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Richard McVeigh

Does Anyone Here Play Dupre's G Minor?

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His Prelude and Fugue in G minor, what speed do you take the prelude at? I try to take it at a very modest 92; 112 makes a mockery out of my fingers!!! Philip Rushforth tells me hes only ever heard one person try to do it at the marked speed on a CD but gets slower and becomes unclean for the last 3 pages. Colin Walsh came to do a recital here a few months back and he said he doesn't play it as it is too hard (if he can't do it then theres no hope for me to get it to 112) :(

 

I can't think of a more rewarding piece to play though.

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Personally I like the Cochereau tempo - not sure what speed it is (probably something like "deux cents kilomteres a l'heure").

 

Probably it's "easier" to play it very fast when played from memory - but who does that these days...

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Colin Walsh came to do a recital here a few months back and he said he doesn't play it as it is too hard (if he can't do it then theres no hope for me to get it to 112)  :(
I'm not sure Colin will thank you for mentioning that :( , but it's no shame - it's a hellishly hard piece. It took me three days to learn the fugue, but in three years I'm still nowhere near having the prelude satisfactorily sorted. I still dig it out every now and again and ponder giving it some serious study, but I don't suppose I ever will.

 

I'm not sure I would want to play it at 112. Surely it would just sound a mush in all but the driest buildings? Crotchet = 100 seems plenty fast enough to me (which I think is about the speed John Scott takes it) - and even that might be pushing it a bit.

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Guest Roffensis

Never learnt it....but I have a very good recording of it by Neary at Winchester, he takes the prelude slow, and you can hear every note. It actually sounds quite sinister for it, and it still remains the best for me, for what my opinion is worth!

R :(

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Somewhere I have (or at least have heard) a recording of Dupré playing it really fast (and quite accurately) - it might have been at the Queen's Hall.

 

I do not play the G minor; however I do play the B major and prefer this to be quite fast - the fugue is almost easier faster.

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Somewhere I have (or at least have heard) a recording of  Dupré playing it really fast (and quite accurately) - it might have been at the Queen's Hall.

 

I do not play the G minor; however I do play the B major and prefer this to be quite fast - the fugue is almost easier faster.

 

do you mean this recording of it? http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipse...7824726-7499944 I'm not sure I'd be satisfied with that performance? I think 112 is far too fast and just sounds a mess, but a speed like 92 brings much more clarity where you can hear every note! Why do I seem to be the only person to find the fugue harder than the prelude?! Now the B major is still beyond me, especially that fugue subject!!

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do you mean this recording of it? http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipse...7824726-7499944 I'm not sure I'd be satisfied with that performance? I think 112 is far too fast and just sounds a mess, but a speed like 92 brings much more clarity where you can hear every note! Why do I seem to be the only person to find the fugue harder than the prelude?! Now the B major is still beyond me, especially that fugue subject!!

 

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

 

I think I share Richard's belief that the Fugue is harder than the Prelude. The Prelude has those awkward pedal chords of course and a very tricky moment or two in the descending right-hand sequences, but apart from that, it isn't TOO difficult.

 

The Fugue is a bit of a bitch, and frankly, I just grow tired of trying to learn it.

 

I just can't find the dedication to work at it, yet I love listening to others who have stayed the course.

 

I did, however, learn the Noel thingy, which is really very, very difficult in parts. I found the energy to more or less master it, but never for the G minor.

 

I wonder why?

 

Strange!

 

MM

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

 

I did, however, learn the Noel thingy, which is really very, very difficult in parts. I found the energy to more or less master it, but never for the G minor.

 

 

- - - - - - - - - -

 

Way back in 1976, I was working with an organist who could play the "Variations on a Noel" but the brilliant writing is apt to go right over the heads of the audience if just thrown at them.

 

I therefore wrote a script of short descriptive introductions, one for each variation, that could be dramatically presented to paint musical picture. It is on the story of Christmas, but not a tinsel and glitter version.

 

I used the words "Christ will dwell among you - behold, the Saviour comes" to pick up on the theme. It became very popular with non organist members of audiences and on one occasion "Wowed" a group of American visitors who found it "a great spiritual uplift."

 

I don't know who plays the piece these days - as MM says it is difficult play, but if anyone fancies performing it using my scrpit, I will gladly let them have a copy, but it needs to be performed well.

