PipeChat Digest #2696 - Friday, February 8, 2002
 
Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by "Douglas A Campbell" <dougcampbell@juno.com>
RE: Saint Thomas' Chamade
  by "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org>
Re: Swedes and English
  by "Robert Lind" <Robert_Lind@cch.com>
RE: Swedes and English
  by "Emmons, Paul" <pemmons@wcupa.edu>
Corrected Version
  by "Douglas A Campbell" <dougcampbell@juno.com>
Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by <Innkawgneeto@cs.com>
Re: Corrected Version
  by "colin-hulme@bctalk.net" <colin-hulme@bctalk.net>
Corrected Version? No! No! No! Don't change a thing
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Malapropisms are one thing...
  by "cepeery@earthlink.net" <cepeery@earthlink.net>
RE: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS
  by "Emmons, Paul" <pemmons@wcupa.edu>
 

(back) Subject: Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: "Douglas A Campbell" <dougcampbell@juno.com> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 08:29:58 -0500     I have a different take on this whole topic and hope that you will indulge me.   I am not an organist, I am not an organ builder. Like Mike Gettleman, I'm just a "fan". I did major in music in college and am a "sort of" musician, but here is what I see, hear and feel at an organ performance.   First, the NAME- Why do we HAVE "Organ Recitals" ????????? No other musician (outside of academia) gives "recitals" - they have CONCERTS ! I think that psychologically, the general public is turned off by the very word. Doesn't it bring up connotations of that dreadful dance "recital" that you HAD to go to because your neighbors 10 year old daughter was going to demonstrate that she had no business even thinking of ballet ???? When was the last time you went to a Yom Ma "recital" ?   VISUALS: I have a background in theatre, so, to me, the visual aspect of a concert IS important. I am disappointed when the organist is hidden (such as . St. Thomas, NYC). This does not negate the value of the concert, but it does alter my level of enjoyment. As an audience member, I want to connect with the performer and that means being able to see them ! I once went to a rather fantastic program which featured Arthur Poster, Will O. Head lee, Donald Superman and Leonard Raver. For some strange reason they had moved a portative ins. in front of the console of the Holt at Carouse College ( Syracuse University), specifically to "screen the performers from the audience". I found this to be most disconcerting. Can you imagine going to a concert to hear Islam Pearl man play from behind a screen ??   I feel that organists too often try to dress like they are already deceased. Although I believe in decorum, and I think a Tux is fully appropriate, it seems to me that too often they really try to dress more like the local funeral director than a concert artist. Last year, I went to an organ "affair" with a friend that is a consummate musician ( but not an organist). We met the artist before the event and my friend remarked on the fact that he was wearing a burgundy bow tied with/ a black Tux. She felt that this was a wonderful "touch" that added a great deal to the visual image of the artist.   COMMUNICATION Of all the organ "events" I have attended, the most memorable are the ones where the performer spoke to the audience. It doesn't have to be much, but some direct contact with the audience makes the artist much more "human" and not an organ playing automaton. Now, if you are only playing for other highly competent organists there is no reason to "explain a piece" or point out things to listen for, or give any background on the composer. However, if the goal is to reach out to the masses - then these things should be part of a performance. One of the things that got me interested in classic music when I was a child was the Leonard Bern stein "Young People's Guide to the Orchestra" series of TV shows. A few chosen words can go a very long way to achieve a connection between the audience and the artist. The very best communication has been from organists that recognized that they were performing DURING their talk as well as during their playing. While a monotone, deadpan speech is better than none at all - a vibrant, energetic talk is far superior. If you listen to any of the Virgil Fox later recordings ( Heavy Organ, Winter land, Entertainer) you can easily hear the level of energy that he put into the spoken part of the program.   REPERTOIRE This becomes the touchiest of the subjects. I can't tell you how many times I've heard on the various lists that "I can't stand to hear that old war horse one more time". Yet, it is these "war horses" that the general public really want to hear ! Why ? because they know the music - they have heard it before and can understand what the performer is doing. If you only play "unfamiliar music" then the audience has no basis to compare that performance. As I said before, I am not an organist and really am not sufficiently knowledgeable to discern all the intricacies of a given performance. In the past year I have heard two young organists, both very competent, both of the same age group, both playing music that would be considered high caliper. I could not tell you which one is "better". I know that I liked both performances, but since they played different pieces - I don't have much to compare. I am not good enough to discern all the nuances that I'm sure most of you organists do almost automatically. I find it especially confusing when a well known organists describes another as "musically sensitive and expressive" and another wells organists describes the same performer as "automatic and lacking in passion".   