PipeChat Digest #3242 - Tuesday, November 19, 2002
 
Evensong with Noack, Opus 111, 1989 - 11/3/02
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Felix Hell on the Saratoga Springs Frobenius - 11/1/02
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
RE: Murrill Carillon
  by <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk>
RE: Bach to nature
  by <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk>
RE: Recital Programmes
  by <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk>
 

(back) Subject: Evensong with Noack, Opus 111, 1989 - 11/3/02 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 01:49:55 -0500   Evensong with Noack, Opus 111, 1989 - 11/3/02   Along with many others, I heard Opus 111 at the OHS Boston Convention a = few summers ago. I came away with a headache, even though I was sitting on the wrong side of the nave to hear the instrument more-or-less directly. I was on the south side, and the Organ speaks northward into the chancel. Listmember Bruce Cornely, who is no fan of harsh-sounding instruments, = took me to task for my publically expressed discomfort, pointing out that he = was in the death seat, in the chancel, facing south, looking directly at the Organ case, and found the sound not at all offensive. This is what maketh the Organ world go around, but when my Australian friend, Michael S. = Murray, found himself installed as Organist and Choirmaster a bit over a year ago, he urged me to give the Organ a second chance. On a somewhat trippy = weekend, I, having driven to Saratoga Springs to hear Felix Hell on the Friday evening, undaunted, took off for Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Boston for a Rite 1 Evensong "within the octave of All Saints'". This = time, at Redeemer of course, the Organ, well, redeemed itself for me. You can = find it at: http://www.noackorgan.com/   This was, for me, something of a special occasion. As an ex-cathedral Organist, accustomed for too many years to Evensong every Sunday and each Friday evening as well, I have missed this in my life, but have also subconsciously kept away, because going back would be possibly too = powerful, even overwhelming, an experience, and if the service was less than the = best that Evensong can be, that would be devastating! I somehow knew that in = the friendly atmosphere created by one of the more jolly Organists in my = circle of friends, who was conducting on this day, along with another good = friend, Michael Diorio, who was helping out at the Noack, this would be a safe = place to re-enter this gilded world. And so it was. This scribbling will appear = on two Pipe Organ Internet Mailing Lists, which have some hope that members will keep more-or-less on topic, discussing matters relating to the Pipe Organ, so I will dwell only minimally on the Evensong choral music, but making sure you know what was sung. There were two Psalms, one to a Walmisley chant, and the other, the sort-of through-composed Stanford setting of Psalm 150, with a glorious Organ accompaniment. The responses were the Tudor William Smith. Mag et Nunc(!) were Herbert Brewer in D, = music that would not meet with approval in a conservatory setting, but wow, what = a glorious romp it is. The anthem, as appropriate to All Saints', was the Edgar Bainton "And I saw a new heaven," which I last heard a year ago at = St. Mary the Virgin in New York - unforgettable, because when I looked up into the balcony to see who was accompanying so gloriously (Robert McDermitt), the smoke really prevented me from seeing the choir at all! We sang, and I do mean, sang two hymns, Darwall's 148th, and Lasst uns erfreuen. Each had = a freshly minted descant, one from each of the Michaels. The service was not perfect, but it was very good indeed, and this was the first Evensong this church has presented in quite a long time. The Psalms, the Brewer, the Bainton, all this was a great tonic to this listener, done with skill and joy. Years ago, as a student at Addington Palace in Croydon, UK, we = students were sitting around the Common Room, as was our weekly wont, listening to broadcast choral Evensong - on this occasion from the sacred vaults of Kings, Cambridge. "O Lord, open thou our lips," sang the man, this = followed by a terrible cacophony of clashing harmonies. Schoenberg Responses? It became clear that not all choir members had the same setting in front of them! The unflappable Beeb man cleared his throat, and said: "One moment please." After the rustling of paper ceased, once again, "O Lord, open = thou our lips." This time it worked! And it took us students at least a week to stop giggling about it. Well, at Redeemer this day, there was a bit of a train wreck in the first Amen for the three Collects. There was something of a gathering moment, after which music almost coherent came out. I told Michael afterwards about Gerald Knight saying to us all, one evening by = the fire, that the choir can usually be counted on to ace the Brewers and Stanfords and other settings, but spend time, real time, on those = responses! There's a little chicken that came home to roost! Having revealed all, I must reiterate that this was a joyous and beautiful service, sung with = great enthusiasm by a choir which clearly enjoys what it is doing, under the direction of a most gifted and musical trainer.   