PipeChat Digest #2113 - Tuesday, May 22, 2001
 
Felix Conquers Staten Island 5/20/01 (xPost)
  by <ManderUSA@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Felix Conquers Staten Island 5/20/01 (xPost) From: <ManderUSA@aol.com> Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 03:59:39 EDT     --part1_9f.15b1aace.283b766b_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   Dear Lists and Friends,   While I am historically a denizen of PipOrg-L, I am cross-posting this to Pipechat, as I know the subject of this post has many friends and even a couple of presenters on that list.   I have had a slow recovery curve after two weeks on the road with the 25 English organists of whom I have already written on PipOrg-L. One could = not ask for more pleasant traveling companions, nor for more interesting and exciting venues and events, but it is still work and a heavy = responsibility, and it takes its toll on the no-longer-young! I returned home late last Tuesday night, and caught up on lots of sleep, and attempted to catch up somewhat with the garden. Sleeping and gardening are really good therapy. I should also consider practicing! By Saturday, some energy was appearing, so I put in a heavy day, and for Sunday at church, I felt just about back to normal. While I feel pressure for continuing to completion the narrative of our wandering fortnight, and will get back to that tomorrow, I decided I deserved a break, and so, after church, I took off for Staten Island, where the good Felix Hell was playing a recital on a new organ at St. Teresa's Church. His father phoned a day or so ago expressing some frustration at not being able to be there - he is still in Germany - so I went <in loco parentis>, but, of course, really = just because I wanted to hear Felix again in a new context. It has been since he played for our AGO chapter in Stamford some months ago. That, I had thought, was a high point - he was tremendously sure and rock solid, terrifically musical and great fun to listen to - and the audience made it clear they understood all of that. Between then and now, he has made some decisions, possibly without realizing it. Once again, this time out, he = had an audience totally absorbed in all he did. There was one encore, and there could have been more, and when, at intermission, the pastor commented that he was determined that Felix would be invited back again, there was great applause and cheering.   Felix has somehow decided, at the tender age of 15 (but not 15 for long!) to become a player of the "old school," whatever that might mean to you. To me, that denotes unshakable, rock solid technique, based on a firm and ongoing study of the Piano, a technique that makes possible the kind of visceral approach to a score that carries an audience completely along. Some players of the "old school" also carried a complete self-assurance that allowed them to take stylistic liberties with a score, be it in = intricate tricks of registration or in distortions of tempo. None of this can pass muster in university organ classes I can think of, unless taught by a player of the "old school." Bear in mind, as I describe some of what took place today, that, given the right organ for it, which this one certainly = was not, Felix is perfectly capable of doing a perfect heel-free, articulated legato <orgelbewegung> sort of performance. I know I mentioned in my last Felix posting his spontaneous, private Wedge Prelude and Fugue performance, for trying out the Richards Fowkes organ we visited in Stamford. And James Lambert has reported to the list on Felix's fine and politically correct performance on the very North German Fritts- Richards organ in the Southwest, and he will be doing the complete works of Luebeck on a mechanical organ in Pennsylvania for the Region III con- vention in June. He is paying his North German dues with understanding and excitement. My first allegiance is always to OHS, so sadly, I have to miss that regional convention at the same time. Anyway, with discussion of the performance of each piece in Sunday's recital as a structure for commentary, let the fun begin, preceded by a word about the audience and circumstances of the day.   