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Mander Organs
Vox Humana

Organ Recitals And Showmanship

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Doesn't it come down to the sort of education system they still have, or is that too simplistic?
Broadly speaking, I rather think you're right, though I'm sure pure commercialism also comes into it. As I've surmised before, I think a lot of it boils down to today's soundbite culture. Everyone wants "easy" listening that they can appreciate immediately - the catchier the better. Few seem interested in anything serious that requires a bit of time and effort to appreciate.

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Guest Lee Blick
baulk a little bit at the idea of an organist arriving in tails with a huge grin, saying, "U wants to hear musik? OK...let's make whopee!"

 

Personally I would love that! In my teens, I remember Carlo Curley bringing his travelling organ to appear on the Wogan Show. He makes the organ fun! I don't think there is any harm by having a bit of showmanship, something to attract people who would not normally have anything to do with the instrument. OK, it might not be po-faced, top quality musicianship but I think there is room for it in the public domain. After all, the theatre organ is our closest cousin, why not borrow some aspects of it.

 

I'm sorry but it it easy to pontificate from our ivory organ lofts, but the future of organ playing and organ music needs energy created from somewhere to get more people to start learning to play the instrument. Otherwise organs will disappear altogether, helped along by Brussels, if they get their stupid way.

 

As to my comments on Hull, they are meant 'tongue-in-cheek', I go up there occasionally to visit my Gran who is 90, it is no worse or no better than most towns in the UK. There is something about the North. The people seem more friendly than in the south. I was in Liverpool looking lost a few years ago and an elderly lady came up to me and asked me if I wanted help. That rarely happens down here.

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I once read in a book that Hull is supposed to smell of death.  My friends who live in Hull says there is a part of it smells because of the sewers.  My dad who grew up there says it is a place to avoid, it is in the middle of nowhere.  And to think I nearly moved there last year.  B)

 

Well it used to smell of fish when I lived there and I suppose they were dead, but as MM has pointed out there is a great deal to be said in its favour. Unfortunately, it is not very far above sea level and with global warming....

 

Now the sewers I do remember. They certainly made their presence felt in Summer, though to be fair it was the sewage treatment works about three quarters of a mile away across the fields behind out flat. Happy days !!!

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Personally I would love that!  In my teens, I remember Carlo Curley bringing his travelling organ to appear on the Wogan Show.  He makes the organ fun! I don't think there is any harm by having a bit of showmanship, something to attract people who would not normally have anything to do with the instrument.

 

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

 

 

The interesting thing about Carlo's performances is that no-one ever seems neutral about them; myself included.

 

I have heard a number of colourful descriptions, a few expletives and some downright nasty comments, as well as enthusiasm, warmth and some utterances which border on hero-worship.

 

I've smiled at his high-speed Saint-Saens, grimaced at his orchestral Bach, snorted at some of his jokes and comments, been utterly thrilled by the sheer panache and audacity with his infamous Bach Sinfonia (Cantata no.29), been on the edge of my seat with his Pierne Scherzo and aghast at that awful, tasteless but highly entertain "Christmas" by Derthier.

 

Never do I come away from an "organ power" concert feeling that it was a waste of time or somehow best forgotten; if only from the enjoyment of watching the reaction of people to the things he says and does.

 

I'm also aware of the fact that, given a very strict baroque organ, he is more than capable of delivering more serious and scholarly Bach than most may imagine him to be capable of.

 

So he IS an important and impressive amabassador for our instrument, and I respect what he does and how he goes about it, just as I respect Hector Olivera and what he does. Yet, there are the snobs who would happily destroy the careers of both.

 

It's also a very pleasant surprise to have bumped into Carlo at theatre organ concerts when I lived in London, and that is also a way of communicating his lack of stuffiness and wider interests to those who may regard him purely as a classical organist.

 

Doesn't it come back to what I suggested in other replies, that communication and a desire to share what we know and love, is the most useful gift of all, at a time when the organ is almost relegated to the position of the old harmonium in the minds of many.

 

Other than Dudley Moore and Carlo Curley, what organist has made it onto peak-time, top-ratings television?

 

I also happen to think that "Howard Goodall's Organ Works" was just a fantastic production; presenting the organ as an instrument of great fascination, which he amply demonstrated as being both a serious instrument and one which is quite capable of being showy and completely over the top.

