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Thread: Introductory Organ music ??

  1. #1
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    Question Introductory Organ music ??

    According to you all, what is the best music for introducing someone to the organ??

    The most common criticism of the organ I have come across is that it is too "heavy" . I can't really understand that view but would like to know what might be considered "light" organ music. Something Italian, maybe?

    Too many people say "oh please, not that" when I listen to organ music, I find it infuriating how they can't appreciate such divine music.
    Regards,
    Drinklicafix

  2. #2
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Introductory Organ Music...

    Drinklicafix,

    Three works that come to mind in the following order are: Gigue Fugue in G BWV 577, Sinfonia to Cantata 29 Wir Danken Dir Gott, Wir Danken Dir transcribed for Organ in D-Major and the Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 541. Of course, all by JSBach. Then there's the Grand-Choeur Dialogue by Eugene Gigout and the swashbuckling Nun Danket Alle Gott by Siegfried Karg-Elert.

    Cheers!

    Giovanni
    Last edited by giovannimusica; Dec-18-2006 at 06:45.

  3. #3
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    I agree with Giovanni's selections--these are all pieces I enjoyed when I was a teenager, but on the other hand, I LOVED organ music; so I was predisposed to like what I heard! I guess it depends on the person, too. I loved just about everything I heard by JS Bach. The first fugue I really got to like was the "little" G minor (don't know the BWV and too tired to look it up, but it's the shorter one.) There are "light" pieces, especially 19th century pieces, which are kind of entertaining, but I have to admit I tend not to like them much. I'm not sure what you can do other than remember that music is kind of like food--we tend to like what we are used to or what we grew up with. With time and exposure, people come to like things they didn't appreciate at first. I'd say that if someone has the idea that they hate organ music, you may not be able to influence them unless they are willing to give it a try for awhile. For example, when I was a kid, I really hated broccoli. My mom had a rule that even if she made something you didn't like, you had to eat at least a little spoonful. It worked for me for some things--I got to really like broccoli and some other things, but not everything. Perhaps if your friends will listen just a little at a time--make sure you don't force it on them or overdo it, they may come to appreciate it in time.

  4. #4
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    Smile

    Thanks Giovanni & Thomas Dressler.
    I'm familiar with the J.S. Bach pieces but I haven't heard the Grand-Choeur by Gigout. Yes, the "little" fugue BWV 578(?) is quite sweet. I'll keep these in mind and remember the dosage of 1 spoonful of organ music at a time. Is this the Karg-Elert piece?: http://indigo.ie/~edolan/demo10.mp3
    If you know any other "light" pieces please post.
    Cheers,
    Akash

  5. #5
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    I can recommend at least Bach chorale preludes such as Ich ruf zu dir BWV 639, Nun komm den Heiden Heiland BWV 659, Schmucke dich BWV 654, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 655. Also trio-sonatas like D minor BWV 527. Very impressive is spurious chorale BWV 745.
    Most of Buxtehude's chorale preludes can serve the introductory purposes: Ach Gott und Herr BuxWV 178, Herr Christ, der einige Gottes Sohn BWV 191-192, Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist BuxWV 209 and so on. Don't forget his Passacaglia BuxWV 161
    Most people like some of Ludwig Krebs's works such as Toccata E major or A minor or some of his trios. Mendelssohn wrote wonderful Prelude and fugue G major.
    Rheinberger wrote Passacaglia from 8th Sonate.
    Franck --- Prelude, fuge et variation h-moll.
    Well, it's impossible enumerate all great pieces, that can make impression on people: this part of the organ repertoire is really enormous.

  6. #6
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Hi Akash,

    The highlighted link you provided is the piece I suggested. I can only second what Thomas suggested as to how to best share the wonderful medium of Organ music. Yury Habrus gave some very good suggestions. If you can find a recording of Ian Tracey playing the Karg-Elert piece at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, do acquire it - it'll rock your socks off...

    Cheers!

