PipeChat Digest #2686 - Sunday, February 3, 2002
 
Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc.
  by <Cremona502@cs.com>
Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by <Cremona502@cs.com>
Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by "Roger Brown" <rbrown7@bigpond.net.au>
 

(back) Subject: Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc. From: <Cremona502@cs.com> Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 17:25:07 EST     --part1_11c.bbf7647.298f12c3_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   In a message dated 2/3/02 2:19:41 PM Eastern Standard Time, = AFberlin2@aol.com writes:     > I know from colleagues of mine who are music directors of > orchestras in halls where there are good pipe instruments, that they can =   > really only get away with using the organ as a concerto solo instrument > once > or twice in a season because of audience preferences.   From my experience, as the son of a symphony orchestra member (retired), = that far too often these opinions are those of a few with big mouths and = wallets to match. They go to the music director and say "all of my friends... = blah blah blah" and because of their social and financial standing (which more often than not is far greater than their musical standing) in the = community carries a disproportionate amount of weight. I've gone to symphony concerts with organ and have seen and heard the thunderous applaus after = the combined pieces, even when the instrument used was not real. Ordinary people generally love the organ and its majestic sounds. Too often the = very wealthy associate the organ with church and hearing it brings memories of churches which they support with money and lip service and do not attend except when there are lilys or poinsettias present. There response to = the organ's reminder of their lackluster worship participation is guilt and = they hate the organ for it. One of the reasons that organ recitals are so poorly attended is that the great majority of them are in churches. = There have been times when I've played identical recitals in the same week at churches within a mile of each other, and have had two completely = different audiences. Many people are just hesitant to go into "someone else's" church.   Attending a symphony concert has more social approval than does an organ concert. I was not around then , but it's my understanding that concerts during the hay-days of Lemare and Eddy were very well attended. Our culture has changed, and support for all of the arts has fallen, the more socially associated ones being the ones that have better held their = audiences.   <However, for me--and this is just my own personal opinion--if I am = listening to a performance that is really boring and unmusical, I try to get from it =   what I can glean, but also feel the experience somewhat empty inside. I = may come away with admiration for the instrument, but it that alone is not = enough to fulfill me as a listening participant. >   I suppose I have the same reaction to a symphony performance in which the conductor is extremely demonstrative. I consider this a terrible distraction, just as I do the extreme gyrations of instrumentalists who it =   front stage. I respond less to the conductor than most people, and a lack-luster conductor would effect me less. Again, I go to hear the instruments and the music that they play. It often does not matter what = the music is. Music and instruments are inextricably linked and it's really impossible to experience one without the other.     <They will also marvel at the lush, softer combinations of stops. It will = be first the instrument which will claim their interest. But then their eyes =   will be focused on that person using their hands and (!) feet, producing = the music coming from the instrument. They will begin to notice whether he is =   watching the conductor, being musically sensitive to his colleagues in the orchestra, decide whether or = not they even like the piece, then see if the performance of soloist and orchestra moves them. >   I'm not sure that this is as significant a consideration as it may appear. = Consider the woodwind or brass soloist who is buried in the midst of the orchestra. The audience seldom sees much of them and is probably = unlikely to determine if they are watching the conductor. I've seen very few "big" =   soloists who appeared to watch the conductor, but rather the conductor seems to be watching them. It reminds me of the story of the concert pianist = who disagreed on tempo with the conductor and during his solo sections would speed up the tempo, only to have the conductor slow down when the = orchestra re-entered. Finally after the last piano solo section, when the orchestra =   re-entered and began slowing the tempo, the pianist just maintained his tempo, finished before the orchestra, and then got up and left the stage! = If the performance is lack-luster, it seems that the conductor should = share some of the blame. Of course, it may also be the result of too little = time playing together. <the local critic will write about how the organist wasn't sensitive to = the orchestra or conductor. >   Not to be unkind, but more often than not "local critics" are amazingly uneducated in other than the "big twenty" orchestra pieces. Far too = often they totally miss the point.   < It's a sad thing, and I think that's why we all have to broaden our horizons more. And maybe being judged on the same level as our colleagues in other = musical mediums will make us stand up and take notice and ask ourselves how we can =   bring the organ and organ performance into the musical mainstream. >   One of the really big problems here is literature. There is so little modern literature written for organ that is either accessible to organists = or listeners. So much of the literature is too long, too loud, and too = devoid of anything really worth listening to. Audiences will accept this from orchestras occasionally, because within the program they probably will = hear the more familiar and well-loved literature. Alas, when one big bad = piece is played on the organ in the context of a symphony concert, the organ = gets the blame and people don't want to go through that again. The organ in concert should be presented with at least an opportunity to share some of = the tried and true favorites. In organ concerts in churches, far too many = are plagued with church-related compositions which turn off those in the = audience who are not church people. I'll admit that it turns me off, too. = Chances are, I've already been to church and want to be entertained, not lulled = with a chorale prelude. There's just too much wonderful, exciting, soothing, = and just downright beautiful organ music out there to inflict chorale preludes = on concert goers. It is a shame that more composers do not write more accessible music for the organ, its players and its listeners.     <This last sentence brings up the idea that a violin soloist would never perform a concert on an inferior instrument. A major pianist often gets = to choose the best piano for his performance. As organists, we don't have = this choice.>   I'm not sure that this is really a consideration. Most concert goes would =   not know the difference between a Strad and a suzuki violin if played by a =   great artist. By the same token, very few people can tell the difference =   between a "good" organ and a "not good" organ, especially since there are = so many variations in between.   I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Berlin to = Pipechat, and hope that he will stick around and challenge us, educate us, and get = to know us. I hope that the relationship will be reciprocal.   Bruce Cornely < Cremona502@cs.com > with the Baskerbeagles in the Beagle's Nest ~ ""Haruffaroo, Bohawow!" Visit Howling Acres and meet the Baskerbeagles: Duncan, Miles, Molly & = Dewi < http://members.tripod.com/Brucon502 >   --part1_11c.bbf7647.298f12c3_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2>In a message dated = 2/3/02 2:19:41 PM Eastern Standard Time, AFberlin2@aol.com writes: <BR> <BR> <BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=3DCITE style=3D"BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; = MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">I know from = colleagues of mine who are music directors of <BR>orchestras in halls where there are good pipe instruments, that they can <BR>really only get away with using the organ as a concerto solo = instrument once <BR>or twice in a season because of audience preferences.</FONT><FONT = COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D3 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" FACE=3D"Arial" = LANG=3D"0"></BLOCKQUOTE> <BR></FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" = FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"> <BR>From my experience, as the son of a symphony orchestra member = (retired), that far too often these opinions are those of a few with big = mouths and wallets to match. &nbsp;They go to the music director and say = "all of my friends... blah blah blah" and because of their social and = financial standing (which more often than not is far greater than their = musical standing) in the community carries a disproportionate amount of = weight. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I've gone to symphony concerts with organ = and have seen and heard the thunderous applaus after the combined pieces, = even when the instrument used was not real. &nbsp;&nbsp;Ordinary people = generally love the organ and its majestic sounds. &nbsp;&nbsp;Too often = the very wealthy associate the organ with church and hearing it brings = memories of churches which they support with money and lip service and do = not attend except when there are lilys or poinsettias present. = &nbsp;&nbsp;There response to the organ's reminder of their lackluster wor <BR> <BR>Attending a symphony concert has more social approval than does an = organ concert. &nbsp;I was not around then , but it's my understanding = that concerts during the hay-days of Lemare and Eddy were very well = attended. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Our culture has changed, and support for all = of the arts has fallen, the more socially associated ones being the ones = that have better held their audiences. <BR> <BR>&lt;However, for me--and this is just my own personal opinion--if I am = listening <BR>to a performance that is really boring and unmusical, I try to get = from it <BR>what I can glean, but also feel the experience somewhat empty inside. = I may <BR>come away with admiration for the instrument, but it that alone is not = enough <BR>to fulfill me as a listening participant. &nbsp;&gt; <BR> <BR>I suppose I have the same reaction to a symphony performance in which = the conductor is extremely demonstrative. &nbsp;&nbsp;I consider this a = terrible distraction, just as I do the extreme gyrations of = instrumentalists who it front stage. &nbsp;&nbsp;I respond less to the = conductor than most people, and a lack-luster conductor would effect me = less. &nbsp;&nbsp;Again, I go to hear the instruments and the music that = they play. &nbsp;It often does not matter what the music is. = &nbsp;&nbsp;Music and instruments are inextricably linked and it's really = impossible to experience one without the other. <BR> <BR> <BR>&lt;They will also marvel at the lush, softer combinations of stops. = &nbsp;It will be first the instrument which will claim their interest. = &nbsp;But then their eyes will be focused on that person using their hands = and (!) feet, producing the music coming from the instrument. &nbsp;They = will begin to notice whether he is watching the conductor, being <BR>musically sensitive to his colleagues in the orchestra, decide whether = or not <BR>they even like the piece, then see if the performance of soloist and <BR>orchestra moves them. &gt; <BR> <BR>I'm not sure that this is as significant a consideration as it may = appear. &nbsp;Consider the woodwind or brass soloist who is buried in the = midst of the orchestra. &nbsp;&nbsp;The audience seldom sees much of them = and is probably unlikely to determine if they are watching the conductor. = &nbsp;I've seen very few "big" soloists who appeared to watch the = conductor, but rather the &nbsp;conductor seems to be watching them. = &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It reminds me of the story of the concert pianist who = disagreed on tempo with the conductor and during his solo sections would = speed up the tempo, only to have the conductor slow down when the = orchestra re-entered. &nbsp;Finally after the last piano solo section, = when the orchestra re-entered and began slowing the tempo, the pianist just maintained his = tempo, finished before the orchestra, and then got up and left the stage! = &nbsp;&nbsp;If the performance is lack-luster, it seems that the conductor = should share some of the blame. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <BR> <BR>&lt;the local critic will write about how the organist wasn't = sensitive to the orchestra or conductor. &gt; <BR> <BR>Not to be unkind, but more often than not "local critics" are = amazingly uneducated in other than the "big twenty" orchestra pieces. = &nbsp;&nbsp;Far too often they totally miss the point. <BR> <BR>&lt; &nbsp;It's a sad thing, and I think that's why we all have to = broaden our horizons more. &nbsp; <BR>And maybe being judged on the same level as our colleagues in other = musical <BR>mediums will make us stand up and take notice and ask ourselves how we = can <BR>bring the organ and organ performance into the musical mainstream. = &nbsp;&gt; <BR> <BR>One of the really big problems here is literature. &nbsp;&nbsp;There = is so little modern literature written for organ that is either accessible = to organists or listeners. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;So much of the literature is = too long, too loud, and too devoid of anything really worth listening to. = &nbsp;&nbsp;Audiences will accept this from orchestras occasionally, = because within the program they probably will hear the more familiar and = well-loved literature. &nbsp;&nbsp;Alas, when one big bad piece is played = on the organ in the context of a symphony concert, the organ gets the = blame and people don't want to go through that again. = &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The organ in concert should be presented with at least = an opportunity to share some of the tried and true favorites. = &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;In organ concerts in churches, far too many are plagued = with church-related compositions which turn off those in the audience who = are not church people. &nbsp;&nbsp;I'll admit that it turns me off, too. = &nbsp;&n <BR> <BR> <BR>&lt;This last sentence brings up the idea that a violin soloist would = never <BR>perform a concert on an inferior instrument. &nbsp;A major pianist = often gets to <BR>choose the best piano for his performance. &nbsp;As organists, we = don't have this <BR>choice.&gt; <BR> <BR>I'm not sure that this is really a consideration. &nbsp;Most concert = goes would not know the difference between a Strad and a suzuki violin if = played by a great artist. &nbsp;&nbsp;By the same token, very few people = can tell the difference between a "good" organ and a "not good" organ, = especially since there are so many variations in between. <BR> <BR>I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Berlin to = Pipechat, and hope &nbsp;that he will stick around and challenge us, = educate us, and get to know us. &nbsp;&nbsp;I hope that the relationship = will be reciprocal. <BR> <BR> Bruce Cornely &lt; Cremona502@cs.com &gt;<I> </I> <BR>with the Baskerbeagles in the Beagle's Nest ~ ""Haruffaroo, Bohawow!" <BR>Visit Howling Acres <I>&nbsp;</I>and meet the Baskerbeagles: = &nbsp;Duncan, Miles, Molly &amp; Dewi <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&lt; &nbsp;http://members.tripod.com/Brucon502 = &gt;</FONT></HTML>   --part1_11c.bbf7647.298f12c3_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: <Cremona502@cs.com> Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 17:33:21 EST     --part1_ae.21cdd08e.298f14b1_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   In a message dated 2/3/02 1:32:31 PM Eastern Standard Time, TheShieling@xtra.co.nz writes:     > I do know for sure in my part of the > world that in many organists' associations probably half the membership = at > least are those who love the sound of the organ but don't play = themselves at > all, and also know little about music beyond recognising the most famous = 10 > bits of organ music you can think of. >   This is an interesting perspective and, interestingly, can even be seen in =   such august organizations as the Organ Historical Society. There are = very dedicated members who do not play, but love the sound, and in the case of = OHS , the appearance of the instruments. It is indeed sad that organists = more often than not do not normall have the financial ability to fully indulge themselves in the possibilities.   We're not alone, though. I remember once on a tour of Galveston, Texas, = the tour guide pointed out several beautiful victorian homes and noted that = far too often the people who are able to afford to live in them don't have the =   taste/ability to appreciate them fully.   Bruce Cornely < Cremona502@cs.com > with the Baskerbeagles in the Beagle's Nest ~ ""Haruffaroo, Bohawow!" Visit Howling Acres and meet the Baskerbeagles: Duncan, Miles, Molly & = Dewi < http://members.tripod.com/Brucon502 >   --part1_ae.21cdd08e.298f14b1_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2>In a message dated = 2/3/02 1:32:31 PM Eastern Standard Time, TheShieling@xtra.co.nz writes: <BR> <BR> <BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=3DCITE style=3D"BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; = MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">I do know for sure = in my part of the <BR>world that in many organists' associations probably half the = membership at <BR>least are those who love the sound of the organ but don't play = themselves at <BR>all, and also know little about music beyond recognising the most = famous 10 <BR>bits of organ music you can think of. <BR></FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D3 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" = FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"></BLOCKQUOTE> <BR></FONT><FONT COLOR=3D"#000000" SIZE=3D2 FAMILY=3D"SANSSERIF" = FACE=3D"Arial" LANG=3D"0"> <BR>This is an interesting perspective and, interestingly, can even be = seen in such august organizations as the Organ Historical Society. = &nbsp;&nbsp;There are very dedicated members who do not play, but love the = sound, and in the case of OHS , the appearance of the instruments. = &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It is indeed sad that organists more often than not do = not normall have the financial ability to fully indulge themselves in the = possibilities. <BR> <BR>We're not alone, though. &nbsp;I remember once on a tour of Galveston, = Texas, the tour guide pointed out several beautiful victorian homes and = noted that far too often the people who are able to afford to live in them = don't have the taste/ability to appreciate them fully. <BR> <BR> Bruce Cornely &lt; Cremona502@cs.com &gt;<I> </I> <BR>with the Baskerbeagles in the Beagle's Nest ~ ""Haruffaroo, Bohawow!" <BR>Visit Howling Acres <I>&nbsp;</I>and meet the Baskerbeagles: = &nbsp;Duncan, Miles, Molly &amp; Dewi <BR> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&lt; &nbsp;http://members.tripod.com/Brucon502 = &gt;</FONT></HTML>   --part1_ae.21cdd08e.298f14b1_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: "Roger Brown" <rbrown7@bigpond.net.au> Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 10:13:14 +1100   On Sun, 3 Feb 2002 15:19:37 EST, Cremona502@cs.com wrote:   >The beauty of the organ=20 >is fully appreciated in its playing.   The nature of our instrument obviously makes it somewhat inevitable that the instrument itself may at times draw attention away from the music. And in truth, the fare at some recitals makes this not only inevitable but an absolute certainty.   On the other hand I recall years ago attending a university lunch time recital solely to hear a relatively new mechanical action instrument with little thought for the music to be played or the recitalist.   But after a vaguely interesting short opening piece (Zipoli), the recitalist launched into the Bach C Major Trio Sonata. And all thoughts of the instrument seemed to vanish as the music absolutely danced - never had I heard this piece, which I previously regarded as little more than an academic exercise, so splendidly communicated.=20   I was at that time scarcely able to play the organ. But I HAD to learn to play that music. And in due course I did, and those trio sonatas remain my favourites to this day.   The recitalist was of course Weir. And the point of my musings is to suggest that if the recitalist is good enough, the barrier of mechanism over music will be readily overcome.   But how many recitals do we attend where the instrument is FAR more interesting that the playing?     Roger   =20   Roger Brown rbrown7@bigpond.net.au http://rogerbrown.tripod.com