PipeChat Digest #4101 - Saturday, November 8, 2003
OHS 2003 - Sixth Full Day 6-25-03
  by "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net>
Re: Chimes and organ with piano
  by <hydrant@baskerbeagles.com>

(back) Subject: OHS 2003 - Sixth Full Day 6-25-03 From: "Malcolm Wechsler" <manderusa@earthlink.net> Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2003 00:07:17 -0500   Anne Marie Rigler - Wednesday, June 25th, 2003 St. John's U.C.C., Boalsburg, Pennsylvania   Boalsburg is one of many historic towns in this part of Pennsylvania, and one of its claims to fame seems to be as the birthplace of Memorial Day. = In late May, 1864, two families by coincidence met at the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of loved ones who had died in the Civil War. They later decided to meet again at the same time the next year, and others = from the community chose to join them in the same observance. The idea soon spread to other communities, and that is how it all began.   St. John's U.C.C. Church was built in 1861, and by 1868, it became the = home of the very first church Organ built by Charles Durner. Durner was born in Germany in 1838, into a five generation family of Organbuilders. At the = age of 21, he came to Pennsylvania and set up shop. The St. John's Organ has fourteen stops, including a Great 16' Bourdon (only to tenor g #) and Principals to the Fifteenth, including a Twelfth. The Swell offers two 8' Flutes and a Dulciana, a 4' Flute and a Vox Humana to tenor C (really a Clarinet). In the Pedal, there is a 16' Sub Bass, and at 8', a Violin Bass (Open Wood). The Organ had been in a west gallery, but at the turn of the century, was brought down to a chamber in front. In 1971, Hartmann Beatty rebuilt the instrument, bringing the Pedal to 30 notes from its original = 20, and in 1990, R. J. Brunner did a proper restoration. This congregation has lovingly cared for the instrument, and has produced a very neat booklet about its history. We all received a copy with our programs for the = concert.   Ann Marie Rigler is both Instructor in Music (Organ and Music = Appreciation) and Reference Librarian at the University Park campus of Penn State University. Prior to coming to Pennsylvania, she taught at a number of well-known universities, and has a long list of performance credits, including at AGO conventions. You will have read some of her writings in both The American Organist and The Diapason. She holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Organ performance from S.M.U. and from the University = of Iowa respectively, and also holds a master's degree in library and information science and musicology from the University of Illinois.   Generally, it takes me about five bars to figure out what kind of recital = is in store. Dr. Rigler set me at ease in perhaps two bars, with her great musical assurance and musicality, and the program began with the = Mendelssohn G Major Prelude (Opus 37, No. 2), rather the perfect beginning for a = recital on a not very large but totally unforced and honest instrument. It was beautiful sound combined with beautiful playing of a bit of pure Mendelssohn, and I was really moved by it and absorbed in it.   When the Durner Organ was built, Arthur Foote was about 15 years old, so their "careers" coincided. It therefore seems appropriate to hear this = music here. Foote was a musician of substance, having been granted the very = first M.A. in Music granted by a university in America, and Harvard at that! He was president of the A.G.O. from 1909 to 1912. As a composer, I don't see him placed in the very top ranks of the practitioners of the art, but really, the Canzonetta (Opus 71, No. 4) is a piece of some charm, and in = the hands of a truly gifted player, is, and was on this occasion, both elegant and excellent, a joy to hear. In Dr. Rigler's fine notes given to us = (thank you), she refers to it as a "charming, lyrical character piece."   Next up, a dashing and dexterous performance of a work by John Knowles = Paine (1839-1906), who was the teacher of Arthur Foote. Concert Variations on = the Austrian Hymn (opus 3). Many will know better, perhaps, the Star Spangled Banner Variations, and this work is similar in many ways. Its intricacies were deftly handled, with a final variation that was nothing less than dazzling. The Fugue at the end was fully satisfying.   This being an OHS recital, we finished with the expected hymn, chosen by = the recitalist - in this case, Austrian Hymn, of course. Dr. Rigler's accompaniments were just right. She led us without crushing us. She was under us with just the right amount of support, leaving room for us to = hear and enjoy our own singing together. We were given directions in the handbook: 1. All, unison 2. Women 3. Men 4. Unison with descant - Tenors invited to join in the descant. My only routine cavil in all of this was that there was no opportunity for us to sing in harmony. I don't remember = if any of us were defiant in the first stanza or not. I hope we were, but = this must not take away from the real pleasure we had in singing this wonderful tune with a truly fine accompaniment, and a very nice way to end a fine recital.   