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Iveta Apkalna's Pipedreams


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I am slightly surprised that no one has highlighted this Radio 3 series on here. I enjoyed all three programmes very much indeed, despite Ms Apkalna sometimes talking over the music (particularly infuriating in Thomas Trotter's awe-inspiring performance of the Thalben-Ball pedal variations). The various performances were quite riveting and introduced me to several new pieces. I was particularly fascinated by the extract from Péter Eötvös's Multiversum for pipe organ, Hammond organ and orchestra.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000tw60/episodes/player

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Actually I'm not surprised at all to be honest!!! Thank you for that Vox. Living where I live I'm a little out of touch, especially with the BBC, and any recommendations are always very welcome.

I've listened to the first programme and it was a revelation. I don't know a lot of Rheinberger. I knew the great Harold Truscott and played the D min. Trio and the Piano Quartet with him - I suspect from copies that he had stored in that vast cupboard of obscure music he had. He tried to persuade me to play the 'cello Sonata (along with Sonatas/Concerti by Donald Francis Tovey, Arthur Sullivan and Pfitzner). I know of the Organ Sonatas and of the Masses and, in truth, possibly due to ignorance and prejudice have hardly ever, if ever listened to them. But I didn't know of the Concerti. The slow movement of the first Organ Concerto in F was wonderful and, as a consequence, I have ordered the Peter King recording. 

I didn't know any music by the Icelandic Jon Leifs or the Hungarian Piet Eotvos but, thanks to the programme, have given my Credit Card a real bashing and quite a few hours of excellent listening in the future.

I shall now listen to the other two of Iveta Apkalna's programmes and, presumably give my Credit Card more of the same!!

And good for the BBC for broadcasting them.

Again, thank you Vox, - really appreciated!

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Hi

I listened to some of the programmes (I tend to drift off to sleep at that time of night!).  What I heard was interesting.  I suspect the speaking over music was a production decision at the editing stage - maybe to get the running time right.

 

The one thing that did annoy me a little was the statement that the Wannamaker organ is the largest in the world.  It may be the largest fully working pipe organ - but the largest surely is still the Midmer-Losh effort in Atlantic City.

Hopefully we may begin to see a bit more coverage of organ music by the BBC.

Every Blessing

Tony

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1 hour ago, Tony Newnham said:

The one thing that did annoy me a little was the statement that the Wannamaker organ is the largest in the world.  It may be the largest fully working pipe organ - but the largest surely is still the Midmer-Losh effort in Atlantic City.

This is an old bone of contention. It depends how you measure them. Atlantic City has more manuals and stop-keys, but is just a monumental extension organ. The Wannamaker has more pipes and individual ranks. Don't the Americans tend to use the latter method? I'm sure someone can tell me.

As for Rheinberger, when I was teenager I found his slow movements impossibly tasteless and sentimental, but I very much used to enjoy playing the fine last movement of Sonata no.12 and, of course, the Introduction and Passacaglia from no.8, having been inspired to learn it by Douglas Guest's recording of the old Harvey Grace edition. Ruth Gipps used to upbraid me regularly for my far-too-austere tastes (I didn't much care for the First Viennese School either!) and was forever exhorting me to 'Go and listen to Cosi!' or Wagner and, indeed, the whole orchestral and chamber repertoire in order to widen my musical horizons. I used to get the same from Sidney Campbell. They were wise people, of course. These days I am more tolerant—though, I am sure, still not enough to meet their approval. At any rate, there is plenty of mainstream music out there that is far weaker and more squidgy than anything Rheinberger wrote.  His music is always well-crafted.  If anything lets him down, it's that his themes tend to lack the strong character that would make his music truly memorable—at least to my mind—and in his sonatas there always seems to be one movement that lets the side down. Sonata no.4, for example, has a very fine first movement that could almost be from a Brahms symphony (it's not difficult, either) and an attractive slow movement (if a little queasy), but ends with a tedious fugue whose subject is just a chromatic scale that descends through a whole octave without any rhythmic interest.

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8 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:

Hi

I listened to some of the programmes (I tend to drift off to sleep at that time of night!). 

There are only three - and you can listen to them at any time!!

 

8 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:

The one thing that did annoy me a little was the statement that the Wannamaker organ is the largest in the world. 

I'm sorry, Tony, but if that's your only complaint then I think the programme did pretty well

l

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On 25/04/2021 at 10:02, Vox Humana said:

This is an old bone of contention. It depends how you measure them. Atlantic City has more manuals and stop-keys, but is just a monumental extension organ. The Wannamaker has more pipes and individual ranks. Don't the Americans tend to use the latter method? I'm sure someone can tell me.
 

Latest estimate for Atlantic City Hall is 33,116 compared to a mere 28,750 pipes at Wanamaker, the scale of difference being the size of a large cathedral organ. However only around half of Atlantic City is working compared to around 95% of the Wanamaker organ though the current restoration is intended to restore it to complete working order.

Having heard both in the flesh - and walked around the innards of both - I felt the Atlantic City organ was just too brash and overblown (though it has to be to be heard in such a huge enclosure) though its tonal design was impressively thorough. The Wanamaker organ is a thing of beauty despite the much smaller space it speaks into since most of the store was given over to office space and most of the galleries were glassed over. Interestingly the two organs were originally in competition with one another but the team that curates the Wanamaker is responsible for restoring Atlantic City Hall's organ.

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Very good performer/musician; we need to hear more from such refreshing newblood.   I exhibited a degree of caution on making an opening thread regarding this programme since I well know how certain items of a  " contemporary nature " can ( or not, as the case may be ) go down on these hallowed pages.

This series of programmes put out by The Beeb will be offered as often as Preston Guild; so we should all savour them to the max!

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