PipeChat Digest #3429 - Tuesday, February 4, 2003
 
Re: Felix Hell in Berrien Springs, Michigan-- notes
  by <Hell-Felix@t-online.de>
Re: Felix Hell in Berrien Springs, Michigan-- notes
  by <Hell-Felix@t-online.de>
ONE LAST WORD ON "SCHOLARLY LISTS"
  by "D. Keith Morgan" <aeolian_skinner@yahoo.com>
Jonathan Hall
  by "David Baker" <dbaker@lawyers.com>
RE: Jonathan Hall/professional community
  by "Charles E. Brown" <chabrown@bellatlantic.net>
Have you hugged a scholar today?
  by "Mark Koontz" <markkoontz@yahoo.com>
Re: ONE LAST WORD ON "SCHOLARLY LISTS"
  by "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
Re: Scholarly Organist Group
  by <quilisma@socal.rr.com>
more on performance practice
  by <quilisma@socal.rr.com>
RE: more on performance practice
  by "Charles E. Brown" <chabrown@bellatlantic.net>
Re: more on performance practice
  by "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
 

(back) Subject: Re: Felix Hell in Berrien Springs, Michigan-- notes From: <Hell-Felix@t-online.de> Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 14:35:56 +0100 (CET)   Thanks, Carol, for your kind message.   For all who are interested on this list: it happened at the beginning of the fugue, when I had to switch to level no. 53. After realizing the malfunction, I checked shortly the following pistons, while building up the fugue with the other hand, I found, that all 8 generals of that level were corrupted, comprising the next 153 measures of the piece. From level 54 on everything was fine again. The system was an SSL. The scary thing was, that I had checked all pistons only 2 hours before the performance   My question to any experts of SSL- or similar systems on this list, if you did not yet migrate to the other one (sorry, I could not resist!):   can this happen just whithin two hours, just by itself? And why was only this one level effected, and not any other one?   Anyway, a nightmare became true.   Felix   Carol Scott wrote: > Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H--- Liszt. Had to admire > Felix's poise on > this one-- he pressed a piston in preparation for a > manual change, and > clearly saw that something was WRONG. He tried several > pistons while > improvising a bit with one hand, and then moved on and > hand-registered > the next several changes. Hans confirmed in e-mail that > apparently an > entire level of piston memory was corrupted. I'm not > sure I could > register by hand that way on my own organ on a complex > piece, much less > on an organ I'd only played for a few hours!  
(back) Subject: Re: Felix Hell in Berrien Springs, Michigan-- notes From: <Hell-Felix@t-online.de> Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 14:32:06 +0100 (CET)   Thanks, Carol, for your kind message.   For all who are interested on this list: it happened at the beginning of the fugue, when I had to switch to level no. 53. After realizing the malfunction, I checked shortly the following pistons, while building up the fugue with the other hand, I found, that all 8 generals of that level were corrupted, comprising the next 153 measures of the piece. From level 54 on everything was fine again. The system was an SSL. The scary thing was, that I had checked all pistons only 2 hours before the performance   My question to any experts of SSL- or similar systems on this list, if you did not yet migrate to the other one (sorry, I could not resist!):   can this happen just whithin two hours, just by itself? And why was only this one level effected, and not any other one?   Anyway, a nightmare became true.   Felix   Carol Scott wrote: > Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H--- Liszt. Had to admire > Felix's poise on > this one-- he pressed a piston in preparation for a > manual change, and > clearly saw that something was WRONG. He tried several > pistons while > improvising a bit with one hand, and then moved on and > hand-registered > the next several changes. Hans confirmed in e-mail that > apparently an > entire level of piston memory was corrupted. I'm not > sure I could > register by hand that way on my own organ on a complex > piece, much less > on an organ I'd only played for a few hours!  