Following this recital, we were offered the time to stroll around the = town's historic district while the other half of the convention came to hear the same recital. At 11:15, buses picked us all up for a short trip to State College, PA and lunch at the elegant Nittany Lion Inn.     David Dahl, St. John's Episcopal Church June 25th, 2003 Bellefonte, Pennsylvania   This, the penultimate day of the convention, is about as perfect a day of music as one could hope for, and not the only such day in this convention, or in other conventions. Please, even if you have never done it before, it is time to begin giving serious consideration to attending next summer in Buffalo, New York. The convention runs from July 13th through the 20th. = You will not believe the roster of artists and the distinguished collection of Organs arranged for us by Joe McCabe and his committee. Go to www.organsociety.org and click on Conventions to see the convention I am writing about now and several other conventions in recent years. It is too soon for Buffalo to be on the website yet, but it won't be long.   All this came to mind because I am looking over and remembering with great pleasure David Dahl's program for us this summer at St. John's Episcopal Church, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and am reminded that he is a regular performer for OHS. This got me in convention mode again, a love that will not let me go. The 15-stop mechanical action Organ in this church was = built in approximately 1892 by J. W. Steere & Sons. It is an untouched original, other than for routine maintenance and tuning, and it is in perfect = working order.   The program began with the Buxtehude Toccata & Fugue in F, impeccably and beautifully played. The Organ was not what Buxtehude would have heard, but its Principals 8, 4, and 2 provided the necessary clarity, and color stops were there for the various consort requirements. This was a very = satisfying beginning.   "Ethyl Smyth" says the program, but every other source says Ethel to be sure! Dame Ethel Smyth, to give her name and title, was born in England in 1858, and died in 1944. I don't know that there was any connection, but = she studied for a time in Leipzig, and perhaps absorbed enough of the great Cantor's essence that the chorale prelude we heard here, <Du, O schoenes Weltgebaude> sounded quite nicely Bach like. It gave us a chance to hear = the lovely Steere Oboe in the cantus.   Having heard, loved, bought, and ultimately played David's "English = Suite," played for us last year in Chicago, I was keen to hear the next work on = the program: his "Concerto Voluntary - Homage to John Stanley." This again is = a fine work, one worthy to be played. It's on my list. The first movement, Moderately Quick, was very reminiscent of the Allegro of the Stanley Voluntary No. VIII, no doubt a respectful gesture. Movement 2, Slow and Lyric was tonal, a solo melody against repeated chords. The accompaniment comprised the Swell Salicional and Aeoline 8 with tremulant, box open, = with the solo line played resourcefully on the Great 16' Bourdon an octave higher. The last movement, Moderately Quick, used rather more of the = Organ, Great through Fifteenth for one hand, and Swell Stopped Diapason 8 and Oboe/Bassoon 8. It all ends coupled together, with a very Stanley-esque feeling - a worthy homage indeed.   Cal Hampton's lovely Hymn Prelude on "America, the beautiful - Materna" served as a prelude to our, as always, spectacular hymn singing. We were given the directions we like to have: Stanza 1, Unison. Stanza 2, Harmony, sung quietly. Stanza 3, Harmony, sung boldly. There was not a dry eye to = be found.   Not having heard it for some time, the Haydn Allegro in C Major (for Flute Clock Organ) was good to hear again, and it took us on a useful tour of = four flutes of the Organ. Now I can wait a few more years!   We next heard a long-familiar melody by Edvard Grieg in a fine arrangement by Hans Olaf Lien: <Sidste Vaar> (The Last Spring). I am sure I did not = know the melody under that name, but it is hauntingly familiar, and was a = delight to hear, before the fierce onslaught of the . . .   Toccata in G of Theodore Dubois. That's not fair. It is not really any = sort of onslaught, but was an abrupt change from the Grieg just heard. It was, = in fact, a very exciting end to this splendid performance, and it used, for = the first time, everything the old Steere had to give, uncoupled in the beginning, and then coupled with the addition of the Great 16'.   