PipeChat Digest #2985 - Friday, July 26, 2002
 
Ken Cowan at Methuen - Wednesday, July 24th
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Re: trashy organ music?
  by <Chicaleee@aol.com>
Classical Music Chat
  by <Chicaleee@aol.com>
Re: trashy organ music?
  by <Cremona502@cs.com>
Re: trashy organ music?
  by "straight" <straight@infoblvd.net>
 

(back) Subject: Ken Cowan at Methuen - Wednesday, July 24th From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 20:32:03 -0400   Dear Lists and Friends,   I think the last concert I heard at Methuen was one by the excellent Kent Tritle in September a few years ago. There has been a lot of great playing over the dam in the time since, and I have been remiss in not getting = myself in gear and getting over there. There is a special spirit in this place, = and a devoted core of people who work hard to keep this incredible monument (organ and building both) going as a strong force in organ performance in New England. Check the website: < www.mmmh.org > For me, it's a bit far to go without planning an overnight stay, which I cannot always manage. In fact, needing to be at home this morning, but also being unwilling to miss Ken Cowan last night (7/24), I thought about all the places I could stop = for coffee on the way home, and did indeed arrive home at 3 a.m., totally = wired! But, I made it, and, of course, it was totally worth the effort. Before a large (essentially full) and enthusiastic crowd, Ken did his usual thing = and played magnificently and somehow effortlessly!   As I was handing over my $7 in the lobby, Ken was being loudly applauded = as he came on stage, and as I walked in and took one of the few remaining seats, he began the Mozart Fantasia in F Minor (608). Having been away = from it for quite a while, I was surprised at the sound of the Organ (I have decided to capitalize it from now on as a sign of respect - it is the King of Instruments, after all, and I have been thinking about that for a = while). It was much richer and fuller than I remember it, with more resonance surrounding it also. Of course, in Ken's hands, the Mozart was spacious = and powerful, a glorious performance.   Some of the Domenico Scarlatti sonatas have indications that they might = have been written with the Organ in mind for their performance. Ken gave us = three of these that worked wonderfully well. The first, in F# Minor, is particularly charming, with a plaintive kind of call motif, up a semitone and back down, for which Ken found various lovely solo sounds. We also heard one in D Major and another in G Major, these apparently having clear indications that the Organ was intended as = the possible medium. As played by Ken, these were totally convincing.   I last heard Ken play the Willan Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue on = the 80 ranks of Wurlitzer in the home of Jasper and Marian Sanfilippo during = the recent OHS Chicago Convention. It was fabulous there, and possibly more fabulous here, in that I thought of all he played there, this was perhaps the one work that did not totally suit that magnificent instrument. At Methuen, we were a bit closer to the sort of sounds Willan had in mind. = Ken told a story of Willan's inspiration for this piece. He and a musician friend had just heard a Rheinberger work containing a Passacaglia, and the friend suggested to Willan that a German mind was required to write that sort of piece. Willan was, of course, English, and by adoption, Canadian, and considered this comment a challenge. He had a cottage on Georgian Bay, and on each train trip there and back, he wrote one variation. Ken = commented that had it been him, the variations would not have hung together, but the genius of Willan was able to create the well-unified work we heard on this evening. It really is a rich and wonderful work.   After intermission, Ken played his fine transcription of the Overture to "Oberon," by Carl Maria von Weber. I was glad to have heard it previously = at OHS - it's actually a complex and lovely work that grows on one, so this second hearing was a good thing for me.   There is a charming little Flute Tune by Thomas Arne that became all the rage some years ago, after it appeared on one of the Aeolian-Skinner King = of Instruments recordings. Was it perhaps played by Edgar Hillier at St. = Mark' s, Mount Kisco? Anyway, there are several generations who have not heard this, since the appearance of those LPs, and Ken wanted to bring it to = this generation, but was prevented by troubles with the combination action - apparently a general piston with a mind of its own. It brought on a huge amount of the organ several times in a most indelicate way, and Ken had to give up the effort. This problem, I discovered, explained the fact that = Ken was using music in this recital, something he rarely does. He did not consult the scores much at all, but they were available in case the unexpected happened, and might have thrown him off his concentration. Jonathan Ambrosino was the efficient and unobtrusive page turner and music organizer.   