PipeChat Digest #4843 - Wednesday, October 20, 2004
 
More economy of movement, except from the jawbone...   :)
  by "Stephen Roberts" <sroberts01@snet.net>
Re: how to name a hymn
  by "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net>
Re: More economy of movement, except from the jawbone...   :)
  by <Keys4bach@aol.com>
Appendages....and an apology
  by "Stephen Roberts" <sroberts01@snet.net>
Eastman School of Music Organ Students Meet RTOS Wurlitzers (cross-posted
  by "Kenneth Evans" <kevans1@rochester.rr.com>
Re: how to name a hymn tune
  by "Randolph Runyon" <runyonr@muohio.edu>
Interpretations & "new ideas"
  by "terry hicks" <Terrick@webtv.net>
Off-topic: "Catholic"
  by "terry hicks" <Terrick@webtv.net>
Re: Economy of motion and technique (very long!)
  by <Innkawgneeto@cs.com>
wurlitzer & hammond
  by <BlueeyedBear@aol.com>
Re: wurlitzer & hammond
  by "bnorth" <bnorth@intergate.ca>
Re: wurlitzer & hammond
  by "bnorth" <bnorth@intergate.ca>
Re: Hymn tempos
  by "David Carter" <davidorganist2002@yahoo.com>
Re: Interpretations & "new ideas"
  by "Jarle Fagerheim" <jarle_fagerheim@yahoo.co.uk>
Re: Appendages....and an apology
  by "Octaaf" <octaaf@charter.net>
RE: Interpretations & "new ideas"
  by "TheShieling" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz>
 

(back) Subject: More economy of movement, except from the jawbone... :) From: "Stephen Roberts" <sroberts01@snet.net> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 18:19:59 -0700 (PDT)   Dear List, My, my! It seems that I have stirred up a hornet's nest. Tim Grenz says = that American organists may have trouble playing historic pedalboards with = the same economy of motion that they use on AGO pedalboards. That is = probably true, since most are not accustomed to playing those pedalboards. = I have also seen European organists stumble when they try to adjust to an = AGO standard pedalboard, too, for that matter. It's a question of = unfamiliarity, not inadequate technique. The people I quoted in regard to = pedal technique were not Americans, however. They were French. And some = pretty fine players, too, by all accounts. As I recall, in his original = posting that prompted my comments, Mr. Grenz listed French organs as being = some of the ones that might cause trouble for the "economy of movement" = approach. Apparently Widor and Vierne didn't think that those organs = would cause a problem. I can also tell Mr. Grenz that I have played = scores of historic organs in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America in at least 14 countries, and few have given = me any real problems, except of course the ones that didn't work very = well. I can't speak for other American organists, only myself. Mr. Grenz also calls the approach that I described as "Victorian". If I = had described the technique of feeling in between the black notes to find = one's way, as Sir John Stainer advocates in his organ tutor, then the term = might apply. As far as I know, Queen Victoria never reigned in France, = though her empire was admittedly the greatest and most expansive one in = history. So the term "Victorian" doesn't apply here either, it seems to = me. The approach I mentioned was also advocated by Dupre', who lived = until 1971. Victoria died 70 years before that, as I recall. I also = quoted CPE Bach in my posting. I suppose that he was "Victorian", too? = :) Mr. Grenz goes on to state that the idea of keeping the knees together was = because of the modesty of Victorian ladies. Once again, I believe that he = is mistaken. In the French system of pedaling, the knees are kept = together up to the interval of an octave. Just as the feet are kept with = the heels touching to use the feet as calipers to measure intervals up to = a fifth, the knees are kept together to use the legs below the knees to = measure intervals from the sixth up to an octave. God help those modest = Victorian ladies if they had to play tenths! :) Once again, I can quote = Vierne's words about this subject: "...The greatest stretch of the = legs--knees together--gives an octave." (Rollin Smith's book on Vierne, = p. 73) Mr. Grenz mentions the playing of Walter Kraft and Helmut Walcha. I = never had the privilege of hearing either of these great men play live or = meeting them, which I sincerely regret. But I can't imagine that anyone = familiar with present day musicology in regard to Bach and Buxtehude would = hold up these men as an example for people to emulate today, especially = with their use of upbeat to downbeat slurrings, slurrings over the bar = line, and in some cases, very short staccato. In his own original = articulations, Bach rarely does these things, though there are a very few = cases where he does. In the case of Buxtehude, many of the sources had = not even come to the attention of scholars when Walcha and Kraft were = alive and active. We now know a lot more than was known about these = matters in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, because of the explosion of = musicological research in the last 30 years. In many cases the "historic" = organs that Walcha and Kraft played on their many recordings had been the victims of very questionable "restorations" by firms such as Kemper = or Ott. A tremendous amount of research into historic organ building = techniques has led to new restorations of these organs that have returned = them to a state much more closely resembling the way the original builders = left them. Mr. Grenz also describes the all toes approach to pedaling as "the = accepted European tradition of training organists." Correct me if I am = wrong, but isn't France part of Europe, too? I suspect that the French = might have a little something to say about that. The mostly toes approach = is perhaps the accepted German