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 Post subject: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:14 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Illinois
This is a piece that I never deemed ready for prime time, so now that there is this "Works in Progress" forum, I thought that I would publish it here. Unfortunately, it will probably never be ready for prime time since I have really gotten over the organ over the past few years. Part of it is physical. I can only sit on the bench and play for about 10 minutes before my right hip starts "killing" me (not just hurting, but so painful that I can barely walk for a while afterwards). Other issues are that I am primarily self taught on organ. The few lessons that I did have were the "one footed, take off your shoes, on a spinet organ" kind. I taught myself how to use both feet with shoes on.) Another problem for me is the resources that I have available on the instruments that I have, and have had, available. Most have started out as theatre organs that Moller pawned off to small churches as silent movies waned. My current organ at my Methodist church has been rebuilt and is actually one of the best that I have had to deal with, but it has no mixture, no solo stop, and only 2 types of pedal stops. The great foundation stop, an 8' diapason wounds tubby, fat, and is a bit slow to respond. To do any pedal work that needs brightness, I have to couple from another manual. It also only has 3 capture pre-sets for each of the swell and great (which also capture the pedals, so you have to be careful and put the pedals into each one if you don't want it to change), as well as 4 generals. Organ music form the Romantic period require a lot of changes, so trying to get the general impression out with all of the limitations was difficult. The organ is designed for little blue haired ladies to play slow, soft, dirgey, music, which is something that I can not bear as a general principle. I think music in church should be generally bright and uplifting. That does not always mean that it has to be fast and loud, but that it should be more than "Muzak".

The final reason that I quit playing organ at church -- I've only played piano, which is generally enjoyed except by a few old folks, is that after I had played the organ for a while, this was before I became the official "Music Director" (fancy title for an underpaid keyboard player and choir director). She complained that I was playing the hymns on the organ too slow. After about the third time she said this I said, "When I play the piano, am I known for playing slow? I sometimes get complaints that I am going to fast. If my hymn playing on the organ is too slow, does it occur that there are other reasons involved, like the fact that the large scale pedal and great keyboard pipes are slow to speak?" That was the last of that discussion and I have barely played the organ since.

I know that it sounds like I'm ranting, and I think that I am, but it is good to get it off of my chest.

Anyway, this is one of the last organ pieces that I worked on. I actually worked on it to give Chris some competition. I never posted it because of the glitch that happens towards the end that required TOO MUCH multi-tasking to play the music, push the correct preset, keep my feet going..... But, I present it hear just to keep things going.

Scott

Boellmann - Suite Gothique Op.25 - 3: Priere a Notre Dame (5:07)


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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 pm
Posts: 8511
Hi Scott,
I generally don't listen to organ music, because it bothers my ears. Something about the sound of the air flow in the pipes...I don't really know...but it literally hurts me. Unless the music is more in the lower ranges...then it's okay. But I listened to both this recording and your Bach recording and really both were nice and soothing. However, I don't know much about organ music, so I can't offer up anything useful. I just want to say that I'm glad you've come back to PS! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:14 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Illinois
Thanx Monica for listening.

I used to really enjoy playing the organ, but I've just totally gotten off of organ music. I prefer the intimacy and the more direct control that I have over the piano. At church I generally play a prelude that runs 10 to 12 minutes (about 3 pieces). I can practically sight-read any piece at the piano, but it takes me so long to get 3 minutes of music down on the organ.

I'm glad to be back. I've missed this site.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:21 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
Posts: 9572
Location: Netherlands
Gosh Scott, you're back with a vengeance ! Highest posting rate we had for years ;-) Now to get some non-admins to chime in too...

A nice introspective little piece this (though not my cup of cake), very well suited as intermezzo in a service.

