PipeChat Digest #1624 - Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Concert Announcement-Lewisville, TX
  by "Margo Dillard" <dillardm@airmail.net>
Re: Hymn Playing
  by "Bob Elms" <elmsr@albanyis.com.au>
Re: PipeChat Digest #1621 - 10/17/00
  by "s c bournias" <chrisbournias@hotmail.com>
Selection and Interpretation
  by <toelz@cetlink.net>
Re: PipeChat Digest #1623 - 10/18/00
  by <LLWheels@aol.com>

(back) Subject: Concert Announcement-Lewisville, TX From: "Margo Dillard" <dillardm@airmail.net> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 08:56:32 -0500   The Musical Feast, the choral society of Greater Lewisville, will be performing with the Lewisville Symphony on their concert this Saturday night, October 21, 8 pm. The concert will be at the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church in Lewisville, TX.   I don't know what the symphony will be playing by themselves. MF will be performing the Mozart Ave Verum Corpus and Te Deum.     Margo Dillard Organist, First United Methodist Lewisville, TX (and accompanist for The Musical Feast)    
(back) Subject: Re: Hymn Playing From: "Bob Elms" <elmsr@albanyis.com.au> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 22:32:31 +0800   This time I think you are right!! Hallelujah! Bob E.   Bob Scarborough wrote:   > At 07:20 PM 10/17/2000 -0500, you wrote: > >> << I play hymns exactly as they are written. I never vary the = harmony, I > >> never add progressions, I never add flourishes, and I don't = modulate. I > >> play them exactly as written<snip> > > Fine for the first "run-through" of an unfamiliar hymn (had to do that a > LOT with RCs, as they're notorious "slow learners"), but after that, I > opine for all of the above...modulation, free harmonization, = registrational > changes that support the congregation but add proper emotional = background > for the verse at hand...descants, counter melodies...it can all work, > depending on the organ, the people, the hymn. > > Sorry to disagree, old chap, but playing "as written" all the time is a > good way to get replaced by a MIDI sequencer or, worse, a tape, not to > mention put the congregants to sleep! Of course, this is MY opinion...I > COULD be wrong! > > DeserTBoB > > "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   -- ----------------------------------------------------- Click here for Free Video!! http://www.gohip.com/freevideo/      
(back) Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #1621 - 10/17/00 From: "s c bournias" <chrisbournias@hotmail.com> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 11:36:12 EDT   <html><DIV> <P><BR><BR></P>i would be interested in a specification for your Austin = organ. Any possibility of obtainig such??? steve bournias </DIV> <DIV></DIV> <DIV></DIV>&gt;From: LLWheels@aol.com <DIV></DIV>&gt;Reply-To: "PipeChat" <PIPECHAT@PIPECHAT.ORG> <DIV></DIV>&gt;To: pipechat@pipechat.org <DIV></DIV>&gt;Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #1621 - 10/17/00 <DIV></DIV>&gt;Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 19:52:17 EDT <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt;In a message dated 10/17/2000 4:00:47 AM Central Daylight = Time, <DIV></DIV>&gt;pipechat@pipechat.org <SCOTT>writes: <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt;&lt;&lt; One person's "proper" unadorned service playing is =   <DIV></DIV>&gt; another's "boring" service playing. But then, "service = playing" <DIV></DIV>&gt; has everything to do with the congregation one is "service = playing" <DIV></DIV>&gt; for. Forgive my redundancy... but that is what "new = organists" <DIV></DIV>&gt; will encounter, aside from acquiring the necessary skills = of organ <DIV></DIV>&gt; playing, clergy maintenance, and... ;-) &gt;&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt;Thank you for this reply, Scott. I wanted to make a reply = along these lines <DIV></DIV>&gt;myself, but somehow just lacked the energy it takes to = disagree in such a <DIV></DIV>&gt;gentlemanly fashion; and flame-ing is not useful in such = situations. At 25 I <DIV></DIV>&gt;knew all there was to know about service playing; at 50 I = now know how <DIV></DIV>&gt;little I know and am delighted to learn something new each = day. This list <DIV></DIV>&gt;helps -- even if it sometimes makes me realize how much I = disagree with some <DIV></DIV>&gt;viewpoints. The chance to hear about and judge a wide = variety of ideas is the <DIV></DIV>&gt;most efficient way to gain a broad view which permits one = to learn and grow <DIV></DIV>&gt;without prejudice, but with a body of knowledge which = permits judgement <DIV></DIV>&gt;appropriate to ones own congregation. I DO believe that = <NEW DIV < teach occasions>&gt;new meanings, Time makes ancient good = uncouth&gt; as the hymn says. Keeo those <DIV></DIV>&gt;ideas blooming folks! <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt;Larry <DIV></DIV>&gt;Kenwood United Methodist Church <DIV></DIV>&gt;Milwaukee, WI <DIV></DIV>&gt;Austin Organ Co. Op 1628 (1928) III/55 <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV>&gt;"Pipe Up and Be Heard!" <DIV></DIV>&gt;PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs &amp; = related topics <DIV></DIV>&gt;HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org <DIV></DIV>&gt;List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org <DIV></DIV>&gt;Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org <DIV></DIV>&gt;Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org <DIV></DIV>&gt; <DIV></DIV><p><hr>Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at <a = href=3D"http://www.hotmail.com">http://www.hotmail.com</a>.<p>Share = information about yourself, create your own public profile at <a = href=3D"http://profiles.msn.com">http://profiles.msn.com = </a>.<br></p></html>  