(back) Subject: ONE LAST WORD ON "SCHOLARLY LISTS" From: "D. Keith Morgan" <aeolian_skinner@yahoo.com> Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 05:52:54 -0800 (PST)   I studied briefly with a man who had a DMA in organ who was the most unmusical key-punch operator I have ever heard. He could take a piece of Messiaen, turn it upside down and sight read it while talking, but I don't think he could walk over to a piano and play middle C unless there was a piece of paper on the music rack with a staff and the note written on it. Musically, he wouldn't have made a pimple on a musician's ass.   On the other hand, an organist for whom I tuned didn't even have a Bachelors Degree, but could stand you on your ear with some of the most beautiful playing and transcribing you have ever heard.   Recently, a well known musician was ripped apart because he was appointed to the faculty of a well known college of music, and didn't have a doctorate or even a Masters degree. The fact that he could stand you on your ear with his beautiful playing didn't matter.   One other "organist (who had a DMA) played a dedicatory recital on an organ that looked like a big cuckoo clock and was an "historical reproduction" of some kind of classical or "baroque" design, and of course, had flush-toilet action. What did he begin the recital with? The Chorale in E Major by Franck!!! It was like listening to a first year piano student playing Chopin on a harpsichord. The best thing on that program was getting the hell out of there.   At another of these "academically accurate" performances was at a church where none of sophisticatedere at all sophistacated musically. The performer played some "contemporary" piece that went on and on. Finally it ended, and I thought "Thank God that's over." Alas, that was only the first movement. There were four. Finally after 20 minutes of this noise, we did at least get to hear some music, butchered though it was. A man behind me, who obviously didn't want to come to the recital in the first place, turned to his wife and said, "It may put this marriage in the divorce court, but I'll never come to one of these damned organ recitals again as long as I live."   Then some of these academic key-punch operators will ask a congregation to spend $800,000 for an organ.   HELLO!!!!!   D. Keith Morgan   __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now. http://mailplus.yahoo.com  
(back) Subject: Jonathan Hall From: "David Baker" <dbaker@lawyers.com> Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 09:41:44 -0500   As one who lurks, mostly, I must say that the trashing of Jonathan Hall = over his new list is becoming embarrassing. Let it go, folks! -- David G. Baker    
(back) Subject: RE: Jonathan Hall/professional community From: "Charles E. Brown" <chabrown@bellatlantic.net> Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 10:36:36 -0500   David:   I don't find it embarrassing at all. I think it raises a number of issues that I have brought up on another list.   In summary: Where is our profession going?   I have sensed a dogma, bordering on religious, going on in the organ community that, I feel, is hurting us.   Recently I had a chance to see the AGO course on hymn playing. They put forth the concepts as if they were inscribed on tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain.   On the other list I brought up the possibility that the organ community is afraid of evolution. Yet, without evolution, an organism does not adapt and eventually dies.   Whether we want to accept it or not, our profession is dying. Even our main venue, the church, is reconsidering the organ.   This is not the time to be hording, or hiding, ideas. It is a time where a LOT of new thought needs to come to the table and be discussed seriously and intelligently.   The alternative is that our instrument will die with its artists.   Charles E. Brown Author - Fireworks MX From Zero to Hero Beginning Dreamweaver MX Contributor - The Macromedia Studio MX Bible   -----Original Message----- From: pipechat@pipechat.org [mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org] On Behalf Of David Baker Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 9:42 AM To: pipechat@pipechat.org Subject: Jonathan Hall   As one who lurks, mostly, I must say that the trashing of Jonathan Hall over his new list is becoming embarrassing. Let it go, folks! -- David G. Baker     "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: Have you hugged a scholar today? From: "Mark Koontz" <markkoontz@yahoo.com> Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 07:57:14 -0800 (PST)   Having an organ scholars' list is a fine thing. It is true that publicly advertising an exclusive forum grates a bit on the ego, but I prefer to = think that Dr. Hall had the best of intentions.   It's as if he's hosting an informal symposium in his living room. Oh, how = I wish I could be serving the coffee (or whatever)!   Allowing lurkers to browse the list archives would also be a fine thing. Unfortunately, since posters' e-mail addresses are exposed, it could also invite some abuse.   Let's hope it succeeds, and that a way is found to share what would be generally beneficial.   Mark Koontz    