For what Michael Diorio did, he becomes a hero in the Organists' Hall of Fame, causing the Organ to sound for all the world like Willis 1, and manipulating both stops and shades with imagination and great skill. There is a major art involved in playing, for starters, the Anglican Chant Psalm accompaniments. Michael roared when the Psalmist roared, whispered when required, giving us the requisite "sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and fog, tempestuous wind," along with "Wild beasts and all cattle, creeping things and winged birds." I have looked at the stoplist over and over, and have no idea where he found those beasts and creeping things, but they were surely there! (There IS one Gemshorn on the instrument!) I had one thought about those accompaniments in this not destructive, but not really resonant space. Some players prefer to cut off the accompaniment with the choir cutoff at the end of each line, which is what Michael did. Others, me included, prefer to make the accompaniment continuous - no break between lines or verses, blending carefully into the next choir entrance. I do think the stop and go method wants substantial resonance to justify itself. Just my opinion. Accompaniments to works like the Brewer require immense agility both in manipulating keys and stops, = and then there was the Bainton. Michael found the orchestral colors to do this complete justice. He also gave us the big Bach Prelude & Fugue in C Minor, the Prelude as the prelude to the service, and the Fugue as the postlude. = I must say, I thought it strange that the choir, taking a short route, began its procession out as the Fugue began, thereby making it impossible for choir members to stay in place to hear this great piece of music. One singer, I noted, risked censure by staying firmly in his seat in the choir stalls. This is such a reposeful service, one ought to be able to wait = just another minute or so until ALL the great music is done!   Anyway, I certainly offer great congratulations to the two Michaels, and also thanks to them, to the choir, and to the church for this lovely opportunity. And, I did not even have to hit McDonalds on the Mass Pike on my way home, as we stopped for a convivial little meal after. I-84 is a = long and ugly road, and I was glad to get home before midnight, fortified with happy memories of a totally nice experience.   Cheers,   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com      
(back) Subject: Felix Hell on the Saratoga Springs Frobenius - 11/1/02 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 02:11:01 -0500   Felix Hell on the Saratoga Springs Frobenius - November 1st, 2002   Dear Lists and Friends,   The Frobenius Organ in Saratoga Springs UMC has been around since 1996, = and I have been keen to hear it since then. To my shame, the only Frobenius Organ I have heard and played is in the Danish Church in Paris. Peter = Sykes plays a Frobenius at the Congregational Church in Cambridge, MA, but time and circumstance have not taken me there yet. The Saratoga Springs instrument is the 4th Organ of this builder in the U.S. I am not sure if there have been others since. I had heard that this instrument is underscaled, lacking in impact in the room. Really not so, but the impressions given have been the result of the dedication recital in 1996, which attracted an enormous number of people, sitting in extra chairs, standing around the walls, and even spilling into the vestibule and listening to the Organ through a not very large door. PipOrg-L list = co-owner Ben Chi was one who got stuck in that vestibule, and I remember his posted unhappiness at not hearing very much. Interestingly, he and I met for = dinner before this November 1st concert by Felix Hell, which I will describe = below, and he was hearing it for the first time since that day, and to much = better advantage. While on this occasion the crowd was quite large, it did not quite fill the place, and there was no surfeit of absorbent clothed bodies to put stress on the instrument well beyond its normal mission, and I = really ended up with great respect for this Organ. In only one way would I fault it, and it is an object lesson for something about which John Mander often warns church committees, and is perhaps the first time I have heard the effect so obviously. There is a lot of Organ, 27 stops, stuffed in a not very large case. It suffers from this noticeably at big moments. There is = a very attractive looking en chamade reed poking out of the case - it is really a chorus reed, the Great Trumpet, not a commanding sound to be = heard above all others. The building is not kind to the Organ, and I don't think = I would want to sing in the space either, thanks to carpeting over every possible surface. I suspect Eric Frobenius put up a fuss, but in the end, = in losing the battle, if there was one, he nevertheless made a very good job = of the instrument. The case, by the way, is simple but exquisite, in a design that sweeps upward at its right end, almost like sails, mirroring features of the roofline of the church.   First on the program, the Bach A Minor P & F, which Felix began on a gentle, fluty, and very clear registration, which lent itself to lovely expressive subtleties. The Fugue was taken at a very energetic tempo, = clear, clean, and exciting all the way, and greeted with prolonged applause.   <Schmuecke dich> came with a very warm Cornet combination with tremulant, and lovely Flutes supporting it. I have commented before on Felix's = elegant approach to the ornamented choral preludes of the period.   F Major Toccata and Fugue, the Toccata at a quite brisk tempo, as befits = the dry acoustic and the clarity of the instrument. For the Fugue, wonderfully broad tempo and registration. Felix feels all the intense pushing and pulling of that magnificent counterpoint. The intensity of the buildup was breathtaking, reflected not only in registration but also in touch.   Another ornamented choral prelude, <O Mensch bewein,> was played at a very stately tempo, with the cantus given to a fine Cornet without Tremulant.   