE tried and tried to get to know them but the moment they're finished I can't help wondering if they were ever played...was probably asleep, I suppose. My other dislike is anything by Martin Shaw. Absolutely ANYTHING. Needs vast quantities of salt and pepper. Sorry...

Jenny

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I think you may be on the right lines in that I doubt very much that it was Jane W.

 

I heard this story about the same time as you - I remember exactly where, when (well the year anyway) and who told me and it predates Jane W's time at the Abbey. This makes it very unlikely, if not impossible, to be she who said it. (Also we are great friends from our time together at college, and I would be very surprised if a) she ever stumbled over her words and :rolleyes: lost her cool enough to say that!)

 

I seem to remember that the person who was alleged to have said it was not an organist, but my memory may be faulty or even my informant may have exagerated her part in all this.

 

The version I heard had Gillian Weir as the origin - and not that she lost her cool but it was a deliberate choice....

any other offers? Does anyone know Simon Preston well enough to ask him? I'd be brave enough to but I haven't been able to get in touch with him at all (tried to get a few anecdotes, natch!)

 

cheers

Jenny

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Elgar's Vesper Voluntaries. It is definitely a mistake to play the whole lot in a single recital - I know because I sat through them once. Fortunately there was a beautiful building to look at to relieve the utter boredom.

 

William Bolcom's Gospel Preludes (or whatever they are called). I had forgotten about these (mercifully) but a mention by another poster caused me to reach for the air freshener.

 

Wagner overtures arranged for organ (in fact, almost any transcriptions of orchestral music).

 

Whitlock's Organ Sonata, which seems to ramble endlessly.

 

Whitlocks sonata is one of my favourite pieces, I am collecting recordings at the moment including a home spun John Scott at the opening of the new organ at Southall minster a few years ago and a Polish friend playing it at Durham Cathedral

 

Peter

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Guest Barry Williams
The version I heard had Gillian Weir as the origin - and not that she lost her cool but it was a deliberate choice....

any other offers? Does anyone know Simon Preston well enough to ask him? I'd be brave enough to but I haven't been able to get in touch with him at all (tried to get a few anecdotes, natch!)

 

cheers

Jenny

 

 

Care should be exercised when quoting those still living, for very obvious reasons, especially in a published book.

 

Barry Williams

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Elgar's Vesper Voluntaries. It is definitely a mistake to play the whole lot in a single recital - I know because I sat through them once. Fortunately there was a beautiful building to look at to relieve the utter boredom.

 

Yes, perhaps the whole lot at a recital is a bit much, but I must confess to quite liking the Andantino...

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Care should be exercised when quoting those still living, for very obvious reasons, especially in a published book.

 

Barry Williams

Yes, you're quite right Barry - that what sharks - ooops sorry - lawyers were invented to prevent

:lol:

But luckily I do hope my 30+ years training as a journalist, as well as 4 of those as a daily columnist dealing with submissions of stories from the public, should help go some way to preventing too many problems. It never ceased to amaze me the different ways in which you can upset people, completely innocently. Think the same applies to concert goers, congregations and clergy!

 

chirps

Jenny

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I have ploughed through all seven pages so far and tried to keep track of it all. The board's contributers do seem to be very broadminded in their dislikes. I think no one has yet nominated Healy Willan, Percy Whitlock or Gustav Merkel. Is this just an oversight, or are these gentlemen where I should be directing my efforts?

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I have ploughed through all seven pages so far and tried to keep track of it all. The board's contributers do seem to be very broadminded in their dislikes. I think no one has yet nominated Healy Willan, Percy Whitlock or Gustav Merkel. Is this just an oversight, or are these gentlemen where I should be directing my efforts?

 

 

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

 

 

I wouldn't worry about directing your efforts. It's better to take totally random pot-shots at anyone who comes to mind.

 

I had a Uni lecturer, who insisted that "Bach all sounds the same"

 

Then another with whom I shared my life, who specialised in English/Russian/American literature (yes they can write apparently), and who was fluent in 14 languages.

 

His description of Handel's use of the English language was, "What a dumb clutz"

 

Then there was that famous spat from one composer referring to another, who described him as "An artless bastard"

 

Reger was loathed and despised by many critics: Wagner similarly by many musicians.

 

So it's no big deal to despise Healey Willan, Percy Whitlock or Gustav Merkel, even if your reputation plunges in the process!

 

:lol:

 

At least you like the organ, or perhaps you don't?

 

In any event, what kind of lunatic tries to extract music from a machine, I wonder?

 

 

:wacko:

 

 

 

MM

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

 

Then there was that famous spat from one composer referring to another, who described him as "An artless bastard"

 

Tchaikovsky on Brahms, or was it the other way round? And I always understood it to be "giftless" rather than "artless". :wacko:

 

Peter

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