(back) Subject: Re: ONE LAST WORD ON "SCHOLARLY LISTS" From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 07:08:43 +1300   Thanks to Keith for more of these goods and bads we can all relate to.   One from me. Many years ago, Gavin *** was excluded from the University = here in Wellington here because, in spite of three years trying, he didn't pass single paper towards a BMus he was attempting.   So, possessed of a good technique on the Viola, the fellow played in a = great symphony orchestra for about fifteen years.   He then came back to his old university as Senior Lecturer in string = playing and in Musicianship, where has been a great success for his competence as = a lecturer, his great ability, his depth of knowledge, his warmth as a human being, and sound commonsense as he teaches among students who love him.   How do I know? I was one of his students. And Gavin still has no exams to his name. Was his appointment a good one? Yes: maybe risky to start with, but clearly justified by the great results.   Ross    
(back) Subject: Re: Scholarly Organist Group From: <quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 09:53:42 -0800   Performance practice is a means to an end, not an end in itself. That statement should be carved and polychromed on the music rack of every organ, EVERYWHERE.   All the treatises by French baroque composers invariably conclude with some kind of statement to the effect that the performer must use good taste and good judgement. If the Trompette is out of tune or out of regulation, DON'T USE IT (grin) ... or (and this is always good for a chuckle), put on the STRONG tremulant with it (grin). Some of those out-of-tune French baroque organs with the strong tremulant blazing away sound for all the world like a Wurlitzer theatre organ in full cry.   If you look in the Pipechat Archives, you will find my treatises on French baroque performance practice, French baroque registration, and the liturgical form of the Organ Mass, etc.   I teach Gregorian Chant, liturgy and hymnody in our denomination's seminary. I have a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in organ performance. Virtually NONE of the information I teach in those master's-level courses was acquired as the result of formal study, even though I studied at three recognized music schools: Oberlin, Cincinnati, and Southern Methodist. It was acquired by reading and study on my own, attending workshops and seminars, sitting in the organ lofts of recognized masters of the craft, and practical application in parish church work.   The present penchant for judging people's abilities based on letters behind their names isn't more than a couple of generations old ... David Craighead and MANY of the leading organists and teachers of the previous generation never bothered with anything beyond the Bachelor's degree. Indeed, I'm not sure Michael Murray ever finished THAT ... no, instead he went off to France and studied with Marcel Dupre. In the last analysis, which is more valuable? I have no IDEA what degree (if any) McNeil Robinson holds, but he's one of the finest liturgical organists and improvisers around. Somebody finally gave Gerre Hancock an honorary Mus Doc (an Episcopal seminary); I THINK he has an earned Master's; he's been at the helm of one of the finest church music programs in this country for close to thirty years. HIS credentials are posted whenever his choir enters the stalls at St. Thomas.   Oberlin in my day prided itself on NOT offering graduate degrees; as far as I know, they still don't in PERFORMANCE, though I seem to recall a limited number of Master's programs in other areas.   For many years, the Master's was the terminal degree at Cincinnati.   Yale offers a doctorate in what to me is an eminently sensible way: go out and DO; come back and present what you've DONE; then we'll evaluate it, and either tell you to go DO some more, or grant you the degree.   The proof of the pudding is in the playing and singing.   Cheers,   Bud           Gfc234@aol.com wrote: > > I think that the Scholarly Organist list was designed because they > were sick of reading all the junky conversation can show up on > pipechat. They probably get right down to the business of things > without worrying about hurting anyone's feelings. I too am sick of > expressing an opinion and getting emails back called expressing > ourselves tactfully, mediocrity, "why use proper performance practice? > I do whatever works". To me. that is mediocrity! I dare say that > earning a DMA or PHD puts a person in a different intellectual > category, or at least equips a person with a more advanced and > pedagogically informed style on the subject of organs and > musicology-98% of the time anyway. The world is full of things people > can't do because of degree requirements, its actually the basis of > college! This is just another example. I don't blame them one bit. > Greg-    
(back) Subject: more on performance practice From: <quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 11:54:38 -0800   OK, here's a conundrum for the authenticists: the liturgical form for which the French baroque organ Masses were written no longer exists. It is not possible to perform them in the context of today's Roman Catholic Mass. Even if it WERE, the Mass would be unacceptably long by modern standards.   An AUTHENTIC performance of (say) the Kyrie of the Couperin Mass for the Parishes would look like this:   Choir: Kyrie eleison (Mass IV of the Gregorian Kyriale -- Cunctipotens genitor Deus) Organ: Plein Jeu Choir: Kyrie eleison (as above)   Organ: Fugue on the Grand Jeu Choir: Christe eleison (as above) Organ: I forget what comes next ... the music's at church   And so forth ... I may have the choir and organ versets backwards ... without the score in front of me, I don't remember how many organ versets there are ... but you get the idea -- the organ and the choir "sing" alternate verses.   