PipeChat Digest #5425 - Monday, June 27, 2005
 
Re: Audition?  What Audition??
  by "Nathan Smith" <erzahler@sbcglobal.net>
A reasonable audition vs snob-factor
  by "Charles Peery" <cepeery@earthlink.net>
the "every-day" composer
  by "Randy Terry" <randy@peacham.homeip.net>
Re: the "every-day" composer
  by <DERREINETOR@aol.com>
music camp
  by "Bernadette Wagner" <musicalgrl90@yahoo.com>
Re: Audition? What Audition??
  by "Jan Nijhuis" <nijhuis.jan@gmail.com>
Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor
  by "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net>
RE: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor
  by "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com>
Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor
  by <AGODRDANB@aol.com>
 

(back) Subject: Re: Audition? What Audition?? From: "Nathan Smith" <erzahler@sbcglobal.net> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 07:31:43 -0400   Dear List...       >> Will you be willing to replace the organ with one of my design? <<   Oh please....   - Nate    
(back) Subject: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor From: "Charles Peery" <cepeery@earthlink.net> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 07:07:25 -0400   I liked Mark's comments about specifying what we need to know about the church through the interview process. I laughed at the list of interview questions, such as "Will you replace the organ with one of my design?" I have to confess that some of those questions (like that one) I truly thought were tongue in cheek.   But if not, it does bring up some issues of relativity. On the one hand, we might tend to interview in a way that "sells" ourselves, as if all we're trying to do is be sure that we're adored. Don't you think that musicians have that tendency, along with an inclination to shy away from the technical details? The other end of the spectrum is a sort of snobby "Here is what I require, are you up to my standards?" approach, which has further implications if you're ever going to get off the bench and try to work with lay people in the church.   Mark's post made me realize that what I was asking about the audition literature in the post that started this thread was the surface question. The deeper question is: how does one strike a balance between high standards and friendly utility? After a year in a full-time job, my realization is that my weeks rarely go the way I plan them to go. So, I'm just curious whether organists in similar positions really do whip out the Messiaen "Dieu Parmi Nous" as a routine postlude. If I'm to do that, I have to rethink how I can shield more practice time out of a week when people are demanding that I do this and that. Well, I take that back. I don't frequently encounter the opportunity for the liturgical use of a piece like that, so it is not in my repertoire, and I'm not even sure if I could play it given how my time gets sucked up. Some brave people would say, "Me either." Some people would say "You don't belong on the bench, then." Which is it?   It's not as if I don't prefer the composers of standard organ rep; I do. It's not as if I can't tell the difference between Vierne and Callahan, or, heavens, Gordon Young. I've seen organists disdain everything but masterworks composers, but when they're playing them in an offhand way which leads me to think they're just doing it so they can say they did it afterward. Given a balance of literature over the entire liturgical year, what is the relative snob-gasp-factor of using, say Wilbur Held's "A Mighty Fortress" out of the Fall Festivals book on Reformation Sunday when you're going to be singing that hymn? This is how I operate, I have to confess. A balance of "major" and "minor" composers. But I also openly say that I'd prefer to play services rather than recitals. So, probably I'm doomed already in terms of my approval rating in some organists' eyes. Or perhaps, some search committee's eyes.   And that is why I asked about audition literature.   Chuck Peery St. Louis        
(back) Subject: the "every-day" composer From: "Randy Terry" <randy@peacham.homeip.net> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 09:08:05 -0700   I think the *best* service players use all the resources we have to the = best of their ability.   For instance, I went to a service by a colleague of mine who is a = top-notch concert organist and improviser, but for the prelude he played Gerre Hancock's "Air." A good piece if not particularly spectacular. I know several players who only play masterworks or improvise - but, my opinion = is that a steady diet of improvisations by anyone would get boring.   Someone mentioned Charles Callahan. I think his music is among the best being published for the organ today. He has a very distinctive style, one that wears well on the ear. It's harmonically fresh without being too "out-there." Can one play Callahan all day and not get bored, nope, but = so what?   I do improvise. I'm not fabulous, but my congregations appreciate what I = do offer so I guess I am good enough.   The thing is - I enjoy the works of our best "church music" composers = today. We NEED talented individuals to write new music that is accessible and = good.     +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Randy Terry Music Minister The Episcopal Church of St. Peter Redwood City, California        
