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By the adjective ”other” I mean compositions or transcriptions not by J.S. Bach. They are already being dealt with in another topic.
Reading my postings you would be excused if you thought that I don’t look past Bach! However that isn’t so, and I have a lively interest in other organ composers and compositions and delight in finding new sources.
My first “treasure” is Christian Heinrich Rinck’s “Flöten-concert” performed on the Hinsz organ at the Bovenkerk, Kampen, NL.
Rinck was a German composer of the late classical and early romantic eras, noted for his organ performances and organ compositions.
Ab Weegenaar, who plays the “Flöten-concert” was appointed the principal organist of the Bovenkerk in 1995, where he plays both the Hinsz organ and the Reil choir organ.
Kampen is picturesque and the church, with its spire, is often viewed from across the water, with reflections adding to the delightful scene.
The skills of Ab Weegenaar and the beautiful voice of the Hinsz organ in the Bovenkerk, Kampen, are a great combination. He has a firm and masterful touch and the choice of registration ensures that the many melodies each have their own sound. There is a particularly attractive bell-like registration, and also mature sounding lower and mid registered tones, plus a warm bass.
Rinck’s compostition is appealingly melodic and pleasantly rhythmic. I find it to be a very happy performance---and so pleasing to listen to.
This is Eugéne Gigout’s Scherzo, and the first version is performed by the Hungarian organist Janos Palur on the organ of Estergom Cathedral, Hungary, as part of his summer concert .
I love the way he produces a continuous flow of warm sound, with individual melodies emerging from this background at intervals.
The Cathedral organ has a lovely voice and the registration is very well chosen, too.The building has great acoustics which enhance the performance.
Listening to it is such a beautiful experience.
I had not envisaged attaching more than one version of any choice, when I began, but I hastily revised my plans when I came across the Italian, Fabio Nava, organist of Vegezzi Bossi di Santa Maria Maggiore, Bagamio, performing at a live concert. The video is quieter so you will need to increase the volume.
Eugene Gigout’s composition comes to life with the skill of this organist and his phrasing and choice of registration. This organ also has an appealing voice.
A feature of this work of Gigout’s is how a melodic line occasionally bursts through the enveloping sound, eg. at approximately 3.30 in the 2nd version.
Both organists do a fine job in my estimation, as it can’t be an easy piece to play.
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 6:26 pm Posts: 162 Location: East of England
Hi Polly Happy New Year. I haven't heard Gigout's Scherzo for ever such a long time (30 years + since I last associated with an organist who had it in his repertoire). Thank you for alerting me to it. Rinck is a name of comparative unfamiliarality to me. I shall give the flute concerto an airing shortly. Best wishes,
Thankyou for taking the time to both listen and comment.
I hope to produce some more Eugene Gigout as I proceed with this topic, as together with other French organ composers I have a liking for his compositions. Their sound and style is so different from the J.S. Bach which I revel in, but it is good to learn to appreciate other approaches and styles, isn' it?
I have just placed a video in "Organ Solos", in which Janos Palur is one of the performing duo. Rod may choose to move it to another location, though, although for the life of me I couldn't think of another solution. You see this performance pleases me a lot, but was Bach, so couldn't go into "Organ Treasures".
I have been hunting up videos by Janos Palur and Ab Weegenaar and enjoying their performances. They are both virtuoso performers who interpret their subjects well. I shall keep an eye open for further appearances by them.
“The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” by Georg Frideric Handel.
This has always been one of my favourite Handel pieces, and I find it exciting to see the transpositions from the original score to those of different instruments.
The arrangement for organ doesn’t lose anything in the transition infact I think that the organ adds both dignity and grandeur to Handel’s work. The pomp and majesty and feeling of “occasion” are what Handel does in such a wonderful manner. What a fine tune it is, too.
Browsing amongst the organ transcriptions I found one that particularly pleased me. The Dutch concert organist Peter Wildeman employs excellent technique and registrations, and the fine voice of this organ makes it a memorable performance. Unfortunately there was no information from the uploader about this instrument ----a pity!
However after following a “red herring” for some time I decided to read the YouTube comments---and “struck oil”. Edward van Leeuwan identified the organ as being that of St Stefanuschurch, Hasselt, built by the organ-building firm of Knol. He says that it is one of the best sounding organs in Holland when in the hands of a good organist, like Peter.