tradition of training organists, but it = isn't the tradition in France, at least not since the French adopted the = so-called "German style" pedalboard, and Widor and Guilmant returned from = studying with Lemmens in the middle of the 19th. century. I would also like to tell Mr. Grenz that I do know a little something = about the Germanic approach to playing the pedals, too, since I studied = with both Anton Heiller and Michael Schneider. Schneider used heels more = than Heiller did, but of course Schneider studied not only with Karl = Straube, but with Marcel Dupre' as well. Heiller's technique was not = influenced by the French school in any significant way, and he strongly = disagreed with it, though he did respect it. I never saw either man = (Heiller or Schneider) move away from the middle of the bench as Mr. Grenz = said that Walcha and Kraft did, and both Heiller and Schneider played with = great economy of movement. Many of my friends and classmates from my = Vienna days are some of the most highly respected organists and scholars = in Europe now; I still keep in touch with many of them, so I believe that = I am not totally ignorant of what is going on there at the moment. I = actually do as much recital playing in Europe as I do here, and I travel there an average of twice a year. I'm taking my entire organ = class on a study tour of historic organs in the Netherlands and North = Germany in January, in fact. I expect that they will discover that the = kind of technique that they have been taught serves them rather well at = Alkmaar, Haarlem, Stade, Leiden, or Hamburg St-Jakobi, just as it did at = St-Sulpice, Houdan, St-Gervais, and the other places we visited when I = took my class with me to France in 2003. I teach not only the Lemmens = style pedal technique by the way, but also a mostly toes technique for = 17th century music, because I think that the mostly toes technique is more = congruent with the kind of sound that is made when one uses 17th. century = style paired fingerings. Rather than finding economy of motion a = hindrance, however, I have usually found it a big help in playing = accurately on historic instruments, especially small positivs with short = tracker runs and very light touch. On organs with very short and narrow keys and very light actions, keeping the fingers in contact with the keys = as much as possible and using a minimum of movement is necessary for = accuracy, and to avoid the "hiccup" that occurs when keys are released = with imprecision.   Mr. Grenz goes on to write: "Perhaps it might benefit American teachers = and organ students today to learn and master both techniques of pedal = playing." I absolutely agree with him on that point, if by "both = techniques" he means the French system and a mostly toes, non-legato = approach. But both systems benefit very much from economy of movement in = my experience. Then Mr. Grenz goes for the knockout punch: "Contrary to your opinion, = the American way of organ playing isn't the only accepted technique." = [Stephen Roberts goes down for the count! :) ] There are a number of = problems with this sentence, however. First of all, that isn't my opinion = at all, and I never said it was. Second, I quoted Widor, Vierne, and CPE = Bach; they weren't Americans, and their way wasn't the "American way". = Third, I never said that this was "the only accepted technique". In fact = in a subsequent posting on the same subject, I mentioned the fact that = there are many fine players who stand outside the Lemmens tradition and = whose technique isn't based on his philosophy at all. But from my = observations, even performers like Gustav Leonhardt and Harald Vogel, who = arguably represent the very antithesis of the Lemmens/Widor/Dupre' school = and seldom if ever use the heel in pedaling, play with great economy of = movement. And they are great artists indeed. Stephen Roberts Western CT State University, Danbury, CT USA      
(back) Subject: Re: how to name a hymn From: "Alan Freed" <acfreed0904@earthlink.net> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 21:32:29 -0400   On 10/19/04 5:13 PM, "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com> wrote:   > The subject line on the message Randolph is a bit misleading, as the word > "Hymn" usually is used to refer to the text; the music is (in my experien= ce, > anyway) generally referred to as the hymntune.   I'm not particularly crazy about it, but the reality is that Noel is solidl= y right. Those=8Call-caps=B9 ? =B3names=B2 refer to the =B3tune,=B2 and not even remotel= y to the text. The =B3opening line=B2 (of stanza 1 or often, nowadays, to the opening words of the=B2chorus/refrain=B2 are totally a textual reference.   Alan  
(back) Subject: Re: More economy of movement, except from the jawbone... :) From: <Keys4bach@aol.com> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 21:53:03 EDT   In a message dated 10/19/2004 9:22:52 PM Eastern Standard Time, sroberts01@snet.net writes:   > But I can't imagine that anyone familiar with present day musicology in > regard to Bach and Buxtehude would hold up these men as an example for = people to > emulate today, especially with their use of upbeat to downbeat = slurrings, > slurrings over the bar line, and in some cases, very short staccato.   oh my000000000now them thar are fighting words HAHA>   perhaps some of us LIKE UPBEAT SLURRINGS--they can be done well and with great musicality----YES I Slur the G major Fugue and yes i was graded = down on it in a competition (some of which i have won) and i suggested to the host = that perhaps the judge should grade on consistency, musicality and the event = itself and not whether i am up to date in Kansas City.   oh yes, i change manuals too.....   dale in Florida----playing my Walcha markings....  