 

Who could forget the interview with Henry Willis IV?

 

Who could forget phrases such as "That's a MAN'S sound" or words such as "Gi-bloomin-normous?"

 

All "organ power" to these people!!

 

MM

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I personally think that there is room at all ends of the scale fpr people who are simply good musicians, whatever they do with their musicianship. I once went to a Richard Claydermann concert - I felt a recurring desire to puke at the musak he was generating, and was profoundly impressed by his professionalism.

 

The problem is though, that getting people to like, and even go to listen to, someone playing high-speed "Bumble-bees" on the pedals is not the same as getting them to go and listen to Bach played by an invisible organist in a possibly cold and gloomy church. We unfortunately have to acept that a lot of organ music is taxing for the listener in the same way as contemporary music is - you really have to LISTEN and the "oh wow!" factor might be fairly limited. Unlikely to be a mass market affair.

 

When I came here, we could expect about 25 people at an organ recital (during the days of the communists, it was more like 4 or 5 hundred). Now we're up to about 150-200. I like to think it's because we make sure that the recitalists are good, but it might very well have more to do with the fact that we now give people a glass of wine in the cloisters afterwards and try to make sure that going to an organ recital is also a bit of a night out.

 

As a believer, I try to ensure that the cathedral doesn't become a three-ring circus, so I don't encourage any over-the-top showmanship. But I also belive that God has a sense of humour, or he wouldn't have created us. Moderation is all......

 

Cheers

Barry

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I personally think that there is room at all ends of the scale fpr people who are simply good musicians, whatever they do with their musicianship. I once went to a Richard Claydermann concert - I felt a recurring desire to puke at the musak he was generating, and was profoundly impressed by his professionalism.

 

The problem is though, that getting people to like, and even go to listen to, someone playing high-speed "Bumble-bees" on the pedals is not the same as getting them to go and listen to Bach played by an invisible organist in a possibly cold and gloomy church. We unfortunately have to acept that a lot of organ music is taxing for the listener in the same way as contemporary music is - you really have to LISTEN and the "oh wow!" factor might be fairly limited. Unlikely to be a mass market affair.

 

When I came here, we could expect about 25 people at an organ recital (during the days of the communists, it was more like 4 or 5 hundred). Now we're up to about 150-200. I like to think it's because we make sure that the recitalists are good, but it might very well have more to do with the fact that we now give people a glass of wine in the cloisters afterwards and try to make sure that going to an organ recital is also a bit of a night out.

 

As a believer, I try to ensure that the cathedral doesn't become a three-ring circus, so I don't encourage any over-the-top showmanship. But I also belive that God has a sense of humour, or he wouldn't have created us. Moderation is all...... 

 

Cheers

Barry

 

 

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

 

I think I would absolutely agree with Barry on most of the points he makes, but somehow, it still doesn't anaswer a fundamental question which has always fascinated me.

 

"Why, in Holland, do a LOT of people willingly go to hear Bach (and especially Reger) in equally cold, gloomy churches?"

 

In a world of multiple distraction and possible alternatives (they HAVE discovered the CD and TV in Holland), it's wonderful to see so many younger people at recitals, and perhaps more critically, those in the 30-40 year age-group who usually have the least time on their hands.

 

I recall just going to play the organ at Sint Laurens, Rotterdam one afternoon, and afterwards, I was literally mobbed by about 100 children between the ages of 10 and 14 or so. I spent the next hour taking them on guided tours of the organ loft and demonstrating the various sounds to them, and their little eyes sparkled as they politely asked questions IN PERFECT ENGLISH.

 

Are they genetically different to the rest of Europe?

 

I'm not sure that I quite understand why audiences should fall by 75% simply because western-style democracy replaced communism in the former Eastern Germany!!!!!!

 

The answer is probably something quite simple, like they banned all the 2-stroke mopeds and Trabants and privatised the buses.

 

MM

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

 

I think I would absolutely agree with Barry on most of the points he makes, but somehow, it still doesn't anaswer a fundamental question which has always fascinated me.

 

"Why, in Holland, do a LOT of people willingly go to hear Bach (and especially Reger) in equally cold, gloomy churches?"

 

MM

 

Have you ever watched Dutch TV?