Another commentator, “Marcowitsj1980” identifies the fronting graphic as being that of St Jan (a Moreau organ) ,in Gouda. He also identifies the Knol organ as the one that we are listening to.
I hope that you have enjoyed Peter’s performance on this organ, which has such a beautifully distinctive tonal quality.
Firstly, TMT I am glad that you enjoyed Peter Wildeman’s playing of “ The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”. He has imbued it with suitable grandeur, in a way that others have often missed.
I also loved the continuous flow of sound behind the melody and the accompanying harmony and supporting bass; I don’t know how he achieved that! I think that both Ab Weegenaar and Janus Palur did the same, so there is probably some some special technique for it---well, I like it!!!
Another very satisfying point was that he let the melodies “sing”. One in particular, at 1.53 bursts into song, grabbing the attention of all . Listening to other renditions, over time, I had often been aware of something missing, and as we came to that part it was me who sang this melody, as the organists hadn’t given it the prominence I felt that it merited. He also “builds” up other melodies in the most satisfying way. So this will remain a favourite rendition in my collection---it is so triumphant and positive.
I was curious about the Knol organ and wanted to know more about this glorious instrument so browsed for more information.
I was able to find a link which showed a good photograph of the organ---it is beautifully decorated with figures mounted upon it, most of which I suspect can be animated! Included too, there are also photos of the locality and several video clips of organ music.
On YouTube I found a young Dutch organist, Gert van Hoef, playing on the Knol organ of Hasselt. He started learning the organ at the age of 14 and I have watched his startling musical progress over a period of time.
He is very talented and most of his earlier YouTube videos displayed him performing on his digital organ. It is great to see him perform so well on a large pipe organ.
Really, this has “killed two birds with one stone as Gert is playing The Camille Saint Saëns composition, “Danse Macabre”---a non-Bach organ transcription! It is another favourite of mine, although I had not come across this particular rendition until today. The dissonance and strange harmonies that Saint Saëns wrote are strangely attractive. It also gives the Knol organ a chance to show its paces.
Whilst I was browsing I read that the Stephanuskerk organ is “wind-sick”, a condition many older organs suffer from, but couldn’t detect it in the above performances. I suppose experienced organists learn to pace their performance accordingly.
This is a very beautifully composed funeral march by Felix Alexandre Guilmant. It has a haunting quality that is hard to erase from one’s mind.
I have a predilection for such compositions and my family constantly tease me about it!
Looking around You Tube I came across performances by two organists which pleased me greatly. They are both advocates of the French Symphonic organ music of composers such as Guilmant,Böllmann,Vierne, Reger and Widor.
The first video is the performance by Alföldy Boruss Csilla on the organ of the Reformed Church at Debrecen. This church is the largest Protestant Church in Hungary, built between 1805 and 1824 in the neoclassical style. Its interior shows in the video---pristine white walls and contrasting warm woodwork.
The church has two organs---a new electronic organ of 3 manuals and 52 registers, situated above the main entrance and an older organ placed behind the pulpit, which was built in 1838 by Jacob Deutschmann of Vienna. It is a cabinet organ with 3 manuals and 43 registers and has the longest mechanical tracker n the country.
Alföldy Boruss Csilla plays this piece with feeling. Her registration is lovely and the organ tone is dark---and rich in tonal colour. The tempo is stately and the harmonies have depth. It was a very moving experience.
The second video is very different because of the organist’s style and the instrument he is playing on. The organist is Feike Asma and the organ is that of the Martinikerk in Bolsward. The mood is less dark in this rendition, because this organ has a brighter voice. He employs a variety of expressive sound and the melodic individuality is brought out. It becomes very dramatic, at about 6 minutes, with a powerful bass underlying it. There is much light and shade in this performance but without losing the solemnity of the subject. I enjoyed this performance.
Feike Asma is a noted organist in the Netherlands. Below is a description of this organist as his contemporaries saw him------------
Passionate Dutch Organist Feike Asma (1912-1984) polarized the Dutch organ scene in the latter half of the 20th century, having developed a passionate and expressive style that made him a frequent recitalist who brought large audiences and many people to the organ, but who also refused to slavishly serve the instructions of a composer if he could bring the composer’s intent to an audience through his own means. Writes organist Herman van Vliet, “His interpretations of the great organ repertoire were monuments in sound. . . He possessed a natural understanding of tension and its release, for timing, rubato, style of playing and touch, and for colorful and dynamic registrations”.