St. Teresa's does not promise much from the outside, and does not give much on the inside either, visually or acoustically. However, the parish is clearly thriving, under a very kind and enthusiastic parish priest whose commitment to music is clear, and whose excitement about this occasion was both obvious and contagious. The church was just about full, with only scattered seats here and there. The organ, recently finished by the Pera- gallo firm, was a gift from one parishioner. It is clear that the parishioners have considerable pride in what they have. There are 17 ranks and three manuals, which tells of compromises going on somewhere. We were not given a stoplist, and I felt uneasy about going up to the gallery and = undoing the puzzles of what was from where, but it is sure that there is = considerable extension and borrowing, and some digital presence on both manuals and Pedal. For reasons neither academical nor theoretical, but because of what I hear, for artistic reasons, I have to say that I consider the digital route, at least in this instrument, a bad way to go. In places, the ensemble = suffered painfully from its domination by a very opaque electronic tone. There was also an almost bizarre out-of-tuneness at times, the two systems somehow not cohabiting successfully. Certainly, as practiced in this instance, = organ- building becomes for me less Art and more and mere Expediency. I think each person needs to take his own counsel in deciding how much is too much, if any at all is acceptable, or if it might perhaps be best to have heard the 17 stops of this organ pure and unadulterated, and therefore scaled = and voiced to their potential without extension or unification. Based on this = ex- perience and on one I had in Germantown, PA, with the English group, and wrote about a week or so ago, I tend to agree with APOBA in the exclusion from its membership of builders using digital manual stops. They seem to accept, probably in desperation, the digital 32's that seem to appear = every- where. On to the program:   JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Prelude in G Major, S. 568. I had not heard this delightful work before. Keller says " . . . the chief motivating idea was the releasing of a tumultuous = flood of sound, in which the impetuous spirit of the young composer revels with delight." Change "composer" to organist and you get the picture. This = short little <tour de force> whetted the appetites of the audience, which burst = into loud applause at the end, not quite even waiting until the very end, which =   became a pattern throughout the evening. This tells you that this audience of just plain church folk did not have much in the way of concert smarts, = but don't think ill of them. Their rapt absorption in what was quite a long = and demanding program was really wonderful to see. The organ and console are in the west gallery, and while there is no ruckpositif to prevent one from =   craning one's neck to see the player, that gets a bit old after a while, = but all were able to focus on a very clear large video screen, well adjusted = and aimed. There are no console histrionics with Felix, but there is almost a gentle dance, a jogging, with an unintrusively athletic approach to big moments, and what it all spells is Felix's totally relaxed and assured = comfort with the phenomenal exertions required by much of what he played. In addition to which, it was completely clear that he was enjoying himself = all the way, and the audience responded to that in him, and also to the music = which he communicates so very well.   Chorale prelude: O Mensch, bewein. The brief program notes given us were presumably not written by Felix, as they referred to him in the third = person throughout. I don't know where the following came from, but I'll buy it: Speaking of O Mensch, "Widor considered it the finest piece of = instrumental music ever written." Did not Brahms say something like that about Schmucke dich? In case it matters, I have had a troubled relationship with Felix = and his playing of this piece. Hearing him playing it about two or three years = ago, I expressed the concern that he was not really listening to some very odd accelerandi and ritardandi that struck me as making little sense. It's not =   that I favor rigidity in performance of this piece or other ornamented chorale preludes like it. It was just that he seemed to be going overboard. Over = time, this seemed to stabilize, but when he came to Stamford (CT, where I live), the effect was more pronounced, but somehow, I had come to terms with it, and felt I was understanding what he was about, and also felt that there = was not a problem of him not listening, but rather, that he knew exactly what = he was doing, and I was just going to have to figure that all