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Malcolm Farr

Bwv 575 - Fugue In C Minor

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I've just been giving BWV 575 a dash again, and thought I'd ask others how they articulate the opening. I've always felt that I should phrase the subject so as to imply the rest, but have never been satisfied with anything I've tried. Or is it best simply to let it be ambiguous?

 

Rgds,

MJF

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I've just been giving BWV 575 a dash again, and thought I'd ask others how they articulate the opening.  I've always felt that I should phrase the subject so as to imply the rest, but have never been satisfied with anything I've tried.  Or is it best simply to let it be ambiguous?

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

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

 

There are moments of discovery in life, and this is one of them.

 

I have never heard anyone play BWV 575, I confess that I have never looked at it.

So, with a totally fresh perspective, I rambled through it.

 

The fact that I got 80% of the notes right is encouraging, but the thing that struck me about this work is the feeling that it seems to owe much to Bohm; though I have no means of instantly knowing the what, when and where of it's origins.

 

Working from pure instinct, I would suggest that the opening subject should be played absolutely as writ, but in a detached, clean style, without any special phrasing at all.

 

Perhaps likte the following?

 

http://www.akc-orgel.be/M2CDclip_MP3.htm

 

There seems to be a dramatic moment at bar 62, perhaps suggesting some sort of slowing down (perhaps Adagio?), because at bar 64, there is the start of a virtuosic cadenza, with lots of figuration and running about.

 

I'd have to experiment a bit with the pedal solo at the end, but my instinct would be to slow down progressively during the course of it, or else the ending would sound far too abrupt. Perhaps to the point of extreme Adagio, which would then make an Adagio at bar 62 the more valid?

 

Funny that I've never played or heard this work before, but thanks to Stephen for mentioning it. I shall have to learn it!

 

MM

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

 

There seems to be a dramatic moment at bar 62, perhaps suggesting some sort of slowing down (perhaps Adagio?), because at bar 64, there is the start of a virtuosic cadenza, with lots of figuration and running about.

 

I'd have to experiment a bit with the pedal solo at the end, but my instinct would be to slow down progressively during the course of it, or else the ending would sound far too abrupt. Perhaps to the point of extreme Adagio, which would then make an Adagio at bar 62 the more valid?

 

Funny that I've never played or heard this work before, but thanks to Stephen for mentioning it. I shall have to learn it!

 

MM

I agree generally about slowing down, although my preference is for a once-and-for-all change with the pedal entry rather than a progressive rallentando, and then maintain it through to the end.

 

By the way, I'm not Stephen (sjf), but a mere mortal currently residing half way round the world. Be nice to be as fine a musician as he is, though ...

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Incidentally, I take the beginning of Bonnet's Etude de Concert in exactly the opposite way - slightly detaching the first two notes (after the opening rest), and then accelerating into the triplets. (I suspect that this will be rather frowned upon. Oh well ...)

 

Rgds,

MJF

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I agree generally about slowing down, although my preference is for a once-and-for-all change with the pedal entry rather than a progressive rallentando, and then maintain it through to the end.

 

By the way, I'm not Stephen (sjf), but a mere mortal currently residing half way round the world.  Be nice to be as fine a musician as he is, though ...

 

Rgds,

MJF

mjf - you are much too kind. I am sure you are at least as good a musician - I'm a cathedral organist remember. I wonder if we're related.....

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Incidentally, I take the beginning of Bonnet's Etude de Concert in exactly the opposite way - slightly detaching the first two notes (after the opening rest), and then accelerating into the triplets.  (I suspect that this will be rather frowned upon.  Oh well ...)

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

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

 

In the days when I did lots of practise, that exactly what I did.

 

Of course, it's the middle section which is such a challenge, and yet it sounds so easy.

 

MM

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mjf - you are much too kind. I am sure you are at least as good a musician - I'm a cathedral organist remember. I wonder if we're related.....

 

Perhaps you can answer the age old question then, Stephen? Why is it virutally every organist's dream to give up the organ? i.e. become a cathedral organist and stand out front waving? (Unless you're called Dearnley, of course!) ;)

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Perhaps you can answer the age old question then, Stephen? Why is it virutally every organist's dream to give up the organ? i.e. become a cathedral organist and stand out front waving? (Unless you're called Dearnley, of course!) ;)

That would be telling! ££££ might have something to do with it....

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Perhaps you can answer the age old question then, Stephen? Why is it virutally every organist's dream to give up the organ? i.e. become a cathedral organist and stand out front waving? (Unless you're called Dearnley, of course!) ;)

 

Well, not for me. I am much happier sitting on the bench playing the organ than having to wave my arms around and control yet more children....