The above comment adequately describes how he plays the Marche Funébre et Chant Séraphique. I hope that you will enjoy these two performances.
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:24 am Posts: 21205 Location: London, England
The “Danse Macabre” sounds like something from Dr Phibes Greatest Hits! The funeral march is ok, though not what I'd call a great example of the genre. However of the two videos I preferred Asma's. Csilla's seems a little wishy washy, with Asma there is more focus and clarity.
_________________ "If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin
I’m sorry that you found the Hungarian performance rather wishy washy----I didn’t! Perhaps Csilla wasn’t adventurous with her registrations in the way that Asma was, but I thought her interpretation was devout, and the organ voice was lovely. Asma let rip---possibly “railing against Fate” or or “bewailing the loss of the departed?”
For me both performances had their merits, and I liked them. Perhaps being a mere mortal I am prone to being ruled by my emotions. Obviously Celestial Beings are above such things and their critical faculties are thus unimpaired !!!
Anyway I liked both versions, and for very different reasons. I know that Csilla’s organ had a large tracker system, the size of which perhaps made for a more ponderous approach. I expect that the Hinsz organ of the Martinikerk also initially had a tracker system, but I don’t know whether this system has been superceded in the latest two update phases by Vershueren (2002). In 1976 the windchest to the Bovenwerk was restored, thus solving the problem of wind shortage. This organ is now greatly in demand for Summer Concerts.
I am unrepentant about my addiction to the “Danse Macabre"! Gert did a good job----- a comparison with Dr Phibes? Never!!!
I came upon this simple but lovely composition by Georg Böhm, who was a Baroque organist and composer. He developed the chorale partita and influenced J.S. Bach as a young man.
Menno van Delft performs this piece with sincerity. It is very well played on the Arp Schnitger organ of the Jacobikerk in Uithuizen, NL.
The tempo allows for the full expression of both the melody and harmonies and the organist’s choice of registration utilises the sharp and distinctive tone, and bite, of the Arp Schnitger. It adds a poignancy to the performance, which is of course a plea or prayer---“The Lord’s Prayer”.
Menno van Delft studied harpsichord, organ and musicology at the Sweelinck Conservatory , Amsterdam, the Royal Conservatory at the Hague and the University of Utrecht. Amongst his professors were Gustav Leonardt and Jacques van Oortmerssen.
He has won many accolades and has had a successful and busy career as a concert performer, teacher, Chamber artist, lecturer and specialist in period performance and keyboard practice. His sensitive performance of “Unser Vater” is understandable, with his musically extensive background.
I next turned to Massimo Gabba as I remembered his performances from the Bach topic. I found a nice version on one of his organs--- the Mascioni organ of the Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista di Alessandria. However he also performed this on the Organo Mouchard-Formentelli in the Albi Cathedrale, too.
The Albi Cathedral and organ were introduced in the “History of the Organ” topic just completed. So as this was a good choice, showing the finer points of this organ----its beautiful voice, some of its apt registrations and the nice reverb of this building---I chose to attach it.
Massimo Gabba played it reverently and the beautiful organ voices did the rest! Someone commented on the shortness of the pedals; I had remarked on those in my earlier thread, and noted that the organist was forced to use toes only! I smiled as I re-remembered that he performs in stockinged feet! The filming of the manuals and pedal-board was good.
Matteo Imbruno, an organist I admire, is another choice. He is playing on the Sint Jan Chatedral/s at Hertogenbosch NL. This organ is one of the most important organs in The Netherlands and from its early beginnings has, over the centuries been renovated by several organ builders. In the various restorations use was made of the old pipes where possible.
The last renovation, by Flentrop in the 20th century, restored the organ to the situation of the German organ-builder A.G.F. Heyneman in 1787. That brought it back to its original Baroque condition.Various other enhancements were added during the early 21st century, too.
The following quote, from “Pipe Organs”, describes the result------>
"The historic pipes of Hoque (1622), Hagerbeer (1634), Hoornbeeck (1718), Müller (1722), Heyneman (1787), Vollebregt (1870) and the new pipes of Flentrop now (again) offer a combined exquisite beauty of sound, which will impress guests and visiting organists."
Matteo Imbruno ‘s recording is from a live concert on 10th August 2010. It is a lovely interpretation of “Vater Unser”, serene and with the right degree of reverence. As always he phrases nicely and employs an excellent registration, so that the melody sings out.