A number of years ago I went to a "recital" where the organist played the Toccata & Fugue in D (yes, that one). He is a well known local organist who is highly regarded. I felt that the performance, while technically very good, was totally lacking in "life". If he had played a piece that I was not familiar with, I would have had no basis for comparison.   When a "RECITAL" starts with two or three Bach Chorale Preludes based on chorales I'm not familiar with ( and that's a lot!) they have lost me already. How about a brief (either verbal or program note) telling us what the Chorale is from, and a play through to the Choral itself ? Is that too much to ask ?   Symphony Orchestras always have a difficult time programming works, most often because they realize the need for "familiar" music and have to balance that with the more interesting (to them) music that the public is not generally familiar. I think organ CONCERTS should also acknowledge that the public is not familiar with all the repertoire and program accordingly.   If the object is to make the pipe organ a popular form of enjoyment and entertainment, then a certain amount of "playing to the masses" and "Educating the masses" is in order.       Douglas A. Campbell Skaneateles, NY   ________________________________________________________________ GET INTERNET ACCESS FROM JUNO! Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less! Join Juno today! For your FREE software, visit: http://dl.www.juno.com/get/web/.  
(back) Subject: RE: Saint Thomas' Chamade From: "COLASACCO, ROBERT" <RCOLASACCO@popcouncil.org> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 08:31:08 -0500   With this statement I fully agree,   >I can't imagine either of the instruments at St. Thomas to be in bad = taste, which of course, is quite out of keeping for any Episcopal Church (!)   however, it was only the trompette en chamade that seems to have been in = bad taste.     =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D Randy Terry, Director of Music Ministry & Organist Mona Dena, Assistant & Principal Conductor The Episcopal Church of St. Peter 178 Clinton Street Redwood City, California www.stpetersrwc.org   __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send FREE Valentine eCards with Yahoo! Greetings! http://greetings.yahoo.com   "Pipe Up and Be Heard!" PipeChat: A discussion List for pipe/digital organs & related topics HOMEPAGE : http://www.pipechat.org List: mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org Administration: mailto:admin@pipechat.org Subscribe/Unsubscribe: mailto:requests@pipechat.org  
(back) Subject: Re: Swedes and English From: "Robert Lind" <Robert_Lind@cch.com> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 07:33:12 -0600   And what better way to get back on topic than to list some of your favorite organ works by Swedish composers. I'll list two to start things off:   Otto Olsson--Prelude and Fugue in D-Sharp Minor   Oskar Lindberg--final movement of Sonata in G Minor   I first played these about twenty years ago, and they remain high on my list.   Robert Lind       From: Administrator <admin@pipechat.org> on 02/07/2002 08:17 PM Please respond to PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org>@SMTP@cchntmsd To: PipeChat <pipechat@pipechat.org>@SMTP@cchntmsd cc:   Subject: Re: Swedes and English   Folks   As much as some of this discussion has been interesting we are getting WAY OFF TOPIC!! This is not a theological forum but an organ forum - can we wrap up this discussion and get back to PipeChatting??     David Scribner Owner / Co-Administrator PipeChat    
(back) Subject: RE: Swedes and English From: "Emmons, Paul" <pemmons@wcupa.edu> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 09:19:31 -0500   I must apologize for starting this discussion with a question about the apostolic orders of the Swedish Church. It was unintentional.   The question was meant for Ross Wards in e-mail (since he appeared knowledgeable on the topic) but it went to the whole list by mistake.   Mea culpa! (But I'm still not sure what clergy are qualified to absolve me....:-)     >As much as some of this discussion has been interesting we are >getting WAY OFF TOPIC!! This is not a theological forum    
(back) Subject: Corrected Version From: "Douglas A Campbell" <dougcampbell@juno.com> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 09:28:25 -0500   It seems my email program decided to spell check the meaning right out of my previous post. Since I really am not THAT bad. . . . . . here is a "better" version.     I have a different take on this whole topic and hope that you will indulge me.   I am not an organist, I am not an organ builder. Like Mike Gettleman, I'm just a "fan". I did major in music in college and am a "sort of" musician, but here is what I see, hear and feel at an organ performance.   First, the NAME- Why do we HAVE "Organ Recitals" ????????? No other musician (outside of academia) gives "recitals" - they have CONCERTS ! I think that psychologically, the general public is turned off by the very word. Doesn't it bring up connotations of that dreadful dance "recital" that you HAD to go to because your neighbors 10 year old daughter was going to demonstrate that she had no business even thinking of ballet ???? When was the last time you went to a Yo Yo Ma "recital" ?   