PipeChat Digest #2813 - Friday, April 19, 2002
 
Andrew Henderson, St. Ignatius, NY - 3/13/02
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
TONIGHT at St. Ignatius-Andrew Henderson
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Central Synagogue Organs - NYC - A Review (long)
  by <OrganNYC@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Andrew Henderson, St. Ignatius, NY - 3/13/02 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 02:05:38 -0400   Dear Lists and Friends   Years ago, the concerts at Lincoln Center in the Mostly Mozart Festival were preceded by half hour recitals an hour before concert time, leaving a half hour for people to enter (or leave) after the recital. In the days before the Aeolian-Skinner went into the glass house, some of the recitals were by organists. I recall that we often got lots of repertoire covered in 30 minutes by Anthony Newman! For a while now, St. Ignatius has been doing something similar, but different in the sense that the pre-concert events are not appendages of the main 8 pm event, but are equally important. They are, however, recitals, usually, but not always, by a single player, or a soloist with accompaniment. Often, there is some thematic connection between the works played at the two concerts, as was the case on this evening. More about that later. The first concerts are at 6:30, leaving time for at least an hour-long recital, with time after for people to come in for the 8 p.m. concert.   Andrew Henderson is from Thorold, Ontario. This is Ken Cowan's home town, as well! Just in case it is something in the water, I'll have a six pack, please. Andrew has a B.A. from Cambridge University, where he served for three years as Organ Scholar at Clare College! He is now a full scholarship Doctoral candidate at Juilliard, and became Assistant Organist at St. Ignatius in June of last year. In light of the nature of the program, I want to boldly essay a word about Andrew's approach to the keyboard. One of my first teachers at Oberlin was Fenner Douglass, but during a leave he took for a semester, we were taught by Richard Hudson, who spent a certain amount of time trying to loosen us up, physically. We would sit in a chair with a score in hand, and try to move our bodies in response to its tensions and releases. I writhe overmuch at the keyboard to this very day. At Juilliard, I studied with the saintly Vernon de Tar, who was incredibly still at the organ - wasting not a single motion. What he managed to do, while hardly moving anything other than hands and feet, remains legendary. Andrew Henderson plays with a similar economy of motion, and, as with Vernon, there is fire in those fingers and in the musical intellect that makes them move. One might, in examining the program laid out below, think it didactic and academic. Forget that. I was perched on the edge of my pew throughout, for the Gabrielis, Frescobaldi, and of course, for Bach.   First: The Bach/Vivaldi A Minor Concerto Allegro - with a bright, clear and gentle registration. Adagio - wonderfully poetic Allegro - full of clarity and excitement, with a good, full registration.   Bach- Canzona in D Minor. This is a very complex piece, attempting to disguise itself as easy to play. It doesn't get out much, so I was grateful for this opportunity to hear it. Andrew's tempo moved - no mournful subject here. The obligatory triple section was truly elegant.   Giovanni Gabrieli - Toccata on the 2nd tone - Played on a chorus underpinned by my all-time favorite Great 16' Open.   Andrea Gabrieli - Canzon francese detta 'Petit Jacquet' - A charming fluty piece, like many of the genre, based on a French Chanson, in this case, one that has not been found. Only the name survives.   Giovanni Gabrieli - Ricercare on the first tone. The form is perhaps a precursor of the fugue, but is important in its own right. So much depends upon clarity of touch, delivered here in abundance.   Frescobaldi - Canzon dopo la Pistoia - no wonder the birds stopped singing to hear Frescobaldi play. This is from "Fiori Musicali," (musical flowers) from about 1625, a collection of pieces to be played during the Mass. Pieces to be played after the reading of the Epistle were earlier styled "Dopo la Pistola," and in the edition I own, "Dopo l 'Epistola." I haven't the linguistic skill to explain that change. However, I have been to Pistoia, which is clearly a non epistolary place, and wonder if "dopo la Pistoia" both on the program list and in the notes is simply a misprint, or if there is some deeper linguistic secret. Anyone playing this music, and lots of other Italian music of its time, will want to read Frescobaldi's introduction to the Fiori. It is stylistically very specific and important to an understanding of this wonderful music. Andrew Henderson clearly knows all about that.   