PipeChat Digest #2853 - Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Re: Defining Moments
  by <RonSeverin@aol.com>
  by <tmbovard@earthlink.net>
Re: Atlanta Competition
  by "David Scribner" <david@blackiris.com>
Atlanta 1: Owolabi, Carpenter, Suter
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>

(back) Subject: Re: Defining Moments From: <RonSeverin@aol.com> Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 20:24:34 EDT   Dear Listers:   My moment began by joining an all boys choir, and singing with the organ. It was a pipe organ, by todays standards on it's last legs of course. I told the organist, I've just got to learn to play that thing.   He gave me free lessons because my family was not wealthy, and I held keys whenever he tuned the pipes.   He forgot something at the organ factory, and asked me if I'd go along with him. What I saw there clinched it. There were organs set up ready to be played, just before going out to the job. Of course I turned them on and had at it. That was 50 years ago. I used to ride my bike out there a good 10 miles up and down steep hills in L.A. My usual greeting from the organ men was, Oh! God, that kid is here again.:) Ain't it great to be loved!   Well they couldn't get rid of me, and I was a fly on the wall, listening and learning. Finally they gave up and gave me a job, While I was in HS, I was an apprentice. About that time, Historically Correct was in Romantic was out. I sort of held out for romantic. I was the owners pet as we saw eye to eye on the tried and true blood and guts organs.   That's when I met a very young Pieter Visser, recently from Holland. He couldn't have been over 19 at the time. The time has gone very fast, but one thing to be sure, I'm still fascinated, and held spell bound by the organ.   I have tons of tapes from Temple Square radio broadcasts, and my first heros were Frank Asper, and Alexander Schreiner. I'd get up early, set the radio on, and record the organ music on reel to reel tapes. I purposely went without lunch and saved my money, to buy a good reel to reel tape recorder. My parents thought I was so nuts, they allowed me to buy a 2 manual and pedal Estey reed organ, which I played the bestuffin's out of for over 20 years. Wish I still had it. Foolish me, sold it for a used Allen w-3 with vacuum tubes. Well it was reeds Vs toaster, and toaster won out for practice. I've owned five organs in 50 years. I guess you could say I was hooked.   Ron Severin  
(back) Subject: Admin Posting Re: ALL READ!!!! IMPORTANT - VIRUS WARNING From: <tmbovard@earthlink.net> Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 20:59:13 -0500   Greetings, everyone!   Thank you all for your patience while we're dealing with the recent virus trouble.   If anyone else is going to continue this thread (which is really sorta off =   topic, but that's alright), PLEASE take a moment to remove the "ALL READ!!!! IMPORTANT...." subject line. Feel free to replace it with whatever you wish! <g>   Cheers all --   Tim   Tim Bovard Pipechat Co-Administrator <admin@pipechat.org> <tmbovard@earthlink.net>      
(back) Subject: Re: Atlanta Competition From: "David Scribner" <david@blackiris.com> Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 22:37:21 -0500   At 1:39 PM -0400 05/13/2002, Malcolm Wechsler wrote: > Our first performer is Ezekiel >Zink, from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, now living in the United States."   NOW, Now Malcolm!! <G> Arkadelphia, Arkansas IS part of the Untied States!! I know, I just got back from spending the day there with Tom Trenney and Ken Cowan!.   Actually, the two of them are the presenters/performers for the Central Arkansas Chapter, AGO "Pedals, Pipes and Pizza" pipe organ encounters that we are presenting this week. Today there were 40 students that attended the morning session that included talks on the organ, demonstrations of chests done by Bryan Gray of Nichols & Simpson, Chamber tours done by Wayne Simpson and yours truly and demonstrations of the various families of pipes that Tom presented. Meanwhile Ken had each of the students play a bit on the organ. Following the pizzas and "Pulling Out All The Stops" video we had another 100+ students join the morning group for a Mini-Concert.   Am too tired to write more about the concert but have to say all in all the students loved it! There was one student that didn't want to go eat lunch, he much preferred to stay around the console the whole time! And he even stayed and helped us put the console to bed and clean up - i think we have at least one convert right there!   Malcolm, you need to come to see for yourself that Arkadelphia is not a bad place! <G>   David  
(back) Subject: Atlanta 1: Owolabi, Carpenter, Suter From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 00:00:22 -0400   Dear Lists and Friends,   Herewith, Report Number One from the Calgary International Organ Competition, North American Round, Spivey Hall at Clayton College and State University, Morrow, Georgia. The first concert, really three individual 50 minute recitals, began at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 8th, 2002.   I guess someone has to fire the first shot, or in this case, the first note - of many! Here began the first of 18 individual organ recitals, heard in groups of three, and the honor fell to KOLA OWOLABI from Toronto, a graduate of McGill, currently completing a Master's program with Martin Jean at Yale. He is also serving as University Chapel Organist, and lost a couple of micropoints with me by not liking the Battell Chapel organ. Organically speaking, I grew up in Holtkamp Country (Oberlin in the 50s), knew Papa Holtkamp somewhat, and learned to love the sound that was perhaps the best available to us, the best we knew, at least, given the general organ aura of the time. I think the Yale organ is a particularly good example of Holtkamp's best work. In any case, Yale and Battell are blessed to have this young man on the benches - one up, one down. Before I tell you his program, I will list the repertoire requirements so you can see why the programs are as they are: 1. One work of Bach from a list of about 20 prescribed works, including the Trio Sonatas, Concerti after Vivaldi, and the major Preludes and Fugues. 