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Proms 2006

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Quite a reasonable turnout for David Goode's organ prom on Sunday afternoon - arena a bit sparse but stalls about half-full, say 1500+ overall.

 

A most thoughtful and unusual programme, not at all bombastic, and all played from memory as far as I could see.  It's not often you hear a Böhm and a Bach CP at a 'secular' recital and 3 Russian rarities as well.  Mozart K608 was done on bright small Great and Choir choruses with 8ft Pedal (no 16ft) - quite a revelation.

 

The middle section of Ad Nos seemed to got through most of the seldom heard Solo stops - Unda maris, strings, flutes, small reeds etc, even the Carillon.  The only problem was that many of them were barely audible and it wasn't always easy to follow what Liszt was doing.  The RAH organ must have the biggest dynamic range of any concert instrument.  The big Tubas were saved until the last few bars - what a fantastic, effortlessly powerful sound!  And everything absolutely in tune and fullywinded, too. The encore was that lovely little Prelude in E flat by William Harris.

 

JS

 

I got picked up from work in the middle of that first piece (the Mozart) and I could have sworn that I recognised part of that piece as having been played by Jos van der Koy on the 1735-37 Muller organ in St. Bavo, Haarlem duing one of the programmes that made up the Howard Gooddall's Organ Works TV series a few years back? I have all 4 programmes of that series on VHS.

 

But overall a superb performance in that concert: not just by David Goode but also by the RAH organ itself: sounded in excellent voice. Just a pity we can't have more organ in the Proms though.

 

Dave

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Quite a reasonable turnout for David Goode's organ prom on Sunday afternoon - arena a bit sparse but stalls about half-full, say 1500+ overall.

 

A most thoughtful and unusual programme, not at all bombastic, and all played from memory as far as I could see.  It's not often you hear a Böhm and a Bach CP at a 'secular' recital and 3 Russian rarities as well.  Mozart K608 was done on bright small Great and Choir choruses with 8ft Pedal (no 16ft) - quite a revelation.

 

The middle section of Ad Nos seemed to got through most of the seldom heard Solo stops - Unda maris, strings, flutes, small reeds etc, even the Carillon.  The only problem was that many of them were barely audible and it wasn't always easy to follow what Liszt was doing.  The RAH organ must have the biggest dynamic range of any concert instrument.  The big Tubas were saved until the last few bars - what a fantastic, effortlessly powerful sound!  And everything absolutely in tune and fullywinded, too. The encore was that lovely little Prelude in E flat by William Harris.

 

JS

 

I think you may have underestimated the turnout; the capacity, after all, is over 6,000...

 

As in most large buildings, where you sit really makes a difference. I've found that you need to be in the organ's half of the RAH. From where I sat in the Circle (by far the best place IMHO), every single detail was audible.

 

David Goode's programming really follows Sumner's (I think?) sound advice: building up to full sounds only towards the end of the recital, giving the ears a chance to appreciate lighter textures, and giving a real adrenalin burst at at the finish.

 

And what a beautifully-judged encore. Who'd have thought it? B)

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Mr Sayer is quite right about the tuning, as from where I was sitting the only

strange effect was the carillon not being at the same pitch as the rest of the organ.

Congratulations Manders, you must have a first class team of tuners to cope with

an instrument of this size.

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I'll quite happily answer Michelle's points.

 

The RAH has a vast auditorium to fill and there is a fine line between viability and unviability in terms of use of the building and promoting concerts. We can assume that the RAH authorities know this only too well and have currently decided that three solo organ concerts per year are the best balance between none and so many more that the audience sizes drop because they have more choice. It's basic supply and demand.

 

The RAH doesn't only use the organ 3 times a year and at Christmas. There are many concerts and other events which use it - it's just that you aren't aware of it. And imagine the flutter in the hen house if they had decided to get an electronic and scarp the good old 'Father Willis' as the Proms seems to be insisting on calling it.

