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Arthur Willis Transcriptions Of 'the Planets'

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Guest Cynic
http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/010307/details.html

 

does anyone have any experience of these? In particular, how hard is the 'jupiter' transcription??

 

Any help greatly appreciated

 

 

Not answering your question exactly, but I turned pages for Sean Farrell from Newcastle Casthedral who played Arthur Willis' arrangement of Mars from the same album at Hull City Hall earlier this month. It was absolutely splendid! I've just got to get a copy myself.

 

For me it worked better than the only other organ version I've heard, which was done as a duet by the Andrews/Fishell team.

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Not answering your question exactly, but I turned pages for Sean Farrell from Newcastle Casthedral who played Arthur Willis' arrangement of Mars from the same album at Hull City Hall earlier this month. It was absolutely splendid! I've just got to get a copy myself.

 

For me it worked better than the only other organ version I've heard, which was done as a duet by the Andrews/Fishell team.

 

I haven't seen the score or played it, but I've heard it - our organ scholar played "Jupiter" last Easter or Christmas morning (memory becoming hazy - a "senior moment"!) and it was very effective - though it sounded difficult. Not that anything fazes him - he has been playing Dupre P&Fs, Durufle Toccata, etc for a year or two, and he's only just turned 17.

 

Incidentally, the Newcastle Farrell is Scott, not Sean (the former succeeded the latter at Ely, requiring no change to the phone book entry!). Sean was at Rochester until 2001, when he went to Trinity College at Greenwich.

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Guest Cynic
I haven't seen the score or played it, but I've heard it - our organ scholar played "Jupiter" last Easter or Christmas morning (memory becoming hazy - a "senior moment"!) and it was very effective - though it sounded difficult. Not that anything fazes him - he has been playing Dupre P&Fs, Durufle Toccata, etc for a year or two, and he's only just turned 17.

 

Incidentally, the Newcastle Farrell is Scott, not Sean (the former succeeded the latter at Ely, requiring no change to the phone book entry!). Sean was at Rochester until 2001, when he went to Trinity College at Greenwich.

 

 

Whoops! Derrett goofs once again.

I should have got that right since I know one Farrell pretty well and the other not at all.

Apologies for any offence caused. Put this down to age, early-onset alzheimers or something.

Rest assured, it's not an alcohol problem - unless is lack of..........

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he has been playing Dupre P&Fs, Durufle Toccata, etc for a year or two, and he's only just turned 17.
That sort of talent makes you want to cry, doesn't it? Well it does me at any rate. Mind you, I convinced it's easier (or, rather, less difficult) to play that stuff when you are young. If only I could still play the stuff I could at that age I'd... well... I'd be able to play the 8 Short P & Fs at any rate... I must have been that age when I heard an ajudicator at a competitive festival say, "If you haven't got your technique by the time you're 20 you'll never have one." Well thanks, mate, I thought. But if you are talking about that level of technique, I think he was right.

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That sort of talent makes you want to cry, doesn't it? Well it does me at any rate. Mind you, I convinced it's easier (or, rather, less difficult) to play that stuff when you are young. If only I could still play the stuff I could at that age I'd... well... I'd be able to play the 8 Short P & Fs at any rate... I must have been that age when I heard an ajudicator at a competitive festival say, "If you haven't got your technique by the time you're 20 you'll never have one." Well thanks, mate, I thought. But if you are talking about that level of technique, I think he was right.

 

 

It is far easier - last year during the 'gcse - a level gap' i learnt a dupre p+f and the first two bits of the durufle suite. I spose it's a case of having the time that you don't have at a later age.

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I turned pages for a friend of mine when he played a couple of these movements.

 

They are not especially difficult, although the scoring can stretch orthodoxies ; I seem to remember a lot of double pedalling with the pedals coupled to the manuals to augment chords.

 

I think the important thing in these transcriptions (particularly Venus) is to be so on top of the notes that you can give every line, every paragraph a clear sense of direction, otherwise they can sag and sound rambling.

 

Lots of general pistons helps as well !

 

So far as the development of technique is concerned, I disagree. I think if you are going to play to a high standard, you need a basic natural facility that cannot be taught, and that will show itself very early. Some people can make light of difficulties that other people find impossible.

 

It is also true (in my experience) that as a student you have much more time to learn things, and faster mental responses.

 

However, my technique in my mid 40s is now much better than it was 20 or even 10 years ago, largely because with maturity I have imposed higher standards on myself and will not let myself get away with simply getting through a piece.

 

All is not lost !

 

 

M

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http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/010307/details.html

 

does anyone have any experience of these? In particular, how hard is the 'jupiter' transcription??

 

Any help greatly appreciated

 

I bought this score in Allegro when they were still in Birmingham. I think the most effective of the three is Venus, and you need a substantial instrument whatever movements you decide to play. Indidentally on the subject of Wills, I have tried a bit of his original music from time to time - the Millenium Rag is great fun, and he once wrote a suite based on the Hindu text Bhagavad Gita which particularly interested me as I had studied Hinduism at university. He also produced, somewhat unnecessarily in my opinion given the wealth already available, a book of JSB transcriptions including all the usuals - Jesu Joy, Sheep May Safely Graze and so on. I understand that there was at one stage a dedicated Arthur Wills shop in Ely, something to do with Oecumuse. Does it still exist? He also wrote three delightful processional psalms one of which I heard on a choir training tape produced by the RSCM and presented by Lional Dakers.

 

Best as ever

 

Peter

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However, my technique in my mid 40s is now much better than it was 20 or even 10 years ago, largely because with maturity I have imposed higher standards on myself and will not let myself get away with simply getting through a piece.

 

All is not lost !

 

Good to hear somebody say that - I can cope with the knowledge that there are superstar youngsters out there who weren't even born when I was struggling with the 8 Short, (and good luck to them, and I look forward to hearing them perform in the years ahead), but I do like to console (no pun intended) myself with the thought that each year I play better at the end than I do at the beginning

 

Paul (aged 37 3/4)

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That sort of talent makes you want to cry, doesn't it? Well it does me at any rate. Mind you, I convinced it's easier (or, rather, less difficult) to play that stuff when you are young. If only I could still play the stuff I could at that age I'd... well... I'd be able to play the 8 Short P & Fs at any rate... I must have been that age when I heard an ajudicator at a competitive festival say, "If you haven't got your technique by the time you're 20 you'll never have one." Well thanks, mate, I thought. But if you are talking about that level of technique, I think he was right.

 

 

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

 

I'm sure I've mentioned the 16-year-old organist/pianist/theatre organist we had at my school. He could rattle his way through almost the entire repertoire, sight read impossible things, play the Middelschulte "Perpetuem Mobile" to perfection whilst holding a conversation, play the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor from memory...and THEN...give spell-binding performances on the local cinema organ.

 

The hilarious thing is that he was only ever taught by a professional lady theatre-organist. prior to going to the RCM!

 

Mysteriously, I have seldom heard anything much of him since.

 

MM

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