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Orchestral Works With Organ Part (not Solo)


Guest Lee Blick
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Guest Lee Blick

My favourites are:

 

Mahler - Symphony no. 8

Awesome symphony especially with the organ held chord at the end and the Brass in the gallery or where-ever going for it.

 

Scriabin - Le Poème de l'extase

I like the way the chords build up towards the end, becoming more orgasmic

 

Resphigi - Pines of Rome (esp. Pines of the Appian Way)

I love this movement, so stirring. (OK i know this peice was considered fascistic)

 

Holst - The Planets Suite (Mars, bringer of war)

Played the organ part at the RAH a few years back. Loved that 'crunchy chord' with a lot of the stops out.

 

OK. What are your favourites, what pieces have you played in, anecdotes etc. :)

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My favourites are:

 

Mahler - Symphony no. 8

Awesome symphony especially with the organ held chord at the end and the Brass in the gallery or where-ever going for it.

 

Scriabin -  Le Poème de l'extase

I like the way the chords build up towards the end, becoming more orgasmic

 

Resphigi - Pines of Rome (esp. Pines of the Appian Way)

I love this movement, so stirring. (OK i know this peice was considered fascistic)

 

Holst - The Planets Suite (Mars, bringer of war)

Played the organ part at the RAH a few years back.  Loved that 'crunchy chord' with a lot of the stops out.

 

OK.  What are your favourites, what pieces have you played in, anecdotes etc.  :)

Not sure if it counts as an anecdote - but when Mahler 8 was done here a little while ago I played the organ part. The basses in the VAST choral society had been told to stand in a very precise configuration on the staging so I had the tiniest of sightlines to the conductor (we don't have a CCTV here) - and of course they all forgot. So I had to do the whole thing (including the arrival of the opening chord) by guesswork - I couldn't see a thing except serried ranks of dinner jackets towering above me, and had to listen to the contrabassoon drawing breath with the first upbeat to know when to start playing. I didn't enjoy it much as a consequence (too worried) but it's a great piece.

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Parry's Blest Pair of Sirens has a lovely tummy wobbling part for the organ. I used to sing in a choir that mainly appeared in the Barbican (a squeeze) and one of the delights of the time we sang at the Royal Albert Hall was when towards the end of the Parry we suddenly noticed the organ. First of all the floor started to shake and then behind us like from the bowels of the earth swelled this most magnificent sound. After the hateful Barbican, it was just wonderful to have this organ sound underpinning us and really inspired with the confidence to sing out far more than usual.

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I was asked to do Britten's St Nicholas last year, but the organ was too sharp for the orchestra to tune to, so I had to play the part on a clavinova (or something of that ilk). ARRGHHH!

 

I wish someone would ask me to do Holst's Hymn of Jesus, though there's not actually much of an organ part in it - it's mainly pedals only. I just happen to like the piece.

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OK.  What are your favourites, what pieces have you played in, anecdotes etc.  :)

Don't forget RVW's "Sinfonia Antarctica" in which Scott finds the odd Tuba right at the South Pole, along with all the bad news. I keep wondering which organ (and hall) was chosen for André Previn's gorgeous recording back from 1968. Or does anyone know, incidentally?

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Guest Lee Blick
so I had to play the part on a clavinova (or something of that ilk

 

Ugh, I would have thrown a hissy fit...

 

Oh another piece I like: "Toward the Unknown Region" VW. I know it hasn't got much of an organ part but I love the words and the energy the composer creates.

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My favourites are:

 

Mahler - Symphony no. 8

Awesome symphony especially with the organ held chord at the end and the Brass in the gallery or where-ever going for it.

 

Scriabin -  Le Poème de l'extase

I like the way the chords build up towards the end, becoming more orgasmic

 

Resphigi - Pines of Rome (esp. Pines of the Appian Way)

I love this movement, so stirring. (OK i know this peice was considered fascistic)

 

Holst - The Planets Suite (Mars, bringer of war)

Played the organ part at the RAH a few years back.  Loved that 'crunchy chord' with a lot of the stops out.

 

OK.  What are your favourites, what pieces have you played in, anecdotes etc.  :D

 

Richard Strauss Alpine symphony - the storm part is wonderful but very scary to play in case you get lost!

 

Elgar - Dream of Gerontius - the bar before the first organ entry ... pulse quickening!

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I think that apart from a few solo organ concertos (Handel etc) the only things I have done with an orchestra are the Mozart "Requiem" (the one that someone else finished for him) and the Pergolesi "Magnificat."

 

Oddly enough, I've never done a "Messiah" in my life, other than sing in it.

 

Oh, and a concert with brass and percussion, but that doesn't count does it?

 

MM

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Janácek's "Taras Bulba" has an organ in the first movement. It figures as a church organ, the scene depicted by the music taking place after mass, and ending in a mess. How popular homophonic organ music was with any Cossack population, I do not know.