(back) Subject: Selection and Interpretation From: <toelz@cetlink.net> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 12:11:09 -0400   This is about selection of music for the liturgical organist, with a few comments about interpretation. I will repeat that these are my own opinions, and that I am well aware that others have different opinions. (You know, it took a fair amount of time to do these segments, and if all = I were doing was to rehash the commonly-accepted practices that exist within AGO-type circles (for lack of a better term), it would be foolish for me = to do this. Obviously, I am trying to present a point of view that is different from that which currently prevails in the AGO-type circles--one which, for liturgical organists who play for churches with reverent services, is absolutely as valid as any other point of view. I am certainly not alone in holding this point of view, it just doesn't get as much publicity as the AGO-type point of view does. So I think it is important for new organists to be exposed to both points of view, and be able to make their own choices--either one or the other or a combination = of both. Anyone who doesn't agree with my suggestions is free to ignore = them, as I assure you that I am not going to barge in on one of your Sunday services and try to force you to play like I want you to.)   Now back to selection. I think the most important thing is variety. Good organ music has been written for hundreds of years by organists in different countries and in different styles, and there is no reason not to use a sampling of it all. Since so much good music does exist, there is = no reason to play poor music. And since such a variety of tonal effects are available on the organ--much more variety than the usual registration suggestions would have one believe--there is no reason not to take advantage of these different sounds. Playing a variety of different = styles of music is the best way to take advantage of the different sounds.   One of my favorite composers is Edwin H. Lemare. I play a lot of his music, leaning toward the more meditative and rich pieces rather than the loud pieces. In fact my prelude this week will be the "Largo" from his First Sonata. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece--I will be using many different registrations: Celestes, rich flutes, solo line on Great Principal 8 with Tremulant, sub-octave couplers, a great deal of work on the Swell Pedal--a great variety of beautiful sounds. Last week's prelude was "Toccata" by Samuel Ducommun, a relatively loud piece, though not what I would call lively, so this week calls for something a little more meditative. You can find a lot of good organ music written in the first part of the 20th century. A good source is the 2-volume set "The Modern Anthology" edited by David McK. Williams. Another good multi-volume = source is "Comtemporary Organ Music for Liturgical Use" published by Albert Kunzelmann. Or another, "Organ Music of Canada" edited by Charles Peeker. I also love to play the meditative music of Robert Hebble. I don't recommend every piece in each of those sources, but you have to pick and choose the most quality pieces. That is one thing that will set you apart as a liturgical musician--the ability to choose only the best and play = only the most musical pieces. These pieces are not easy, but it is better to have a few good, quality pieces that you play well than to be able to play 10,000 musically-poor pieces.   In our church, people do their talking outside, and enter the worship = space in silence and remain in silence. In other demoninations, there may be a good bit of talking during the prelude, which makes it more difficult to play quiet pieces. But perhaps if you started playing quiet pieces, = people would get the hint and remain in silence. Just don't try to drown out the talking by playing louder--it won't work. I think a fair inference to = make about talking during the prelude is that many people are not listening to the music for some reason.   I also play a lot of Guilmant's music. Also some Louis Vierne and Cesar Franck. But usually not the loud, fast, heavy pieces, although I will ocassionally play one. I played the Final from Vierne's "First Symphony" on Pentecost this year. The key here is "ocassionally." I also play some of the Bach works--ocassionally one of the major Toccatas, Fantasies, and some of the Chorales, etc. One that is especially effective is the "Adagio" from the "Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major." Another is the "Fantasy in G minor." I generally avoid the simpler pieces such as the "Eight Little Preludes and Fugues" and most of the pieces inaccessible to the general parishioner, such as the major Fugues and the Trio Sonatas, etc. I ocassionally play some of the QUALITY music from Couperin, Frescobaldi, Buxtehude, and others. Your ear has to tell you what is quality. If it leaves you cold and seems uninspiring, don't play it. There are many other miscellaneous pieces I play, those quality pieces = that I have stumbled upon over the years, from many different sources. Generally, I will go to the music store (it's over an hour's drive away) every so often, and spend a couple of hours going through the cabinets looking for new music. After a while, you can almost tell by looking at the music if it will be suitable. If I buy a book and get 3 or 4 good usuable pieces out of it, I consider myself lucky. By the way, I buy my music myself, and don't expect the church to reimburse me.   