out for myself. =   Well, last night, it got pretty wild, and I never quite got comfortable with it, =   but I became more sure that he was quite conscious of what he meant to do and succeeded in doing. It was somewhere in this performance that I formulated my strange little idea that for this kind of performance on this kind of organ, Felix had, consciously or otherwise, determined to do what he felt, = eschewing concern with rules that change with every decade anyway. He has something going for him to which not many organists can lay claim. He has audiences right in the palm of his hand throughout. Meanwhile, I still don't get his =   ideas about O Mensch, but I keep trying.   1st movement, Allegro, from the first Trio Sonata in Eflat, for which = Felix found really clear and gentle registrations. He and the music danced = together, and the audience rewarded(!) him by beginning their applause about a whole bar before the final cadence. Amazing. I thought this a really good bit of programming - the big opening Bach, the soulful and gentle O Mensch, and then the still gentle but lively and bouncy trio movement, followed by:   Prelude and Fugue in D Major. Felix danced his way through this, totally = in control at about Mach 5, five times the speed of sound. It was indeed = quick, but controlled and clean, and fun. An elderly lady in the pew in front of = me, in a loud stage whisper announced to her friend, "He looks like he enjoys = it." 'Tis true. At the end of the fugue, at the last mad Pedal solo, the "old school" organist took over, or was it Virgil hovering over the proceedings (his = name having been invoked by the pastor before the concert), and Felix suddenly = went into overdrive, and the speed literally doubled from there to the end. I = am sure it has to be wrong in all books, but it sure was electrifying. It is not entirely bad when a performance leaves you chuckling happily. In another touch of fine programming:   Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Cantata 147), played very simply with a broad =   flue cantus against a gentle string accompaniment. The only unfortunate thing about this choice was that it got the aforementioned elderly lady in front =   singing along with the accompaniment. Not pretty! At the completion of the last statement of the chorale, Felix made an abrupt diminuendo for the last = state- ment of the accompanimental figure so beloved of my neighbor in the next pew. For the last bars into the final cadence, we got an even greater diminuendo. Just a bit on the too cute side, me thought. So much for Herr Bach. The = first half ended with:   FELIX MENDELSSOHN Sonata in F Minor. No movements were listed in the program, which I = thought might prove to be a mistake with this clap happy audience, but in fact, = Felix managed by a purposeful mien to indicate "Wait, there is more." It worked just fine. In the first movement, Felix did a grand pause, perfectly clearly not a final cadence, just before the last "chorale" bit, and there = was some applause, but it subsided quickly. The lady in front announced: "This takes a lot of work!" It was a splendid and dramatic performance of a work = I dearly love.   In pre-intermission remarks, the pastor made a kind of "You ain't heard nothin' yet" speech, suggesting that we fasten our seatbelts for the ride, and = that in this half, the organ will be heard all the way to the Outerbridge = Crossing! In reality, the second half was no more cataclysmic than the first, but I suppose it was the closing Widor yet to come that had him going on like = that.   Intermission   CESAR FRANCK Chorale No. 3 in A Minor. Dramatic and free - a really fine performance. = The potentially awkward spot in which the melodic note is left hanging before = it becomes the first note of possibly the most gorgeous adagio on earth, was indeed a bit awkward. It seemed like a "where is that piston" moment, but not to worry. This was a stunning performance, and I think the applause actually even began two bars before the final cadence! Anything could = happen!   JOSEPH RHEINBERGER Schmaltz Alert!! This is the moment all the Leslies got turned on (just kidding), and anything that could undulate was set in motion, along with " . . . our organ's 25 Mayland Chimes." It was a bit grim, but it's not = very long, and the chimes were, <mirabile dictu> in tune with the organ! The electronic 32' was really much too loud in its opaque, relentless way. I might have suggested resisting the temptation to use it.   