A couple of things: even IF the music could be performed in the context of the Mass, and even IF a priest and congregation would hold still for the LENGTH, *most* modern congregations would jump out of their SKINS if the organist launched into a Grand Jeu in the midst of the Kyrie, with all the reeds and cornets blazing away.   The same can be said for the versets of the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei. We're dealing with a TOTALLY different liturgical aesthetic in the 21st century.   The same can also be said of the pieces for the Elevations ... in Italy in Frescobaldi's time, it was the custom for the priest to hold the Host aloft for five minutes or more, which allowed for the playing of the Toccatas at the Elevation in the Fiori musicale. That liturgical custom no longer exists.   So ... do we not PLAY the pieces because we can't play them in the liturgical setting for which they were intended? Or do we not play them on organs that lack multiple Cornets? Or, in Frescobaldi's case, do we not play the Elevation Toccatas because we not only lack the liturgical context, but also the ravishing Voce umana he calls for ... the Voce umana built as a labial celeste stop of principal scale and gentle intonation exists on only a handful of modern organs.   This music wasn't INTENDED for organ recitals, you know ... they're LITURGICAL works intended for the MASS. So ... do we play them in Protestant services? Authentic performance practice extends to the CONTEXT, as well ...   I myself will go approximately half-way ... I will play them as absolute music, without the choir chants ... When POSSIBLE, I will use the authentic registrations called for (usually for the closing voluntary). BUT ... if I want to play them at other points in the Mass ... opening voluntary, offertory, communion ... I will temper the registrations to what my rector and congregation will TOLERATE, and what's appropriate in the context and aesthetic of what's basically a Victorian high Anglican service. That raises another question: should I (in quest of authenticity) restrict myself to Victorian English organ music?   Rhythmic alterations are another case in point ... they're pretty much generally ACCEPTED, but they can run the gamut from very sharp double-dotted eighth-notes followed by a 32nd-note to languid eighth-note triplets, with the first two eighth-notes tied ... and ALL are historically correct ... but it is the ORGANIST who must decide, based on the character of the piece AND (as M.C. Alain pointed out) the character of the organ and the stops used, PARTICULARLY the reeds. If a Trompette won't SPEAK fast enough in a fast movement, then you either temper the sharpness of the inequality, or you don't do it at ALL, according to her.   That's one approach ... there are others ... ALL are equally "correct" .... there are few absolutes in French baroque performance practice.   To take it to a more general view: modern life is complex; there are various movements that seek to provide absolute answers to EVERYTHING; for the most part, they are dangerous, as there ARE *few* absolute answers to the complexities of modern life.   To turn back to music, I can remember when students slavishly followed "The Dupre Method" or "The Walcha Method" or "The Gleason Method" for this, that, and the other thing. Nowadays a teacher is more likely to say "there are things to be LEARNED from the Dupre Method or the Walcha Method or the Gleason Method; NO method is applicable in ALL circumstances or for ALL music."   We cannot turn back the clock. Shall we, for instance, refuse to play Couperin on anything but a tracker-action organ in the French baroque style? Some conservatory students may have that luxury; most of us in the "real world" don't. I play Couperin on a 30-year old Allen 301-C electronic ... fortunately our church has excellent acoustics. Our pipe organ is due Easter of 2005, God willing. Shall I not play any organ literature until it comes, on account of the "inauthentic" medium?   It is good to raise questions of performance practice, and we need to KNOW historical practice, BUT ... the question is far broader than the notes on the page or the stops to be drawn.   Cheers,   Bud    
(back) Subject: RE: more on performance practice From: "Charles E. Brown" <chabrown@bellatlantic.net> Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 15:09:46 -0500   Our first role as organist, like any other performing artist, is to be a communicator of ideas. Whether I am playing a hymn, or performing a work by Bach, my first and primary concern is what the work says to me and how I can communicate that idea to the people listening.   Frankly, and this is me, the fingering that Bach; or whether he used this registration over another holds little interest to me. I feel the most important part of learning a new composition is just letting the music speak to me. That cannot happen if one puts scholarly parameters on a performance. In my opinion, that is a phony performance. To me, a performance of integrity is one that you feel and that you can communicate clearly.   Charles E. Brown Author - Fireworks MX From Zero to Hero Beginning Dreamweaver MX Contributor - The Macromedia Studio MX Bible   -----Original Message----- From: pipechat@pipechat.org [mailto:pipechat@pipechat.org] On Behalf Of quilisma@socal.rr.com Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 2:55 PM To: pipechat@pipechat.org Subject: more on performance practice   OK, here's a conundrum for the authenticists: the liturgical form for which the French baroque organ Masses were written no longer exists. It is not possible to perform them in the context of today's Roman Catholic Mass. Even if it WERE, the Mass would be unacceptably long by modern standards.   