 

FF

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Would be very interested in seeing this - assuming I can master the one variation that totally eludes me (Clarinette in 3rds)... odd, as the last variation isn't actually that tricky, I don't find.

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do you mean this recording of it? http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipse...7824726-7499944 I'm not sure I'd be satisfied with that performance? I think 112 is far too fast and just sounds a mess, but a speed like 92 brings much more clarity where you can hear every note! Why do I seem to be the only person to find the fugue harder than the prelude?! Now the B major is still beyond me, especially that fugue subject!!

 

 

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

 

The following link is actually VERY interesting, from the fingertips of the master of technique, Virgil Fox.

 

To hear the P & F in G minor, the programme number is 1958, and I warn you, it is a fairly poor quality recording.

 

http://www.virgilfoxlegacy.com/discography.html

 

However, it is interesting to note that Fox was clearly at the ragged edge in some of the trickier bits of the Prelude, whereas the Fugue just flies along.

 

So maybe the Prelude IS harder than the Fugue, and MAYBE I just forgot how much I struggled trying to learn it.

 

As for pedal technique, does it come any better than Fox's in this recording?

 

There is also a fasdcinating recording of the Bach "Passacaglia" played on the Skinner organ of Boston Symphony Hall........an insight into age of showmanship playing, but one which still has the power to move to-day.

 

Fascinating archive material indeed!

 

MM

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Would be very interested in seeing this - assuming I can master the one variation that totally eludes me (Clarinette in 3rds)... odd, as the last variation isn't actually that tricky, I don't find.

 

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

 

I don't think the problem is with the running thirds in this particular set of variations. They lie under the fingers nicely. The problem has to do with the descending chromatic motifs, where the right thumb and finger two have to fairly bounce around. I know this caused me a lot of difficulty when I practised it.

 

I think there are similar, but different problems in the G minor Prelude, with some extremely awkward moments.

 

I don't know the answer, but the impression I get from Dupre's writing for the organ, is that he must have had very long fingers, because when I try to play Dupre, I am very aware of the fact that some of the stretches place great tension on the finger joints and muscles, even when I have practised very hard and my fingers are like race-bred snakes.

 

I find similar problems in a number of French Romantic/Impressionist works, so perhaps I'm just not built right for this repertoire.

 

I seldom have problems with German repertoire.

 

MM

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Some suggestions free of charge:

 

- play it from memory - makes a lot of difficult things easier

- try to play the difficult part hands alone at about 150% of the desired speed - make combining the hands easier

- practice in shot repeating formulas from very fast to slow - end with the same motif a couple of times very slow

 

Works for me.

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I'm looking at the B major at present - now I've pretty much sorted out my kitchen, I can start to look at it again. I tried playing the fugue subject at the metronone mark and felt it was terribly gabbled at that speed - you simply can't hear or comprehend the notes. Same for the prelude. I'm working at a pace where I feel comfortable, relaxed and in control at all times so I can give an assured performance one day. A very fine piece and I find working at it very rewarding.

 

I love the G minor too, but I think you need quite a big acoustic and an organ that isn't too much of a b**** to play. It needs space for all of those triplet semiquavers to take on that aerial spirit. I don't have either of those right now so have put that one to one side for now until I have the organ and the space to play it.

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

 

I did, however, learn the Noel thingy, which is really very, very difficult in parts. I found the energy to more or less master it, but never for the G minor.

- - - - - - - - - -

 

Way back in 1976, I was working with an organist who could play the "Variations on a Noel" but the brilliant writing is apt to go right over the heads of the audience if just thrown at them.

 

I therefore wrote a script of short descriptive introductions, one for each variation, that could be dramatically presented to paint musical picture. It is on the story of Christmas, but not a tinsel and glitter version.

 

I used the words "Christ will dwell among you - behold, the Saviour comes" to pick up on the theme. It became very popular with non organist members of audiences and on one occasion "Wowed" a group of American visitors who found it "a great spiritual uplift."

 

I don't know who plays the piece these days - as MM says it is difficult play, but if anyone fancies performing it using my scrpit, I will gladly let them have a copy, but it needs to be performed well.

 

FF

Is that the Adeste Fidelis variations? The organist at my local church when I was a boy used to play that, on a mechanical action 1910 organ. Heavens only knows how - it wasn't exactly a light action and the last variations with the repeated chords must have been hard work but he never put a finger wrong.