DAVID GERMAN Festive Trumpet Tune in D. I found this melodically puerile - not a piece = I could live with very long. For something modern-ish, I would have thought one of the David Johnson tunes a better bet, or some of the English = trumpet tunes - or - some of the Tuba tunes. I know Felix does the C. S. Lang to = good effect. Just my opinion. Anyway, the German (composer, not player) gave everyone a chance to hear as a solo the <en chamade> Trumpet, which was clear and commanding without being overpowering. Felix used it here and there to bring out solo melody lines in other pieces, and being genteel without being boring, it served this function well, also. Here, the trend = of naming these things for something local was followed, and we have the Trompette de Teresa! We had some Zimbelstern at the end. Well, it is time to warn all those on the Outerbridge Crossing. Here comes the   CHARLES MARIE WIDOR Fourth Movement, Adagio, and Fifth Movement, Toccata, from Symphony No. 5. I commend Felix for giving the famous Toccata a bit of context by preceding it with the glorious Adagio. Even better is hearing the Toccata after a perforamnce of the entire Symphony. Malcolm Archer did this as a noon recital at Trinity, Wall Street some years ago, and it was a wonderful = Widor feast, and one falls into the Toccata as something inevitable, a = satisfying dessert. Felix's idea is a good step in that direction, and after the = German, we were ready again for something quiet as well, and it was beautifully played, and registered with great sensitivity. The Toccara, well, the Toccata was = fast to the point of frantic - not that it was ever less than in control - and = I really think a few notches off the speedometer might have made it a richer experience, but the audience ate it up, and it worked not too badly, given the very = dry acoustics. The manual registration seemed a bit thin, as a foil to a very heavy Pedal. Perhaps that was all the breadth that could be summoned up. There was tumultuous applause as Felix descended from the balcony and walked the long nave aisle to the front. It was clear the noise was not about to stop unless there was some indication that more was forthcoming. Felix silenced =   the crowd, and made a neat little speech about always hoping he might come up with a piece that bested the Widor in beauty and excitement. He felt he had found it in the Finale from the Vierne First Symphony, and quite = possibly he is right. He gave a stunning performance of it, and I found myself = thinking that perhaps there is more meat on these bones than on the Widor.   There was a 5 p.m. Mass scheduled, but there were notes on the doors suggesting that it might be a bit late in starting. The Pastor warmly = invited all to the gymnasium in the school next door for a reception, and asked that people move right out to make was for the Mass. He spirited Felix away by some hidden passage, and got him to the reception as the first people were arriving. The line of people to see him was a very long one, and it was quite clear that this recital and this young man had made a very powerful impression on all who were there. I was delighted to have been there. The two hour trip (thanks to some terrible traffic) was well worth it, and my friend Adam from New York, whom I found in the crowd after, had a rather more complicated trip, taking the Subway to the Staten Island Ferry slip, and = then on the other side, from St. George, a fairly long bus trip out to the = church. I was able to drop him at St. George at least, to get him on the boat, = cutting a bit of time from his trip home.   So, Felix conquers Staten Island, and as he piles success upon well = deserved success, his modesty and lack of hubris remain completely intact! He just goes on doing what he loves to do, and I, for one, am glad.   