(back) Subject: Re: the "every-day" composer From: <DERREINETOR@aol.com> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 12:34:21 EDT   Dear List,   I agree with Randy, in that we need new music which is "accessible and = good". And, there's quite a bit out there. I also will agree that good service players do lots of things in church that they wouldn't do in a recital.   I work for a highly liturgical parish, which means that the emphasis, from = my standpoint, is: good liturgy, good choral music, good organ music, in that =   order. My specific gifts are composition, conducting, and organ playing, = in that order.   To expound a little, I would say that the choice of good service music is paramount. I have to admit that I have composed some for my current parish = and it is well received, though we use a wide variety of settings throughout the liturgical year. Helping the choir to lead and the congregation to = participate is also a top priority, and above all the careful, reflective selection of = hymns to amplify the lectionary or the theme of the day. Then, the careful preparation of the Choir for the anthems or motets to be sung, chosen as = carefully as the hymnody, would be the next priority.   It is only then, in the course of any given month (when planning in = advance, which is usual), that I think of what to play as a prelude or postlude. If = I can find something which amplifies the congregational and choir music, I = do it. Occasionally, I will find a piece which may not reflect a hymn-tune to be used or a text, but which amplifies the theme of the day. I resist the = urge to feel guilty about "not playing 'literature' " as long as what I am playing = is tasteful, well-composed, and adds to the liturgy. In fact, I probably play = less "literature" than any Episcopal organist I know, though I have a fairly well-balanced repertoire which I play well. I improvise something every = Sunday, especially in the Summer when the choir is gone, though rarely a prelude = or postlude. Often it is hymn or plainchant based.   Church services are not recitals. Organists should not expect them to be, = and neither should music committees.   Pax, Bill H. SJE Boston  
(back) Subject: music camp From: "Bernadette Wagner" <musicalgrl90@yahoo.com> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 11:22:49 -0700 (PDT)   Saturday I returned from a week at the University of Illinois, where I = attended Illinois Summer Youth Music (ISYM) and went to the advanced piano = camp. It was a lot of fun. We got to practice on different Steinways, some = good, some bad. They keep the good ones locked up, the bad ones open. I = find that funny. Anywayz, the faculty was made up of: Dr. Reid Alexander, University of Illinois Dr. Ron Chioldi, Northeastern Oklahoma State University Dr. Susan Cobb, Milikin University Ms. Libby Vanatta, Indiana State University There were other camps going on at the time too, like choir, symphonic = band, concert band, musical theater, and a couple others. During the day, = at least in piano, we would arrive at Smith Memorial Hall at 8am and = practice until 11am. Then we would have an hour long class of either = duets, jazz, or composition (I took duets). Lunch was next and then we = would go to either the music building or Smith for an elective class that = was either conducting, theory, or music technology (I took comducting). = Afternoons we would return to Smith for 2 more hours of practicing. I = enjoyed it. It was fun. Bernadette Wagner 306 W. Clark Champaign, IL 61820 217.356.9961     __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail.yahoo.com
(back) Subject: Re: Audition? What Audition?? From: "Jan Nijhuis" <nijhuis.jan@gmail.com> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 11:50:10 -0700   Well no, but if you want we can replace that nasty old Holtkamp with a Vox Continental ... just for you. :-)   On 6/27/05, Nathan Smith <erzahler@sbcglobal.net> wrote: > Dear List... >=20 > >> Will you be willing to replace the organ with one of my design? << >=20 > Oh please.... >=20 > - Nate   --=20 Jan Nijhuis nijhuis.jan@gmail.com  
(back) Subject: Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor From: "Jonathan Orwig" <giwro@adelphia.net> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 11:50:39 -0700   Charles Peery wrote:   > But if not, it does bring up some issues of relativity. On the one > hand, we might tend to interview in a way that "sells" ourselves, as > if all we're trying to do is be sure that we're adored. Don't you > think that musicians have that tendency, along with an inclination to > shy away from the technical details? The other end of the spectrum is > a sort of snobby "Here is what I require, are you up to my standards?" > approach, which has further implications if you're ever going to get > off the bench and try to work with lay people in the church. > I have to agree on these points - maybe it _is_ in our nature to want to be adored, and many of the musicians I know are selective perfectionists.... their desks are a mess, their houses have piles of stuff...   