PipeChat Digest #1612 - Tuesday, October 10, 2000
 
Riverside!
  by <Oboe32@aol.com>
Re: Riverside!
  by "Alan Freed" <afreed0904@earthlink.net>
Ken Cowan Concert in Illinois (X-Post)
  by <Devon3000@aol.com>
Re: Ken Cowan Concert in Illinois (X-Post)
  by "Jon C. Habermaas" <opus1100@catoe.org>
 


(back) Subject: Riverside! From: <Oboe32@aol.com> Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 14:00:10 EDT   Ladies and Gents...it was stellar! I never had much appreciation for the = whole Fox thing, but after seeing that concert last night, I can fully = understand where people are coming from. There were some incredible = organists last night! A few of the more amazing performances came from = Steven Frank, Toccata from the Jongen Symphonie Concertante and Seth = Bingham's Roulade, Fred Swann "Come Sweet Death", and Robert Tall with the = Davies "Solemn Melody". It was quite an evening! I saw many of the great = names in the organ world and had a blast. There was a reception afterwards = with cocktails, food, strings, and lots of stories! I suppose the most profound part of the night was during "Come = Sweet Death", when the lights were turned out, and a picture of Fox left = up on the screen. It was quite amazing how some people responded. The man = meant a lot to many people!   -Pete Isherwood  
(back) Subject: Re: Riverside! From: "Alan Freed" <afreed0904@earthlink.net> Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 14:43:03 -0400   Pete:   We are of similar minds on this. My report to another organ list is enclosed:   Alan     Enjoyed a rather major event last night (4 to 6 p.m.) at Riverside Church:   Virgil Fox Memorial Recital sponsored by the Virgil Fox Society and the American Guild of Organists Pipes Spectacular: National Flagship Program   I'd guess a solid 1600 people in attendance. Twenty-page program book. Seats ranged from $100 down to $20. I enjoyed it fine in the $20 seats. Rear-projection big screen in the south choir. The whole thing was very well organized, and very well "brought off." There were humorous and informative remarks between sections of the program, which could have been = a bore and a drag, but were not.   Tom Hazelton did the Ubiquitous and Richard Purvis' Dies irae. I remember hearing Purvis do his thing many times at Grace Cathedral in the mid and late 50s, and this was a TOTAL evocation of Purvis, to the point where I thought I sensed fog sweeping off Nob Hill and in the doors of Riverside.   Robert Hebble (who became Virgil's assistant at age 16 and worked very closely with him for 30 years) played two of his own compositions: "Nave" (a very nice piece, commissioned and premiered by Virgil in 1956, and used by him at Christmas every year thereafter--"Divinium mysterium" insinuates itself sneakily through the close dissonances), and two movements from "A Symphony of Light."   Dorothy Papadakos was to have improvised on Fox-related themes, but was indisposed.   Timothy Smith, DoM and organist at Riverside for eight years now: Sheep May Safely Graze, as composed by JSB, interpreted by Fox, and now again by Timself. The little g minor   Steven Frank did the Roulade of Seth Bingham and Jongen's Toccata from Symphonie-Concertante. He distinguished himself in my judgement by being the only performer who worked totally from memory. I don't know why, but I admire that. =20   Mark Miller contributed JSB's Trio Sonata No. 6 (Vivace), BWV 530 and his own Toccata on God Rest Ye Merry.   Robert Tall did his own interpretation of the Davies Solemn Melody (I prefe= r the original), and Fox's interpretation of JSB's Nun danket.   Carol Williams did a Tournemire improvisation on the Te Deum, and her own styling of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag.   And then, the climaxes, with Fred Swann on the bench: Karg-Elert's Fugue on a Credo Theme: "I believe in the life of the world t= o come." The lights dimmed very slowly and then the Fox version of JSB's Komm, s=FCsse= r Tod Well, I've heard Fox do that, both live and on recordings (as which of us has not?), but this was (of course) an absolute reincarnation of the original--thankfully in total darkness, for there was much muffled sobbing going on. Then the one poor spot: A recording of a large bell being tolled, 20 times (for the 20 years since Virgil's death). The sound system in Riverside is about as good as you can get for speaking, and perhaps also for music. But I venture the opinion that a large bell just cannot BE recorded successfully. It was TERRIBLE, and the only hokey thing about the day. Then the lights came up as Fred introduced St. Anne, and we all stood and sang (marvelously!--in parts where it was permissible) Our God, Our Help in Ages Past. A fine brief improv interlude followed the fourth stanza, and another one that took us up at least a semitone or two (I can never tell) before the final.                           > From: Oboe32@aol.com > Reply-To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> > Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 14:00:10 EDT > To: <Piporg-l@listserv.albany.edu>, <Pipechat@pipechat.org> > Subject: Riverside! >=20 > Ladies and Gents...it was stellar! I never had much appreciation for the = whole > Fox thing, but after seeing that concert last night, I can fully understa= nd > where people are coming from. There were some incredible organists last n= ight! > A few of the more amazing performances came from Steven Frank, Toccata fr= om > the Jongen Symphonie Concertante and Seth Bingham's Roulade, Fred Swann "= Come > Sweet Death", and Robert Tall with the Davies "Solemn Melody". It was qui= te an > evening! I saw many of the great names in the organ world and had a blast= .. > There was a reception afterwards with cocktails, food, strings, and lots = of > stories! > I suppose the most profound part of the night was during "Come Sweet Deat= h", > when the lights were turned out, and a picture of Fox left up on the scre= en. > It was quite amazing how some people responded. The man meant a lot to ma= ny > people! >=20 > -Pete Isherwood >=20 > "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" > PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics > HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org > List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org > Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org > Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org >=20 >=20    
(back) Subject: Ken Cowan Concert in Illinois (X-Post) From: <Devon3000@aol.com> Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000 22:47:47 EDT   I've been so busy, I haven't had time until now to report on the = spectacular concert a couple of Fridays ago. Ken Cowan captured the audience with his =   amazing technique as well as his great interpretations.   He started with the Mozart "Fantasy in F Minor, K.594, the slow-fast-slow. = He prefaced his playing of it by explaining that he would be playing it = more orchestrally than usual. Volumes were quite tame, and limited use of 16' pitch made it sound like a clock organ. Flawless technique won the = audience over instantly.   He then played the Prelude and Fugue in D Major BWV 532. Again, the technique was dazzling, and he used all four manuals in a "Fox-like" = manner. Thrilling, yet tasteful.   Next came three sonatas by Scarlatti, which showed off a lot of color from =   the 80 ranks of Austin.   The first half ended with the Overture to "The Flying Dutchman" by Wagner, =   Arranged by Lemare. Such variety in colors and volume! And only 15 generals, which caused a delay during intermission, while he reset most of =   them. He explained to the audience that soon (we're getting a new = console) that won't cause any delay during organ concerts.   The second half started off the Introduction and Passacaglia by Reger. Again, so wonderful to hear every line and reasonable tempos that didn't sound like smears of sound. I have never been to fond of that piece until =   Ken played it.   Next came "Humoresk" by Dvorak, arranged by Lemare. A welcome, quiet contrast to the previous piece, and he used the flute stops to great advantage.   Danse Macabre, by Saint Saens, arranged by Lemare, was awesome, as well. = What really impressed me was Ken's minimal hand and body movements. He gave us =   maximum music without exaggerated body movements. And with the thousands = of 16th notes in most of these pieces, there wasn't a lot of chance without great risk of error to do any affected movements.   The last number on the program was Pageant by Sowerby. Throughout the concert, we had a backlit screen above and behind the console so the = audience could see hands and feet. This performance brought the audience instantly = to their feet.   When I arranged for this concert, I told Ken he could play anything he = liked, as long as he did Ride of the Valkyries (pardon the spelling). He did = this for the encore. This was the first piece I heard him play at the = Historical Society convention two summers ago in Montreal. He had been allowed only = a couple hours of practice on the organ in Notre Dame Church, but played = this as the opening piece, and several more blockbusters also.   In spite of extensive mailings (All churches in a several county area), purchased spots on our leading FM station, and a couple half-page ads purchased in two of the leading magazines in our area, we had a = disappointing attendance. I have been particularly disappointed in response from the = many AGO chapters in our area (and we advertised the concert in three of their monthly newsletters)! There was no competition that night, except for = Rosh Hashana, which in our area involved a grand total of three organists being =   involved. The approximately 130 attendees were very excited, and not one left until the very end of the concert. A lot of CD's were sold also.   Don't miss hearing Ken Cowan, and get him for a concert while his concert = fee is "reasonable and affordable." You will not be disappointed in any way. = He just finished his Master's degree with Thomas Murray, and it's encouraging = to know that the organ has a bright future, in spite of people, especially organists, opting to not attend.   Devon Hollingsworth, In Chicago Suburb  
(back) Subject: Re: Ken Cowan Concert in Illinois (X-Post) From: "Jon C. Habermaas" <opus1100@catoe.org> Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2000 22:22:21 -0500   Hi Devon,   Really wanted to make that concert and we were already to go. Last minute emergency kept me at the station until after 6pm and that was that. Couldn't get home in time to get the car, Betty and make it to the = concert. Enjoyed your review of what I know was a spectacular program.   regards,   Jon