Cheers,   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com               --part1_9f.15b1aace.283b766b_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><BODY BGCOLOR=3D"#ffffff"><FONT = SIZE=3D2>Dear Lists and Friends, <BR> <BR>While I am historically a denizen of PipOrg-L, I am cross-posting this = to <BR>Pipechat, as I know the subject of this post has many friends and even =   <BR>a couple of presenters on that list. <BR> <BR>I have had a slow recovery curve after two weeks on the road with the = 25 <BR>English organists of whom I have already written on PipOrg-L. One = could not <BR>ask for more pleasant traveling companions, nor for more interesting = and <BR>exciting venues and events, but it is still work and a heavy = responsibility, <BR>and it takes its toll on the no-longer-young! I returned home late = last <BR>Tuesday night, and caught up on lots of sleep, and attempted to catch <BR>up somewhat with the garden. Sleeping and gardening are really good <BR>therapy. I should also consider practicing! By Saturday, some energy <BR>was appearing, so I put in a heavy day, and for Sunday at church, I = felt <BR>just about back to normal. While I feel pressure for continuing to <BR>completion the narrative of our wandering fortnight, and will get back = to <BR>that tomorrow, I decided I deserved a break, and so, after church, I = took <BR>off for Staten Island, where the good Felix Hell was playing a recital = on <BR>a new organ at St. Teresa's Church. His father phoned a day or so ago <BR>expressing some frustration at not being able to be there - he is <BR>still in Germany - so I went &lt;in loco parentis&gt;, but, of course, = really just <BR>because I wanted to hear Felix again in a new context. It has been = since <BR>he played for our AGO chapter in Stamford some months ago. That, I had <BR>thought, was a high point - he was tremendously sure and rock solid, <BR>terrifically musical and great fun to listen to - and the audience = made it <BR>clear they understood all of that. Between then and now, he has made = some <BR>decisions, possibly without realizing it. Once again, this time out, = he had an <BR>audience totally absorbed in all he did. There was one encore, and = there <BR>could have been more, and when, at intermission, the pastor commented <BR>that he was determined that Felix would be invited back again, there = was <BR>great applause and cheering. <BR> <BR>Felix has somehow decided, at the tender age of 15 (but not 15 for = long!) <BR>to become a player of the "old school," whatever that might mean to = you. <BR>To me, that denotes unshakable, rock solid technique, based on a firm <BR>and ongoing study of the Piano, a technique that makes possible the = kind <BR>of visceral approach to a score that carries an audience completely = along. <BR>Some players of the "old school" also carried a complete = self-assurance <BR>that allowed them to take stylistic liberties with a score, be it in = intricate <BR>tricks of registration or in distortions of tempo. None of this can = pass <BR>muster in university organ classes I can think of, unless taught by a <BR>player of the "old school." Bear in mind, as I describe some of what took <BR>place today, that, given the right organ for it, which this one = certainly was <BR>not, Felix is perfectly capable of doing a perfect heel-free, = articulated <BR>legato &lt;orgelbewegung&gt; sort of performance. I know I mentioned = in my <BR>last Felix posting his spontaneous, private Wedge Prelude and Fugue <BR>performance, for trying out the Richards Fowkes organ we visited in <BR>Stamford. And James Lambert has reported to the list on Felix's fine <BR>and politically correct performance on the very North German Fritts- <BR>Richards organ in the Southwest, and he will be doing the complete = works <BR>of Luebeck on a mechanical organ in Pennsylvania for the Region III = con- <BR>vention in June. He is paying his North German dues with understanding <BR>and excitement. My first allegiance is always to OHS, so sadly, I have = to <BR>miss that regional convention at the same time. Anyway, with = discussion <BR>of the performance of each piece in Sunday's recital as a structure = for <BR>commentary, let the fun begin, preceded by a word about the audience <BR>and circumstances of the day. <BR> <BR>St. Teresa's does not promise much from the outside, and does not give <BR>much on the inside either, visually or acoustically. However, the = parish is <BR>clearly thriving, under a very kind and enthusiastic parish priest = whose <BR>commitment to music is clear, and whose excitement about this occasion <BR>was both obvious and contagious. The church was just about full, with = only <BR>scattered seats here and there. The organ, recently finished by the = Pera- <BR>gallo firm, was a gift from one parishioner. It is clear that the <BR>parishioners <BR>have considerable pride in what they have. There are 17 ranks and = three <BR>manuals, which tells of compromises going on somewhere. We were not <BR>given a stoplist, and I felt uneasy about going up to the gallery and = undoing <BR>the puzzles of what was from where, but it is sure that