DAVID DAHL has recently retired as Professor of Music and University Organist Emeritus from Pacific Lutheran University, which has a now-famous Paul Fritts Organ which David surely had lots to do with in the planning stages. This is NOT a case in which the Organist flees after discovering that the Organ he championed has turned into a monster. Read all about it, and hear a sample at:   http://www.plu.edu/PLUExperience/interest/pfritts.html   David continues as Director of Music Ministries at Christ Episcopal Church in Tacoma, WA. His list of performances in this country and abroad is a = long one, and there are numerous recordings. His service to our instrument has taken many effective forms. The OHS is very lucky to have him as an = advocate for the preservation of old instruments, and equally lucky to have him as = a recitalist at national conventions on a regular basis.     Kola Owolabi, Trinity United Methodist Church Bellefonte, Pennsylvania - June 25th, 2003   I first heard Kola Owolabi in Spivey Hall outside of Atlanta in May of = 2002. He was a semi-finalist in the Calgary International Organ Competition, and = I was immediately struck by his playing. This time around, I was just as = taken with his performance as I had been in Atlanta. He has a special gimmick - nothing you might be thinking about. No sequined shoes - just the same old Organmasters, I think, as mine, although more scuffed from rather more practice. No audience chat. No exaggerated gestures. It's just plain Kola Owolabi, but there is something going on that I am not fully sure about = yet. I have been thinking about it since the last time I heard him. It's a = truly unique approach to the keyboard. Part of it, to be sure, is a gentle give, = a subtle flexibility which could not, I think, be quantified, but it IS = there, and it something that a few other players I know have. I look for this. = But there is more, and that is where I am at sea. I described it once before = as a unique lilt, and that's the best I can do, but I know it it is important to me.   Kola is well placed in a successful Organ-playing trajectory - a = Bachelor's from McGill, a Master's from Yale in Organ Performance and Choral Conducting, and he is now enrolled at Eastman. While at McGill, he was assistant Organist at the Church of St. Andrew & St. Paul (commonly known = as the A & P) in Montreal. In New Haven, he served as Yale University Chapel Organist, and as Choir Director at the Yale Divinity School Chapel. In = July of 2002, in Philadelphia, he was awarded Second Prize and the = all-important Audience Prize in the AGO National Organ Performance Competition. A published composer, he has received commissions from the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Royal Canadian College of Organists. Of this, we shall = learn more, shortly.   For his performance here in Pennsylvania, he was given a 1902 Hook & Hastings Organ of 16 stops, Opus 1893. It was restored by R. J. Brunner & Co. in 1991. We heard a full sound right away, in the first movement of = the Mendelssohn 3rd Sonata in A Major. Very grand it was, and Kola approached the music with his usual care and sensitivity - a great beginning.   Here followed the hymn, the somewhat plainsong-like Luther melody, Aus tiefer Not. Kola played a fine introduction, and accompanied the hymn throughout colorfully and supportively. We sang in glorious unison.   From the Six Canonic Studies of Schumann, we heard No. 4 in A flat major, marked <innig.> I love Cassell's string of translations - to wit: = Intimate, heartfelt, sincere, warm, tender, affectionate, cordial, fervent, ardent. Well, I think we got most of those, in what I noted as a performance that was powerful, with great sweep.   One does not hear much music of the Englishman William Russell = (1777-1813), partly because there is not a lot going around. What little there is, limited to a few voluntaries in varied moods, is mostly quite worth = playing. These were popular in their time. Kola gave us a Voluntary No. 4, with a fine and inventive melody, with several variations.   As mentioned above, Kola is also a composer, and finished his program with = a two movement work of his own making, commissioned by the Royal Canadian College of Organists for the National Convention in Toronto in 2001. "O = give thanks to the Lord, for He is good" from "Portraits from the Psalms." He says: "The first movement is a tone poem based on the 23rd Psalm, and the second movement is an exuberant toccata, inspired by words from Psalm 136: 'O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his love has no end.'" As the composer, he could have spared himself, but he did not - there were = many notes, and he played them all with assurance. This is a compositional = voice to watch. This music is unique and wonderful, while yet accessible to all. Do watch for this name - I know there will be more music. This muse cannot be stilled.     