PipeChat Digest #2687 - Monday, February 4, 2002
 
From Alexander Frey re:Critique etc.
  by <AFberlin2@aol.com>
Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by <Cremona502@cs.com>
Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by "Roger Brown" <rbrown7@bigpond.net.au>
Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com>
RE: Is Carol Williams a Theatre organist?
  by "STRAIGHT" <STRAIGHT@infoblvd.net>
Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc.
  by "Rodney West" <rodneywest72@yahoo.com>
Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc.
  by "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com>
Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc.
  by <quilisma@socal.rr.com>
 

(back) Subject: From Alexander Frey re:Critique etc. From: <AFberlin2@aol.com> Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 19:25:01 EST   My dear friends,   The postings regarding the importance of instrument vs. performance have = been sent to me by a friend on your list. I found the discussion between Mike, =   Rodney, Bruce and others to be extremely interesting and pertinent at this =   point in musical history, particularly during the current era of organ performance and composition.   I only know a few people on your list personally, but I sure would like to =   know more of you; you strike me as being people who actually think and are =   open to debating your points of view--all which are indeed salient and = worthy of discourse. I don't personally subscribe to chat lists. Nothing personal-it's only that my schedule doesn't allow the time to be a real participant. But as a conductor, organist and pianist, I find this particular topic of great personal interest, and I am joining your list momentarily to give my humble perspective. The following doesn't negate = any viewpoint previously expressed; in fact, each opinion already recorded on this topic of this list is extremely valid and actually not in = disagreement with one another. So with the kind permission of this most august body of =   lovers of the organ and its music, I would like to just use this moment to =   express my thoughts on this most important subject. I don't expect = everyone to agree with me--and that's perfectly okay. It would be a pretty dull affair if we all had exactly the same opinion.   As some of you may know, I'm one who does work in the "music world = at-large." But my first love since I was a child has been the organ. And maybe it = is because I've been blessed with a musical career in other mediums that I am =   particularly concerned with the place of the organ and it's performers and =   music in the musical hemisphere. I want the organ and organ performance = to be fully accepted as legitimate art forms by the rest of the music world. =   Unfortunately, it is not. I have tried to lobby for organ soloists on various programs I've been engaged to do as guest conductor, only to be = told that there is "no interest" from the public. Once in a while, I'm able to =   bring in somebody with my own orchestra, but must plead with the = management to do so. 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. Isn't this a truly = sad state of affairs? Look at the number of concert halls in the world that = have pipe organs-and relatively new ones, at that. There are more than you = think. In Asia, it seems that every time a new concert hall is built, in goes a = new organ. In Germany, almost every major concert hall as a pipe organ. Many = of the concert halls in England and France do as well. Look at Chicago, = Dallas, Boston, Seattle, Jacksonville, Cleveland, the new Disney Hall in Los = Angeles, Woolsey Hall in New Haven and Alice Tully Hall in New York City. Let's = also not forget Hartford and Portland. During the inaugural season of any new concert hall organ, there will be many events surrounding the new = instrument. But then it trails off in the following years. There are a few = exceptions: for example, Dallas makes very good use of their organ. Let's hope the = same for the other cities.   Now with that lengthy preamble, why isn't the organ more accepted as a legitimate musical art form?   I agree with you, Mike, on the points about the beauty of the instrument, = and I fully understand how that could be the sole focus of someone attending a =   recital. We are all transported by the beautiful sounds emanating from a glorious organ. And we all want the performing artist to use the = instrument in a wonderful, complete way..one that shows off a particular instrument = at its best.   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. Again, this is only my own viewpoint.   Your example of the comparison of a listener in a piano recital or = symphony orchestra concert is a superb one. But it may also point out one of the reasons why the organ and organists are tragically not truly accepted as = part of the general musical world, and also why attendance at organ recitals suffers so much. The highest attendance for an organ performance-outside = of AGO conventions-may very well be that of a symphony orchestra that is featuring an organ concerto, say, in Chicago's Orchestra Hall or Symphony Hall in Boston. For those 3000-4500 people who will be filling the halls = for such an event (or, in the case of a subscription series where the program might be repeated 3 or 4 times in one week, thereby bringing the = attendance of an organ performance to about 12,000-17,000 people <!>) it may be one = of the few times in their lives that most of them will be attending a live = organ performance in a concert setting (outside of hearing the organ in a church = or synagogue during services.) They will, of course, be enthralled by the = sheer sound of full organ in partnership with the squadrons of brass = instruments, strings, winds and percussion. 