VISUALS: I have a background in theatre, so, to me, the visual aspect of a concert IS important. I am disappointed when the organist is hidden (such as . St. Thomas, NYC). This does not negate the value of the concert, but it does alter my level of enjoyment. As an audience member, I want to connect with the performer and that means being able to see them ! I once went to a rather fantastic program which featured Arthur Poister, Will O. Headlee, Donald Sutherland and Leonard Raver. For some strange reason they had moved a portative instrument in front of the console of the Holtkamp at Crouse College (Syracuse University), specifically to "screen the performers from the audience". I found this to be most disconcerting. Can you imagine going to a concert to hear Itsak Pearlman play from behind a screen ??   I feel that organists too often try to dress like they are already deceased. Although I believe in decorum, and I think a Tux is fully appropriate, it seems to me that too often they really try to dress more like the local funeral director than a concert artist. Last year, I went to an organ "affair" with a friend that is a consummate musician (but not an organist). We met the artist before the event and my friend remarked on the fact that he was wearing a burgundy bow tie with a black Tux. She felt that this was a wonderful "touch" that added a great deal to the visual image of the artist.   COMMUNICATION Of all the organ "events" I have attended, the most memorable are the ones where the performer spoke to the audience. It doesn't have to be much, but some direct contact with the audience makes the artist much more "human" and not an organ playing automaton. Now, if you are only playing for other highly competent organists there is no reason to "explain a piece" or point out things to listen for, or give any background on the composer. However, if the goal is to reach out to the masses - then these things should be part of a performance. One of the things that got me interested in classic music when I was a child was the Leonard Bernstein "Young People's Guide to the Orchestra" series of TV shows. A few chosen words can go a very long way to achieve a connection between the audience and the artist. The very best communication has been from organists that recognized that they were performing DURING their talk as well as during their playing. While a monotone, deadpan speech is better than none at all - a vibrant, energetic talk is far superior. If you listen to any of the Virgil Fox later recordings ( Heavy Organ, Winterland, Entertainer) you can easily hear the level of energy that he put into the spoken part of the program.   REPERTOIRE This becomes the touchiest of the subjects. I can't tell you how many times I've heard on the various lists that "I can't stand to hear that old war horse one more time". Yet, it is these "war horses" that the general public really want to hear ! Why ? because they know the music - they have heard it before and can understand what the performer is doing. If you only play "unfamiliar music" then the audience has no basis to compare that performance. As I said before, I am not an organist and really am not sufficiently knowledgeable to discern all the intricacies of a given performance. In the past year I have heard two young organists, both very competent, both of the same age group, both playing music that would be considered high caliper. I could not tell you which one is "better". I know that I liked both performances, but since they played different pieces - I don't have much to compare. I am not good enough to discern all the nuances that I'm sure most of you organists do almost automatically. I find it especially confusing when a well known organists describes another as "musically sensitive and expressive" and another wells organists describes the same performer as "automatic and lacking in passion".   A number of years ago I went to a "recital" where the organist played the Toccata & Fugue in D (yes, that one). He is a well known local organist who is highly regarded. I felt that the performance, while technically very good, was totally lacking in "life". If he had played a piece that I was not familiar with, I would have had no basis for comparison.   When a "RECITAL" starts with two or three Bach Chorale Preludes based on chorales I'm not familiar with ( and that's a lot!) they have lost me already. How about a brief (either verbal or program note) telling us what the Chorale is from, and a play through of the Chorale itself ? Is that too much to ask ?   Symphony Orchestras always have a difficult time programming works, most often because they realize the need for "familiar" music and have to balance that with the more interesting (to them) music that the public is not generally familiar. I think organ CONCERTS should also acknowledge that the public is not familiar with all the repertoire and program accordingly.   If the object is to make the pipe organ a popular form of enjoyment and entertainment, then a certain amount of "playing to the masses" and "Educating the masses" is in order.       Douglas A. Campbell Skaneateles, NY   ________________________________________________________________ GET INTERNET ACCESS FROM JUNO! Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less! Join Juno today! For your FREE software, visit: http://dl.www.juno.com/get/web/.  