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Is that the Adeste Fidelis variations? The organist at my local church when I was a boy used to play that, on a mechanical action 1910 organ. Heavens only knows how - it wasn't exactly a light action and the last variations with the repeated chords must have been hard work but he never put a finger wrong.

 

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

 

I hope it isn't "Adeste Fidelis", because if it is, I've been playing it wrong for years!

 

I think the original Noel, which Dupre used but also altered, is known as the "Noël Nouvelet", the opening notes of which are:-

 

D-A- B natural-G-A-F to the rhythm "Dupre had long fingers"

 

See how good this phonetic rhythm is.......it could catch on!

 

:P

 

MM

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

 

I hope it isn't "Adeste Fidelis", because if it is, I've been playing it wrong for years!

 

I think the original Noel, which Dupre used but also altered, is known as the "Noël Nouvelet", the opening notes of which are:-

 

D-A- B natural-G-A-F to the rhythm "Dupre had long fingers"

 

See how good this phonetic rhythm is.......it could catch on!

 

;)

 

MM

 

It is not the "Adeste Fidelis" MM so you have been getting it right after all, but "Noel Nouvelet" which, I gather, appears harmonised by Martin Shaw in Common Praise No. 153.

 

FF

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well heres me having a bash at it for a voluntary after evensong last week here in chester (appologies for background nice - it was live!)

 

Dupre - Prelude in G minor

FABULOUS

 

BRAVO, RICHARD!

 

Wonderful tempo. If you young people get any better, I'm going to have to start taking your pieces out of my repertoire.

 

Once again, congratulations on the really beautiful work.

 

Karl Watson

Staten Island, NY

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
FABULOUS

 

BRAVO, RICHARD!

 

Wonderful tempo.  If you young people get any better, I'm going to have to start taking your pieces out of my repertoire.

 

Once again, congratulations on the really beautiful work.

 

Karl Watson

Staten Island, NY

 

 

That tempo is absolutely fine - well done! [What's this about not being a virtuoso?]

I dislike Dupre's own performance as recorded - much too fast, gabbled in fact. Carlo's interpretation is electrifying, mind you he has been playing it publicly and professionally virtually every week for the last twenty years. Full credit to him because he still brings it off as fresh.

 

The Prelude IMHO is much harder than the fugue, critically because of those pedal chords. I rarely get all of them clean when the chips are down, but I still love the piece and hope that (as occasionally happens) that extra bit of Adrenalin to the brain and a comfortable pedalboard will make the difference when performance day comes. I wear size 11s and it is some while since I had shoes that really offer sufficient heel for this piece and the Thalben-Ball Variations. They're the only things in the whole repertoire where a built-up heel is a critical factor, I think.

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FABULOUS

 

BRAVO, RICHARD!

 

Wonderful tempo.  If you young people get any better, I'm going to have to start taking your pieces out of my repertoire.

 

Once again, congratulations on the really beautiful work.

 

Karl Watson

Staten Island, NY

 

Thank you! Why you going to stop playing pieces that play? A good thing about working at a cathedral where there is much to play, the repertoire is quite fast so you get used to having to learn things quickly, whether it be organ pieces or the liturgy - the joys of Kelly in C tomorrow!!

 

That tempo is absolutely fine - well done!  [What's this about not being a virtuoso?]

I dislike Dupre's own performance as recorded - much too fast, gabbled in fact. Carlo's interpretation is electrifying, mind you he has been playing it publicly and professionally virtually every week for the last twenty years. Full credit to him because he still brings it off as fresh.

 

The Prelude IMHO is much harder than the fugue, critically because of those pedal chords. I rarely get all of them clean when the chips are down, but I still love the piece and hope that (as occasionally happens) that extra bit of Adrenalin to the brain and a comfortable pedalboard will make the difference when performance day comes.  I wear size 11s and it is some while since I had shoes that really offer sufficient heel for this piece and the Thalben-Ball Variations.  They're the only things in the whole repertoire where a built-up heel is a critical factor, I think.

 

Must be the university chapel organ eh!! :P how are things in Hull by the way, Philip went over to do a recital in the City Hall a few months back did you manage to hear that? Are things looking up at Holy Trinity - I'll never forget playing the last variation of the Noel (again Dupre) there and during the tocatta having to completely ignore what I was hearing from the organ, I'm sure I was playing half a beat ahead of what I was hearing! I can imagine that organ being a masterpiece when it was in its prime can't you?

 

I miss Beverley...

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