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Mander Organs
MusingMuso

The Darwinian Organist?

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Goodness. So there are places where organists get a worse deal than in Britain....

 

According to her website, Susan Landale is now at Saint-Louis des Invalides, Paris.

 

Quote PCND

I think that Susan Landale (I know that she is not British) is, or uesd to be, Titulaire at the American Church, in Paris - but this is not quite what you were asking.

 

Aaagh - she's a Scot!!

 

AJJ

 

PS So am I - well half anyway.

PPS Who is the organist at Rennes - out of interest.

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I do know of one or two others, but cannot immediately recall them. I think that Susan Landale (I know that she is not British) is, or uesd to be, Titulaire at the American Church, in Paris - but this is not quite what you were asking.

 

 

 

Purely out of idle curiosity can you explain WHY Susan Landale is not British, being Scottish born and Edinburgh educated. Is it that neither of her parents were British citizens, so she never acquired that status at birth or has she CEASED to be British by virtue of taking French nationality on account of where she lives ? Just curious.

 

BAC

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Purely out of idle curiosity can you explain WHY Susan Landale is not British, being Scottish born and Edinburgh educated. Is it that neither of her parents were British citizens, so she never acquired that status at birth or has she CEASED to be British by virtue of taking French nationality on account of  where she lives ? Just curious.

 

BAC

 

Brian - to put both you and Alastair out of your misery - I was convinced that she was North American and, whilst I realize that parts of what now constitute Great Britain were once more closely connected with the continent of Africa, I am fairly certain that the US has never formed part of these shores.

 

I am quite happy to accept Scotland as a part of Great Britain - really....

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Brian - to put both you and Alastair out of your misery - I was convinced that she was North American and, whilst I realize that parts of what now constitute Great Britain were once more closely connected with the continent of Africa, I am fairly certain that the US has never formed part of these shores.

 

I am quite happy to accept Scotland as a part of Great Britain - really....

 

Thanks!

 

AJJ

 

PS Perhaps you were thinking of Lynne Davis who originates from US but comes from a Chartres direction now.

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I realize that parts of what now constitute Great Britain were once more closely connected with the continent of Africa, I am fairly certain that the US has never formed part of these shores.
Don't count on it. Originally the earth was just one big land mass, so they say. You only have to look at the map to see how the Americas would have fitted with Europe & Africa. (Sorry. Off topic but I could never resist a bait.)

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Thanks!

 

AJJ

 

PS Perhaps you were thinking of Lynne Davis who originates from US but comes from a Chartres direction now.

 

This is entirely possible.

 

It is also possible that it was not my day to have use of the family brain cell.

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Don't count on it. Originally the earth was just one big land mass, so they say. You only have to look at the map to see how the Americas would have fitted with Europe & Africa. (Sorry. Off topic but I could never resist a bait.)

 

 

Mmmm.... However, I was thinking of that Alan Titchmarsh programme. (No, not GroundForce....) The other one, where he talks about the history of the British Isles. I think that, according to him, Reykjavik was once the capital of Wales, Scotland shared a climate with Matabeleland and Chipping Sodbury was adjacent to Nova Scotia.

 

At least - it was something like that....

 

B)

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Mmmm.... However, I was thinking of that Alan Titchmarsh programme. (No, not GroundForce....)  The other one, where he talks about the history of the British Isles. I think that, according to him, Reykjavik was once the capital of Wales, Scotland shared a climate with Matabeleland and Chipping Sodbury was adjacent to Nova Scotia.

 

At least - it was something like that....

 

B)

 

 

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

 

Bringing this back on topic (!) ......Charles Darwin was English, even if he did resemble Neanderthal Man from the paleolithic era.

 

More seriously, I have come across a sound sample of a piece of music by the elusive Bedrich Antonin Wiedermann, and I'm delighted to note that Jane Parker-Smith is playing this very piece in recital during November, at the Disney Concert Hall, so Wiedermann isn't a totally lost cause after all.

 

However, what stuns me about this "Impetuso" is the sheer virtuosity of it, as well as the modernity of a work written around 1930. Knowing that Wiedermann wrote such tonal and quite emotional music for Mezzo Soprano and Organ, the organ work took me a little by surprise.

 

Here is the link:-

 

http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2037/

 

The actual work "Impetuoso" is a little difficult to seek out on the fly, but for those with "Real Player" it commences at 1 hr 17 min 55 sec into the "Pipedreams" programme. The sound quality is not of the best, I'm afraid, which predates the upgraded quality of "Pipedreams" we hear nowadays.

 

Stephen Farr's recent comment that he was unaware of TWO composers with the name Slavicky, reminded me that I posted a link to perhaps Klement Slavicky's greatest organ-work, the "Ecce Homo" way back in May.

 

I find this to be an unusually fine work, but I had to work at listening to it for a while. Klement Slavicky was, I think, another of those brave souls who didn't do as required of the communists, who spent his compositional life on the margins, and was thus never promoted by the official state machine; thus guaranteeing a sort of obscurity which other composers would dare not question.