(back) Subject: Re: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: <Innkawgneeto@cs.com> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 09:28:27 EST     --part1_8.20f5e070.29953a8b_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   Douglas Campbell raises a points that need some attention from concert promoters and performers.   In this day and age, there is absolutely no reason for the performer to be =   hidden. If the console is out of sight, then a projection system can be utilized, so the audience can see what is going on. Especially on organ = is this important, when the general public is usually awed by all the stops, pistons, and what it takes to make music on an organ. The visual = element in an organ concert helps to capture the listener's brain.   About dress: I think this depends on the venue and the nature of the = program.   Repertoire: Good artists know to mix a little new with the "war horses". =   And there is a very real psychological aspect to planning good programs. = It was a great pianist (and his name escapes me just now) who said, "Always leave the audience wanting more."   Talking to audience: Some persons are better at this than others. When Felix Hell came to our church, he didn't say a word. But he connected = with the audience through his demeanor, his graciousness, and of course, his playing. I personally like to add a good dose of humor to my organ = concerts, so that the listener will feel comfortable with what he/she hears. But = that is me.   In the very first piece you can either capture your audience or lose = them. In the very first piece you establish that you know what you are doing = (you establish your credentials, if you will). You also introduce the = instrument to the listener. This is all very, very important.   I think the key to successful concertizing is simply, "Confidence, not arrogance." They are not interchangeable concepts. Those artists that = come across as arrogant generally have less to offer musically. However, = someone that is prepared and is comfortable with the program, and enjoys = performing, and takes time to get acquainted with the instrument, will ultimately = connect with the audience.   Neil Brown     --part1_8.20f5e070.29953a8b_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>Douglas Campbell raises a points that need some attention from = concert promoters and performers. <BR> <BR>In this day and age, there is absolutely no reason for the performer = to be hidden. &nbsp;If the console is out of sight, then a projection = system can be utilized, so the audience can see what is going on. = &nbsp;Especially on organ is this important, when the general public is = usually awed by all the stops, pistons, and what it takes to make music on = an organ. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The visual element in an organ concert helps = to capture the listener's brain. &nbsp; <BR> <BR>About dress: I think this depends on the venue and the nature of the = program. &nbsp; <BR> <BR>Repertoire: &nbsp;Good artists know to mix a little new with the "war = horses". &nbsp;And there is a very real psychological aspect to planning = good programs. &nbsp;It was a great pianist (and his name escapes me just = now) who said, &nbsp;"Always leave the audience wanting more." &nbsp; <BR> <BR>Talking to audience: &nbsp;Some persons are better at this than = others. &nbsp;When Felix Hell came to our church, he didn't say a word. = &nbsp;But he connected with the audience through his demeanor, his = graciousness, and of course, his playing. &nbsp;I personally like to add a = good dose of humor to my organ concerts, so that the listener will feel = comfortable with what he/she hears. &nbsp;But that is me. &nbsp; <BR> <BR> &nbsp;In the very first piece you can either capture your audience or = lose them. &nbsp;In the very first piece you establish that you know what = you are doing (you establish your credentials, if you will). &nbsp;You = also introduce the instrument to the listener. &nbsp;This is all very, = very important. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <BR> <BR>I think the key to successful concertizing is simply, "Confidence, not arrogance." = &nbsp;They are not interchangeable concepts. &nbsp;Those artists that come = across as arrogant &nbsp;generally have less to offer musically. = &nbsp;However, someone that is prepared and is comfortable with the = program, and enjoys performing, and takes time to get acquainted with the = instrument, will ultimately connect with the audience. &nbsp; <BR> <BR>Neil Brown <BR></FONT></HTML>   --part1_8.20f5e070.29953a8b_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Re: Corrected Version From: "colin-hulme@bctalk.net" <colin-hulme@bctalk.net> Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2002 14:21:56 +0000   It is not long ago that non - organists were referred to on this list as "the great unwashed." Does that answer your question?   Cheers,   Colin.   Douglas A Campbell wrote: > > > > Symphony Orchestras always have a difficult time programming works, most > often because they realize the need for "familiar" music and have to > balance that with the more interesting (to them) music that the public = is > not generally familiar. I think organ CONCERTS should also acknowledge > that the public is not familiar with all the repertoire and program > accordingly. > > If the object is to make the pipe organ a popular form of enjoyment and > entertainment, then a certain amount of "playing to the masses" and > "Educating the masses" is in order. > >    