 

I think that it is a red herring and will just confuse the matter by referring to other cities, where the audience patterns are different from London, the options are greater in terms of venues and musical choice (I don't just mean the organ) and none of the venues are the same size, and in a similar location and as busy.

 

Good morning Alsa,

 

I never thanked you for your measured and informed reply to me. Possibly I am a little wiser now.

 

Last week I was busy as I had a guest here for The Three Choirs Festival.

 

Talking on another matter, you mentioned in an earlier post that the RAH authorities may be reluctant to engage the Australian virtuoso, Thomas Heywood, to give a recital.

Many of us would like to see this happen, have you any idea how we would go

about it ? I have already suggested to him that he supplies a couple of his c.d's to the authorirties there, but who ?

 

Meanwhile if you live in London I urge you, most strongly, to go along to St Paul's Cathedral next Sunday, August 20th at 5pm, and you will hear him there. You will come away full of awe and wonderment.

 

I heard him again last night at Worcester, on the finest organ in that city, St Martins, LOndon Road; it was thrilling beyond compare.

 

He will also be playing at Exeter Cathedral next Wednesday.

 

M.S.

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Good morning Alsa,

 

I never thanked you for your measured and informed reply to me.  Possibly I am a little wiser now.

 

Last week I was busy as I had a guest here for The Three Choirs Festival.

 

Talking on another matter, you mentioned in an earlier post that the RAH authorities may be reluctant to engage the Australian virtuoso, Thomas Heywood, to give a recital.

Many of us would like to see this happen, have you any idea how we would go

about it ?  I have already suggested to him that he supplies a couple of his c.d's to the authorirties there, but who ?

 

Meanwhile if you live in London I urge you, most strongly, to go along to St Paul's Cathedral next Sunday, August 20th at 5pm, and you will hear him there.  You will come away full of awe and wonderment.

 

I heard him again last night at Worcester, on the finest organ in that city,  St Martins, LOndon Road; it was thrilling beyond compare.

 

He will also be playing at Exeter Cathedral next Wednesday.

 

M.S.

If I may jump in ahead of Alsa, michael, it's the Organ Curator of the hall who decides on invitations for these concerts, as far as I am aware - not the RAH authorities themselves, so there's not much point at all in approaching them. CDs are very rarely listened to. There are only ever going to be one or maybe two slots for recitals a year in this venue, and 2007 is already taken care of with Olivier Latry - I'd be astonished if thought hasn't also been given to 2008 and even 2009. My hunch would be that Thomas Heywood doesn't yet have enough of a profile in the UK for it to be likely that you would get very far with getting a concert for him - by all means have a go, but be prepared for polite refusal. You can probably imagine the number of approaches and recommendations landing in the Organ Curator's in-tray. Before anything else I think TH would need to play in the main evening series of a major London venue to get a higher profile. I would imagine that David Briggs, Wayne Marshall, Thomas Trotter and a few others (Naji Hakim, Daniel Roth maybe) will inevitably be near the top of the list for coming seasons at the RAH - by which time DGW, John Scott and SP et al will be up for reinvitation. However, if I may suggest a useful rule of thumb, from one who gets lots of approaches from people wanting to play - the effect of any representations you make will decrease in inverse proportion to the number of times you make them. Pester power in this context is rarely effective.

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If I may jump in ahead of Alsa, michael, it's the Organ Curator of the hall who decides on invitations for these concerts, as far as I am aware - not the RAH authorities themselves, so there's not much point at all in approaching them. CDs are very rarely listened to. There are only ever going to be one or maybe two slots for recitals a year in this venue, and 2007 is already taken care of with Olivier Latry - I'd be astonished if thought hasn't also been given to 2008 and even 2009. My hunch would be that Thomas Heywood doesn't yet have enough of a profile in the UK for it to be likely that you would get very far with getting a concert for him - by all means have a go, but be prepared for polite refusal. You can probably imagine the number of approaches and recommendations landing in the Organ Curator's in-tray. Before anything else I think  TH  would need to play in the main evening series of a major London venue to get a higher profile. I would imagine that David Briggs, Wayne Marshall, Thomas Trotter and a few others (Naji Hakim,  Daniel Roth maybe) will inevitably be near the top of the list for coming seasons at the RAH - by which time DGW, John Scott and SP et al will be up for reinvitation. However, if I may suggest a useful rule of thumb, from one who gets lots of approaches from people wanting to play -  the effect of any representations you make will decrease in inverse proportion to the number of times you make them. Pester power in this context is rarely effective.