Completing the first half of the program: The Eflat Major P & F (St. = Anne). This began at quite a gutsy tempo, but with no loss of dignity. In the = final section of the Prelude, there were some wonderful ornamental accretions - Felix, always tastefully, has become quite imaginative with these. The = Fugue began with a fairly gentle but broad registration. By the time we got into the second section, I thought Felix a bit on edge. This was his first = public performance of the piece, and I think perhaps it wanted a bit more time to mellow and gain assurance. In any case there were a few slips in that second section, and I have to tell you that a most amazing finessing of a problem occurred at the beginning of section 3, which begins in B flat. Felix = began it in E flat, which sounds perfectly fine, but is not a sustainable possibility! He never let go of the melodic line, simply, after the first few errant notes, descending gracefully to a B flat, and beginning the movement right there, without break or indication of trouble. Those not knowing the music would have not realized that anything was wrong. Those = who do know the music could only marvel at such perfect "cool." Had Bach heard it himself, he might have written it into the next edition! That glorious final section of the Fugue came to an exciting finish, and sent everyone cheerfully out for a short break.   On an Organ not intended primarily for Guilmant, Reger, and Karg-Elert, an ideal, somewhat Romantic, somewhat Classical composer is Mendelssohn, and having enjoyed music of Bach in part one, we heard three Mendelssohn = Sonatas in part two. How appropriate, in that Mendelssohn it was who reintroduced the music of Bach to the European musical world of the time. Was it not = 1847 that it all began with the first performance in a lot of years, of the = great St. Matthew Passion, a century after its first performance?   However, before moving on to Mendelssohn, we experienced a clever, most interesting, and possibly unique, feature of these Saratoga Springs recitals. Upon entering the church at the beginning of the recital, one is handed, with a program, a form upon which questions for the artist may be written. These are deposited in a box at the door as people leave for the intermission. Just before the resumption of the program, the artist is placed upon the hot seat front and center, and is interviewed by the Music Director, whose name I failed to learn during my time there - he's an excellent interviewer. He had selected "about 7 minutes worth" of = questions from the pile, and some I remember were: "How long have you been playing = the Organ? What is most satisfying about a concert career? Where have you played? When did you come to the States? How often do you get back to Germany? Did you come for a particular teacher? How do you adapt to unfamiliar Organs? What is the strangest Organ you have played? What would you like to change about concertizing? What would you like to be doing in five years? How did you choose tonight's program?   I thought these were basically thoughtful questions, although I don't know which forms went onto the discard pile! Felix spoke very directly and = simply about his early fascination with the instrument, and the importance of the offer by Tom and Cathy Schmidt (Tom is Kantor at St. Peter's Lutheran in Manhattan) for Felix to become Organ Scholar at their church, and no less significant, to stay with them in their Manhattan apartment. He spoke of = the great importance to him of his study with John Weaver, both at Juilliard = and at Curtis. Regarding becoming accustomed to unfamiliar instruments, he = drew a gentle gasp from some in the audience when he said he had, by recent count, played over 400 different instruments, so there were not many surprises anymore. The rest of the answers, you can probably guess! I = think this is a great idea, and might well be an idea other presenters might = like to try.   Part Two began with the Mendelssohn Third Sonata, with the first movement very solidly played indeed, stirring up much excitement, and also bringing forth considerable applause. This is a good case for being careful to list all movements of multi-movement works. Who amongst the non-Organists knew there was another movement? Not only did they get tricked into clapping there, and breaking the concentration, but when the splendid, unmentioned, gentle, second/final movement finished, there was silence for an embarrassingly long time, because this time, people thought they were = being smart in knowing there had to be another movement. Of course, there is reason to have been moved to silence after that movement, and that is, I guess, what caused those of us in the know to hold back for a bit - that's our excuse, anyway.   As the Third Sonata is based on "Aus tiefer Not," the Sixth, which we = heard next, is based on "Vater unser." We heard first the chorale on a lovely Principal sound. The three following "chorale preludes" were beautifully = and gently played and registered. Then, all hell (or Hell) broke loose in the Toccata-like movements, followed by the little Fugue. I can't recall if we had benefit of applause at this point! The Andante finale was played on beautiful Flutes with Tremulant.   If the Sixth Sonata seems a bit disjointed, the First is quite coherent, = and is one of my favorites. With pleasure, I have heard Felix play it before, and have admired his ability to juggle the complexities of that first movement, with its chorale-like sections that I can always hear coming gently out of the dome of St. Paul's, as I heard them once. After one of = the loveliest of all Adagios in the literature, Felix once again excels in the musical intricacies of the recitative movement, and then gives the last movement the virtuosic treatment it wants. Those incredible runs up and = down the keyboard for four bars just before the end always raise the level of excitement, and once those last two big final chords are heard, = pandemonium ensues.   