An AUTHENTIC performance of (say) the Kyrie of the Couperin Mass for the Parishes would look like this:   Choir: Kyrie eleison (Mass IV of the Gregorian Kyriale -- Cunctipotens genitor Deus) Organ: Plein Jeu Choir: Kyrie eleison (as above)   Organ: Fugue on the Grand Jeu Choir: Christe eleison (as above) Organ: I forget what comes next ... the music's at church   And so forth ... I may have the choir and organ versets backwards ... without the score in front of me, I don't remember how many organ versets there are ... but you get the idea -- the organ and the choir "sing" alternate verses.   A couple of things: even IF the music could be performed in the context of the Mass, and even IF a priest and congregation would hold still for the LENGTH, *most* modern congregations would jump out of their SKINS if the organist launched into a Grand Jeu in the midst of the Kyrie, with all the reeds and cornets blazing away.   The same can be said for the versets of the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei. We're dealing with a TOTALLY different liturgical aesthetic in the 21st century.   The same can also be said of the pieces for the Elevations ... in Italy in Frescobaldi's time, it was the custom for the priest to hold the Host aloft for five minutes or more, which allowed for the playing of the Toccatas at the Elevation in the Fiori musicale. That liturgical custom no longer exists.   So ... do we not PLAY the pieces because we can't play them in the liturgical setting for which they were intended? Or do we not play them on organs that lack multiple Cornets? Or, in Frescobaldi's case, do we not play the Elevation Toccatas because we not only lack the liturgical context, but also the ravishing Voce umana he calls for ... the Voce umana built as a labial celeste stop of principal scale and gentle intonation exists on only a handful of modern organs.   This music wasn't INTENDED for organ recitals, you know ... they're LITURGICAL works intended for the MASS. So ... do we play them in Protestant services? Authentic performance practice extends to the CONTEXT, as well ...   I myself will go approximately half-way ... I will play them as absolute music, without the choir chants ... When POSSIBLE, I will use the authentic registrations called for (usually for the closing voluntary). BUT ... if I want to play them at other points in the Mass ... opening voluntary, offertory, communion ... I will temper the registrations to what my rector and congregation will TOLERATE, and what's appropriate in the context and aesthetic of what's basically a Victorian high Anglican service. That raises another question: should I (in quest of authenticity) restrict myself to Victorian English organ music?   Rhythmic alterations are another case in point ... they're pretty much generally ACCEPTED, but they can run the gamut from very sharp double-dotted eighth-notes followed by a 32nd-note to languid eighth-note triplets, with the first two eighth-notes tied ... and ALL are historically correct ... but it is the ORGANIST who must decide, based on the character of the piece AND (as M.C. Alain pointed out) the character of the organ and the stops used, PARTICULARLY the reeds. If a Trompette won't SPEAK fast enough in a fast movement, then you either temper the sharpness of the inequality, or you don't do it at ALL, according to her.   That's one approach ... there are others ... ALL are equally "correct" .... there are few absolutes in French baroque performance practice.   To take it to a more general view: modern life is complex; there are various movements that seek to provide absolute answers to EVERYTHING; for the most part, they are dangerous, as there ARE *few* absolute answers to the complexities of modern life.   To turn back to music, I can remember when students slavishly followed "The Dupre Method" or "The Walcha Method" or "The Gleason Method" for this, that, and the other thing. Nowadays a teacher is more likely to say "there are things to be LEARNED from the Dupre Method or the Walcha Method or the Gleason Method; NO method is applicable in ALL circumstances or for ALL music."   We cannot turn back the clock. Shall we, for instance, refuse to play Couperin on anything but a tracker-action organ in the French baroque style? Some conservatory students may have that luxury; most of us in the "real world" don't. I play Couperin on a 30-year old Allen 301-C electronic ... fortunately our church has excellent acoustics. Our pipe organ is due Easter of 2005, God willing. Shall I not play any organ literature until it comes, on account of the "inauthentic" medium?   It is good to raise questions of performance practice, and we need to KNOW historical practice, BUT ... the question is far broader than the notes on the page or the stops to be drawn.   Cheers,   Bud     "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: more on performance practice From: "Ross & Lynda Wards" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 10:28:57 +1300   >It is good to raise questions of performance practice, and we need to >KNOW historical practice, BUT ... the question is far broader than the >notes on the page or the stops to be drawn. > >Cheers, > >Bud   As usual, ?Bud, you are talking good common practical sense. I even play Couperin and Bach (and Dandrieu and Buxtehude and William Walond and Frescobaldi) on the utterly foul out-of-tune 2m&P harmoniums in one of our parish's churches, as well as on the nearly-as-foul Allens in the other = two churches. And the people appreciate it.   Ross