 

Good afternoon Stephen,

Thank you very much for your very informative and helpful reply, and I agree that before he gets anywhere near the RAH he will need to establish himself on the London circuit.

Thomas provides a different type of programme to others, as you already know of course, and hopefully this will stand him in good stead.

 

Tell me who is the Curator of the Organ at the RAH ? John Birch used to be but now he has retired.

 

I imagine that you yourself will find it inconvenient to listen to him next Sunday at St Paul's ? I do hope that other important organists will attend and make their own opinions.

 

Your advices are very sound, and I shall pass it on.

Thank You.

 

M.S.

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Good afternoon Stephen,

Thank you very much for your very informative and helpful reply, and I agree that before he gets anywhere near the RAH he will need to establish himself on the London circuit.

Thomas provides a different type of programme to others, as you already know of course, and hopefully this will stand him in good stead.

 

Tell me who is the Curator of the Organ at the RAH ?  John Birch used to be but now he has retired.

 

I imagine that you yourself will find it inconvenient to listen to him next Sunday at St Paul's ?  I do hope that other important organists will attend and make their own opinions.

 

Your advices are very sound, and I shall pass it on.

Thank You.

 

M.S.

I'll do my best to hear him next week, Michael - we're on summer break still so there's a chance I could make it! I hope what I said does prove to be helpful - I have tried to give you accurate info....

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to your question about the curatorship - perhaps someone else here does.

Best wishes

S

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Interesting to hear how the RAH organ concerts are organised. How lucky Stephen and his colleagues are to have a six week summer break !! Talking abt St Paul's I wonder if anyone has any news about the restoration? This was supposed to begin last April but weekly recitals continue. I wonder if its a money problem or a timetabling problem at Manders?

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Interesting to hear how the RAH organ concerts are organised. How lucky Stephen and his colleagues are to have a six week summer break !! Talking abt St Paul's I wonder if anyone has any news about the restoration? This was supposed to begin last April but weekly recitals continue. I wonder if its a money problem or a timetabling problem at Manders?

It is nice, parsfan - but we always think of it as compensation for all those Sunday mornings (not to mention Xmas Day.....)

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How lucky Stephen and his colleagues are to have a six week summer break !!

 

Which partly compensates for the hours he (and those of us in similar situations) have to work during term-time.

 

Whilst I do not hold a cathedral post, my own working hours are usually in excess of seventy in any normal week.

 

As it happens, I have spent a fair proportion of my own 'six week summer break' working - covering sunday services, weddings and funerals at my own church and teaching a number of pupils who, for one reason or another, require lessons during the summer recess.

 

;)

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I got picked up from work in the middle of that first piece (the Mozart) and I could have sworn that I recognised part of that piece as having been played by Jos van der Koy on the 1735-37 Muller organ in St. Bavo, Haarlem duing one of the programmes that made up the Howard Gooddall's Organ Works TV series a few years back? I have all 4 programmes of that series on VHS.

 

But overall a superb performance in that concert: not just by David Goode but also by the RAH organ itself: sounded in excellent voice. Just a pity we can't have more organ in the Proms though.

 

Dave

 

This sounds as if it was quite interesting - I am sorry that I missed it.

 

Who is the horse, by the way?

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I know also that some Cathedral Organists lend a hand by accompanying visiting choirs. That doesn't seem to be Stephen's lot though as Guildford seems to be a Visting Choir free zone. I suppose there is an argument that they are more bother than they are worth and that its good to let the building have a rest.