Let's look at country music. (The same thing is true for pop.) Think of the legends of country music--the songs that are "classics." "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "Release Me," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Hello Walls," "Coal Miner's Daughter, " "I Will Always Love You," etc. They are beautiful songs--not flashy, not tricky, not loud. Songs like = "Achy-Breaky Heart" flash for a while, then will be forgotten, but the soulful, = haunting songs live forever. THAT is what I mean by quality music. That is the kind music, of whatever genre, that touches peoples' souls, the music that somehow transcends the razzle-dazzle of mere ditties, the music that can stand on its own as music without being propped up by showmanship and overdramatization. It is the music of transcendence. For that reason, it is the type of organ music--the transcendent organ music--that is most appropriate for a liturgial, reverent service. Many of you are right--it may not be the type of music that is most usual in evangelical services or borderline-Mainline services. But there are plenty of nonevangelical and nonborderline-Mainline organists out there.   Anyway, for Communion, I play quiet, meditative music by the composers above. Plus, I play orchestral transcriptions and songs. Brahms' Lieder is a good source here. Transcriptions of slow movements of symphonies. Various religious songs. Just about any meditative music that I can make sound good on the organ. "Quiet and medatative" are the key words here. = I always play the Communion music only on stops enclosed in the swell box = and only with the shades closed.   My opinion is that it is appropriate to play QUALITY arrangements of familiar hymns, especially during Communion or for an Offertory. I think you should avoid overly simplistic arrangements or those cliche-type arrangements that are so often published today--the meloldy line accompanied by 5ths, for example. Here you could look to Lorenz. Of course, they put out some not-so-quality arrangements, but some are very good. Their music seems to be more traditional and not fad-following. They also have some good music that is not based on hymns; in fact, I have found many little gems hiding inside their books. Just let your ear tell you what to use and what to discard. For other sources, I have found the hymn arrangements published in the first half of the 20th Century to be = the best. I knew an elderly woman who had played the organ for years, and shortly before she died, she gave me all her music. This included some wonderful books printed in the 1910's and 1920's that had fairly complex arrangements of familiar hymn tunes. Many of these are musically complex, rich, and lush sounding, with more or less complex variations that offer possibilities to use different tonal effects on the organ. They tend to = be more meditative than contemporary hymn arrangements. If you could somehow find some of that older music, it would be a good addition to your musical library. I more or less try to make my selections fit the general liturgical = season, but I don't fence myself in. For Advent, for example, just because a = piece has an Advent title doesn't mean I should play it. And just because it doesn't have an Advent title doesn't mean I can't play it. In fact I ususally try to avoid Christmas-type music altogether, simply because people hear it so much on the radio, TV, in the malls, etc. that it can become old hat. You don't have to play all loud music during the Sundays of Easter, and you don't have to play all somber music during the Sundays of Lent. But, of course, I probably wouldn't play a tear-jerker on Pentecost or a funeral dirge on Christ the King Sunday. Use your good taste and common sense. Now for what I don't play. I don't play music that sounds thin or elementary. You must have interesting harmonies. For instance, every so often I get in the mail from various publishers, little booklets that contain samplings of their new music. Most of it is too musically simple. Also, I avoid poorly written, unmusical music that is empty sounding, even though some of it is written by contemporary composers who seem to be the "in thing." And it goes without saying that I avoid music with a lot of dissonances, especially music by certain 20th century French composers. I also avoid the pieces that have been worn out--Bach's "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring," Karg-Elert's "Now Thank We All Our God," the 10,000,000 pieces that have been written lately for the Trumpet stop, "Amazing Grace" played on an oboe stop, etc. Finally, I avoid the music composed by the "pop religious" organists who are popular at the moment. So much of that music sounds cheap and commercial, at least to me.   