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Thread: The most difficult organ piece to play.

  1. #1
    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster
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    The most difficult organ piece to play.

    Hi I have a question for the organists in the forum.What is the most difficult piece of organ music.The final of Vierne's 6th Symphony comes to mind,as well as the final of Dupre's Evocation.Are there organ pieces that are more difficult to play than Vierne's 6th Symphony final?

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I think Vierne is a walk in the park compared to the music of Messiaen ... but that's my opinion.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Tu es petra of Henri Mulet is quite complicated. Works of Jean Langlais and the american organist/composer Pam Decker are at the top of my 'complicated' list, too.
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  4. #4
    Apprentice, Piano
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    I find some of Guilmant's Sonatas very challenging.

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Krummhorn, I don't know Pam Decker's work, I assume she's contemporary American ... but is her style "12 tone" or "minimalist" or "post modern" ...

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi Contratrombone64,

    Pamela Decker is a fellow colleague church organist in my part of the US. Her personal biography relates her accomplishments better than I can explain here.

    I would have to pull her music from my library collection at the church to address the style ... it's been a number of years since I've even looked at that book, but as I recall, it was too extreme to gain my interest.
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  7. #7
    Midshipman, Forte
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    I find the most difficult pieces are "6 Etudes" by Jeanne Demessieux, Symphonic Fantasy and Fugue by Reger... And I agree that some works of Messiaen are undoubtly more difficult than Vierne's Finale from the 6th Symphonie, for example 1st part of the Diptyque

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    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    I played the Messiaen Diptyque for part of my Honours and I shouldn't have because it was a dog to learn I never really got it 100%. Another of his I've always wanted to play but am too afraid of is The Eyes in the Wheels from the Livre d'Orgue. I have done Chants d'Oiseaux and Le Mains de l'Abime from that collection and they were hard enough. Olivier is certainly up there with the hardest stuff to play. Alain's Trois Danses aren't exactly easy either. In fact, most of the stuff from 20th Century France seems to have been composed for or by people who have independent brains in their hands and feet.
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    In the case of Messiaen, who would know what notes are missing or added by the player unless the listener had the score? I'm kidding of course - actually I really like listening to Messiaen ... I've got an 8 CD set of his organ works - best at night in a dark room
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  10. #10
    Midshipman, Forte
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    All that modern stuff is terrible!!

  11. #11
    tom
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    Quote Originally Posted by PraeludiumUndFuge View Post
    All that modern stuff is terrible!!
    Yeah, it's quite good.

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    soubasse, which city do you live in?

  13. #13
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    The city that Melbournians and Sydneyites love using as the butt of jokes - usually I'm laughing right along with them too. Down on the South coast, starts with an A, (the "arts end of Australia HAHAHAHAHA!!) Some world class wines are made further north, a quiet international claim to fame is that the black box flight recorder was invented here and this city also boasts the largest mobile tracker-action instrument (3-manual Rieger) which resides in the Festival Theatre and is occasionally rolled out for special events. In fact, one of the last big events it was rolled out for was the 21st birthday of the Festival Centre itself. I got to play (at two days notice) the last bit of Saint-Saens 3rd with the A******* Symphony Orchestra (sorry Neil!). I was also seen briefly on national TV playing (badly) the Widor for the memorial celebrations for the late Don Dunstan - the guy who was essentially responsible for the construction of the Festival Centre.

    Enough clues?

    Speaking of difficult pieces to play, any piece above mezzo-forte is impossible to play on that Rieger when it's parked in it's back-stage shed because while it's already too loud for the Theatre Auditorium, it is #$%&@* DEAFENING IN A CONFINED SPACE!!
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

  14. #14
    Midshipman, Forte
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    Quote Originally Posted by PraeludiumUndFuge View Post
    All that modern stuff is terrible!!
    Nonsense!!

  15. #15
    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    actually I really like listening to Messiaen ... I've got an 8 CD set of his organ works - best at night in a dark room
    It's among the most highly evocative organ music isn't it? The year I played all those pieces I mentioned earlier was 1988 which was OM's 80th birthday, so most organists were playing Messiaen somewhere around the world. Dame Gillian Weir visited our little city during her Messiaen tour of Aust (she performed the complete OM, including the Livre du Saint Sacrament, in Melbourne and Sydney I think) and held a Messiaen Masterclass at the Uni here. I played Le Mains de l'Abime for her and she spent an hour on it with me because I was first up (much to the chagrin of the other students!). An hour with her was like a years worth of lessons - she was brilliant. I learnt so much about playing and interpreting Messiaen in that short time. Years later, I attended a Masterclass in Canada with Hans Ola Ericsson (OM's last student before he died) and he was an invaluable wealth of information too.
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

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