(back) Subject: Appendages....and an apology From: "Stephen Roberts" <sroberts01@snet.net> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 18:58:57 -0700 (PDT)   Dear List, Ross wrote: "Personally, I couldn't give an intercontinental hoot what the = organist uses to push any key on manuals or pedal down, as long as the = music wins." Thanks to Ross and Dale for lightening the tone of this discussion. I = completely agree. I also agree with Jarle Fagerheim, John Speller, and = Tim Grenz's last posting on this topic. It's fun to get worked up every = once and awhile. It keeps things from getting too dull and humdrum on = this list. I'm sorry if I offended Tim Grenz with the use of the word "rubbish", = which really rubbed him the wrong way, probably with good reason. It was a = poor choice of words, and I apologize publicly to Tim for any offense I = might have caused. But this particular topic is one of my own hobby = horses, and I've spent a lot of time researching it over the years. = While I am still a true believer in the French system of technique when = applied to French music, especially that of high virtuosity, I also = recognize that it isn't the "universal approach" that Dupre' and Widor = insisted it was. Ross is absolutely right: in the end it is the music = that matters. And that is something that Tim and I will surely agree on! = :) I've spent too much time on the computer today. I have to go do some = reading now, to prepare for our organ class on Scheidemann and Tunder next = week. Hmm. I wonder how they played the pedals.... :) Stephen Roberts  
(back) Subject: Eastman School of Music Organ Students Meet RTOS Wurlitzers (cross-posted) From: "Kenneth Evans" <kevans1@rochester.rr.com> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 22:01:43 -0400   The Rochester Theater Organ Society wants you to learn of the University = of Rochester's prestigious Eastman School of Music Organ Dept. interest in learning about theater organs. The staff and students have been introduced =   to our 4/23 and 3/12 Wurlitzers to provide them hands-on experience with unit orchestras and to learn of their historical origins and also the current and future capabililities as versatile musical entertainment instruments.   A hyperlink to their website at http://www.rochester.edu/Eastman/organ/ that displays photographs of their recent visit to the 4/23 has been added =   to our website at http://theatreorgans.com/rochestr/ .   We are happy to see their interest in this type of organ. It is always a pleasure to work with professors and students who show such interest. RTOS =   expects to continue and to further develop a mutually beneficial relationship with such a talented group.   Ken Evans, RTOS Director      
(back) Subject: Re: how to name a hymn tune From: "Randolph Runyon" <runyonr@muohio.edu> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 22:02:35 -0400   on 10/19/04 9:32 PM, Alan Freed at acfreed0904@earthlink.net wrote:   On 10/19/04 5:13 PM, "Noel Stoutenburg" <mjolnir@ticnet.com> wrote:   > The subject line on the message Randolph is a bit misleading, as the word > "Hymn" usually is used to refer to the text; the music is (in my experien= ce, > anyway) generally referred to as the hymntune.   I'm not particularly crazy about it, but the reality is that Noel is solidl= y right. Those=8Call-caps=B9 ? =B3names=B2 refer to the =B3tune,=B2 and not even remotel= y to the text. The =B3opening line=B2 (of stanza 1 or often, nowadays, to the opening words of the=B2chorus/refrain=B2 are totally a textual reference.   Alan=20   Hey guys, I know this! I just typed in haste, OK?     Randy Runyon Music Director Zion Lutheran Church Hamilton, Ohio runyonr@muohio.edu      
(back) Subject: Interpretations & "new ideas" From: "terry hicks" <Terrick@webtv.net> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 19:18:29 -0700   I get a little nervous with talk of bringing "new ideas" to historic music. If it means discovering more or new information about the musicians and their music, OK. Otherwise, I've heard some far-fetched interpretations of music from all periods that did not illumine the score, but obscured it.    