There is nothing that you "have" to play. The fact that John Smith may be the organist at a 7,000 member church and may be the darling of the vocal organ world at the moment in no way obligates anyone to play his music. And the fact that any deceased organist may be the darling of the vocal organ world at the moment in no way obligates anyone to play their music, either. If I don't like it, I'm not going to play it. You cannot effectively play music that you don't like. You should try to develop = your own style--in playing, selection, and registration--and not feel obligated to play anything. Be a musician--not a sheep. In most music, you will find registration suggestions. I take those with = a grain of salt, even if they are provided by the composer. In my opinion, if a composer didn't want his music subjected to individual = interpretation, then he shouldn't have published it, he should have kept it in his closet. Once I buy the music, I feel free to do with it as I please. After all, I paid for it. If it calls for an Oboe, you don't have to use one. If it calls for a crescendo, you don't have to do it. And if there is a chord = in there that sounds a little strange or sticks out too much for my taste, I don't hesistate to change it. Use a little imagination. Here's an example: The organ I play has a medium Trumpet stop that is absolutely beautiful in the tenor register with the swell shades closed. Sometimes I play the slow section of Franck's Third Chorale on that stop an octave lower. I don't see anything wrong with doing things like that, as long as it is not overdone.   Some people say never to use reeds with Celestes. Well, that's OK for them, but I use them together. In my opinion, any possible combination of stops and couplers is fair game. Experiment with possible combinations--whether or not they are "officially approved" is not relevant. If they sound good in a particular piece, then there is no reason not to use them.   Many people think they have learned a piece when they can more or less accurately play the notes. But we shouldn't sound like robots--we should sound like musicians. There is a big difference between playing the notes and making music. I would rather hear someone play a piece musically with a few technical stumbles than perfectly accurate like a robot. "God is in the details" is good to remember. Those oh so slight imperceptible ritardandos, those oh so slight imperceptible accelerandos, those times when you add just a millisecond to that quarter note, those times when you take off just a millisecond from another quarter note, those times when = you have experimented and developed just the right registration for a passage, those times when your SOUL plays instead of your fingers, those little things that no one notices in their detail but that combine to produce MUSIC--when you can play a piece musically, then you have really learned it. All the Fanfare Trumpets and 32' Pousane stops and 16th notes played at 120 mph in the world won't make up for empty, non-musical playing. Musical playing is something no one can teach you--it has to come from inside you--from your ability to LISTEN and your ability to make those tiny, microscopic variations in your playing.   Sometimes when I hear an organist, I feel like asking, "Where's the fire?" There's such a tendency to rush things. One day I was listening to the "Pipedreams" radio program (something I rarely do.) Someone was playing a piece I had played only a few Sundays previously. It has a lush middle section that is absolutely beautiful. I was looking forward to that section. But when it started, I turned the radio off. That organist hurried it so much that it sounded like he had just snorted a line of cocaine. It absolutely was ruined. A little flippant tap-dancing through what should have been a moving, expressive piece. What's the problem = here? Are these things played so fast just because the organist wants everyone to know that he CAN play them that fast? Who cares if he can play fast, outside of the AGO-type circles? One night my wife was watching TV in another room. She called me in there, pointed to the TV and said, = "There's an organist." There was a woman on there who was trying to see how many bowls she could balance on top of her head while riding a unicycle.   We live in a world in a hurry. That does not mean we have to be organists in a hurry. Take a little time, broaden out, let your music be a = sanctuary from the hubub of everyday life. Let your music glorify God, not = yourself.    
(back) Subject: Re: PipeChat Digest #1623 - 10/18/00 From: <LLWheels@aol.com> Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 13:13:26 EDT   In a message dated 10/18/2000 4:02:10 AM Central Daylight Time, < jnatpat@sunsix.infi.net> writes:   <Thank you for your thoughts...and please do not take offense at my remark, but if I played that way week after week, I would be fired immediately from BOTH churches.>   No offense taken, but, I think you have mistaken the message I <quoted> = for my own message. The part about never varying parts or stanzas was from the =   original author and I was quoting it, hence the <...> marks.   If you will re-read the body of my message I SINCERELY HOPE you will understand that I disagree with it. :) If that is not clear - I gotta go = back to readin', ritin' and 'rithmetik 101.   Larry Wheelock