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. If it is not a particularly good performance, they will respond with polite applause at best, and the local critic will write =   about how the organist wasn't sensitive to the orchestra or conductor. In =   other words, the organist (and, subsequently, the organ) will be judged in =   the same way and on a par as any other soloist (violinist, pianist, = singer, etc.). The MUSICAL expectations end up overriding any other concerns. = And if the performance is not up to the level expected of any other kind of soloist, this, of course, may very well contribute to relegating the organ =   and organists to a very low place on the musical world's totem pole. 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. This = will directly affect the future of our instrument as a whole. And reflecting = on your excellent points of your posting, I think that, more than that of any =   other classical musical instrument-except the human voice-an organ recital = is a listening experience that is broader in its totality: we hear the music, =   the player and the instrument as one--as a complete whole. But, again, my =   own feeling is that if one of these ingredients is not up to par, then the =   overall experience can suffer. Of course, a great artist can overcome the =   deficiencies of an organ that is not a great one.   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. We do, however, have the ability to choose an excellent organ builder when our institutions are considering a new instrument. No matter =   what the size, an excellent design and superb musical voicing will result = in a superior instrument--hopefully in a room with decent acoustics, but even = in a dead room, excellent voicing has beautiful results.   Regarding Miss Weir, I do not think her opinion one of arrogance, but that = of a performing artist who has worked VERY hard, sometimes on rather = inadequate instruments, to excite, thrill and move us through the beauty of the composer. A beautiful organ simply just does not come alive without music =   being played on it. I have discussed this very issue with Gillian on a few occasions, the most =   recent time in December at the reception following my performance in = London's Wigmore Hall, which she attended. We both know that the organ is one of = the greatest living, breathing instruments of music. I think her great wish = is the same as mine: to bring the organ into the mainstream of the general = music world, hugely expand our public and educate all of our listeners into the limitless musical and tonal possibilities of the instrument, expose new listeners to great literature both past and present, played in a = completely musically compelling way that is equally on a par with the greatest = soloists in other musical mediums-and that the organ and its performers would have = the opportunity and acceptance to be judged as such. It would be then that we =   would walk into a church, synagogue or concert hall on a Sunday afternoon = to hear one of our colleagues play a recital, look around and notice that the =   building is filled to capacity and know that this is the normal attendance =   for an organ recital.    
(back) Subject: Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: <Cremona502@cs.com> Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 23:37:01 EST     --part1_13c.8c653c0.298f69ed_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   In a message dated 2/3/02 6:15:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, rbrown7@bigpond.net.au writes:     > 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 -   How on earth could thoughts of the instrument disappear? Did she whistle =   the trio sonata? The organ and music are inextricably related and bound together. It's really pretty much impossible to enjoy one without the = other.   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_13c.8c653c0.298f69ed_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 6:15:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, rbrown7@bigpond.net.au writes: <BR> <BR> <BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=3DCITE style=3D"BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; = MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">But after a = vaguely interesting short opening &nbsp;piece (Zipoli), the <BR>recitalist launched into the Bach C Major Trio Sonata. And all <BR>thoughts of the instrument seemed to vanish as the music absolutely <BR>danced - </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>How on earth could thoughts of the instrument disappear? = &nbsp;&nbsp;Did she whistle the trio sonata? &nbsp;&nbsp;The organ and = music are inextricably related and bound together. &nbsp;It's really = pretty much impossible to enjoy one without the other. <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_13c.8c653c0.298f69ed_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: "Roger Brown" <rbrown7@bigpond.net.au> Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 15:54:04 +1100   On Sun, 3 Feb 2002 23:37:01 EST, Cremona502@cs.com wrote:   >How on earth could thoughts of the instrument disappear? Did she = whistle=20 >the trio sonata? The organ and music are inextricably related and = bound=20 >together. It's really pretty much impossible to enjoy one without the = other.   I know what you are saying - and certainly this particular instrument (by Ron Sharp - the builder of the Sydney Opera House organ) admirably suited the music.   But that was ny impression at the time - I stopped thinking of the instrument and was absolutely bowled over by the music - especially the way it danced.   And that is a barrier that recitalists too rarely overcome IMO - even Weir can to my ears sound relatively pedestrian in some repertoire. But on every occasion I've heard her in these pieces my reaction has been exactly the same.     Roger     Roger Brown rbrown7@bigpond.net.au http://rogerbrown.tripod.com  