 

And there are the two Rheinberger concertos, which are quite beautiful, if not very exciting.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle calls for an organ at the fifth door. I'd never particularly noticed it in with the full orchestra until I heard the recording of it from a recent prom - the RAH organ comes over like no other! There are also two quiet bars near the end which the organ plays alone, but I've never understood why he bothered.

 

Paul

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Janácek's "Taras Bulba" has an organ in the first movement. It figures as a church organ, the scene depicted by the music taking place after mass, and ending in a mess. How popular homophonic organ music was with any Cossack population, I do not know.

Mention of Janacek reminds me that no one's mentioned the Glugolitic Mass which has a splendid and important organ part. I caught the Prom broadcast from 2004 that Kurt Masur conducted where David Goode created quite a fire storm on the newly refurbed organ.

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Walton - Coronation Te Deum

Elgar - Polonia

 

Re. Dream of Gerontius, mentioned earlier in despatches, I was at the organ in Gloucester Cathedral for a performance of this some years ago. The organ plays in the soft chords that bring Part 1 to an end. Unfortunately when I took by hands off the keys the organ kept going... (Yes it was the HNB action, I'm not THAT old)

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Let's not forget the Berlioz Te Deum with those great antiphonal blasts and counterblasts between organ and orchestra at the beginning; and those wonderfully solemn, hieratic organ interludes in the Sanctus.

 

Colin Davis did it at the Proms about 5 years ago, with huge orchestra, choirs stacked up to the roof, brass bands in the boxes and 3 cymbal players with the biggest cymbals you've ever seen.

 

Berlioz wanted the effect to be 'Babylonian' - this was how it should be.

 

JS

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Walton - Coronation Te Deum

Elgar - Polonia

 

Re. Dream of Gerontius, mentioned earlier in despatches, I was at the organ in Gloucester Cathedral for a performance of this some years ago. The organ plays in the soft chords that bring Part 1 to an end. Unfortunately when I took by hands off the keys the organ kept going... (Yes it was the HNB action, I'm not THAT old)

 

That is odd - I have never heard of the action malfunctioning on this organ! Are you sure that it was not just the echo?!

 

:blink:

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Guest Lee Blick
Let's not forget the Berlioz Te Deum

 

Oh yeh, I forgot that one. I was in the boys chorus in the recording with Claudio Abbadio and the European Community Youth Orchestra at St. Albans. It was awesome all those cymbals crashing together. Apparently it was filmed by the BBC. I would give an arm and a leg to see a recording of it.

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Oh yeh, I forgot that one. I was in the boys chorus in the recording with Claudio Abbadio and the European Community Youth Orchestra at St. Albans. It was awesome all those cymbals crashing together.  Apparently it was filmed by the BBC.  I would give an arm and a leg to see a recording of it.

How could I overlook this wonderful piece, especially as like Lee I also was in the boys chorus at St Albans. I seem to recall we were out of sight in the south aisle and couldn't see Abbado, so Richard Hickox conducted us standing on a chair taking his cue from Abbado via CCTV! The St Albans organ, which sounds wonderful on the DG recording, I think was played by Martin Haselbock. Lee is right that the performance was filmed, but I have a feeling it was not by the BBC but a German TV production company. I certainly don't recall it ever being shown on British TV.

 

John Sayer mentions that Colin Davis and the LSO performed the Berlioz Te Deum at the Proms. I thought it was a missed opportunity as this was during the time Manders were in and the organ used for the performance was digital. Much better to have waited until the Voice of Jupiter was back in full voice before doing this work.

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That is odd - I have never heard of the action malfunctioning on this organ! Are you sure that it was not just the echo?!

 

:)

Quite sure. The organ went through a very dodgy period, don't ask me exactly when, but sometime after the 69 rebuild and some years ago now. The action needed a lot of attention from HNB to sort it out, it was very unreliable at the time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Arnold Bax - Christmas Eve - rarely played, i've never heard a live performance.

 

I also like the Walton and Elgar marches - but too often the organ is virtually eclipsed in recordings - even though the organist is uniquely named on the label (you know........Crown Imperial, with Noel Rawsthorn (organ)), but you can't hear a thing. I heard this one, incidentally at a Prom in Birmingham years ago, not long after the Town Hall organ was rebuilt, and I think the conductor (might've been the young Rattler himslef) must have told the organist to "fill yer boots" because it really blazed away and made the final march especially thrilling.

 

I know it doesn't count as a "work" but at last year's British Legion Festival of Remembrance, there was a nice bit when the massed choirs and the welsh girly were singing the Ode to the Fallen, and in the middle, there was amoment when the full organ just went off on a little solo cadenza whilst some soldiers brought on the drums to make an altar. Very moving.

 

Bill

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