there is = considerable <BR>extension and borrowing, and some digital presence on both manuals and <BR>Pedal. For reasons neither academical nor theoretical, but because of = what <BR>I hear, for artistic reasons, I have to say that I consider the = digital <BR>route, at <BR>least in this instrument, a bad way to go. In places, the ensemble = suffered <BR>painfully from its domination by a very opaque electronic tone. There = was <BR>also an almost bizarre out-of-tuneness at times, the two systems = somehow <BR>not cohabiting successfully. Certainly, as practiced in this instance, = organ- <BR>building becomes for me less Art and more and mere Expediency. I think <BR>each person needs to take his own counsel in deciding how much is too <BR>much, if any at all is acceptable, or if it might perhaps be best to = have <BR>heard <BR>the 17 stops of this organ pure and unadulterated, and therefore = scaled and <BR>voiced to their potential without extension or unification. Based on = this ex- <BR>perience and on one I had in Germantown, PA, with the English group, = and <BR>wrote about a week or so ago, I tend to agree with APOBA in the = exclusion <BR>from its membership of builders using digital manual stops. They seem = to <BR>accept, probably in desperation, the digital 32's that seem to appear = every- <BR>where. On to the program: <BR> <BR>JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH <BR>Prelude in G Major, S. 568. I had not heard this delightful work = before. <BR>Keller <BR>says " . . . the chief motivating idea was the releasing of a = tumultuous flood <BR>of sound, in which the impetuous spirit of the young composer revels = with <BR>delight." Change "composer" to organist and you get the picture. This = short <BR>little &lt;tour de force&gt; whetted the appetites of the audience, = which burst into <BR>loud applause at the end, not quite even waiting until the very end, = which <BR>became a pattern throughout the evening. This tells you that this = audience <BR>of just plain church folk did not have much in the way of concert = smarts, but <BR>don't think ill of them. Their rapt absorption in what was quite a long and <BR>demanding program was really wonderful to see. The organ and console = are <BR>in the west gallery, and while there is no ruckpositif to prevent one = from <BR>craning one's neck to see the player, that gets a bit old after a = while, but <BR>all were able to focus on a very clear large video screen, well = adjusted and <BR>aimed. There are no console histrionics with Felix, but there is = almost a <BR>gentle dance, a jogging, with an unintrusively athletic approach to = big <BR>moments, and what it all spells is Felix's totally relaxed and assured = comfort <BR>with the phenomenal exertions required by much of what he played. In <BR>addition to which, it was completely clear that he was enjoying = himself all <BR>the <BR>way, and the audience responded to that in him, and also to the music = which <BR>he communicates so very well. <BR> <BR>Chorale prelude: O Mensch, bewein. The brief program notes given us = were <BR>presumably not written by Felix, as they referred to him in the third = person <BR>throughout. I don't know where the following came from, but I'll buy = it: <BR>Speaking of O Mensch, "Widor considered it the finest piece of = instrumental <BR>music ever written." Did not Brahms say something like that about = Schmucke <BR>dich? In case it matters, I have had a troubled relationship with = Felix and <BR>his <BR>playing of this piece. Hearing him playing it about two or three years = ago, I <BR>expressed the concern that he was not really listening to some very = odd <BR>accelerandi and ritardandi that struck me as making little sense. It's = not <BR>that <BR>I favor rigidity in performance of this piece or other ornamented = chorale <BR>preludes like it. It was just that he seemed to be going overboard. = Over time, <BR>this seemed to stabilize, but when he came to Stamford (CT, where I = live), <BR>the effect was more pronounced, but somehow, I had come to terms with = it, <BR>and felt I was understanding what he was about, and also felt that = there was <BR>not a problem of him not listening, but rather, that he knew exactly = what he <BR>was doing, and I was just going to have to figure that all out for = myself. <BR>Well, <BR>last night, it got pretty wild, and I never quite got comfortable with = it, <BR>but I <BR>became more sure that he was quite conscious of what he meant to do = and <BR>succeeded in doing. It was somewhere in this performance that I = formulated <BR>my strange little idea that for this kind of performance on this kind = of <BR>organ, <BR>Felix had, consciously or otherwise, determined to do what he felt, = eschewing <BR>concern with rules that change with every decade anyway. He has = something <BR>going for him to which not many organists can lay claim. He has = audiences <BR>right in the palm of his hand throughout. Meanwhile, I still don't get = his <BR>ideas <BR>about O Mensch, but I keep trying. <BR> <BR>1st movement, Allegro, from the first Trio Sonata in Eflat, for which = Felix <BR>found really clear and gentle registrations. He and the music danced = together, <BR>and the audience rewarded(!) him by beginning their applause about a = whole <BR>bar before the final cadence. Amazing. I thought this a really good = bit of <BR>programming - the big opening Bach, the soulful and gentle O Mensch, = and <BR>then the still gentle but lively and bouncy trio movement, followed = by: <BR> <BR>Prelude and Fugue in D Major. Felix danced his way through this, = totally in <BR>control at about Mach 5, five times the speed of sound. It was indeed = quick, <BR>but controlled and clean, and fun. An elderly lady in the pew in front = of me, <BR>in <BR>a loud stage whisper announced to her friend, "He looks like he enjoys = it." <BR>'Tis true. At the end of the fugue, at the last mad Pedal solo, the = "old <BR>school" <BR>organist took over, or was it Virgil hovering over the proceedings = (his name <BR>having been invoked by the pastor before the concert), and Felix = suddenly went <BR>into overdrive, and the speed literally doubled from there to the end. = I am <BR>sure <BR>it has to be wrong in all books, but it sure was electrifying. It is = not <BR>entirely bad <BR>when a performance leaves you chuckling happily. In another touch of = fine <BR>programming: <BR> <BR>Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Cantata 147), played very simply with a = broad <BR>flue <BR>cantus against a gentle string accompaniment. The only unfortunate = thing <BR>about this choice was that it got the aforementioned elderly lady in = front <BR>singing <BR>along with the accompaniment. Not pretty! At the completion of the = last <BR>statement of the chorale, Felix made an abrupt diminuendo for the last = state- <BR>ment of the accompanimental figure so beloved of my neighbor in the = next <BR>pew. For the last bars into the final cadence, we got an even greater <BR>diminuendo. <BR>Just a bit on the too cute side, me thought. So much for Herr Bach. = The first <BR>half ended with: <BR> <BR>FELIX MENDELSSOHN <BR>Sonata in F Minor. No movements were listed in the program, which I = thought <BR>might prove to be a mistake with this clap happy audience, but in = fact, Felix <BR>managed by a purposeful mien to indicate "Wait, there is more." It = worked <BR>just fine. In the first movement, Felix did a grand pause, perfectly <BR>clearly not a final cadence, just before the last "chorale" bit, and = there was <BR>some applause, but it subsided quickly. The lady in front announced: = "This <BR>takes a lot of work!" It was a splendid and dramatic performance of a = work I <BR>dearly love. <BR> <BR>In pre-intermission remarks, the pastor made a kind of "You ain't = heard <BR>nothin' <BR>yet" speech, suggesting that we fasten our seatbelts for the ride, and = that <BR>in this half, the organ will be heard all the way to the Outerbridge = Crossing! <BR>In reality, the second half was no more cataclysmic than the first, = but I <BR>suppose it was the closing Widor yet to come that had him going on = like that. <BR> <BR>Intermission <BR> <BR>CESAR FRANCK <BR>Chorale No. 3 in A Minor. Dramatic and free - a really fine = performance. The <BR>potentially awkward spot in which the melodic note is left hanging = before it <BR>becomes the first note of possibly the most gorgeous adagio on earth, = was <BR>indeed a bit awkward. It seemed like a "where is that piston" moment, = but <BR>not to worry. This was a stunning performance, and I think the = applause <BR>actually even began two bars before the final cadence! Anything could = happen! <BR> <BR>JOSEPH RHEINBERGER <BR>Schmaltz Alert!! This is the moment all the Leslies got turned on = (just <BR>kidding), and anything that could undulate was set in motion, along = with <BR>" . . . our organ's 25 Mayland Chimes." It was a bit grim, but it's = not very <BR>long, and the chimes were, &lt;mirabile