(back) Subject: Off-topic: "Catholic" From: "terry hicks" <Terrick@webtv.net> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 19:38:25 -0700   If I remember correctly writings from and about Martin Luther and his immediate circle, they considered themselves Evangelical Catholics. To his last day, Luther still loved the Latin "mass", if memory serves me right. It was the dear extremists who followed who wantd nothing even hinting of Rome.    
(back) Subject: Re: Economy of motion and technique (very long!) From: <Innkawgneeto@cs.com> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 23:07:10 EDT   I remember saying this a few years back, but...   some of us (present poster included) cannot keep my knees together very = long without a significant measure of discomfort.   (Is that diplomatic and euphemistic enough?)   Neil Brown  
(back) Subject: wurlitzer & hammond From: <BlueeyedBear@aol.com> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 23:32:20 EDT   hello, list. my church has a wurlitzer organ and a hammond C3 with leslie =   speaker for sale. besides ebay, does anyone know of a place to advertise = them so they go to good homes?   thanks,   scot in spokane  
(back) Subject: Re: wurlitzer & hammond From: "bnorth" <bnorth@intergate.ca> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 20:44:59 -0700   does anyone know of a place to advertise them so they go to good homes?   thanks, scot in spokane=20   Scott, try keyboardtrader.com, also, theatreorgan.com, let the site = load, then scroll down to the buy and sell section. Both are excellent = sites that generate a lot of interest. BobN
(back) Subject: Re: wurlitzer & hammond From: "bnorth" <bnorth@intergate.ca> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 20:50:37 -0700   Correction: should be theatreorgans.com, sorry.......     ----- Original Message -----=20 From: bnorth=20 To: PipeChat=20 Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 8:44 PM Subject: Re: wurlitzer & hammond     does anyone know of a place to advertise them so they go to good = homes?   thanks, scot in spokane=20   Scott, try keyboardtrader.com, also, theatreorgan.com, let the site = load, then scroll down to the buy and sell section. Both are excellent = sites that generate a lot of interest. BobN
(back) Subject: Re: Hymn tempos From: "David Carter" <davidorganist2002@yahoo.com> Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 21:11:24 -0700 (PDT)   Sorry to be so tardy in replying to this thread, but I'm behind in reading = Pipechat posts. I am currently an organist in an LDS congregation. As many of you know, we have = a song leader, or "chorister" as they're usually known, that leads the congregational hymn = singing. It has been my experience that usually the chorister will follow the tempo that I set = during the introduction to the hymn, or perhaps a bit slower. Occasionally, the chorister will set a = real slow, almost painfully so, tempo.   Someone also asked in this thread about hymnbooks that indicate tempo. The = current LDS hymnbook gives a range of tempos for each hymn, along with a suggested = introduction, indicated by brackets in the music.   David Carter Sacramento, CA     _______________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today! http://vote.yahoo.com  
(back) Subject: Re: Interpretations & "new ideas" From: "Jarle Fagerheim" <jarle_fagerheim@yahoo.co.uk> Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 09:14:38 +0200   To me, "new ideas" can mean simply finding out how to play Bach musically on the 18-stop neobaroque (though very nice) organ in my church. I've heard a lot of "historic" interpretations that sounded pretty awful, uninspired and unmusical.   I can't make it sound the way it sounded in Bach's time, but I still try to learn as much as possible about historic performance practise. It is a great fundation to build upon, but as I said, my congregation and organ are so extremely different from those of Bach that I have to adapt my knowledge all the time.   - Jarle http://jarle.moo.no  
(back) Subject: Re: Appendages....and an apology From: "Octaaf" <octaaf@charter.net> Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 02:58:57 -0500   Dear Stephen and List,   My apologies to you as well Stephen. No harm no foul. I would not = presume to say that I am in anyway a scholar of the French School of = organ playiing ... I humbly defer to you Stephen, and to my former = teacher Walter Bahn there. Walt is a great teacher of French Romantic = music and improvisation (he was a student of Cochereau). While I = learned much from him, in all honesty my interest has always been = primarily in literature before 1750. Now, Scheidemann and Tunder .... = that works for me!   And yes, we are very much in agreement. In the end it is the music that = matters. There is nothing in life that gives my spirit more joy than to = take the bench and let the pipes sing. I'm hopeful that this is evident = in the music.   