PipeChat Digest #2675 - Tuesday, January 29, 2002
 
Re: John Weaver plays Severance Hall (cross posted)
  by "Bob and Jane Hanudel" <hanudel@schoollink.net>
Tampa church music
  by "Judy A. Ollikkala" <71431.2534@compuserve.com>
 

(back) Subject: Re: John Weaver plays Severance Hall (cross posted) From: "Bob and Jane Hanudel" <hanudel@schoollink.net> Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 01:04:25 -0500   Just to say: What an enjoyable review, here, and also very well written. J. Hanudel       ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mike Gettelman" <mike3247@earthlink.net> To: <PIPORG-L@listserv.albany.edu>; "PIPECHAT GROUP" = <pipechat@pipechat.org> Sent: Monday, January 28, 2002 3:23 PM Subject: John Weaver plays Severance Hall (cross posted)     > I arrived at Severance Hall around 2pm yesterday to find Michael > Barone interviewing John Weaver on stage during the pre concert > activities that are the prelude of all the organ recitals there. There > was discussion of Dr. Weaver's role at Curtis Institute, in the past as > a student of Alexander Mcurdy (sp?), and in his current position as > chair of the organ department where he has just 4 students presently. I > was surprised to learn that Curtis students all attend on a full > scholarship basis underwritten by the Curtis Foundation. It is a highly > concentrated environment for learning music, and I begin to understand > why Felix Hell selected it for his own continuing education. During the > questions from the audience section of the program, I wanted to ask Dr. > Weaver about what kind of things he and Felix were working on, but I > thought that might be in poor taste considering the recital and the > attention were deservedly Dr. Weaver's alone. The interview was followed > by a very interesting demonstration of how Dr. Weaver approaches an > instrument and a room in which he has not played before. Most > interesting to me was a demonstration of mixtures, and how they broke > back when played by themselves, and how the breaks disappeared when they > were mixed with other chorus ranks. > On to the recital. "Passacaglia on a Theme by Dunstable" is one of > Dr. Weaver's own compositions of which I was surprised to learn there > are a goodly number, over half of which have yet to be published. He > gave us some insight during the interview about how hard it is to > publish compositions, particularly those that use a musical theme or > section that was composed by someone else. Gaining permission can be a > long dragged out battle between the lawyers which does little but deny > the music to the organ community for the duration of said battles. The > Passicaglia demonstrates Dr. Weaver's love for chromatic development, > and I enjoyed hearing the piece very much. > As I hear more and more Mozart performed on the organ, I find myself > recognizing the same style he uses when writing other instrumental > music. The use of almost etudinal phrases repeated full step by step up > or down through the key, in this case F minor, made the piece "Adagio > and Allegro in F minor, K.594" instantly appreciable as Mozart. Dr. > Weaver made it obvious to me that I need to search out a good all Mozart > organ recording sometime soon. > Seems like Seth Bingham shares Dr. Weaver's love for chromatic > development, so "Roulade, Op. 9, No. 3" was an appropriate choice for > this recital. It is an interesting piece, almost choral in nature, and > made good use of the excellent Vox Humana rank that blesses the Norton > Memorial Organ. > Ahhh Bach. I will never tire of the "Passicaglia and Fugue in C > minor, BWV582", in fact it has one of the only pedal lines I can hum by > heart. Since I am untrained as a keyboard player, I am surprised to > realize I have never actually played this part before on my Casio, and > it would be simple enough to pick it out by ear. Yet another project to > work out when spare time permits. Dr. Weaver plays this piece with > precision, placing the ritards in exact placement and duration. Have I > mentioned he plays completely from memory? he demands it of his > students, and feels he must follow his own example during recitals to > insure his complete credibility with his students. > At the intermission, I decided to try and hunt down my good friend > and our fellow Piporg-L member Ken List from Schantz Organ Company. I > knew he was there because I saw his red PT Cruiser parked in his VIP > spot inside the CWR parking garage behind Severance Hall when I came in. > I even went so far as to ask the guy in the security office to try and > get a hold of him back stage for me, but no one answered his radio or > phone calls to the stagehand dept. I looked all over the audience when I > came back into the concert hall, but couldn't see him there either. Oh > well, it was good to know he was probably behind the facade making sure > the organ didn't have any hiccups. I guess the organ is still monitored > from within at every concert to insure the instrument doesn't develop > any nasty surprises in such a prestigious venue. > I have come to love "Variations on "America" " by Charles Ives. It > has seen much play lately in light of the 911 tragedy, and with the > reawakening of our patriotic spirit in this country. Ive's use of > discordant counter themes, and statements