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One Hit Wonders


Malcolm Farr
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There was a programme on television the other night about the "one hit wonders" of pop and rock etc - groups like Chumbawamba, for example, with their drinkers' anthem, Tubthumping.

 

I started wondering who we'd call the one hit wonders of the organ world. Julius Reubke and his Sonata on the 94th Psalm immediately spring to mind - I gather he wrote another piece for organ, but it's certainly not standard repertoire material.

 

What others would we put on the list?

 

Rgds,

MJF

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An interesting subject to get the brain working in a somnolant August:

 

Jules Grison - Toccata in F

C S Lang - Tuba Tune

Norman Cocker - Tuba Tune

 

and if they are allowed, one hit 'organ' wonders by composers who excelled in other areas of the repertoire:

 

Frank Martin - Passacaille

Nielsen - Commotio

Britten - Prelude and Fugue on a theme of Vittoria

Ives - Variations on 'America'

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[

 

I started wondering who we'd call the one hit wonders of the organ world. Julius Reubke and his Sonata on the 94th Psalm immediately spring to mind - I gather he wrote another piece for organ, but it's certainly not standard repertoire material.

 

What others would we put on the list?

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

 

It wasn't entirely his fault though. :)

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Actually, another came to me almost immediately - Georgi Mushel's Toccata.  Great stuff, but did he write anything else of note for the organ?
This is actually the last movement of a suite. The Aria from this is in the same Peters volume as the Toccata, but I've never come across the rest of it - guess it's only available in the Eastern bloc.

 

Schönberg: Variations on a Recitative

d'Indy: Prelude in E flat minor

Preston: Alleluyas (I know he's written other pieces, but this is his only "hit" so far)

Elgar: Sonata (given that no one seems to play the Vesper Voluntaries much - which is a pity)

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Didn't C S Lang also write some easy hymn preludes? Or don't easy pieces count....?

Well if you're going to be picky.... B) Maybe CSL did write some hymn preludes, but the nature of oa one hit wonder is that said composer is only famous for one work, and for CSL that work is the Tuba Tune.

 

Anyway, as I understand it, CSL was much more interested in playing scales on the piano and during his time as a teacher at Clifton College in Bristol, could usually be found in one of the cubicles in the Music School perfecting his scale technique on one of the College's battered old upright pianos.

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There was a programme on television the other night about the "one hit wonders" of pop and rock etc - groups like Chumbawamba, for example, with their drinkers' anthem, Tubthumping.

 

I started wondering who we'd call the one hit wonders of the organ world.  Julius Reubke and his Sonata on the 94th Psalm immediately spring to mind - I gather he wrote another piece for organ, but it's certainly not standard repertoire material.

 

What others would we put on the list?

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

 

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

 

The most obvious one-hit-wonder must be the Willan "Introuction, Passacaglia & Fugue"

 

Incidentally, didn't Reubke write a Piano Concerto or somesuch, which is reputed to be very fine?

 

Of course, if one wished to be really cruel, one could argue that Vivaldi wrote many one-hit-numbers.

 

MM

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

 

The most obvious one-hit-wonder must be the Willan "Introuction, Passacaglia & Fugue"

 

Incidentally, didn't Reubke write a Piano Concerto or somesuch, which is reputed to be very fine?

 

Of course, if one wished to be really cruel, one could argue that Vivaldi wrote many one-hit-numbers.

 

MM

 

 

Reubke actually wrote a Piano Sonata in B flat minor(!!) which has been recorded several times in conjunction with the organ sonata on a single CD. Usually the pianist and organist are not the same but Guillou (I think) actually played both. I know that the Mollterz label have been planning the issue of another version , with Catherine Ennis at St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh for the Organ Sonata and Hamish Milne for the Piano Sonata, possibly due later this year, but it has been promissed for quite some time.

 

As for one hit wonders, Jeremiah Clarke has to be a contender, and if the criterion for inclusion is one piece far better known than the remainder of the person's output then Boellman (Suite Gothique), Jongen (Sonata Eroica) and Garth Edmundson (Von Himmel Hoch) would seem to fit the bill.

 

BAC

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Could Healey Willan be said to be a one hit wonder? I wonder, given that he's been given the Naxos treatment with an entire album of organ works.

 

Jeremy Filsell has made a CD on the Guild label of the Reubke Piano Sonata and Organ Sonata on the 94th Psalm, the latter recorded on the Klais at St John's, Smith Square, London.

 

Not sure about Jongen just being famous for the Sonata Eroica. There is the lovely Chant de Mai which he wrote whilst in the UK and John Scott Whiteley haas managed to fill 2 CDs of his organ music for Priory Records.

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Could Healey Willan be said to be a one hit wonder? I wonder, given that he's been given the Naxos treatment with an entire album of organ works.

 

Jeremy Filsell has made a CD on the Guild label of the Reubke Piano Sonata and Organ Sonata on the 94th Psalm, the latter recorded on the Klais at St John's, Smith Square, London.

