MusingMuso Posted August 31, 2006 Share Posted August 31, 2006 All too often, we talk far too much about the organ as a machine, rather than the music written for it. In the event that we talk about music, it is also very apparent that much of the organ repertoire remains unheard, undiscovered or neglected; perhaps more so than other instrument. With that in mind, it is entirely commendable that certain organists have set out to enlighten or educate; yet recording companies seem to shy away from anything which doesn't include at least the Bach D-minor and the Widor Toccata. The very fact that organists tend to be conservative and even disapppointingly conformist or predictable, means that nothing changes quickly; if at all. It therefore follows, that anyone contemplating writing a piece of organ-music, must assume that any reward will be in the next world rather than this; whilst the chances of having almost anything published, are really quite remote. Sadly, the problem isn't even restricted to England, because the very interesting works of Weidermann, the celebrated Prague organist/composer, remain unpublished to this day; though there are plans afoot to rectify this. Indeed, there is a largely unknown repertoire, from the Czech/Slovak region, which could easily fill several albums of fascinating music, and this is but one small area, about twice the size of Scotland. I know that the contemporary music scene is quite difficult for many people; myself included. However, I think that a sad state of affairs exists, when outstanding (or at least extremely worthy) music simply fades into obscurity, in a way which would not be allowed to happen in other genres of music-making. Indeed, it is only in the past three years or so, that I have begun to discover a small part of the enormous pool of unknown music, and it has been a largely delightful journey. The fact that much of this originates from Eastern Europe is really quite irrelevant. My great problem with organ-recitals, is the fact that they seldom, if ever, venture beyond Bach, Vierne, Widor and Mendelssohn (so to speak), and as a consequence, the organ is seen to be a static, and therefore rather staid instrument without much of a future. What future CAN there be, if organists stick to what they think people want to hear? More importantly, it means that few, if any, composers, would bother to write a piece of organ-music, for fear that it would be ignored. It seems to me, that there exists a certain Darwinian logic in all this, because that which fails to adapt, never fails to die out. Religion is rapidly fading away, possibly because it has failed to adapt to the scientific and technological age. The organ is fading fast with that religious decline, and seems to be held in much the same sort of contempt by those of a more contemporary disposition. Is there a way forward from this low-point, or are we doomed to inevitable extinction? MM Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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