Encore? Of course! The last movement of the Bach First Trio Sonata, played just about as fast as is possible for a human, not in the least = frantically, but totally cleanly, and as a truly elegant dance.   The reception went on for a long time, and Felix, as usual, found time for everyone. I should add that, with the help of Agnes Armstrong, Felix also found time to visit Round Lake and to play its historically and musically significant three manual Ferris Organ from 1847. He thus met my good = friends Edna VanDuzee Walter and Norman Walter, who have worked hard to keep the Auditorium and Organ alive, and busy with recitals throughout the summer months. Edna and Norman came to the recital, and in a "makes the heart = glad" moment, Felix said to them that he hoped he might be able to help the = always strained budget at Round Lake with a recital sometime. I thought he would feel the magic of that place, and I guess he did! Trumpets were heard to sound in Heaven.   Saratoga Springs is far enough north of where I live to have different weather - I'll say! During the second half, I could see, through a window = at the front of the church, snow flakes gently falling! Scraping ice off the windshield is just not right on November 1st! Anyway, leaving the church = at about 11 p.m., I would expect to arrive home at about 2 a.m., but I was feeling quite mellow, thanks to the effect of the Organ, the music, and = the playing, and drove along in a bit of a happy trance, until 20 miles too late, I realized I had passed the NY Thruway exit for I-84, my exit! There is NO turning back, so those of you who know the geography will suffer = with me, going all the way down to the Tappan Zee, and all the way back up on = the other side of the Hudson, to where I live. By the time I got to the top of I-684, there was serious ice on the road, with cars in the ditch and flashing lights very much in evidence. I managed to creep home safely. 3 a.m. is not nice, and that with a choir rehearsal in Stamford early afternoon that day. No regrets whatever.   Cheers,   Malcolm Wechsler www.mander-organs.com          
(back) Subject: RE: Murrill Carillon From: <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk> Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 07:32:15 -0000   Hello,   I haven't got my coipy to hand, but I assume that the left hand is = approximately walking pace...Andante.   This implies that the eighth notes are rather quick, but not racey.   You would do well to alter the ending with a bit of artistic = licence...the written version is a bit weak, like the Mushel Toccata.   Apart from one or two little "moments" in the rapid notes, it is a = perfectly effective and straightforward piece which, IMHO, lends itself = well to a gradual increase in power. I always start on 8ft and 4ft Swell = reeds with Mixtures etc........the slower theme entering on a modest = registration. Given a big instrument, the gradual build-up can be quite = awesome.   Incidentally, somewhere along the line, I believe Murill was involved at = Halifax Parish Church, Yorkshire, in the UK, but I would have to check = this out with the current incumbent. They certainly sing Murrill in E = quite a lot!   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK       -----Original Message----- From: " "Chapman Gonz=E1lez" <chapmanp@comcast.net> Sent: 19 November 2002 03:53 To: "pipechat@pipechat.org" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Subject: Murrill Carillon   Dear List, After the discussions here about the Murrill Carillon, I ordered and = got it very quickly from OHS. Nice piece and very accessible. I do have = one question about the opening metronome mark. They indicate <eighth note = =3D eighth note> but no number. I'm assuming that to play the piece you use = the eighth note as the rhythm unit because some measures have different = lengths.   Does anyone have suggestions for the actual tempo? With a big registration, one can go quite slowly for a wonderful effect.  
(back) Subject: RE: Bach to nature From: <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk> Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 08:04:19 -0000   Hello, Wonderful!!   Colin       -----Original Message----- From: "pipechat@pipechat.org" <pipechat@pipechat.org> on behalf of "Ross = & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Sent: 18 November 2002 21:35 To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> Subject: Re: Bach to nature   Hi, Colin,   Most of what you write is, of course, utterly correct and laudable. I = should however, in the interests of historical accuracy, point out that = organists play with the Tremulant, not the Vibrato. Tremulants are socially OK, = but Vibratos can only be bought in Adulte Shoppes.   I do hope you will take the trouble to read P.D.Q.Bach's massive = magisterial work, in three volumes of 642 pages each, on "The Origin and Use of the Tremulant in Contrapuntal Sextets for Violone and Dulcimer". This was published between 1823 and 1797 and was endorsed by no less a personage = than Prince Albert's grandfather, the Italian of Alberti bass fame. (They = dropped the "i" later, as Victoria would not be reminded of Albert's Italian heritage).   Yours in great esteem, Ross   >Where else, but from an organist, did violinists get the silly idea of playing their instruments with a vibrato?         "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: Recital Programmes From: <cmys13085@blueyonder.co.uk> Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 08:12:23 -0000     Hello,   There is but one soft piece of such surpassing beauty....     Berceuse Vierne   Regards,   Colin Mitchell UK