Speaking of birds, next we heard Capriccio sopra "Il Cucho" (Frescobaldi). Wonderful, with lovely varied registrations. Such a clever piece.   Bach - Fugue in B Minor, based on a theme from a church sonata of Corelli. Played with wonderful drive. At some point in this piece, there was a great, incomprehensible shout from someone in the audience, toward the back of the church. We'll never know! Perhaps it was something to do with plagiarism, an in topic this year.   This concert was something of a Bach/Vivaldi sandwich. The program ended with the D Minor Concerto. This work sort of got discovered during my student days, always there, but finally noticed in a separate Peters volume. Andrew makes this all live through wonderful rhythmic drive and a stunning control of touch (and release). It is all interesting. The Largo felt quick to me. The final allegro was full of excitement, and he was not afraid to build the organ to the end. I would subtitle this whole performance: "Elegance and Fire."   As I am writing this on Internet Pipe Organ Lists, with rules about straying too far off topic, I can and will only say a bit about the 8 p.m. concert which followed this splendid recital. The message of the two events together concerned the great influence on German Baroque composers like Bach of what was happening in Italy. What a long visit to Venice would have meant to poor old home-bound Bach (with the one well-known exception)! But, he was no slouch about getting the scores, copying them, or, as in the case of the two concerti just heard, transcribing them for organ. The B Minor Fugue falls into the same category, with thematic material taken from Corelli. Schuetz, whose astonishing Musikalische Exequien we heard in the 8 p.m. concert, spent three years in Venice, with Giovanni Gabrieli as his teacher. The first work on the program was by Johann Bach, Bach's great uncle. The piece, Unser Leben ist ein Schatten, began with a little "concertino" group of soloists in the Baptistry in the back of the church, and there were other bits of placing of singers, in spirit like the Italian <Cori Spezzati,> the antiphonal choir effects so associated with San Marco in Venice. Second, we heard the Bach Motet, <Jesu, meine Freude.> This was conducted brilliantly by another new star in the incredible firmament of musicians at this church, Aaron Kinley Smith. Like Andrew Henderson, he also arrived on the scene, as Assistant Music Director, last June. I have not here mentioned the figure who has put all of this musical powerhouse together - Kent Tritle, Director of Music Ministries. Nor have I mentioned Nancianne Parrella, Associate Organist, known to most of you, who was not directly involved musically in this program, but was, as always, around helping in various ways. Excellent program notes were provided by Andrew Henderson for his own recital, and by Cleveland Kersh for the 8 p.m. concert.   I am still pushing to catch up with writing about other programs I have heard this year. Still on the back burner: Joan Lippincott at St. Ignatius April 10th, Aaron David Miller at the cathedral in Garden City last Sunday. I have extensive notes on a wonderful, long ago concert of music for Organ, Brass, and Percussion, by Nancianne Parrella which just blew me away. There is a plan afoot to release a recording of this event, and I am waiting for word that it is about to happen, at which time I will get something on the lists, with information for ordering. That's one line I want to be at the head of. TONIGHT, Andrew Henderson plays a recital, at St. Ignatius, fulfilling a requirement for his DMA program at Juilliard. This concert will be free - 8 p.m. and I will post the program separately.   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com          
(back) Subject: TONIGHT at St. Ignatius-Andrew Henderson From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 02:20:50 -0400   Dear Lists and Friends,   Having just posted about Andrew Henderson's last concert at St. Ignatius Loyola, it is time to write about a DMA concert he is about to play - Tonight, Friday, 4/19/02 - 8:00 p.m.   If you are in, or are within reach of, Manhattan, try to come. There are good reasons:   Andrew is a wonderful player.   The organ is worthy of your attention, and is in a great acoustic. < http://www.mander-organs.com/html/st_ignatius_loyola.html > will take you right to it.   We are accustomed to paying at least a portion of our fair share to hear great music in this place. This evening's concert will be free.   The church is at 980 Park Avenue, at 84th Street, a short walk from the 86th Street stop on the 4, 5, or 6, trains.   The program:   Bach - Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C   Reger - Phantasie und Fugue on "Wie Schoen leucht' uns der Morgenstern"   Durufle - Prelude and Fugue on the name ALAIN   Calvin Hampton - Five Dances   I look forward to seeing some of you there.   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com          