:wacko:

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

 

 

I recall just going to play the organ at Sint Laurens, Rotterdam one afternoon, and afterwards, I was literally mobbed by about 100 children between the ages of 10 and 14 or so. I spent the next hour taking them on guided tours of the organ loft and demonstrating the various sounds to them, and their little eyes sparkled as they politely asked questions IN PERFECT ENGLISH.

 

Are they genetically different to the rest of Europe?

 

 

This is indeed heartening!

 

I doubt that they are genetically different - but I strongly suspect that they are culturally different. The Dutch children and young people whom I have met seem (like the French children I have also met) to be more polite and interested then British children and do not have that cynical, jaded outlook which is often to be found here.

 

I realise that this is a generalisation - but not without at least some supporting evidence.

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Have you ever watched Dutch TV?

:o

 

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

 

Yes!

 

I really belly-laughed at a Netherlands musical-comedian who seemed to have modelled himself on Victor Borge, and who proved to be every bit as funny. :o

 

I wonder if "heva" knows who it may have been?

 

Then there was one of the funniest and cleverest adverts I ever saw, involving a

semi-naked girl in a school gym and a boy with scratches all over his back.....but I couldn't possibly explain it in words. :o

 

They're a bit poe-faced when they mention oil prices on the Rotterdam spot-market, as everyone else screams, "You cannot be SERIOUS?" :wacko:

 

MM

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

 

 

Then there was one of the funniest and cleverest adverts I ever saw, involving a

semi-naked girl in a school gym and a boy with scratches all over his back.....but I couldn't possibly explain it in words.   :o

 

MM

 

Probably just as well.... the idea of a budding teenage dominatrix fills me with horror....

 

:wacko:

 

(Incidentally, can you remember the product which was being advertised? Often with really amusing adverts, people cannot recall the product, just the fact that they had been entertained.)

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Incidentally, can you remember the product which was being advertised? Often with really amusing adverts, people cannot recall the product, just the fact that they had been entertained.)

 

 

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

 

Nope! :wacko:

 

MM

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Guest Andrew Butler
the idea of a budding teenage dominatrix fills me with horror....

 

Speak for yourself! :wacko:

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Christopher Herrick is a charismatic organ performer of high ability who really knows how to relate to an audience. He is very popular in New Zealand and Australia where he draws some of the largest organ audiences we have seen in recent years. His Hyperion recordings are very highly regarded here as they are in Europe- Beck's in Munich had every single one of his discs for sale.

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That's Beck's of Bremen..........and it's Pils!

Oh yes. And not a bad one. That's an important difference. I have never forgiven them to have started this disgusting "Beck's Gold" stuff.

 

Best,

Friedrich

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Oh yes. And not a bad one. That's an important difference. I have never forgiven them to have started this disgusting "Beck's Gold" stuff.

 

Best,

Friedrich

 

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

 

I find that 26 tonnes of the stuff goes around corners worse than a classic Irish Stout.

 

Talk about drink-driving! Something to do with specific-gravity I believe.

 

B)

 

MM

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Guest Barry Williams
Christopher Ede, pageant master at the 1951 Festival of Britain concert at Hampton Court palace. RM recorded this work at Huddersfield Town Hall (TPLS 13022) and the sleeve notes written by Felix Aprahamian state: "In 1951, John Cook composed music for the Festival of Britain Pageant at Hampton Court and this fanfare, based on music from that score, is dedicated to the Pageant-Master, Christopher Ede/. It may be that RM was the first to record it. Curiously the LP also contains what must surely be the first recording of Leighton's Et Resurrexit which was composed for, and dedicated to RM, who gave the first performance at St Columba's Church of Scotland in London. The other pieces on the LP were Robert Cundick's Sonatina and Myron Roberts' Homage to Perotin

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Guest Barry Williams

 

Cook's Fanfare is indeed dedicated to Christopher Ede, one time pageant master and also, for a short time, purveyor of pipeless elctronic instruments of the analogue variety. The piece was written for four brass bands but sounds well in the organ arrangement.

 

Some confusion has arisen because the dedication, in a few editions, is 'EC' rather than'CE'. It is a misprint. There is no doubt as to the fact of the dedication.

 

Robert Munns, a perpetual champion of contemporary British organ music, was the first to record this piece and has played it on many occasions, including his recital at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon.

 

Barry Williams

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