Jump to content
Mander Organs
James Goldrick

Cochereau And Reubke

Recommended Posts

The marmite of the organ world then !!

 

I accept that there are two valid views about PC. However, when you look at those organists in this country that devote time to keeping his memory alive through playing and transcribing his improvisations-David Briggs, Jeremy Fillsell, John Scott Whiteley-can they all be wrong? Certainly Filsell's excellent disc recorded at Liverpool Met left me wanting to hear more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The marmite of the organ world then !!

 

I accept that there are two valid views about PC. However, when you look at those organists in this country that devote time to keeping his memory alive through playing and transcribing his improvisations-David Briggs, Jeremy Fillsell, John Scott Whiteley-can they all be wrong? Certainly Filsell's excellent disc recorded at Liverpool Met left me wanting to hear more.

 

I agree with you on this - I find his improvisations more inspiring than perhaps those of his disciples. It's a pity that some think that this is the only way to improvise and do a very cheap imitation of PC.

 

However, I find his improvisatory skills when playing other people's music rather less satisfying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I agree with you on this - I find his improvisations more inspiring than perhaps those of his disciples. It's a pity that some think that this is the only way to improvise and do a very cheap imitation of PC.

 

However, I find his improvisatory skills when playing other people's music rather less satisfying.

 

 

I only heard PC live once (at Salisbury Cathedral c.1970) and his whole recital was absolutely superb - a life-enhancing experience. I also think that a large number of his recorded improvisations are well worth setting down and reproducing. What a gift - 'white heat' talent! Those who carp are just jealous.

 

Having said that, I know exactly what you mean when you suggest that some living improvisers' abilities sometimes run away with them when they play straight repertoire. A couple of times I have felt like walking out of a recital because the gifted soloist couldn't keep his golden mitts off and kept re-writing well-known top-notch repertoire* - quite deliberately, not by accident! I believe that it is a composer's absolute right to have their score treated with respect.....and.... if you don't think a particular piece is effective played essentially as it stands, why not leave it alone?

 

*There is a major danger here: the next generation of players may well regard such aberations as 'in order' and seek to copy them. I don't know about you, but I am tired of hearing weird interpretations and then being given the justification that so-and-so plays it like that! [Guillou aside, of course.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I got to the end of the post, I was thinking 'Guillou is guilty of this'. I have attended some of his recitals at St Eustache and have not been impressed by his interpretations of Vierne Symphonies. On the other hand you could argue that his version of the Lizst BACH is an improvement on the original.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest acc
Cochereau is over hyped, [snip]

 

You are of course entitled to your opinion - but why put it as a reply to my question, since it doesn't anwser it...

 

(As for what you say about Cochereau, I'd agree that he's over-hyped - but that really says more about some of his "fans" than about himself.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To add to my previous post, I heard the Guillou Liszt at a recital at Westminster Cathedral the other week. It was brilliantlly played.

 

Courageous of Guillou to rework this. Mind you he looks as though he could be descended from Liszt !! His career overlapped with that of Cocherau for over 25 years. Very different inprovisers. Great that Guillou is still at the top of his game at 76.

 

Two features of Guillou's improvisations that budding improvisers could do well to adopt. He often keeps it short and he brings his improvisations to an end promptly. Too frequently we hear six or more concluding chords as the improviser struggles to put his/her conception out of our misery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cochereau is over hyped, with all that rolling around on the pedals for his improvisations and thoroughly distasteful registration, not least in his Dupre with cheezy bits at the end of the Symphonie Passion Nativite. Even worse when people even try to emulate that style :blink: WHY!!!  , and there are several contenders for that. I think his "version" of the Vierne Berceuse is actually almost good, but he did too little all in the same style much for too long, and it's sad to think that the current Organist of ND is not revered as much. It's like Mozart, kick the bucket and you're an icon.

 

R

it's sad to think that the current Organist of ND is not revered as much

There are 3 titular organists in NDP: you should thus add the plurial!

Difficult to compare the current situation with Cochereau's period: any music lover or even the public at large was able to say in the 70's that the NDP titular was Pierre Cochereau.

Who is able to say who is (or are) the NDP organist(s) today???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest acc
There are 3 titular organists in NDP: you should thus add the plurial!

Difficult to compare the current situation with Cochereau's period: any music lover or even the public at large was able to say in the 70's that the NDP titular was Pierre Cochereau.

Who is able to say who is (or are) the NDP organist(s) today???

 

I might be naive, but isn't the answer to that question simply: "Olivier Latry, Philippe Lefèbvre, and Jean-Pierre Leguay"?

 

Three damn fine organists, I might add, as was Yves Devernay, who was nominated organist in 1985 along with them, until his untimely death in 1990.

 

Sure, they have different strengths and different personalities: is that so bad?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Before I got to the end of the post, I was thinking 'Guillou is guilty of this' ...

 

... On the other hand you could argue that his version of the Lizst BACH is an improvement on the original.

 

The Guillou version of Liszt's BACH is a brilliant transcription of Liszt's own piano version/arrangement of the (original?) organ work. It is idiomatically pianistic - large chunks of it were re-written by Liszt and contain more arpeggiated figurework, for example.