dictu&gt; in tune with the = organ! The <BR>electronic 32' was really much too loud in its opaque, relentless way. = I <BR>might have suggested resisting the temptation to use it. <BR> <BR>DAVID GERMAN <BR>Festive Trumpet Tune in D. I found this melodically puerile - not a = piece I <BR>could live with very long. For something modern-ish, I would have = thought <BR>one of the David Johnson tunes a better bet, or some of the English = trumpet <BR>tunes - or - some of the Tuba tunes. I know Felix does the C. S. Lang = to good <BR>effect. Just my opinion. Anyway, the German (composer, not player) = gave <BR>everyone a chance to hear as a solo the &lt;en chamade&gt; Trumpet, = which was <BR>clear and commanding without being overpowering. Felix used it here = and <BR>there to bring out solo melody lines in other pieces, and being = genteel <BR>without being boring, it served this function well, also. Here, the = trend of <BR>naming these things for something local was followed, and we have the <BR>Trompette de Teresa! We had some Zimbelstern at the end. Well, it is = time <BR>to warn all those on the Outerbridge Crossing. Here comes the <BR> <BR>CHARLES MARIE WIDOR <BR>Fourth Movement, Adagio, and Fifth Movement, Toccata, from Symphony <BR>No. 5. I commend Felix for giving the famous Toccata a bit of context by <BR>preceding it with the glorious Adagio. Even better is hearing the = Toccata <BR>after <BR>a perforamnce of the entire Symphony. Malcolm Archer did this as a = noon <BR>recital at Trinity, Wall Street some years ago, and it was a wonderful = Widor <BR>feast, and one falls into the Toccata as something inevitable, a = satisfying <BR>dessert. Felix's idea is a good step in that direction, and after the = German, <BR>we were ready again for something quiet as well, and it was = beautifully <BR>played, <BR>and registered with great sensitivity. The Toccara, well, the Toccata = was fast <BR>to the point of frantic - not that it was ever less than in control - = and I <BR>really <BR>think a few notches off the speedometer might have made it a richer <BR>experience, <BR>but the audience ate it up, and it worked not too badly, given the = very dry <BR>acoustics. The manual registration seemed a bit thin, as a foil to a = very <BR>heavy <BR>Pedal. Perhaps that was all the breadth that could be summoned up. = There <BR>was tumultuous applause as Felix descended from the balcony and walked <BR>the long nave aisle to the front. It was clear the noise was not about = to <BR>stop <BR>unless there was some indication that more was forthcoming. Felix = silenced <BR>the crowd, and made a neat little speech about always hoping he might = come <BR>up with a piece that bested the Widor in beauty and excitement. He = felt he <BR>had found it in the Finale from the Vierne First Symphony, and quite = possibly <BR>he is right. He gave a stunning performance of it, and I found myself = thinking <BR>that perhaps there is more meat on these bones than on the Widor. <BR> <BR>There was a 5 p.m. Mass scheduled, but there were notes on the doors <BR>suggesting that it might be a bit late in starting. The Pastor warmly = invited <BR>all <BR>to the gymnasium in the school next door for a reception, and asked = that <BR>people move right out to make was for the Mass. He spirited Felix away <BR>by some hidden passage, and got him to the reception as the first = people <BR>were arriving. The line of people to see him was a very long one, and = it was <BR>quite clear that this recital and this young man had made a very = powerful <BR>impression on all who were there. I was delighted to have been there. = The <BR>two hour trip (thanks to some terrible traffic) was well worth it, and = my <BR>friend <BR>Adam from New York, whom I found in the crowd after, had a rather more <BR>complicated trip, taking the Subway to the Staten Island Ferry slip, = and then <BR>on the other side, from St. George, a fairly long bus trip out to the = church. <BR>I was able to drop him at St. George at least, to get him on the boat, = cutting <BR>a bit of time from his trip home. <BR> <BR>So, Felix conquers Staten Island, and as he piles success upon well = deserved <BR>success, his modesty and lack of hubris remain completely intact! He = just <BR>goes on doing what he loves to do, and I, for one, am glad. <BR> <BR>Cheers, <BR> <BR>Malcolm Wechsler <BR>www.mander-organs.com <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR></FONT></HTML>   --part1_9f.15b1aace.283b766b_boundary--