Ken Cowan, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament June 25th, 2003 Altoona, Pennsylvania   Ken Cowan's recital at the OHS convention always creates a great buzz of anticipation. What marvelous new delights will he unleash this time? Then, add in an Organ, not heard by many previously, but an instrument of incredible importance in Organ history. It's an unbeatable formula. We certainly were not disappointed in the least with either Organist or = Organ. Ken is no revelation, because we already know what he is capable of, although even we are sometimes surprised by some new evidence of = greatness, but the Organ was something else. I feel I need to direct you to the Pipe Organ List Archives at: http://listserv.albany.edu:8080/archives/piporg-l.html where you will = find, after rooting around a bit, a letter written by member Harold Stover not long after he got home from hearing Ken's recital. The subject heading is "Cowan at Altoona," and the date was 6/26/03. Here is a terrific summary = of the great historical and musical significance of this Organ, and you can also capture some of the excitement we all felt that evening.   I believe that if we were all asked, in the face of a great, heretofore unheard, Romantic Organ in a fine setting, what piece of music we would = like to hear first, many of us would say, the Franck E Major Chorale. Just thinking of that opening page sends chills around. Well, this is how Ken began his recital, and what was that about chills? Well, you just cannot imagine. At the end of the piece, there was an enormous eruption of excitement, expressed in various ways. Clapping, stamping, shouting. This Organ is capable of tremendous volume, but it all fits incredibly comfortably in the building, so no one is overwhelmed but all are moved powerfully.   Next, the Liszt Variations on Weinen, Klagen, arranged from the original piano version by Alexander Winterberger (a pupil of Liszt), and by Ken Cowan. Here was our chance to hear some wonderful solo sounds and some of the bright and beautiful Flutes of the instrument.   The Karg-Elert Valse Mignon was written in 1930, possibly just as this big instrument was being constructed in the workshop in Bavaria, to be readied for shipment to the U.S. The piece is a bit of salon whimsy, with = wonderful solo and ensemble sounds, and fast tremulants that can make the Organ = sound positively theatrical.   Max Reger's transcription of the Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue for Harpsichord turns it into a big Romantic affair, and it got a blaze of = glory at the end. I wanted to go home and hear the original, but failed to do = so.   You can be sure there was lots of buzz at Intermission. I too heard the remark that Harold heard, delivered by a firm admirer of the work of = Donald Harrison at Aeolian-Skinner. This Organ seemed to surpass anything that = had been done by them. To me, it was very moving, hearing these sounds from a Germany in 1931, a civilization of erudition and sophistication upon which = a great darkness would soon descend. Fortunately, Steinmeyer's great work = here has been preserved through a restoration by the Columbia Organ Works from 1990 to 1992.     I don't know if this cathedral has often or ever heard hymn singing as it was this evening. We sang Cal Hampton's tune St. Helena to the text, = "There' s a wideness in God's mercy."   I don't know how to explain why (and does one have to, anyway), but the large Choral Prelude on O Lamm Gottes (BWV 656) has always been important = to me. Ken did it mostly my way, which means, of course, Bach's way. In = stanza 2, he highlighted the cantus, possibly in the pedal. Big Pedal Reeds = joined the manual trumpet-like bits, but in the great and rather amazing = chromatic section, Ken did not broaden this out the way Bach and I do, but it was = o.k. He played the piece big to the end, while I partake of a bit of Romantic nonsense and go softly to the end. With all that, it was wonderful and moving.   The Bach Allein Gott (BWV 664) just bubbled along and was totally clear, which said something about the great Organ's ability to adapt.   What an ending, with the Reger Hallelujah, Gott zu Loben. I was so bowled over by it, I wrote only WOW! in my notes. Use your imagination!   The ovation that followed is best described as tumultuous. It just would = not stop, until Ken made it clear he was to offer up one more piece.   The "Jig" Fugue was the perfect encore.   Ken is an Organ playing treasure of our time. He is one of the few able to equal this magnificent Organ, full of history and significance.   And so ends the sixth and penultimate full day of this 2003 Convention of the O.H.S.              