 

;)

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Well, not for me. I am much happier sitting on the bench playing the organ than having to wave my arms around and control yet more children....

 

:blink:

 

I'm completely the opposite - crap organist, as you've heard, pcnd, but quite confident in my conducting abilities.

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I'm completely the opposite - crap organist, as you've heard, pcnd, but quite confident in my conducting abilities.

 

Adrian - I do not recall that you were that crap!

 

However, I was impressed by the mp3 example of your choir singing - the blend, balance and overall feel were extremely good.

 

Do your arms not get tired, though?

 

:blink:

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Adrian - I do not recall that you were that crap!

 

However, I was impressed by the mp3 example of your choir singing - the blend, balance and overall feel were extremely good.

 

Do your arms not get tired, though?

 

  :blink:

 

It's fine if I stick to vague circular motions, in the finest cathedral psalm tradition.

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It's fine if I stick to vague circular motions, in the finest cathedral psalm tradition.

 

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

 

Pleasant reminders of "Francis" at York.

 

"Follow the beat"

 

"Where?"

 

:blink:

 

MM

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

 

Pleasant reminders of "Francis" at York.

 

"Follow the beat"

 

"Where?"

 

:blink:

 

MM

 

Ronald Perrin at Ripon was the same - Psalms often conducted just with his index finger.

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Ronald Perrin at Ripon was the same - Psalms often conducted just with his index finger.

 

But a very expressive finger at that, as I recall. Dear Ron was also one of the last of the old school in conducting his choir 'from the console', as it were - quite a feat from such a caged-in position.

 

His psalm accompaniments often had a good measure of old-fashioned word painting. He was not afraid, for example, of adding the Bombardon 32 - his 'Apollonian fart', he called it - in Psalm 114, just as Bairstow wanted, with a wonderfullly primeval flatulence emerging from above the decani stalls at verse 7 (Tremble thou earth .....)

 

JS

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But a very expressive finger at that, as I recall.  Dear Ron was also one of the last of the old school in conducting his choir 'from the console', as it were - quite a feat from such a caged-in position. 

 

His psalm accompaniments often had a good measure of old-fashioned word painting.  He was not afraid, for example, of adding the Bombardon 32 - his 'Apollonian fart', he called it - in Psalm 114, just as Bairstow wanted, with a wonderfullly primeval flatulence emerging from above the decani stalls at verse 7 (Tremble thou earth .....)

 

JS

 

Apparently, he was also able to sing an 'Allegri' high C - as he ably demonstrated in the pub one night.

 

In case anyone is wondering, yes, the whole party was asked to leave immediately afterwards.

 

I am all in favour of some judicious word-painting. I can think of few more boring ways of playing than having 8, 4 and 2p flues with a Cornopean for variety. Or, even worse, some dreadful mf 8 and 4p foundation noise the entire time.

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Apparently, he was also able to sing an 'Allegri' high C - as he ably demonstrated in the pub one night.

 

 

Oh yes, he could - very disconcerting.

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But a very expressive finger at that, as I recall.  Dear Ron was also one of the last of the old school in conducting his choir 'from the console', as it were - quite a feat from such a caged-in position. 

 

His psalm accompaniments often had a good measure of old-fashioned word painting.  He was not afraid, for example, of adding the Bombardon 32 - his 'Apollonian fart', he called it - in Psalm 114, just as Bairstow wanted, with a wonderfullly primeval flatulence emerging from above the decani stalls at verse 7 (Tremble thou earth .....)

 

JS

 

I don't remember him doing much directing from the console, but this is 20+ years ago, so my memory might be playing tricks... Does anyone know where I can acquire a copy of his classic Psalm chant from?

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I don't remember him doing much directing from the console, but this is 20+ years ago, so my memory might be playing tricks... Does anyone know where I can acquire a copy of his classic Psalm chant from?

 

Indeed - apart from using the little wooden hand (which is not that clear from the stalls), it is difficult to see how he could have conducted from the console. The first time I played there, he had nailed plastic bags to the inside of the fretwork, in order to prevent draughts.

 

As far as I can remember, one or two of the panels could be opened - but I never saw them in such a position, so I do not know if it would be possible to play and reach out an arm - on balance, I think that this would probably not be possible.

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Indeed - apart from using the little wooden hand (which is not that clear from the stalls), it is difficult to see how he could have conducted from the console. The first time I played there, he had nailed plastic bags to the inside of the fretwork, in order to prevent draughts.