    Giovanni
    Last edited by giovannimusica; Dec-18-2006 at 21:48.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi Giovanni,

    Do you know which CD has Ian Tracey playing the Karg-Elert?
    I perused his website, but they don't list CD contents, except for the obvious like Poulenc and the like.

    I've got Noel Rawsthorne on vinyl (Angel) doing this same piece also at Liverpool. Indeed, still a great sound - but the CD has to be better.
    I need change my socks, too

    Lars

  8. #8
    Commodore de Cavaille-Coll
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    Hi Lars,

    I must apologise to you and this forum for sharing about something that is not available and the fact that I don't have that CD. When I visited Liverpool Anglican Cathedral not too long ago Maestro Tracey was playing the *Nun Danket* by Karg-Elert. I thought that he might be preparing to record it. Alas, such was not the case. It was only wishful thinking on my part. I profusely apologise for my dreadful cock-up.

    Giovanni

    : - (

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Giovanni ...

    No problem ... I hold no grudges ... I envy you for having the opportunity to have visited there ... that had to be a most thrilling experience.

    We hope to get across the pond in the next couple years - certainly, Liverpool is on my list of places to see.

    Lars

  10. #10
    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster AllanP's Avatar
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    To be really serious about introducing someone who is unfamiliar with organ music (except for church), it seems that picking some of the shorter, lighter pieces that do not require an organ music educated ear to comprehend. Possibilities are:
    1. Eight little preludes and fuges.
    2. Transcriptions of familiar music.

    Registrations can be kept simple to allow the ear to follow the music, i.e. the full great plus mixtures requires listening closely to follow the musical lines if you are not familiar with the piece. Unless the mixtures are quite mellow, I would avoid them at first. Build up slowly to the type of full organ sound that we all love to hear.

    It would be wise to avoid excessively "chipping" stops and play with a slight degree of detachment to allow the new listener to more clearly pick out the notes. My music teacher often uses a slight detachment of the notes to illustrate points, she calls it "clean playing".

    I hope I have not offended anyone by suggesting that playing more familiar music at first may help the new organ music listener like organ sounds. I know that this idea was definately out of favor in the recent past.

  11. #11
    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    The interesting underpinning of all of this is that everyone would suggest different music based on their own likes and dislikes. Probably the best music we could each share with others is the music we are most enthusiastic about. This is how it works for performers who are, after all, sharing their enthusiasm. There are a lot of people who like transcriptions at the organ. I don't particularly for various reasons, however just for kicks I have recently been thinking about looking at the transcription of Die Meistersinger overture.

    Mixtures on instruments such as Skinners can have the effect of confusing musical lines in counterpoint, however the mixtures on the kinds of instruments Bach played actually help to delineate the lines. So it would depend on what kind of instrument you're playing, and also on the listener. I liked mixtures from the very beginning, but perhaps someone else would not.

  12. #12
    Captain of Water Music Art Rock's Avatar
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    There are (were?) some Decca compilation CD's by Peter hurford that combined rather accessible tunes in good performances. they might be good introductions. [edit - I googled, and they are avaiable as a double CD: Romantic organ music)]

    If you want to stick to one composer first, and think Bach too heavy, the Mendelssohn organ sonatas are perfect (Decca, Hurford).
    Last edited by Art Rock; Jan-05-2007 at 14:57.

  13. #13
    Seaman, Mezzoforte amont1's Avatar
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    I would play Cesar Franck's Chorale in E Major. It is very nice. If not that, I would say Contrapunctus 1 by J.S.Bach.

    Cheers!,
    Alan

  14. #14
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I personally wouldn't introduce someone to organ music by playing Franck's chorales. I'd introduce them to J.S. Bach's BWV 565 ... at least they'll probably know it anyway.

  15. #15
    Seaman, Mezzoforte amont1's Avatar
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    I just think it sounds nice. It is not too "heavy" as some people say. That is the first piece I played on an organ.
    Last edited by amont1; Jan-21-2008 at 23:42.

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