(back) Subject: Central Synagogue Organs - NYC - A Review (long) From: <OrganNYC@aol.com> Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 03:57:21 EDT     --part1_d6.154e1730.29f127e1_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   I have posted the specs for the two new organs at Central Synagogue in NYC = on the www.nycago.org website. Click on NYC Organs and then find Central Synagogue. One can click on the synagogue's web site link to see a photo = of the organ; we were not permitted to take any images (graven or otherwise, = as the "voice of God" said before the concert) at the inaugural concert by = David Higgs. I hope to get permission to copy their professional photos or take = my own eventually.   I, for one, was very glad to be at this concert. An organ dedication, = even in NYC, is a grand event. We lined up around the block, and were = monitored by security-looking guys, before we got up the steps and in the doors. = For background, the National Landmark Central Synagogue had a devasting fire a =   few years ago, leaving only the walls standing. I had only seen the old synagogue on TV now and then, yet they seemed to always show the old 1926 Kilgen hidden behind the Jardine facade, which intrigued me; it sounded pretty good, actually. They have now rebuilt and dedicated (on Sept. 9) = the newly-rebuilt synagogue. The small -- but effective -- Bimah Organ by Casavant was installed in time for that event. Its pipes are located someplace in the front, apparently behind scrims on the side gallery level =   that look like walls. There is a 3-manual terraced drawknob console with = a huge row of couplers down front. I'd guess that it will roll out of sight = for normal weekend services.   The gallery organ has a 4-manual drawknob console. The gallery divisions = are behind a Moorish proscenium arch, and the space extends upward for many = feet. Both consoles can play both organs, but it seemed to me that the front console plays the back organ with blind pistons or whatever. David Higgs seemed to use the "next" piston to get through things; I don't blame him! = I would guess that this arrangement -- in lieu of just getting a twin = 4-manual console down front -- will not prove to be a good or practical = arrangement, and the authorities might consider buying a duplicate 4-manual console for =   the Bimah or move the gallery console down front. With a price tag of = $2.5M, it baffles me why there were not simply two identical consoles.   The rebuilt synagogue is absolutely beautiful. Stunning, actually. I = found myself staring at the details of ornamentation, the floors, the windows (there is a Greek cross in the rose window!), and even the drop-dead staircases which must have cost $1M in wood alone. The Bimah replicates = the front facade of the building, and the ceiling is azure with 6-pointed = stars. As they say, "no expense was spared." There seemed to be a very nice = natural acoustic in the room, owing to ceramic tile floors throughout (except for = the balconies) and plaster walls and ceiling. The Bimah area is covered with brown carpeting, which doesn't really go with the architectural design details of the rest of the space. I wondered why they didn't have a nice wooden floor or ceramic tile to go with the rest of the room? The pew cushions seem to be of that stuff which doesn't absorb sound (is that = really possible?) , but it didn't matter since the place was full with about 1200-1400 people. The program booklet and die-cut organ brochure were expensively done on glossy paper and beautiful. Those without tickets = were sent to the side galleries, so my group sat half-way between the front and =   back in the first row of the north gallery. From there, we could see both =   consoles and hear the organ in balance.   