 

VC can be a delight especially when they sing repertoire that the home choir do not. Oxbridge Choirs and choirs formed from ex Oxbridge choral scholars are the best. After a year of listening to trebles its great to hear sopranos, and they can be easy on the eye too !!

 

Parish Church Choirs are usually grim. Unadventurous repertoire-not Stanford in C again-and voices that are not up to the repertoire that they sing. Their psalm singing can be appalling. I always think that US choirs will be good but many of them seem to be unable to attract younger voices and struggle with the demands of the repertoire.

 

Its also disappointing that US choirs seem to regard some Cathedrals as being sexier than others. I am sure that they would enjoy singing at St Albans and Guildford as well as the Abbey and York.

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Its also disappointing that US choirs seem to regard some Cathedrals as being sexier than others. I am sure that they would enjoy singing at St Albans and Guildford as well as the Abbey and York.
I'm sure they would - but it wouldn't sound so impressive back home. B)

 

Having said that, I know Rochester has had one or two in its time.

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I know also that some Cathedral Organists lend a hand by accompanying visiting choirs. That doesn't seem to be Stephen's lot though as Guildford seems to be a Visting Choir free zone. I suppose there is an argument that they are more bother than they are worth and that its good to let the building have a rest.

 

VC can be a delight especially when they sing repertoire that the home choir do not. Oxbridge Choirs and choirs formed from ex Oxbridge choral scholars are the best. After a year of listening to trebles its great to hear sopranos, and they can be easy on the eye too !!

 

Parish Church Choirs are usually grim. Unadventurous repertoire-not Stanford in C again-and voices that are not up to the repertoire that they sing. Their psalm singing can be appalling. I always think that US choirs will be good but many of them seem to be unable to attract younger voices and struggle with the demands of the repertoire.

 

Its also disappointing that US choirs seem to regard some Cathedrals as being sexier than others. I am sure that they would enjoy singing at St Albans and Guildford as well as the Abbey and York.

We'd like a few more VCs here really - especially to sing during the week, although weekends are mostly covered (I should say that part of my job is to play for said Mattins with hymns etc when necessary at weekends). We certainly don't feel they're a bother. Funnily enough we had a choir from the US booked in this year - St Paul's Norwalk - but they never turned up, despite a phone call in the week before. Maybe they're still waiting for their luggage. Eton Course has been this year too. But yes, everyone wants to sing in St Paul's and the Abbey.

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We'd like a few more VCs here really

 

Well, if you're ever caught short, so to speak, I have a choir just down the road that can usually fill in - we do Winchester every now and then, when they're stuck.

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I would imagine that David Briggs, Wayne Marshall, Thomas Trotter and a few others (Naji Hakim,  Daniel Roth maybe) will inevitably be near the top of the list for coming seasons at the RAH - by which time DGW, John Scott and SP et al will be up for reinvitation.

 

 

Surely not Preston? I've already been to his final UK solo recital, and the one after that! :huh:

 

(Not complaining mind you - he's still rather excellent)

 

JJK

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Good morning Alsa,

 

I never thanked you for your measured and informed reply to me.  Possibly I am a little wiser now.

 

 

Meanwhile if you live in London I urge you, most strongly, to go along to St Paul's Cathedral next Sunday, August 20th at 5pm, and you will hear him there.  You will come away full of awe and wonderment.

 

I heard him again last night at Worcester, on the finest organ in that city,  St Martins, LOndon Road; it was thrilling beyond compare.

 

He will also be playing at Exeter Cathedral next Wednesday.

 

M.S.

 

 

Regrettably Belfast to London is a little far to go, especially given the present state of the airports but I wish I could. I have been an admirer of Thomas Heywood ever since I acquired a copy of his first release on the organ of Melbourne Town Hall prior to its restoration and the CD of his re-opening recital was truly outstanding, not least the transcription of the Beethoven 5th. I just wish he could record more in Australia but presumably economic reasons lie behind the fact that his most recent CDs have all been recorded on US organs by the indefatigable Fred Hohman.