 

Not sure about Jongen just being famous for the Sonata Eroica. There is the lovely Chant de Mai which he wrote whilst in the UK and John Scott Whiteley haas managed to fill 2 CDs of his organ music for Priory Records.

 

In respect of Jongen I suppose it depends just how you rate the Chant de Mai/Minuet Scherzo in comparison with the Sonata Eroica in terms of popularity . I considered suggesting Karg-Elert, after all Nun Danket must surely be so much better known - certainly far more often recorded - than his next best known piece ? Any views on what that would be, incidentally ?

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Could Healey Willan be said to be a one hit wonder? I wonder, given that he's been given the Naxos treatment with an entire album of organ works.

 

Jeremy Filsell has made a CD on the Guild label of the Reubke Piano Sonata and Organ Sonata on the 94th Psalm, the latter recorded on the Klais at St John's, Smith Square, London.

 

Not sure about Jongen just being famous for the Sonata Eroica. There is the lovely Chant de Mai which he wrote whilst in the UK and John Scott Whiteley haas managed to fill 2 CDs of his organ music for Priory Records.

 

 

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

 

I think the important word here is "hit" rather than the entire opus of a particular composer.

 

Think Willan, and you tend to immediately think I,P &F.

 

Jongen....Sonata Erotica

 

Reubke - The Rebuke

 

etc etc

 

MM

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As for one hit wonders ... if the criterion for inclusion is one piece far better known than the remainder of the person's output then ... Jongen (Sonata Eroica) ... would seem to fit the bill.

 

BAC

I agree that Jongen's Chant de Mai, fine piece though it is, isn't nearly as well known as the Sonata Eroica. But what about the Toccata? I would have thought that would have to be right up there on the popularity scale.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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I've heard his Valse mignonne a few times recently.

 

As for K-E - there are loads of chorale preludes which are at least quite well known and lots of tone poem type pieces, some of which are quite good.

 

As for Jongen - don't forget the Menuet-Scherzo, one of my current favs.

 

Apart from Suite Gothique (from which most people only know one, or at most two), is there anything else of Boellman in existence?

 

I'm tempted to add Niels Gade to the list.

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Apart from Suite Gothique (from which most people only know one, or at most two), is there anything else of Boellman in existence?

https://www.baerenreiter.com/cgi-bin/baer_V...=indexframe.htm

Select "Boëllmann" in the composer/author search box and on the next page click the "i" icons for details. Haven't seen these myself, so have no idea what they're like.

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I've heard his Valse mignonne a few times recently.

 

And "Homage to Handel" is a great opportunity to display a big organ. Conscious of normally being too long-winded, on this occasion I may have been too cryptic. I certainly do not think the Sonata Eroica is the only worthwhile piece by Jongen nor that Nun Danket is necessarily Karg-Elert's best work or the only one likely to be familiar to members of this forum but it must certainly be the leading candidate for the position of the most well known : in terms of recordings over the years - I think I could probably name at least 20 - I am unable to think of another that comes even remotely close. In the end, I did not actually suggest Karg_Elert, only admitted to considering it. After all, if having one work that outstrips all others in popularity by a considerable margin is a sufficient criterion for inclusion then both J.S.Bach and C.M Widor would figure in the list!

 

BAC

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https://www.baerenreiter.com/cgi-bin/baer_V...=indexframe.htm

Select "Boëllmann" in the composer/author search box and on the next page click the "i" icons for details. Haven't seen these myself, so have no idea what they're like.

 

 

The Second Suite is, in my opinion, well worth getting to know, particularly the Final March which I first came across in the Ryemuse recording of Huskisson Stubbington at Tewkesbury Abbey about 40 years ago. I quite like the Ronde Francaise too.

 

BAC

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Another few that rate a mention might be:

 

Sir Walter Alcock's Introduction & Passacaglia. This is surely far and away his best. But is it popular enough to be counted a hit?

 

Farnam's Toccata on O Filii et Filiae. A good piece, and (I think) his only one.

 

Manari's Concert Study on Salve Regina. Though perhaps not a real hit. It sometimes gets a work-out on recordings, but come to think of it, I haven't yet come across anyone willing to play it live.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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The Dubois Toccata might be in there too. I'm not sure how much anyone plays anything else of his.

 

 

Fiat Lux is heard from time to time and turns up in recital CDs on occasion. (Relatively recently on a composite CD issued by Priory of the the organ team at Durham, on a reissue of David Patrick at Buckfast Abbey, and on a CD of Martin Setchell playing on Christchurch Town Hall - NZ that is. I know that the piece has been recorded also by Geoffrey Tristram and Simon Lindley, and I think by Gordon Stewart. I am sure there are others but cannot call them to mind at the moment).Marche des Roi Mages used to be quite popular - perhaps time for a revival ?

 

BAC

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