I know about the problems playing an organ without independent pedal voices. Mine had only a 16ft subbass, everything else had to be couples from the manuals. Luckily it had a very warm Prestant and a very decent set of Octave voices, as well as a Mixture and other stops. Playing music with 3 independent voices was always a problem though. I've never liked the sound of the Diapason and would probably never use it if I had one (but I have no desire to play Romantic organ music, so that's ok :roll: ). People used to complain that I played too slowly too. And then if I tried faster they would not keep up ! It's hard to satisfy a congregation.

IMO you played this very well and while there seem to be some tiny issues I did not hear any catastrophic glitch that would prevent it from going on the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:39 am 
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Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 12:11 am
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
I thought this was rather a nice piece. I'm not a huge fan of organ music but nevertheless it came across well. I don't hear the glitch though of course I'm not familiar with the work: seems like it would be a worthy addition to the site.Re speed, it seems to me that people's perception of the apparent (as opposed to the actual) tempo can easily be affected by issues like prevailing sonority, so I really wouldn't worry about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:45 pm
Posts: 382
Location: New Jersey, USA
Ditto. This should be on the site.
Like Andrew, I did not notice any glitch towards the end, and the few micro-slips during the recording came out only because I was listening for them. I don't think they detract from the listener's experience.
I'm a total stranger to Boellmann, so I should also thank you for the introduction.

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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:45 am
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This one is now on the site.

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
Chris Breemer


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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:07 pm
Posts: 692
Location: Carbondale, IL
Scott,

I had a listen to your performance of the Suite Gothique, I really enjoyed both the composition and your playing. I could easily imagine this being played before church starts, as folks file into the pews. I think this organ is not half bad sounding. Perhaps not quite a Cavaillé-Coll, but the stops you used here really have a singing quality. The swell almost sounds like a mixture.. That's a shame that the church can't stop nagging on you. Our organist at our Presbytery had to take a break because she broke her arm in the winter. I think she took a bad spill on the ice :( . She's back now though, so we don't have to hear the semi-out-of-tune upright anymore, and the interim pianist who was... well... trying her best :)

I for one am happy our church is still traditional, not appealing to the "Muzak" generation. The church I went to in college played on a drumset and guitar. After a few Sundays though, the older members of the congregation asked for the drums to go. Apparently it was too loud for them... Or was it the lack of classical music?

Anyways, nice to hear some organ music here on the society, thanks for sharing

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 Post subject: Re: Boellmann -- Priere a Notre Dame from Suite Gothic
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:14 pm
Posts: 533
Location: Illinois
Thanx Riley, Andrew, and Stu for your kind remarks.

The glitches were due to two things. First, that I am basically a self-taught organist and lack pedal technique. The second was due to having only 3 divisional presets (and 4 general presets that are placed to awkwardly to use without a reasonable break in the music to reach) to build the sound and volume throughout. I remember that one of the spots was trying to get one of the presets with a momentarily free thumb while still using the rest of my fingers in that hand and trying to keep my pedals going. It was like trying to juggle and apple, a bowling ball, and an egg. <tee hee>

@Riley, I do use the swell often as a kind of mixture to add brightness to the great, but when I do that, I lose that manual for playing because of the cancellation involved.

I actually prefer to play piano anyway and, other than for a very few, most of the congregation prefers it. I definitely do not do "Muzak". I do play a lot of "classical" pieces on piano. Of course, since piano does not have much sacred music written specifically for it, I have to re-purpose other things that musically fit the occasion. I have used movements from Beethoven, Mozart, and Clementi sonatas, a couple of Mendelssohn's "Songs Without Words" (including the one that Monica recently recorded), Bach of all sorts, Debussy...

I have even faked my way through Dohnanni's 2nd Rhapsody for a Palm/Passion Sunday service. The idea being that Jesus' entry into Jerusalem from the east coincided with Pilate's entry with his regiment from the west. The dramatic beginning representing the Roman military's entry, while the sweet melodic second theme representing Jesus' entry. I know that it is a bit of a stretch, but it set the mood for the service.

Scott


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