 

As far as I can remember, one or two of the panels could be opened - but I never saw them in such a position, so I do not know if it would be possible to play and reach out an arm - on balance, I think that this would probably not be possible.

 

The wooden hand is pretty much unusable - there used to be a pedal mechanism for it on the right of the console, but that was removed years and years ago.

 

To the right of the console, there is a wooden slatted panel, which is hinged, if I remember rightly, so you can see out into the choir from the console. The choir couldn't see enough of the organist to be directed from there, though. You can stand to the right of this wooden casing, on the "balcony", and be seen - this my usual spot during evensong when turning pages for Ron or Bob Marsh.

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The wooden hand is pretty much unusable - there used to be a pedal mechanism for it on the right of the console, but that was removed years and years ago.

 

To the right of the console, there is a wooden slatted panel, which is hinged, if I remember rightly, so you can see out into the choir from the console. The choir couldn't see enough of the organist to be directed from there, though. You can stand to the right of this wooden casing, on the "balcony", and be seen - this my usual spot during evensong when turning pages for Ron or Bob Marsh.

 

Indeed - I once sat there during the parts of Evensong for which I was not playing. I seem to remember that it was somewhat exposed.

 

Has anyone seen (or even better, have a photograph) of the fairly new H&H Nave console (which replaced an old toaster)? If so, I would be interested in seeing it, please, since I do not recall ever seeing one in any H&H publicity.

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Indeed - I once sat there during the parts of Evensong for which I was not playing. I seem to remember that it was somewhat exposed.

 

Has anyone seen (or even better, have a photograph) of the fairly new H&H Nave console (which replaced an old toaster)? If so, I would be interested in seeing it, please, since I do not recall ever seeing one in any H&H publicity.

 

Never seen it - I did play the old Makin a few times, though. For its time, it wasn't as bad as you might expect. Always seemed a shame, though, to have that fantastic organ up on the choir screen, then this bloody toaster down in the nave...

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Indeed - apart from using the little wooden hand (which is not that clear from the stalls), it is difficult to see how he could have conducted from the console. The first time I played there, he had nailed plastic bags to the inside of the fretwork, in order to prevent draughts.

 

As far as I can remember, one or two of the panels could be opened - but I never saw them in such a position, so I do not know if it would be possible to play and reach out an arm - on balance, I think that this would probably not be possible.

 

 

I meant 'conduct' in a metaphorical sense, which is why I wrote 'as it were'. All I was suggesting was that cathedral organists of his generation could accompany an Evensong themselves without the need for somebody waving their arms around downstairs. All that was required was someone on each side to relay the beat when needed.

 

The fashion for standing in the middle and waving one's arms about is surely something that has only come about in the last 20 years. At Oxford in the late 60s I recall both Bernard Rose at Magdalen and David Lumsden at New College directing from the end of the front row of the choir stalls - with no music desk and no platform - yet with only the most economic of (single) hand gestures. The most minimalist of all was dear old SSSSidney Watson conducting Palestrina on a Sunday morning at the Cathedral, resplendent in D Mus robes over his surplice. With right forearm held close to his side and almost imperceptible movement of the index finger, he achieved wonderful results - a fortissimo being indicated by the merest quiver of the same finger.

 

JS

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Indeed - I once sat there during the parts of Evensong for which I was not playing. I seem to remember that it was somewhat exposed.

 

Has anyone seen (or even better, have a photograph) of the fairly new H&H Nave console (which replaced an old toaster)? If so, I would be interested in seeing it, please, since I do not recall ever seeing one in any H&H publicity.

 

 

 

I have a photo, though not a very good one. The console was the gift of a choir parent in 2000. The layout is basically the same as upstairs with a few extra gadgets such as drawstops for Pedal Divide, Manuals I&II exchange, plus a few extra extra pistons, a hidden sequencer button for the page turner and a midi facility which I don’t recall being used yet. The console is wheeled into the crossing for bank holiday recitals where it really does seem to be appreciated by the audience (100+ there for David Dunnett with trumpeter last week).

 

JS

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The most minimalist of all was dear old SSSSidney Watson conducting Palestrina on a Sunday morning at the Cathedral, resplendent in D Mus robes over his surplice.

His "s-s-s-strawberries and cream" he called that outfit. I sang under him as a boy (at Ch Ch - we started there in the same term), and the idea that we needed a conductor to follow was simply not there - we sang together, and an odd finger-wave from the bass on each side was enough to ensure unanimity at tricky moments.

 

Paul

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