The first half of the concert included the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, = known for their excellence and the fact that they don't have a conductor. David =   Higgs, the consumate artist from Eastman School of Music and a NYC native, =   played a Handel Concerto (No. 4) with them, using (mainly) the 8' Montre = on the Bimah organ. It was a very nice sound, full of ornaments and spark, and all made great music together. A very nice opener. At that point, I = didn't realize that the other part of the Bimah organ was on the opposite side; everything was piped through speakers so we really couldn't tell what was coming from where. But I held fast and was determined to give this = concert a fair judgement. My organist friend next to me, who is very experienced in =   playing temple jobs, commented that it didn't make since that none of the Bimah organ divisions were enclosed or had something soft (or a celeste) = to accompany the cantor. The Senior Rabbi, by the way, had insisted on the front console so that the organist could be seen and not be removed from = the music-making. Good for him....kinda! The next piece was the Rheinberger Concerto No. 4 in F. I hadn't heard this piece live before, so it was a treat for me. I have a recording of EPB playing it, I think. The results were glorious...except, I'd guess, for those sitting nearer the gallery organ. David used lots of lush combinations, and did his best to balance things with the orchestra from the front console. There was an = explanation that the Poulenc could not be played due to some factory glitch in the console, but I can't imagine what that would mean: if he could play the Rheinberger, he could have dealt with the less-taxing Poulenc. = Nonetheless, having heard the Poulenc way too many times, I enjoyed the Rheinberger substitute. It's a great piece and a wonderful way to show off a new = organ.   Second half: David played the Bach P&F in C Minor from the gallery organ console. His interpretation was consistent, and notable by his = articulation of the passacaglia theme; every note was separated. Far from the average performance of this piece, we all listened carefully to see what he would = do next. He played well and from memory! The next piece was written by a congregational member (Shelly Palmer) who is well-known for his writing of =   award-winning radio/tv/movie scores. How wonderful is that, to have = someone so inspired and involved in his congregation's new pipe organ to sit down = and write his first organ piece? Of course, organ music was not really his = best genre, but on the whole, it wasn't bad. Very Jewish in its themes, Palmer =   included sections devoted to prayers: happy prayers, sad prayers, = anguished prayers, etc. Lots of sequences a la Gordon Young's "Prelude and Fugue in =   Classic Style" but, on the whole, he obviously put a lot of thought into = his themes. For this piece, we heard every stop of the organ demonstrated, including the Trompette Shofar, the Klezmer Clarinette (sounds like an out-of-regulation and angry English Horn on 10" pressure -- but I'm sure = I'm wrong), the Trompette de Fete, the chimes and zimbelstern/Clochettes (the latter not being included in the specs, so I'm guessing it was either a = late addition or just a goof). It was hard to tell the difference between the party horns: The shofar and the "de Fete". The real and bigger problem = in this piece was the obviousness of the electronic reverb system -- what can = I say? We heard chords and releases, then we heard bing-a, bing-a, bing-a, bing-a, bing-a...for a total of 5 seconds. The reverb may have added some =   cathedral-like (rather, big room) "mud" during the course of a normal = piece, but became almost humorous when big chords were released. Hopefully, this =   was the first public use of this system in a concert format, and the ears = of those who installed it will adjust things so that they are not so fake-sounding.   We have to admit that we didn't stay to hear the Reubke Sonata. By this time, we'd been there over two hours, and we were ready to have dinner. I =   felt guilty in leaving, because so many had come to hear this concert; congregants of all walks of life were there and seemed very interested. Again, how wonderful!   On the whole, I liked the sound of the new Casavants. They were not = unlike the American Classic sound of the 60s -- some Rohr Schalmei-ish sounds permeated in the ensemble, which I assumed was just a matter of = registration. The 32 reed seems to be full-length and full of fundamental. The lone string celeste could be tuned a bit closer for my taste, but it worked. = The flutes and principals were typical Casavant and very nice. While some = design features were obviously dictated by the temple staff and consultant, and = not necessarily what Casavant would have done, on the whole, it's not a bad = pair of instruments! We are glad to hear a new Casavant in NYC, since their = last instrument here was several decades ago.   In short, anyone who has been through a church/synagogue fire knows what = this very big event was all about. After the shock of the fire, the tedious planning and rebuilding begins. Piece by piece, the worship space is put back together: the ceiling, the windows, the pews, the decorations, the = holy places and scrolls, and maybe, just maybe, the pipe organ. Central gets = an A+!   