 

It is difficult to believe that in a world where it is possible to get instant communication from the most remote places that news of Heywood's talents have not percolated through to London. It appears to me more a case of the receiver being switched off than the transmitter not working. But that would not be all that unusual for London where there occasionally appears to be a reluctance to accept the fact that it is no longer the centre of the world as it was in the nineteenth century so that it no longer has the right to expect everyone else must beat a path to its door to spare it the inconvenience of taking action to find out what is going on in the rest of the world.

 

BAC

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Regrettably Belfast to London is a little far to go, especially given the present state of the airports but I wish I could. I have been an admirer of Thomas Heywood ever since I acquired a copy of his first release on the organ of Melbourne Town Hall prior to its restoration and the CD of his re-opening recital was truly outstanding, not least the transcription of the Beethoven 5th. I just wish he could record more in Australia but presumably economic reasons lie behind the fact that his most recent CDs have all been recorded on US organs by the indefatigable Fred Hohman.

 

It is difficult to believe that in a world where it is possible to get instant communication from the most remote places that news of Heywood's talents have not percolated through to London. It appears to me more a case of the receiver being switched off than the transmitter not working. But that would not be all that unusual for London where there occasionally appears to be a reluctance to accept the fact that it is no longer the centre of the world as it was in the nineteenth century so that it no longer has the right to expect  everyone else must beat a path to its door to spare it the inconvenience of taking action to find out what is going on in the rest of the world.

 

BAC

I really don't think it's a question of anyone being Londoncentric, Brian. I'm reluctant to talk about particular players, because that's unfair and very invidious, but we have started talking about a particular performer so it's hard not to. Let me say straight away that I am in no doubt that Thomas Heywood is a player of extraordinary skill; but if someone nails their colours so firmly to the mast of a particular approach to programme content and performing image (look at the CD covers!), that will inevitably have implications for the kind of engagement that comes their way. That is no criticism whatever of their playing or their musicianship, it's a hard commercial and marketing fact. There are only a very few venues in the UK - RFH, RAH, Symphony Hall, Bridgewater Hall, and perhaps also the W Abbey and St Paul's Celebrity Series - where there is still (just) an expectation on the part of the presenters (and even audiences) that recital players will present some serious and even demanding original repertoire along with more comforting material. Thomas Heywood's recorded output is entirely of orchestral transcriptions, which I have no doubt he plays phenomenally well; he may well do a dazzling job of 'real' repertoire too, but has for what I am sure are sound and thoughtful reasons decided not to programme or record much of it that, as far as I can see. Good for him - he knows what niche he wants to play in, markets himself very cleverly, and I am certain that he plays in that niche brilliantly and with consummate skill and finesse. I hope to hear all that for myself soon. But if venues like the RAH, say, or the RFH, decide that it's not an approach to concert programming that they want to pursue, and that they want to programme more 'indigenously' in their solo recitals, you can't really blame them - why should they programme an organ transcription of, say, Beethoven 9 for organ solo, in which most of the things which make the music interesting (like the choir...) will inevitably be lost in transcription, when audiences can hear the real thing the following evening played by the LSO under Haitink?

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I agree with much of what Stephen says. I was tempted to hear TH at Windsor but I saw that Beethoven 5 was programmed and thought 'What is the point?'. I think anyone who majors on transcriptions will end up in a cul-de-sac and not be invited to perform at the major venues where we expect to hear serious repertoire composed for the organ.

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My thought exactly. I was all set to go and hear TH at Exeter last night, but took one look at the programme and thought no. I daresay I missed a treat, but why would I want to hear Beethoven 5 on the organ? The thought of Haydn's trumpet concerto was even more off-putting. Is this sort of thing really doing the music a service? Fine if what you are interested in is the performer and the organ, but it's not my jug of ale, I'm afraid.