of the theme in unusual keys > makes this piece most unique, and I'm sure the chromaticism is to Dr. > Weaver's liking as well. > "Ricercare" by Gian Carlo Menotti was first performed by Dr. Weaver > at the 1984 AGO Convention in San Francisco. Menotti and Weaver are long > time friends, so his performance of this piece is about as accurate to > the the composer's intent as we are likely to hear. Dr. Weaver called > "opera for the organ", and indeed you can imagine an operatic stage as > the music moves amongst the different imagined characters. And again, we > hear the chomaticism. Seems we have a pattern developing in this > recital. > We wound up with that durn Widor, as some list members might opine, > but Dr. Weaver gave us part "I. Allegro vivace" and part "IV. Adagio" of > the "Symphony No. 5 in F minor, Op. 42, No. 1" to chew on before we got > to the part "V. Toccata". I'm sure some of you are tired of hearing the > warhorse Toccata, but I love it just as much as Bach's "T&F in D minor", > and let's face it, most general audiences, unlike those at an AGO or OHS > convention are thrilled to finish up a concert with such a familiar and > identifiable piece. I think Dr. Weaver made an excellent choice, and I > was happy to hear the other movements of the Symphony which were not as > familiar to me. > I was most impressed with the structure of this recital, something I > had yet to appreciate in other recitals I have heard. The chromatic > theme obviously suited Dr. Weaver, and he also selected enough audience > favorite music to make the concert well balanced. You get a strong sense > of the scholarly aptitude and technical ability Dr. Weaver brings to a > recital, yet you find him human enough to not be overwhelmed by it. At > one point while pre setting combinations, he bumped a pedal. It was > probably not noticeable by the majority of the audience, but when next > Dr. Weaver addressed us, he suggested we had not come to Severance Hall > to hear him blip the pedals. In that moment he became quite human to me > and not simply an organ playing automaton. I once criticized Gillian > Weir on this list for appearing as such (and recieved my due share of > flack), but I still think it is important for recitalists of even the > most impeccable technical capability, to let their hair down just a > touch, so that the audience can see that even though the performer is a > wizard, they are also human just like us. I think the audience needs > that intimacy to fully enjoy the performance, I know I do. > I am so very lucky to have Severance Hall just a half hour's drive > from my home. It has been my introduction to the world of organs, and > its prestigious venue has attracted many world class performers for me > to hear and appreciate. The Norton Memorial Organ with its E.M. Skinner > origins, and its resurrection by Schantz is a world class instrument for > me to learn about and enjoy all kinds of classical organ literature. I > believe a student could have no finer foundation to work from. 2 more > concerts remain in this years series. In March, Simon Preston will do a > program of Elgar and Mendelssohn, and in April I get to hear the Durufle > "Requiem" with Curator Todd Wilson on the bench. > Next Sunday I will also get to hear Todd Wilson give a recital at > Lakewood Congregational Church. This will be interesting, as I have not > heard Todd play any other Instrument than at Severance Hall. I don't > know his program, but then I guess I don't really care. I'm sure it will > be good, and I look forward to the opportunity to finally meet him in > person. Hell, I'm even going to ask for his autograph. :-) > > Still floating on blessed clouds > Mike Gettelman > > > "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: Tampa church music From: "Judy A. Ollikkala" <71431.2534@compuserve.com> Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 02:21:31 -0500   Go to St. John's Episcopal, Tampa, the Men & Boy Choir sings at the 9am Eucharist, all quality music and the hymn singing is wonderful. Music Director is Eleanor Taylor, widow of James Taylor who was back in the late sixties &1970's Organist/Director at Litchfield CT and Fitchburg MA with M&B Choirs. His wife Elly was Asst. Organist/Director at Christ Church, Hartford CT. I have attended there twice in the past 3 weeks, drove 2 hours to attend the AM Eucharist and stay for Evensong with guests Bruce Neswick and 10 boys from his choir in Atlanta at St. Philip's a week ago. Bruce's extended Postlude Improvisation on the hymn "Litton" was in itself worth the trip. The music was Sowerby's "Now There Lightens Upon Us", Mendelssohn's "Christus" with "There Shall a Star Come Out of Jacob", Sumsion Mag/Nunc in G, Responses by Ayleward and Psalm by S.S. Wesley. Hymns were Epiphany-related. St. John's is located on South Orleans Ave. one block from the Bayshore Highway, and two blocks south of Swann St. in the old Hyde Park section. Swann is to the east of Dale Mabry Rd. going south from I-275. This was = my first time in Tampa since 1981, but I do know the directions. The pipe organ is all exposed, a greatly augmented Wicks, now 3 manual, with a new divided antiphonal, the latest revisions were designed by consultant Jonathan Ambrosino. Bright instrument and the windows are stunning. Judy Ollikkala