Gert van Schipper plays the Schnitger organ at the Martinikerk, Groningen, at a concert on the 20th August 2010.The tempo is slower than in the other videos, but it elicits favourable comments on YouTube; listeners feeling that it is a sensitive performance and appropriate to the subject. The registration is nice and a golden bell-like stop brings out the main melody. The Schnitger is not showing its “bite” in this instance!
I went over to view “Organ Pipes”, again and was lucky enough to find a video in which Jūrgen Ahrens,Organ Builder, discusses his restoration of this organ. It had fallen into such a state that it had been questionable whether it was worth restoring. He did a fantastic job, restoring it in 2 stages in the 20th century to the 1740 condition (Hinsz); and some of the more recent recent developments that were compatible were incorporated too. Quote from “Pipe organs”------>
"---the master organ builder Jürgen Ahrend succeeded in transforming this ruin back into an exceptional instrument. The work was carried out in two stages, with the Rückpositiv and Oberwerk being restored in 1976/7 after extensive preparatory work. Only when it had been established that the result was a success were the main manual and Pedal restored in 1983/4. By the time that the instrument was again playable in mid-1984, there was unanimous agreement that the Martinikerk organ had risen like a phoenix from its own ashes."
There were many renditions by noted organists to be had, as I browsed. They were mostly very pleasing to the ear but I had to stop somewhere! I hope that you found this music pleasing, too.
Continuing thoughts re: “Vater Unser”, ( Georg Böhm).
I realised, as I reflected upon the performance of Menno van Delft,that the way he phrased it and played it was so very different from the other organists I’d listened to. Then it struck me---he was “saying” the prayer from his innermost being, through the organ!
Other organists seemed to me intent in performing the piece musically and beautifully. I may be wrong, but that is my impression.
I went back to “Organ Pipes” and brought up the Arp Schnitger organ of Uithizen. For anyone interested enough, I have already provided a link to that immensely informative website. On this relevant page you scan down the list on the the right-hand side to--- “Uithuizen”---it is the 22nd entry.
We are lucky in that besides the history the three videos have been left in place. There is the one of Menno van Delft first, and then underneath another video of “Vater Unser” performed by Piet van Dijk.
Why have I bothered with yet another performance, when we already have several? It is because the organ is the same, but the organist and his rendition, is very different.
His video is ½ minute faster than Menno van Delft’s, and the whole feel of the piece is different. because his registrations are brighter and bolder, too. I did like the way the “underneath”, (of the left-hand and pedals), built up under the strong melody.
Pieter van Dijk’s bright registrations seem a feature of other works of his that I listened to. His playing is accomplished---and infact he has a successful career as a concert organist, is also a church organist and is an academic.
Menno van Delft, in comparison had a muted tone to his registration.
So we have the same organ and two highly qualified organists rendering a very different account of Georg Böhm’s composition on it!
“Organ Pipes" concisely details the history and reconstructions of the Schnitger organ, below, --------->
“The Arp Schnitger organ at Uithuizen has been world famous for over 50 years now, due to the way the brothers Cor, Bernhardt and Herman Edskes, who were organists at Uithuizen for many years, promoted the organ in The Netherlands and abroad. The organ was built in 1701. It was richly decorated by Jan de Rijk (local aristocrats financed the organ). The organ was maintained by Radeker (1708, 1710), Hinsz (1747, 1785), Lohman (1800, 1811, 1830) and Van Oeckelen (1856, 1891). Especially Van Oeckelen changed the instrument: he renewed, for example, the Bourdon (which made it necessary to widen the lower case of the organ) and the Trompet, and replaced several other stops. Bernhardt Edskes restored the instrument in 1986 (Rugwerk) and 2001 (Hoofdwerk, Pedaal). Edskes reconstructed the situation of 1785. This implied that Hinsz's manuals could be retained, as well as the manual coupler, an auxiliary that Arp Schnitger may not have built - which is a question for further investigation.”
It seems that ongoing enquiry is still taking place, and there could be further work to be done---or undone! Below, there is a further paragraph, from "Pipe Organs"-------->
“Remarkable are the stylistic accuracy and the high quality of the craftsmanship that characterise Edskes's work. The purity of the organ is impressive, although one may ask whether Radeker or Schnitger would have aimed at it in such a detail as Edskes has done.... But that's a question of minor importance. All in all: a well-done restoration!”
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