 

There was a wonderful recording by Alfred Brendel of this on vinyl, but I'm not sure if it's available on CD. It is well worth listening to. So Guillou's "improvement" of the original is in fact largely Liszt's own work!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Two features of Guillou's improvisations that budding improvisers could do well to adopt. He often keeps it short and he brings his improvisations to an end promptly. Too frequently we hear six or more concluding chords as the improviser struggles to put his/her conception out of our misery.

 

This is one of my personal favourite techniques employed by Cochereau improvisations, but I don't see how one can complain about it when some of the great masterworks of the school employ it to great effect: Carillon de Westminster and Dieu Parmi Nous instantly spring to mind.

I suppose it's a generic technique as much as the various styles of perpetuum mobile toccata figuration.

 

Also with regards to length of improvisation, three organ symphonies of Cochereau which I recently bought maintained my rapt attention throughout whereas another recent acquisition of mine, Jean Guillou's 'Improvisations for Christmas' despite following the exact promptness in their conclusions as described above, listening to them I always feel a bit short-changed - that's not to say I dislike Guillou's style - His Gregorian based improvs are some of my favourites.

 

But personally I much prefer the struggle to be put out of my own misery, than Guillou's abruptness often which seems to be a musical cry of "Abandon ship!'

 

Thanks

 

Jimmy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I might be naive, but isn't the answer to that question simply: "Olivier Latry, Philippe Lefèbvre, and Jean-Pierre Leguay"?

 

Three damn fine organists, I might add, as was Yves Devernay, who was nominated organist in 1985 along with them, until his untimely death in 1990.

 

Sure, they have different strengths and different personalities: is that so bad?

 

After Cochereau, 4 titulaires were employed (as in the 18th century). A booklet on the organ and organists of NDdP states that 4 titulairs were employed to share the load of the function, somewhere else (don't recall where) I read that this was also to reduce the public focus on the Organist-Titulair in favour of the Cathedral and it's where abouts.

 

Many people came to NDdP (just) to here PC, not for Mass.

 

Just one other thing - remember the PC recording in the 1950's (now available by Solstice). Interesting to note that 'regular' organrecording were some Couperin pieces or Orgelbüchlein. Here comes the 'conjuror' of NDdP recording Ad Nos, Sym.Passion and Vierne 2 - something in other league right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After Cochereau, 4 titulaires were employed (as in the 18th century). A booklet on the organ and organists of NDdP states that 4 titulairs were employed to share the load of the function, somewhere else (don't recall where) I read that this was also to reduce the public focus on the Organist-Titulair in favour of the Cathedral and it's where abouts.

 

The real thing is that the cardinal Lustiger did'nt stand PC's aura...And in order to avoid such major drawbacks, he decided to hire 4 organists with something in mind : maintain law and order by dividing the charge!

The argument raised that is was necessary to have 4 organists to share the services is obviously misleading: there are 4 masses over each week-end and not more like in the ancient times!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest acc
The real thing is that the cardinal Lustiger did'nt stand PC's aura...And in order to avoid such major drawbacks, he decided to hire 4 organists with something in mind : maintain law and order by dividing the charge!

 

Any nomination process for a prestigious position like this has its (un)fair share of power wielding and backstage intrigue. Vierne got the job in 1900 thanks to the singlehanded power of Widor, Cochereau likewise in 1955 thanks to Dupré. Does that diminish the talent or the merits of either of them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any nomination process for a prestigious position like this has its (un)fair share of power wielding and backstage intrigue. Vierne got the job in 1900 thanks to the singlehanded power of Widor, Cochereau likewise in 1955 thanks to Dupré. Does that diminish the talent or the merits of either of them?

 

Probably not, but I simply wanted to say that the current organists are not as well known as PC was because there is no mean to identify one person to this famous organ . Everybody is (or was able) to quote :Dupré and St Sulpice, Cochereau and NDP, Messiaen and La Trinité, Guillou and St Eustache, Pincemaille and St Denis....

Latry, Lefebvre and Legay are just employees amongst others even though they are good musicians!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest acc
Probably not, but I simply wanted to say that the current organists are not as well known as PC was because there is no mean to identify one person to this famous organ . Everybody is (or was able) to quote :Dupré and St Sulpice, Cochereau and NDP, Messiaen and La Trinité, Guillou and St Eustache, Pincemaille and St Denis....

Latry, Lefebvre and Legay are just employees amongst others even though they are good musicians!!

 

Lefèbvre and Leguay are probably less well known worldwide than Cochereau. I wouldn't say the same thing about Latry, though. In any case, I don't think this has anything to do with them having to share the position at Notre-Dame; it's just that each one of them leads his life and his career in his own way.

 

I don't have a problem thinking of "Latry and Notre-Dame" and of "Lefèbvre and Notre-Dame" and of "Leguay and Notre-Dame". Just as I don't have a problem thinking of, say, "Daniel Roth and St-Sulpice" and of "Sophie-Véronique Choplin and St-Sulpice".

 

And they are great musicians. Any single one of them would have deserved the position on his own. So I don't see why the mere fact that they share such a prestigious position would turn them into "just employees".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...