(back) Subject: Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com> Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2002 23:01:37 -0600     --------------275F1DEC8617EB6C08F91D69 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3Dus-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit     In response to Roger, who wrote in part:     > 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 -   Bud took valuable time from howling with the Baskerpups to query and opine:   > How on earth could thoughts of the instrument disappear? > Did she whistle the trio sonata? The organ and music are > inextricably related and bound together. It's really > pretty much impossible to enjoy one without the other.   Leading me to note (F#, I think) that this was the entire thrust of the earlier posts in the comments of Maestro Frey: if the organ is to have much success as a solo instrument, whether with or without accompaniment, with the general public, the music must transcend the instrument. If it doesn't, the audience will not connect, as generally organists do not get the benefit of "flash and dazzle"...   ns   --------------275F1DEC8617EB6C08F91D69 Content-Type: text/html; charset=3Dus-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> &nbsp; <br>In response to Roger, who wrote in part: <br>&nbsp; <blockquote TYPE=3DCITE>But after a vaguely interesting short = opening&nbsp; 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 -</blockquote> Bud took valuable time from howling with the Baskerpups to query and = opine: <blockquote TYPE=3DCITE><font face=3D"Arial"><font color=3D"#000000"><font = size=3D-1>How on earth could thoughts of the instrument disappear?&nbsp;&nbsp; Did she whistle the trio sonata?&nbsp;&nbsp; The organ and music are inextricably related and bound together.&nbsp; It's really pretty much impossible to enjoy one without the other.</font></font></font></blockquote> Leading me to note (F#, I think) that this was the entire thrust of the earlier posts in the comments of Maestro Frey:&nbsp; if the organ is to have much success as a solo instrument, whether with or without = accompaniment, with the general public, the music must transcend the instrument.&nbsp; If it doesn't, the audience will not connect, as generally organists do not get the benefit of "flash and dazzle"... <p>ns</html>   --------------275F1DEC8617EB6C08F91D69--    
(back) Subject: RE: Is Carol Williams a Theatre organist? From: "STRAIGHT" <STRAIGHT@infoblvd.net> Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 01:04:30 -0500   Yes she is!   I went to her concert in Rochester, NY this afternoon.   Did a lot of different pieces, including a couple of toccatas, a march, some "cheeky" pieces from England, some ragtime, some romantic mood music, and so on. Talked a little about the features of the organ. A nice program, in her own individual style. I think I'd label it jazz. She also has a good sense of humor!   Diane S.          
(back) Subject: Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc. From: "Rodney West" <rodneywest72@yahoo.com> Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 23:23:07 -0800 (PST)   --- Cremona502@cs.com wrote: Bruce, Your long response to Alexander Frey's letter prvokes several reactions from me.   First of all, at the end of your letter you welcome Maestro Frey to the list, which is great--we would all benefit greatly from his input. The you refer to him as Mr. Berlin and say that you hope he learns from us!     I understand your meaning, but I have to ask if you know who you are addressing here. I have heard Frey perform on numerous occasions here in California during his US tours, and my partner and I had the experience of seeing him conduct in Europe. I checked a few websites tonight to catch up on his activities.   We are talking about a person who regularly works with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Munich Symphony..the list is quite long..a major artist. In addition to being a great conductor, he is also one of the great virtuoso organists and pianists of our time. I attended his concert in the Hollywood Bowl a few years ago when he was soloist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra-organ and orchestra-18,000 people cheering! Not bad for a man who is only in his mid-30's!   I think we can all learn from somebody like him with his wealth of experience.   Secondly, you write the following: <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.>   Excuse me?! What about the very accessible, listenable and even entertaining music of, to name a few, Albright, Rorem, Bolcom, Dinda, Conte, Messaien (though he might not be for everyone's taste-I love his music), Langlais, Dowling, Berlinski. Even the Schoenberg Variations on a recitative come across in a melodious eay.   And the composers listed above write music that is tonal and touching. In short, very accessible.   Then you go on to try to correct Maestro Frey's comments about the place of the organ in the concert hall and concert hall public. Excuse me, but the man conducts all over the world every season in addition to appearing as soloist with major orchestras and conductors. He also is conductor of symphony orchestras in Prague and Rome, so I think it would be safe to say that he has a slightly more educated perspective than any of us about these matters. Being the son of a symphony orchestra musician is not the same experience as being th music director of a symphony orchestra.   I think Maestro Frey's letter is one of the most insightful essays that has been posted on this list in a long time. I hope he writes again sometime.       __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Great stuff seeking new owners in Yahoo! Auctions! http://auctions.yahoo.com  
