PipeChat Digest #2870 - Saturday, May 25, 2002
Re: American pipe organs in Asia
  by "Joe Karashani" <jtkarash@coppernet.zm>
Atlanta 5: Lee, Schmitt, Oldengarm
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>

(back) Subject: Re: American pipe organs in Asia From: "Joe Karashani" <jtkarash@coppernet.zm> Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 16:00:25 +0200   And another Father Willis 2m&p tracker installed in the Anglican Cathedral in Zanzibar in July 1880 is still in reasonable condition, after a restoration by Alfred Davies & Sons in 1954.   Joe Karashani   > >The Willis in the Episcopal Church in Bangkok, Thailand, is a rare >> example of a Henry Willis II instrument dating from 1905. > >John Speller   > >> And there is a 19th century Willis (England) tracker in Thailand that has been maintained in good order. > > Ross          
(back) Subject: Atlanta 5: Lee, Schmitt, Oldengarm From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 17:13:40 -0400   Dear Lists and Friends,   It's still T.G.I.F. in Atlanta (Friday, May 10th), the second recital beginning at 6:30 with SANGWHA LEE, Age 26, born in Korea. She studied = Piano from an early age at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Argentina, later returning to Korea and changing her major to Organ, studying at the Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary with Hae-Kyung Kim. She = holds a Master's in Organ Performance and Literature from Eastman, where her teachers were Fred Brumbaugh and Katharine Pardee. She is currently = pursuing a Doctorate at Eastman with Hans Davidsson.   Her program began with the ubiquitous Bruhns Praeludium in E Minor, played without music. The opening was bold, and the following chromatic section = was tenderly played on a single Principal. There were lots of changes throughout, not always apt, I thought, but the performance was sturdy & convincing.   Bach Trio Sonata No. 3 in D Minor - The first movement was very neatly articulated, with lovely-sounding registrations with possibly too little = to distinguish one voice from another. The slow movement was elegantly expressive, and the third, with 8, 4, and 2 on top was very spirited! Well done indeed!   Franck - Prelude, Fugue and Variation, our second performance of the week, for which Sangwha chose to use the music. The Prelude was well sung, and clearly felt very deeply. Something went awry with the Pedal, which was = too big - possibly more trouble with the memory system. She handled it deftly with a Pedal piston at the first opportunity. The Fugue was not at all matter-of-fact, but played the expressive way (my way and Franck's!), and = as with the Prelude, the Variation was a performance of one who sings through the fingers.   We next heard two movements from the Third Symphony of Vierne. The registration of the Allegro Maestoso was a bit unsubtle, given the = strength and pitch of the Mixtures on this organ, but the playing was rock solid. The Intermezzo was splendidly cheerful.   The recital closed with our second suitably agitated performance of Moto Ostinato of Peter Eben.   CHRISTIAN SCHMITT, Age 25, is enrolled in a PhD program at the University = of Saarbruecken, and has also received a scholarship for study with James = David Christie at the Boston Conservatory. He is Organist for the Luxemburg Philharmonic.   He began with a most powerful performance of the Messiaen "Dieu parmi = nous," and then launched into the Bach Prelude & Fugue in D Major. The opening registration was rather reedy and horn like, giving a rather interesting klaxon-like feeling to the rocking manual figure after the D Major Pedal scale. Flues only for the second section with a somewhat unusual articulation which I quite liked. The Mixture-free reedy registration reappeared in the big places. The well-articulated Fugue had a somewhat thinner registration than the beginning, making use of a high pitched but quite cohesive and clarifying Mixture , and the tempo felt just right for this.   That Japan is experiencing an increasing interest in the Organ is apparent both from the number of instruments being built, including imports from = the U.S. and parts of Europe, and also instruments by indigenous Japanese builders. During this competition, we had evidence that there is also new Organ music being written by native Japanese composers. Tomaz Sevsek = brought us "Miyabi" by Keiki Okasaka (born in 1940) and now Christian Schmitt = played for us "Cloudscape" by Toshio Hosokawa (born in 1955). It would not be = sound to try to discern a "school" of Japanese organ composition, but it is fair to say that there is a similarity of spirit between these two works, in a recognition of the possibilities inherent in the wind-driven, infinitely sustaining, machine we love to play. Both pieces develop long sustained sound clusters, building and diminishing, more so Mr. Hosokawa's work. The first section has clusters high and ethereal, then low, loud and growly. A very loud climactic section leads us back to gentleness, with a brief appearance of chimes, which just might be making a mini-comeback!   The program ended quite decisively with a terrific performance of the = Reger "Wie schoen leucht't uns der Morgenstern." Mr. Schmitt got to play this again at the closing concert, but I think this competition performance was the stronger of the two. The secret Rollschweller made the many = registration changes seem effortless.   The last performer on this penultimate day was Canadian JONATHAN = OLDENGARM, Age 26, a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University under Barrie Cabena and Colin Tilney. He completed graduate work at McGill, and is now pursuing a Doctorate, also at McGill, studying with John Grew. He has just given up = the post of Organist at St. Matthias Church, Westmount, a suburban Montreal church with a lovely organ of Karl Wilhelm. The pressures of Doctoral = study have made it impossible to keep up the church work.   First on the program, the Sweelinck "Onder een linde groen," played from memory, and well and charmingly done.   The Toccata of the Bach Toccata, Adagio & Fugue went at a gentle pace, = with some very interesting flexibilities and articulations in place. The Adagio was played with a heavy overlay of lovely ornamentation, possibly occasionally enough to almost obscure the original Bach melody. The Grave was very gentle and tender, and arpeggiated just a bit. The Fugue was full of spirit, with rather an abundance of ornamentation, perhaps a bit over = the top - some of it quite daring.   During this four day, 18 concert marathon of Organ music, there have been two performances of the Franck Fantasy in A, Tom Trenney's this afternoon, and now Jonathan's this evening. This is definitely another desert island piece for me, so a bit of a banner day, and with two players who really do know what to do with this most passionate music - which reminds me that at this point, Jonathan began to play from his music. How many years has it been, I wonder, since Cherry Rhodes recorded Calvin Hampton's Variations on Old Hundredth on a quite early Pro Organo = cassette? I have loved this music since first hearing it then. If I recall = correctly, these variations were written for her, and at that time, she had a manuscript copy of a few later variations that were not in print but were = on that tape. Now, they are clearly all available, and Jonathan played them all. This is big and complex stuff, with an enormous range of moods and techniques, fully modern but made accessible all the way through the clear presence of that most familiar tune. Thousands of church-goers have = watched their money disappear down the aisle each Sunday, to this very melody! Somewhere along the way, we had a touch of Harp at one place, the zimbelstern in another. Jonathan's big technique and his abundance of the kind of drama so much a part of Calvin's playing made for a wonderful end = to the day's music. Tomorrow, one more concert: Bradley Welch, Felix Hell, = and Svetlana Fehretdinov. Watch for it!   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com