I'm one of those, so I can say that <grin>   I once heard of a church who has a staff rule that your desk must be clean and your office tidy before you leave for the day   RUBBISH!   I try to conform somewhat, and I've become far more organized than I used to be, but it is out of necessity, not because I _LIKE_ going through all of that - one cannot efficiently run a full-time position wothout a modicum of organization   > Mark's post made me realize that what I was asking about the audition > literature in the post that started this thread was the surface > question. The deeper question is: how does one strike a balance > between high standards and friendly utility? After a year in a > full-time job, my realization is that my weeks rarely go the way I > plan them to go. So, I'm just curious whether organists in similar > positions really do whip out the Messiaen "Dieu Parmi Nous" as a > routine postlude. If I'm to do that, I have to rethink how I can > shield more practice time out of a week when people are demanding that > I do this and that. Well, I take that back. I don't frequently > encounter the opportunity for the liturgical use of a piece like that, > so it is not in my repertoire, and I'm not even sure if I could play > it given how my time gets sucked up. Some brave people would say, > "Me either." Some people would say "You don't belong on the bench, > then." Which is it?   Depends on the church.......   At my church, there are only 2 or 3 that stay after for the postlude, so I have no desire to work my fingers to the bone every week for that. Also, at the Prelude, they are all yakking loudly and fellowshipping, so I really don't want to take hours to prepare for that either. If I am going to _really_ work on something, it will likely be an offertory (and the Sr. Pastor prefers that I finish that very soon after the collection is finished being taken, so that is limited to about 2 minutes or less)   In a previous church, they expected repertoire, and expected titles and composers in the bulliten.... at that place I practiced about 3-4 hours a DAY in order to pull stuff like that off. Here, I'm only the organist because there is no one else to do it, so they get what they get <grin> I sepnd too much time administrating the program to practice as much as I'd like   -- Jonathan Orwig Evensong Music, Media and Graphics New Organ and Choral Music http://www.evensongmusic.net    
(back) Subject: RE: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor From: "Glenda" <gksjd85@direcway.com> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 14:54:52 -0500   I like a happy balance here. I've been to churches where the organists played 'literature' and poorly; I've been to churches where organists threw together some schlock at the last minute.   But my favorite services attended and played included some 'literature' and some good hymn preludes. It all needs to be done well. It seems to me that some organists use the excuse of the lack of time to avoid playing anything well. "I didn't have any time to practice this week", so we hear something thrown together. That happens to the best of us from time to time, but when it happens week after week . . . . And I HATE when I visit churches where my time to worship (and I consider music an important part of that worship) is nullified by some church musician doing something half-assed.   Because I always took a prepared stab at it when I was a regular church organist, I guess I expect a 'real' organist, and particularly one sporting a degree or certificate, to play some literature, improvise well, do great hymn leading, and excel in other music too. God deserves the very best of whatever we are capable, not to be the last on our list of to-dos. No, I am not looking for Messiaen (heavens, no! gag, gag), and most of us can't be as good as St. Philip's, but there is a world of good music suitable for church out there of varying degrees of difficulty and capabilities just crying to be used.   Sorry for the diatribe - the pain pill hasn't kicked in.   Glenda Sutton gksjd85@direcway.com (who mowed a little Saturday and is paying for it in spades with her back)          
(back) Subject: Re: A reasonable audition vs snob-factor From: <AGODRDANB@aol.com> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 23:54:04 EDT   Hello List! As usual I whole heartedly agree with Glenda. I'd like to add one more 'misdemenor' to her list. I recently retired from regular service playing due to advanced diabetic nueorpathy, and arthritis. My replacement is a skilled technician, she never misses a note, and is hediously prescise, but she is new to the Anglican traditon, she uses the same registration week in and week out. I would happily forgive a few missed notes now and then if = only there were some character, and a little spirit in her playing. I mentioned last week that i had seen an advertisement for an =   elementary school chorus performing selections from Carmina Burana, I don't know = why, but I went, it was a train wreck!! Dr. Dan