Are these the best organs in NYC today? No. But are they the proudest organs to be installed in recent years -- a result of many years of = planning and anticipation? YES!   I congratulate Central Synagogue and the Wiener family for purchasing not one, but two, real pipe organs (with no digital anything) instead of an imitation. And I look forward to hearing more from these organs, perhaps without the electronic reverb. One could assume, further, that the = inclusion of MIDI capabilities might actually be used and useful by the talented and =   musical congregants.   Finally, it is also very important to us in NYC that there is another synagogue which has a REAL pipe organ. So many famous and = well-established synagogues have discarded their organs (often Casavants from the 1920s) in =   favor of an imitation. We are heartened to hear that Temple Emanu-El is rebuilding their huge organ, rather than replacing it with a substitute, = as was up for discussion only last year.   Steve Lawson - NYC   --part1_d6.154e1730.29f127e1_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT COLOR=3D"#030025" SIZE=3D2 = FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Verdana" LANG=3D"0">I have posted the specs = for the two new organs at Central Synagogue in NYC on the www.nycago.org = website. &nbsp;Click on NYC Organs and then find Central Synagogue. = &nbsp;One can click on the synagogue's web site link to see a photo of the = organ; we were not permitted to take any images (graven or otherwise, as = the "voice of God" said before the concert) at the inaugural concert by = David Higgs. &nbsp;I hope to get permission to copy their professional = photos or take my own eventually. <BR> <BR>I, for one, was very glad to be at this concert. &nbsp;An organ = dedication, even in NYC, is a grand event. &nbsp;We lined up around the = block, and were monitored by security-looking guys, before we got up the = steps and in the doors. &nbsp;For background, the National Landmark = Central Synagogue had a devasting fire a few years ago, leaving only the = walls standing. &nbsp;I had only seen the old synagogue on TV now and = then, yet they seemed to always show the old 1926 Kilgen hidden behind the = Jardine facade, which intrigued me; it sounded pretty good, actually. = &nbsp;They have now rebuilt and dedicated (on Sept. 9) the newly-rebuilt = synagogue. &nbsp;The small -- but effective -- Bimah Organ by Casavant was = installed in time for that event. &nbsp;Its pipes are located someplace in = the front, apparently behind scrims on the side gallery level that look = like walls. &nbsp;There is a 3-manual terraced drawknob console with a = huge row of couplers down front. I'd guess that it will roll out <BR> <BR>The gallery organ has a 4-manual drawknob console. &nbsp;The gallery = divisions are behind a Moorish proscenium arch, and the space extends = upward for many feet. &nbsp;Both consoles can play both organs, but it = seemed to me that the front console plays the back organ with blind = pistons or whatever. &nbsp;David Higgs seemed to use the "next" piston to get through = things; I don't blame him! &nbsp;I would guess that this arrangement -- in = lieu of just getting a twin 4-manual console down front -- will not prove = to be a good or practical arrangement, and the authorities might consider = buying a duplicate 4-manual console for the Bimah or move the gallery = console down front. &nbsp;With a price tag of $2.5M, it baffles me why = there were not simply two identical consoles. <BR> <BR>The rebuilt synagogue is absolutely beautiful. &nbsp;Stunning, = actually. &nbsp;I found myself staring at the details of ornamentation, = the floors, the windows (there is a Greek cross in the rose window!), and = even the drop-dead staircases which must have cost $1M in wood alone. = &nbsp;The Bimah replicates the front facade of the building, and the = ceiling is azure with 6-pointed stars. &nbsp;As they say, "no expense was = spared." &nbsp;There seemed to be a very nice natural acoustic in the = room, owing to ceramic tile floors throughout (except for the balconies) = and plaster walls and ceiling. &nbsp;The Bimah area is covered with brown = carpeting, which doesn't really go with the architectural design details = of the rest of the space. &nbsp;I wondered why they didn't have a nice = wooden floor or ceramic tile to go with the rest of the room? &nbsp;The = pew cushions seem to be of that stuff which doesn't absorb sound (is that = really possible?) , but it didn't matter since the place was full w <BR> <BR>The first half of the concert included