 

There is such pain in this music, but it is beautifully written.

 

Here is the link once again:-

 

http://orgelconcerten.ncrv.nl/ncrv?nav=hyxntCsHtGAiBzBYuI

 

Played by Bernard Bartelink on the "other" St.Bavo (RC) at Haarlem, I think.

 

MM

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Me again.

 

On this question of presenting serious material in an entertaining way, two good examples of this struck me on the way to work this morning, both being books I have read recently.

 

Howard Goodall has, rightly in my view, cornered the market in the popular presentation of classical music on the television. Whilst I enjoyed his Organ Works programme, I felt his Big Bangs was even better, and I cannot recommend the book of the same title highly enough. The chapter on temperament is a model of lucid explanation of a complicated subject but - and here's the rub - it is presented in an entertaining way, such that the reader is gripped and wants to find out more.

 

Compare this to my music teacher at school who had learned everything there was to know about music, apart from the one rather important fact that it is meant to be enjoyable. Whilst Goodall makes you want to rush away and learn harmony as being the secret of this marvellous gift called music, my school teacher's approach was such as to make a reading of the telephone directory seem erotic by comparison. (Anthony Hopkins book 'Understanding Music' is equally good at showing how dry harmony is actually the life blood of emotion in music).

 

The other book that takes a same approach is Bill Bryson's 'Short history of nearly everything' which grips you from page one, and makes you even laugh out loud, at the most abstruse examples of evolutionary theory, plate tectonics and particle physics.

 

You want to find out more, you realise what a gripping subject it is and - perhaps most important for the present discussion - the integrity of the material is not compromised in the slightest.

 

I am not entirely sure where this leaves us in relation to recital audiences save, perhaps, to repeat a point I made earlier. An engaging presentation of the music with a well thought out introduction, touched with a hint of lightness, can get the audience on your side and will draw them into music that otherwise might seem daunting.

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I am not entirely sure where this leaves us in relation to recital audiences save, perhaps, to repeat a point I made earlier.  An engaging presentation of the music with a well thought out introduction, touched with a hint of lightness, can get the audience on your side and will draw them into music that otherwise might seem daunting.

 

I don't do recitals as a rule (a 30 minute slot a a few years ago as part of an all day 'play in' for organ funds as a favour for an organist/organbuilder friend at a church near here just about finished me off) but in my 'day job' I can often get 13/14 year olds engaged with some fairly obscure music (Michael Nyman yesterday) using similar methods. Some even wanted to know the CD.

 

AJJ

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I am not entirely sure where this leaves us in relation to recital audiences save, perhaps, to repeat a point I made earlier.  An engaging presentation of the music with a well thought out introduction, touched with a hint of lightness, can get the audience on your side and will draw them into music that otherwise might seem daunting.

 

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

 

This is an excellent point, and it is something I tend to do in recital-notes when I can muster the energy.

 

I recall writing something for an organ-festival along the lines of the following:-

 

--------------

 

"A fugue is a sort of musical fight, in which three or four people say pretty much the same thing in different ways. As in most fights, everyone involved eventually come to some sort of amicable settlement. The Germans are very good at these musical fights, unlike the French.

 

When the French get involved in musical fights, they tend to get over-excited and discipline collapses, and unable to keep control of the situation, they tend to flap their arms and run around like headless chickens.

 

Musically, running around like a headless chicken is called a "Toccata" (see below), and the French are very good at toccatas."

 

--------------

 

 

OK....I don't suppose it would go down too well to-day; what with Europe, but at the time it would strike a chord with many who fought in WW2, and I'd like to bet that they didn't forget it afterwards.

 

I think Howard Goodall has a certain genius for presentation, and takes an almost childlike delight in what he does as a presenter. I have to admit that I like his style.

 

It's given me an idea in fact, because I think I will go ahead with my plans to play an all "eastern bloc" programme next year, and I think I would have fun writing programme notes along these lines; all of which would make semi-serious points.

 

Liszt would be great fun...........

 

".......a passionate, wild and good looking Hungarian, whom women found irresistible and charismatic; possibly owing to the enormous size of his ego".

 

I might describe Petr Eben as "a slight man, who nevertheless survived the concentration camps and lived to become a musical giant."

 

Words, whether written or spoken, can be so powerful in describing the moods and feelings behind the music, and can prepare people for what they are about to hear.

 

I can think of nothing more apt, than to think of Walton's fugue in the "Spitfire Prelude and Fugue" as young pilots out on their own, darting about the sky and picking off the enemy; yet part of a disciplined sqaudron with only one final aim.

 

I suspect that the last thing people want to read or hear, is the sort of preamble which goes something like, "The word Bach is used as a musical motif representing the note Bb, A,C and B natural, on which Liszt based this work etc etc"

 

Better to concentrate on the relatively virtuosic showmanship of a wild man with long hair, and then suggest that he used a simple motif popular with many composers.

 

First grab the attention of people!

 

MM

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