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I agree with much of what Stephen says. I was tempted to hear TH at Windsor but I saw that Beethoven 5 was programmed and thought 'What is the point?'. I think anyone who majors on transcriptions will end up in a cul-de-sac and not be invited to perform at the major venues where we expect to hear serious repertoire composed for the organ.

 

Good morning Parsfan,

yes - Stephen speaks much common sense and has given exceptionally good advices I think on the matter of T.H. However, if I might say so, without wishing in any way to sound rude, your statement that you saw Beethoven 5 programmed and decided not to attend is rather infantile. What you should have done is to have attended anyway, listened to his virtuosic transcription of this work, and THEN written your comments; if you then still didn't like it you could have then written WHY you didn't like it.

May I suggest that you obtain a dvd of T.H. Opening solo concert at Melbourne Town Hall on which his transcription of Beethoven 5 is included, and I shall be very surprised if you don't change your mind.

 

For example, only last week, I attended an organ recital here which included Franck's Grand Piece Symphonique. I happen to think, and I'm a non organist, that this piece is tedious and overlong and, to me, somewhat boring, but I didn't say because that is being played I'm not attending. I thought I will try to listen to it, yet again, to see whether I can like it better. Incidentally I also had to endure Mozart's 'Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein' (figured chorale from The Magic flute).

Almost a fate worse than death itself !

I did however buy this very same organist's new c.d. from La Madeleine in Paris of the works of Lefebure-Wely, and I have asked my French brother in law and sister to go along to hear him this Sunday in Monaco Cathedral where he will be playing a much more audience friendly programme.

 

I have an organist friend of mine who formerly couldn't abide transcriptions, I insisted he accompany me to hear T.H. and he was immediately converted.

 

The organ today is regarded by the concert going public in a very low light, and if SOME of the organ repertoire can be altered to make these recitals more exciting then I regard that as a very good thing. There isn't an overabundance of organ music that would come the heading of ' tuneful'. In fact, much of it reminds me of ' the tune the donkey died on'.

 

Far too many people, mainly organists themselves, of course, regard the organ as a vehicle for playing only serious music, and this, I think, is totally wrong.

 

Now, I am NOT saying that all organ recitals should be full of transcriptions, there has to be a balance. Organ recitals should be a mixture of that which is Educational and that which is Entertaining; the balance between the two being dependent upon the venue, the composition of the audience and a few other factors.

 

I still maintain, and an ever increasing number of people are fast agreeing, that Thomas Heywood's playing is like a breath of fresh air through the organ world.

 

M.S.

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Good morning Parsfan,

yes - Stephen speaks much common sense and has given exceptionally good advices I think on the matter of T.H.  However, if I might say so, without wishing in any way to sound rude, your statement that you saw Beethoven 5 programmed and decided not to attend is rather infantile.  What you should have done is to have attended anyway, listened to his virtuosic transcription of this work, and THEN written your comments;  if you then still didn't like it you could have then written WHY you didn't like it.

May I suggest that you obtain a dvd of T.H. Opening solo concert at Melbourne Town Hall on which his transcription of Beethoven 5 is included, and I shall be very surprised if you don't change your mind.

 

For example, only last week, I attended an organ recital here which included Franck's Grand Piece Symphonique.  I happen to think, and I'm a non organist, that this piece is tedious and overlong and, to me, somewhat boring, but I didn't say because that is being played I'm not attending.  I thought I will try to listen to it, yet again, to see whether I can like it better.  Incidentally I also had to endure Mozart's 'Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein' (figured chorale from The Magic flute).

Almost a fate worse than death itself !

I did however buy this very same organist's new c.d. from La Madeleine in Paris of the works of Lefebure-Wely, and I have asked my French brother in law and sister to go along to hear him this Sunday in Monaco Cathedral where he will be playing a much more audience friendly programme.

 

I have an organist friend of mine who formerly couldn't abide transcriptions, I insisted he accompany me to hear T.H. and he was immediately converted.