With the failure of the Arne, Ken suggested he had best play some Reger, because in that, if the combination action misfired, we would not be able = to tell the difference! He also told the lovely story (found in the wonderful Lexicon of Musical Invective of Nicholas Slonimsky) of Reger's retort to Hanslick about his nasty review of a new Reger work. "Dear Mr. Hanslick, I am seated in the smallest room in my house. I have your review before me, and soon it will be behind me." Ken does this stand-up stuff well, and the audience loved it. He often speaks a bit between pieces, but his remarks = are brief and well thought out. Anyway, the promised Reger was the monumental Fantasy on Wachet Auf, and we *could* tell that the combination did not misbehave, because Ken found so many lovely soft sounds that were not interrupted by sudden surprise bouts of triple forte! These wonderful big Reger Fantasies in the hands of a player like Ken, with a strong Romantic sense and abundant technical strength, are just magnificent. I hated to = see it end. The ovation which followed required of Ken a bit more, and he = pulled out the marvelous encore he dazzled us with at Plum Tree Farm during the = OHS Convention, a transcription, perhaps Ken's own, of a Piano Etude of Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925). I missed the key when he announced it at OHS, and failed to ask him after the Methuen concert, so we have to go without knowing. With the addition of some pedal notes, it really makes a = wonderful work for Organ.   Well, this was my glorious re-entry to the Methuen world. I am glad to be back. On each seat this evening, there was a card announcing Felix Hell's recital to benefit the Methuen Scholarship Fund. He, being not that long = out of high school, will play to benefit high school students who are going on to study Organ at university. That's Friday the 13th (!) of September. Any suggestions for good Friday the 13th pieces for Felix to play?   Cheers,   Malcolm Wechsler (still tired) www.mander-organs.com        
(back) Subject: Re: trashy organ music? From: <Chicaleee@aol.com> Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 20:42:20 EDT     --part1_68.2386a55b.2a71f4ec_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   Actually, I do use "The Organist," and "Pedalpoint," both of which are supplied to me by the church. The pianist and I do use the duets and find =   many of the free accompaniments useful in Pedalpoint. Lee   --part1_68.2386a55b.2a71f4ec_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2>Actually, I do use "The = Organist," and "Pedalpoint," both of which are supplied to me by the = church. &nbsp;The pianist and I do use the duets and find many of the free = accompaniments useful in Pedalpoint. &nbsp;Lee</FONT></HTML>   --part1_68.2386a55b.2a71f4ec_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Classical Music Chat From: <Chicaleee@aol.com> Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 20:44:22 EDT     --part1_102.18a46d61.2a71f566_boundary Content-Type: text/plain; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   For those who have AOL, there is a Classical Music Chat at Keyword: Music = Biz from 9-11, EST. Lee   --part1_102.18a46d61.2a71f566_boundary Content-Type: text/html; charset=3D"US-ASCII" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit   <HTML><FONT FACE=3Darial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=3D2>For those who have AOL, = there is a Classical Music Chat at Keyword: Music Biz from 9-11, EST. = &nbsp;Lee</FONT></HTML>   --part1_102.18a46d61.2a71f566_boundary--  
(back) Subject: Re: trashy organ music? From: <Cremona502@cs.com> Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 23:58:01 EDT   In a message dated 7/25/02 7:48:47 PM Atlantic Daylight Time, Chicaleee@aol.com writes:   << Now I find the books are "collector items." Lee >>   I remember the old story about a young woman meeting Ellen Jane at a = party. When they were introduced the young woman said, "Oh, Miss Lorenz, I've = used your music for years." EJ replied: "Well dear, I hope you won't hold it against me."   Bruce in the Muttestery Please visit NEW NEW NEW HowlingAcres = http://members.tripod.com/brucon502 need money, want better health: http://visionsuccess.com/BC2053  
(back) Subject: Re: trashy organ music? From: "straight" <straight@infoblvd.net> Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 00:31:29 -0400   That sounds more like light conversation than a serious statement.   Diane S. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< I remember the old story about a young woman meeting Ellen Jane at a party. When they were introduced the young woman said, "Oh, Miss Lorenz, I've used your music for years." EJ replied: "Well dear, I hope you won't hold it against me."