(back) Subject: Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc. From: "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com> Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 01:36:01 -0600     --------------CBD7DB2B8BC1208471062E4C Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3Dus-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit     In a lengthy and thoughtful response to Maestro Frey, Bud wrote, in part:   > 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.   to which I would point out I think that Bruce is overlooking a crucial point about the organ concerts in the heydays of Lemare, Eddy--and I would add Guilmant and Courboin to the list, too, specifically that these esteemed virtuosi did not (for the most part) have to compete with the Symphony orchestras in most of the venues in which they played. By and large, the cities in which these men played did not have symphony orchestras (Yes, I know, that Chicago, Boston and New York had symphony orchestras a hundred years ago; I submit that many of the other venues in which these men played did not, and that even those places that did, the ensembles did not have the caliber that they do today.) and that these performers brought a wide range of "serious music" (in transcription, BTW) to audiences that would not have heard it otherwise. When Chattanooga developed the resources for a "real" orchestra that played on a regular basis, they no longer needed a Municipal Organist, which post was held by Lemare.   ns   --------------CBD7DB2B8BC1208471062E4C Content-Type: text/html; charset=3Dus-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> &nbsp; <br>In a lengthy and thoughtful response to Maestro Frey, Bud wrote, in part: <blockquote TYPE=3DCITE><font face=3D"Arial"><font color=3D"#000000"><font = size=3D-1>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.</font></font></font></blockquote> to which I would point out I think that Bruce is overlooking a crucial point about the organ concerts in the heydays of Lemare, Eddy--and I would add Guilmant and Courboin to the list, too, specifically that these = esteemed virtuosi did not (for the most part) have to compete with the Symphony orchestras in most of the venues in which they played.&nbsp; By and large, the cities in which these men played did not have symphony orchestras = (Yes, I know, that Chicago, Boston and New York had symphony orchestras a = hundred years ago; I submit that many of the other venues in which these men = played did not, and that even those places that did, the ensembles did not have the caliber that they do today.) and that these performers brought a wide range of "serious music" (in transcription, BTW) to audiences that would not have heard it otherwise.&nbsp; When Chattanooga developed the = resources for a "real" orchestra that played on a regular basis, they no longer = needed a Municipal Organist, which post was held by Lemare. <p>ns</html>   --------------CBD7DB2B8BC1208471062E4C--    
(back) Subject: Re: From Alexander Frey:re. Critique etc. From: <quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 00:11:33 -0800     --------------BAF42382C38355DB2F59A299 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3Dus-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   Whoa, dudes ... attribute where attribution is due. I had NO PART in THIS discussion (grin).   Bud   Noel Stoutenburg wrote:   > > In a lengthy and thoughtful response to Maestro Frey, Bud wrote, in > part: > >> 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. > > to which I would point out I think that Bruce is overlooking a crucial > point about the organ concerts in the heydays of Lemare, Eddy--and I > would add Guilmant and Courboin to the list, too, specifically that > these esteemed virtuosi did not (for the most part) have to compete > with the Symphony orchestras in most of the venues in which they > played. By and large, the cities in which these men played did not > have symphony orchestras (Yes, I know, that Chicago, Boston and New > York had symphony orchestras a hundred years ago; I submit that many > of the other venues in which these men played did not, and that even > those places that did, the ensembles did not have the caliber that > they do today.) and that these performers brought a wide range of > "serious music" (in transcription, BTW) to audiences that would not > have heard it otherwise. When Chattanooga developed the resources for > a "real" orchestra that played on a regular basis, they no longer > needed a Municipal Organist, which post was held by Lemare. > > ns   --------------BAF42382C38355DB2F59A299 Content-Type: text/html; charset=3Dus-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> Whoa, dudes ... attribute where attribution is due. I had NO PART in THIS discussion (grin). <p>Bud <p>Noel Stoutenburg wrote: <blockquote TYPE=3DCITE>&nbsp; <br>In a lengthy and thoughtful response to Maestro Frey, Bud wrote, in part: <blockquote TYPE=3DCITE><font face=3D"Arial"><font color=3D"#000000"><font = size=3D-1>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.</font></font></font></blockquote> to which I would point out I think that Bruce is overlooking a crucial point about the organ concerts in the heydays of Lemare, Eddy--and I would add Guilmant and Courboin to the list, too, specifically that these = esteemed virtuosi did not (for the most part) have to compete with the Symphony orchestras in most of the venues in which they played.&nbsp; By and large, the cities in which these men played did not have symphony orchestras = (Yes, I know, that Chicago, Boston and New York had symphony orchestras a = hundred years ago; I submit that many of the other venues in which these men = played did not, and that even those places that did, the ensembles did not have the caliber that they do today.) and that these performers brought a wide range of "serious music" (in transcription, BTW) to audiences that would not have heard it otherwise.&nbsp; When Chattanooga developed the = resources for a "real" orchestra that played on a regular basis, they no longer = needed a Municipal Organist, which post was held by Lemare. <p>ns</blockquote> </html>   --------------BAF42382C38355DB2F59A299--