(back) Subject: Corrected Version? No! No! No! Don't change a thing From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 09:59:18 -0500   ----- Original Message ----- From: "Douglas A Campbell" <dougcampbell@juno.com> To: <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Friday, February 08, 2002 9:28 AM Subject: Corrected Version     > It seems my email program decided to spell check the meaning right out = of > my previous post. Since I really am not THAT bad. . . . . . here is a > "better" version. > Actually, there is no way anyone could better the brilliance of your spell checker. Turning Donald Sutherland into Donald Superman and Crouse College into Carouse College shows incredible intelligence, artificial or = otherwise!   I go with version one!   Cheers,   Malcolm      
(back) Subject: Malapropisms are one thing... From: "cepeery@earthlink.net" <cepeery@earthlink.net> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 10:26:13 -0500   ...but really, Yom Ma and Islam Pearl man? I laughed out loud at these cutting edge hip/hop nicknames for famous string = players Then I couldn't figure out if it was a joke or not, so I stopped laughing. And reading, temporarily. Sorry, D= ouglas, I'm still confused, and trying not to let this detract from some other good points you made in your lengthy post.=     Chuck Peery Cincinnati     -------------------------------------------------------------------- mail2web - Check your email from the web at http://mail2web.com/ .    
(back) Subject: RE: CRITIQUING OURSELVES AS ARTISTS From: "Emmons, Paul" <pemmons@wcupa.edu> Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 10:37:53 -0500   Among good thoughts from Neil Brown:   >Repertoire: Good artists know to mix a little new with the "war horses". And there is a very real psychological aspect to planning good programs. = It was a great pianist (and his name escapes me just now) who said, "Always leave the audience wanting more."   At the San Francisco AGO convention (early 80s) John Fenstermaker's = session about program planning compared a good program to a good menu. He added that restaurants are so-called because they are supposed to *restore* = one's feeling of well-being all-around. This mission requires attention to more than the food.   >Talking to audience: Some persons are better at this than others. When Felix Hell came to our church, he didn't say a word. But he connected = with the audience through his demeanor, his graciousness, and of course, his playing. I personally like to add a good dose of humor to my organ concerts, so that the listener will feel comfortable with what he/she = hears. But that is me.   I think that talking to the audience is particularly commendable in dedicatory recitals of church organs, where a lot of people in the = audience have probably never gone to an organ recital before, and they are there primarily to hear (and hopefully to learn something about) what they have just purchased at such great cost.   On the other hand, we do seem to have a problem of standing among our = fellow musicians sometimes, and this can have repercussions just as serious as being ignored by the public (e.g., shall a proper organ be installed in a concert hall, or a first-rate organ department be maintained in a school = of music?) If it is not routine for pianists, conductors, or singers to intersperse their performances with chat, why should we feel obliged to = make a habit of it? (Bearing in mind that outside of New York and academia, there are few art singers, pianists, or violinists-- let alone other instrumentalists-- giving solo recitals anymore. We are carrying this = torch almost alone now, perhaps.) I'm not at all opposed to either hearing or giving lecture/demonstrations, but surely there are occasions at which = they would be out of place as well as other times when they are great.   Good showmanship suggests that neither the recitalist nor anyone else = should speak before the instrument does. Don't oral preliminaries, especially casual remarks by third parties, only intrude upon, and detract from, the event that we have gathered for?   If there are no oral explanations, however, how about printed program = notes? Perhaps I go overboard with mine-- but after my performance on Jan. 28, Malcolm Wechsler showed me the program of the recital he had attended the previous evening at Yale. The notes were just as extensive, and he said that such were required of student recitalists. Good idea, I think.