(back) Subject: Re: Chimes and organ with piano From: <hydrant@baskerbeagles.com> Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2003 02:39:27 -0500   Subject: Chime stop, gathering dust From: "tom carter" <tcarter215@yahoo.com>   >Can anybody recommend any non-hymn-based music that would make use of the chimes on the organ, especially suitable for meditative moments like distribution of the communion elements, etc.?>   Hi Tom... Chime notes can be added to punctuate almost in almost any composition; just be creative. There is a lovely piece called "Reflection" by Frank Asper in which a B-flat chime is used at the beginning of each measure in the first and second phrases of the restatement of the beginning of the piece. It's not written in the music, but I remember him doing this on a recording he made.   Chimes do not always have to play a melody; often I will use a four or six note pattern on the chimes to punctuate the end of a phrase in an improvisation. The pattern can be played in various keys. Simplicity and a sympathetic ear can direct you.   I also use occasional chime patterns on stanzas of hymns, carefully avoiding the melodic line. The congregation loves it. Chimes, like the lowly zimblestern, are far to often neglected for lack of creativity. They don't need to be used alot; but can add so much to a service or piece of music with just a tinkle or two!   Leo Sowerby's "Carillon" has a section for which chimes are indicated. It's very beautiful. I'm playing an "edited" version of it on Sunday, leaving out the "loud part" and a bit more, since I'm limited to 3-minutes for the offering. It compresses very well. I'm also playing Sowerby's prelude on "Malabar" which, although it does not call for chimes, offers a couple of opportunities for a bong or two! Not to cast doubt upon my committment to avoid hymn-based preludes, I don't consider "Malabar" hymn-based; the hymn melody does get used a couple of times, but it's beautifully woven into the fabric of Sowerby's music; it's just exquisite.   Bill mentioned the Purvis "Communion" which is a beautiful piece, but also an excellent example of using chimes for emphasis rather than melody.   =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D Can anyone recommend some "classy" music for organ and piano? Hymn arrangements are okay, but I would really like something that is more musical than the "traditional" dotted quarter- eighth oom-paah ta-daaa evangelical style.   Someone mentioned some hymn arrangements for organ and orchestra with a CD for the orchestra parts. Any chance these arrangements are available with a piano reduction in place of the orchestra?   I'd really like to find some Christmas music for organ and piano without having to resort to the watered-down versions. Our pianist does very nice improvisations during hymns, but is not comfortable doing this during voluntaries.     =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D   From: "Bill Raty" <billious@billraty.com> Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 19:02:27 -0800 (PST)   >I once worked for a Lutheran Church where the pastor objected to me playing "O mensch bewein..." as a prelude during Lent! Said he, "Bill, these are Sundays in Lent, not Lenten Sundays." >   To avoid breaking the rule of an "Amen" post, i will sound a resounding WAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoo for this astute clergypersonage. Lent is so much more intense when it is observed in contrast to festive Easterly Sunday worship!   Scritchies and Haruffaroo-bahawow...   Unkie Doinky ... aka Bruce and the Baskerbeagles of HowlingAcres = http://baskerbeagles.com HELP FEED ANIMALS FOR FREE http://tinyurl.com/2j5i and = http://pets.care2.com