 

The organ today is regarded by the concert going public in a very low light, and if SOME of the organ repertoire can be altered to make these recitals more exciting then I regard that as a very good thing.  There isn't an overabundance of organ music that would come the heading of ' tuneful'.  In fact, much of it reminds me of ' the tune the donkey died on'.

 

Far too many people, mainly organists themselves, of course, regard the organ as a vehicle for playing only serious music, and this, I think, is totally wrong.

 

Now, I am NOT saying that all organ recitals should be full of transcriptions, there has to be a balance.  Organ recitals should be a mixture of that which is Educational and that which is Entertaining;  the balance between the two being dependent upon the venue, the composition of the audience and a few other factors.

 

I still maintain, and an ever increasing number of people are fast agreeing, that Thomas Heywood's playing is like a breath of fresh air through the organ world.

 

M.S.

Michael - I think the problem with organ transcriptions of so much orchestral repertoire is that they inevitably have to leave out subtleties of scoring and texture which for many listeners make the music come alive. If people want to hear organ transcriptions to admire the immense skill of the performer, that's one thing; but if what you really want to hear is Beethoven 5 I don't think you DO have to hear a transcription to know that it's not your cup of tea. How can an organ trumpet stop emulate the playing of eg Hakan Hardenberger in the Haydn concerto? TH is by implication getting singled out rather unfairly here, but I think this goes for all sorts of people's attempts to steal major orchestral repertoire for the organ. One or two items in a programme can be excellent - viz John Scott at the RAH - but a whole programme is bit much, maybe. Balance, as you so rightly say, is the key. PS - I'm with you all the way on that Mozart piece....

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The bottom line is that there are good and bad orchestral transcriptions. My real bete noir with them is when, as with the Sibelius Finlandia, they try and emulate the orchestra with an incoherent rumble on the pedals. Thomas Heywood has carved out a niche for himself, and good luck to him, but for me variety is the spice of life. I think Thomas Trotter has got the balance about right. He is known to be something of a specialist when it comes to orchestral transcriptions, and often includes at least one in his programmes, but he is also a very fine player of repertoire written specifically for the organ.

 

It should not be forgotten that transcriptions can be tremendous fun, albeit on the right organ. Wayne Marshall recorded a CD of transcriptions on the scrumptious Hill at Peterborough Cathedral that really is a must-hear. His performance of the Die Fledermaus Overture had me laughing out loud the first time I heard it. He really does find some amazing colours on the Peterborough organ. On the other hand, David Briggs has had more mixed results on disc - a great disc of transcriptions from Truro and a truly awful one from Gloucester (I sent my CD back!).

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why would I want to hear Beethoven 5 on the organ?

For the same reason that you might want to hear a pianist play any of Liszt's transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies, or Busoni's of the Bach Chaconne, or Finnissy's of Gershwin songs, or (back to the organ) Bach's of Vivaldi.

 

They may not be your cup of tea, but they may throw a new and interesting light on the original or even become works of art in their own right.

 

Paul

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For the same reason that you might want to hear a pianist play any of Liszt's transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies, or Busoni's of the Bach Chaconne, or Finnissy's of Gershwin songs, or (back to the organ) Bach's of Vivaldi.
I don't know the Finnissy, but I'm afraid I would go out of my way to avoid the Liszt and Busoni - and I'm not keen on the Bach either. I don't mind revealing what many of you will inevitably consider a musical limitation, but I just can't see the added value. My prejudice, I admit. I can fully understand why Bach and Walther arranged Italian-style concertos (in the days before recorded sound, it was the most practical way to get to know them), but by and large I just don't think they work terribly well. Grudgingly though, I have to make the odd exception here and there - e.g. I personally prefer JSB's version of the slow movement of Marcello's d minor oboe concerto to the original. My wife, who is a violinist, can't stand the Vivaldi organ arrangements (even when played by a decent organist!)

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