the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, = known for their excellence and the fact that they don't have a conductor. = &nbsp;David Higgs, the consumate artist from Eastman School of Music and a = NYC native, played a Handel Concerto (No. 4) with them, using (mainly) the = 8' Montre on the Bimah organ. &nbsp;It was a very nice sound, full of = ornaments and spark, and all made great music together. &nbsp;A very nice = opener. &nbsp;At that point, I didn't realize that the other part of the = Bimah organ was on the opposite side; everything was piped through = speakers so we really couldn't tell what was coming from where. &nbsp;But = I held fast and was determined to give this concert a fair judgement. = &nbsp;My organist friend next to me, who is very experienced in playing = temple jobs, commented that it didn't make since that none of the Bimah = organ divisions were enclosed or had something soft (or a celeste) to = accompany the cantor. &nbsp;The Senior Rabbi, by the way, ha <BR> <BR>Second half: &nbsp;David played the Bach P&amp;F in C Minor from the = gallery organ console. &nbsp;His interpretation was consistent, and = notable by his articulation of the passacaglia theme; every note was = separated. &nbsp;Far from the average performance of this piece, we all = listened carefully to see what he would do next. &nbsp;He played well and = from memory! The next piece was written by a congregational member (Shelly = Palmer) who is well-known for his writing of award-winning radio/tv/movie = scores. How wonderful is that, to have someone so inspired and involved in = his congregation's new pipe organ to sit down and write his first organ = piece? &nbsp;Of course, organ music was not really his best genre, but on = the whole, it wasn't bad. &nbsp;Very Jewish in its themes, Palmer included = sections devoted to prayers: &nbsp;happy prayers, sad prayers, anguished = prayers, etc. &nbsp;Lots of sequences a la Gordon Young's "Prelude and = Fugue in Classic Style" but, on the whole, he obviously <BR> <BR>We have to admit that we didn't stay to hear the Reubke Sonata. = &nbsp;By this time, we'd been there over two hours, and we were ready to = have dinner. &nbsp;I felt guilty in leaving, because so many had come to = hear this concert; congregants of all walks of life were there and seemed = very interested. &nbsp;Again, how wonderful! &nbsp; <BR> <BR>On the whole, I liked the sound of the new Casavants. &nbsp;They were = not unlike the American Classic sound of the 60s -- some Rohr Schalmei-ish = sounds permeated in the ensemble, which I assumed was just a matter of = registration. &nbsp;The 32 reed seems to be full-length and full of fundamental. = &nbsp;The lone string celeste could be tuned a bit closer for my taste, = but it worked. &nbsp;The flutes and principals were typical Casavant and = very nice. &nbsp;While some design features were obviously dictated by the = temple staff and consultant, and not necessarily what Casavant would have = done, on the whole, it's not a bad pair of instruments! &nbsp;We are glad = to hear a new Casavant in NYC, since their last instrument here was = several decades ago. <BR> <BR>In short, anyone who has been through a church/synagogue fire knows = what this very big event was all about. &nbsp;After the shock of the fire, = the tedious planning and rebuilding begins. &nbsp;Piece by piece, the = worship space is put back together: &nbsp;the ceiling, the windows, the = pews, the decorations, the holy places and scrolls, and maybe, just maybe, = the pipe organ. &nbsp;Central gets an A+! <BR> <BR>Are these the best organs in NYC today? &nbsp;No. &nbsp;But are they = the proudest organs to be installed in recent years -- a result of many = years of planning and anticipation? &nbsp;YES! <BR> <BR>I congratulate Central Synagogue and the Wiener family for purchasing = not one, but two, real pipe organs (with no digital anything) instead of = an imitation. &nbsp;And I look forward to hearing more from these organs, = perhaps without the electronic reverb. &nbsp;One could assume, further, = that the inclusion of MIDI capabilities might actually be used and useful = by the talented and musical congregants. <BR> <BR>Finally, it is also very important to us in NYC that there is another = synagogue which has a REAL pipe organ. &nbsp;So many famous and = well-established synagogues have discarded their organs (often Casavants = from the 1920s) in favor of an imitation. We are heartened to hear that = Temple Emanu-El is rebuilding their huge organ, rather than replacing it = with a substitute, as was up for discussion only last year. &nbsp; <BR> <BR>Steve Lawson - NYC</FONT></HTML>   --part1_d6.154e1730.29f127e1_boundary--