2. One work by a prescribed Romantic composer (Franck, Reger, Reubke, Mendelssohn, or Liszt), and 3. One work composed after 1930. Other pieces may be played to fill up the 50 minutes, with an eye to making a good program. So with that in mind, here is Kola's program with a few comments:   Bach - Prelude & Fugue in D Major. I tried to figure out what it was that was unique about this Bach playing, uniquely good, I might add. This was the playing of someone who sings, and for whom minor cadences and moments, small and large, of building and relaxing tensions are felt very personally. There is a lovely lilt to his playing, which may sound like a strange way to describe playing a Bach prelude and fugue, but it is all I can come up with. It was elegant and lovely - something all his own.   The fact that this man sings as he plays (*not* out loud!) really became very clear in the Franck Priere, a piece that tears me apart, as do the Fantasies. This was truly wonderful. If I had any doubts about having made this trip, they were beginning to melt.   We then heard the first of three fine performances of the Durufle Scherzo, and to close this excellent program, strong performances of Fantasia 1 and Moto Ostinato from the Sunday Music (Musica dominicalis - 1958) of Petr Eben. (We later heard Moto Ostinato again on Friday, at the evening concert.)   CAMERON CARPENTER drew second slot this first evening. I have heard him play in person twice, and have also viewed his promotional video in which he essentially plays a full recital interspersed with commentary about the music, and about his background and beliefs about the organ playing world and profession. When I heard him last on April 7th at St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue, NY, I found much to wonder about in his playing, and in the context of discussing what I considered commendable in the performance, I had to say there was much that bewildered my delicate ears. I suggested that these were things I might one day come to understand, but as a self-appointed critic, I was loathe to say what I really felt, which was that, in fact, some of what he was doing I could never comprehend or learn to love. (I know "never" is a long time.) I only feel free to write this way now, because in his Atlanta performance, he, in my eyes, redeemed himself quite a bit in some of what he did. His Bach however, Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, was possessed of mannerisms that I find quite disturbing. Bach works really don't need made up articulation patterns thrust upon them, unless they can somehow be shown to be either drawn in some way from the music, or from some historical knowledge. Others may well hear this differently. For me, the approach was disturbing.   I do believe that the first Messiaen piece I ever heard, at Oberlin, was <Dieu parmi nous>, and, if not at first, surely after repeated student concert hearings, it made a huge impression. I thought Cameron really made a successful attempt to do the composer's bidding. It was an exciting performance. Nothing, however, could match the incredible physical and musical excitement of this man's performance of the Middleschulte <Perpetuum Mobile!> It really was spectacular, and not only could we hear every note clearly on this instrument, but we could also watch those flying feet. There has to be something of the spectator sport in this work, and a performance surely loses something if you cannot watch it happening! He kept on building the registration throughout, and the final cadence left most in the audience quite breathless, I would think. It did me! Three unequivocal cheers for that!   The Franck 2nd Choral in B Minor did not, I thought, make out so well. Phrases were distorted in odd ways, and many minor cadences were cut very short, in a way that might be justified in a very resonant environment, such as found in most of the buildings in which Franck would have played. While here in Spivey, the acoustical panels were set to provide as much resonance as possible, and to be sure, the acoustic was live, there was not much measurable reverberation, and so the treatment of phrase endings and of spacing between big chords seemed dry and ill advised. One does need to adjust to an acoustical environment.   Here followed a really fabulous performance of the Sowerby Pageant, another big workout for the feet. Cameron played it with lots of Sowerby swagger, and splendid pedal dexterity. It was a most exciting close to this recital.   ERIC SUTER, player number 3 today, had the privilege of beginning our Mendelssohn series, during the course of which we heard Sonatas 1, 3, and 4, and the Prelude & Fugue in G Major. Eric began his program with the 3rd Sonata. At this early stage, at the third of 18 recitals, we were still learning about the resources of the instrument, and Eric gave us a rather broad and rich full ensemble to start. He began the fugal section very strictly, marking time with his free hand, but this was not leading to a metronomic performance. Quite the contrary - a great deal of excitement got churned up before we arrived at the lovely Andante.   Following the Mendelssohn, we were treated to the first of two powerful performances of the Liszt B-A-C-H. This was followed by the second of three successful traversals of the intricacies of the Durufle Scherzo.   Hearing BWV 541 (organists will recognize that number) was somehow refreshing. You guessed it, it's the exuberant Prelude & Fugue in G Major, which for some reason is a work that is often assigned to students early in their time of study. It is by no means an easy piece to play, but it is somehow clear and uncomplicated, and has challenging pedal bits, all good for keeping the interest of a new organist while his or her technique develops. It replaces the great power of works like the G Minor Fantasy & Fugue or the D Major Prelude & Fugue with a graceful clarity and drive. It was refreshing to hear it, and Eric was the only one to choose this, and he made a wonderful, driving, elegant job of it.   Eric's program ended tonight's concert with a superb performance of the Final from Sunday Music of Petr Eben, which also served as a perfect end to a great evening of organ music. I shall be ready for more of the same tomorrow at 12:30.   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com