Kind Regards,   Tim Grenz ----- Original Message -----=20 From: Stephen Roberts=20 To: PipeChat=20 Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 8:58 PM Subject: Appendages....and an apology     Dear List,   Ross wrote: "Personally, I couldn't give an intercontinental hoot what = the organist uses to push any key on manuals or pedal down, as long as = the music wins." =20   Thanks to Ross and Dale for lightening the tone of this discussion. I = completely agree. I also agree with Jarle Fagerheim, John Speller, and = Tim Grenz's last posting on this topic. It's fun to get worked up every = once and awhile. It keeps things from getting too dull and humdrum on = this list.   I'm sorry if I offended Tim Grenz with the use of the word "rubbish", = which really rubbed him the wrong way, probably with good reason. It was = a poor choice of words, and I apologize publicly to Tim for any offense = I might have caused. But this particular topic is one of my own hobby = horses, and I've spent a lot of time researching it over the years. = While I am still a true believer in the French system of technique when = applied to French music, especially that of high virtuosity, I also = recognize that it isn't the "universal approach" that Dupre' and Widor = insisted it was. Ross is absolutely right: in the end it is the music = that matters. And that is something that Tim and I will surely agree = on! :)=20   I've spent too much time on the computer today. I have to go do some = reading now, to prepare for our organ class on Scheidemann and Tunder = next week. Hmm. I wonder how they played the pedals.... :) =20   Stephen Roberts
(back) Subject: RE: Interpretations & "new ideas" From: "TheShieling" <TheShieling@xtra.co.nz> Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 22:02:24 +1300   [snip] >I can't make it sound the way it sounded in Bach's time, but I still try to learn as much as possible about historic performance practise. It is a great fundation to build upon,   Could I chuck in another comment, possibly a bit more controversial?   I feel that there can be various musical ways of playing a piece of music. While it is now the fashion to deplore the playing of Helmut Walcha, = E.Power Biggs and others like them, to many of us they produced wonderful = recordings of listenable music on great instruments. Some people say Lionel Rogg's = Bach recordings at the Grossmunster in Zurich were cold and unemotional, too, = and reject them. Well, to me they are still great.   In the same way, if you can draw the comparison, I have various recordings of Handel's "Messiah." While there is something wonderful about a = "correct" presentation of this great work, perhaps with a choir of a dozen or so voices, a handful of strings and harpsichord for the accompaniment, and everyone singing ornaments all over the place by the handful, I also find delight in listening to recordings of "Messiah" sung by a 300-voice choir, = a chorus of Pedal open woods under an orchestra of 100, and the soloists singing the arias as smoothly as possible: I'm thinking at the moment very specifically of the recording that has Joan Sutherland as soprano soloist and Kenneth McKellar as the tenor. I make no apology whatever for loving both styles, and do not feel I need to apologise for making no apology.   Should we reject Rex Harrison's version of "My Fair Lady" because he was chanting rather than singing? I think not.   Just a few weeks ago in the UK I heard Guy Russell, the voicer of = Nicholson organs, play the 4m Hele organ in Malvern Priory Church, just completed = this month and to have its re-opening recital about now by Thomas Trotter. Yes, it's a 1925 Hele with electric action, but rather than say "naughty, naughty, you mustn't enjoy it," all I could do was say "Wow!" to both Guy Russell's playing and his wonderful treatment of the pipework.   When I asked people at Gloucester Cathedral why Ralph Downes had insisted = on the 32ft open wood being removed from the organ there, all they could = mumble was, "The organ is an entity." Now, what the hell does that mean? If = people don't want to use the stop, they don't have to, but for me, any cathedral that has a 32ft open wood in the organ, the pipes out of sight somewhere = up in the triforium, is entitled to keep it and use it. I, for one, am not going to read someone's philosophical readings on organ design and ask myself to hate such a stop and demand its removal.   There are indeed various ways of playing and enjoying music and organs. Let's not be piously precious. To misquote, "Sic transit gloria pundit." = I, for one, will continue to enjoy Bach's music wherever I can, even on the piano, and will also continue to enjoy E.Power Biggs playing Chopin and Scott Joplin on the harpsichord.   Irascibly, Ross