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Thread: Jean Langlais

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Jean Langlais

    Today I heard on the radio part a work for organ by Jean Langlais called Triptyque. I believe it was the Melody, or first movement. Not sure; I only caught that it was Triptyque. I quite liked it; not being familiar with works by this composer, I found it rather different in style from works by other composers I have heard; quite unique. I couldn't come up with any real similarities with any other composer's style, at least not on the spot.

    So I had a look around here and noticed his name comes up on occasion, but not all that often. I'm curious as to whether our organists friends here play, or have played any of his works, and if so, what they think about them. What are some of his best? Also, has anyone heard any of his works for other instruments?
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


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    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    When I was a teenager, my teacher at the time had spent a lot of time in France and he liked Langlais a lot, so we all learned pieces by him. I learned two (Chant de Paix, and Incantation pour un Jour Saint) before I started working with another teacher and learning a LOT of Baroque music. I have mixed feelings about Langlais--some of his music I like a lot (Incantation pour un Jour Saint) and some I feel ambiguous about, but I have to admit that I am not familiar with a lot of his music. I am more taken by the music of Jehan Alain as a rule.

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    Captain of Water Music Art Rock's Avatar
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    Alain's organ music is excellent!

    Hmmm... maybe I should start an organ music series on my blog....

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    Rear Admiral Appassionata
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    I quite like what I've heard of Alain's music too. I've got Litanies on my 'to learn' list.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    My most favorite work of Langlais is the Kyrie from Homage Frescobaldi - a very solemn and short piece which I use each year in church during Holy Week.

    I had the opportunity of hearing him live in concert in Southern California once. He was a master at improvisation, and at one point in the program, this was demonstrated. The organist of the church, Noberto Guinaldo (also an accomplished organist and composer at that time) played a 4 measure melody that he himself had made up. Langlais (who is blind, btw) thought for minute or so, then improvised an entire major composition lasting some 10 minutes on that theme. It was an experience that I'll never forget.

    Jehan Alain Litanies ... good luck, NEB - it's a beautiful piece ... I have it on recording but have never had the gumption to even attempt learning it
    Kh ~~.
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  6. #6
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Well, it seems Langlais is not as popular a composer as Alain... Maybe I should check out some of his works...
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  7. #7
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
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    Yes Kh. I've had a very brief look at it, and it's going to take a lot of working out. Actually, it seems really quite daunting.

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    Commodore con Forza Soubasse's Avatar
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    My first attempt at Langlais was with the Three Characteristic Pieces - very easy to play (unlike most of his other stuff). We've done the Messe Solenelle several times at the cathedral which is a lovely work and I've also played a few movements of the Hommage a Frescobaldi as someone else mentioned. Most people tend to go for the Finale - the big pedal solo. I've done that one several times, and I usually get requests for dancing lessons afterwards.

    I like Langlais, whilst he's still quite virtuose, a notable amount of his music has a whimsical flavour to it. Apparently, many of his improvisations had this character too.

    I also am a huge Alain afficiando. Many years ago, I put together this website on him which I really should get around to updating. James Kibbie of the Alain Association sent me a congratulations on this page when I first put it up and I think it was the first independent page on JA on the net before the Alain Association got theirs going. There's something about his music that struck me to my very core. Litanies is one of the few pieces I can play well from memory (and, along with his Trois Danses, is one of the few pieces that reminds me I'm alive!)
    Music is made to transform the states of the soul, for an hour or an instant (J. Alain)

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    Captain of Water Music Thomas Dressler's Avatar
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    Just wanted to make sure I'm clear that I'm not saying Langlais' music is not good. I took Rojo's post to mean she wanted to know our feelings. Those are my feelings, but it surely isn't a value judgement. So Rojo, I don't know if Langlais is as popular as Alain with people in general, just referring to myself, I tend to like Alain. However, there are pieces by Langlais that I like a lot, too.

  10. #10
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    That's ok, Thomas; just wanted to get the general feeling, and the consensus tells me that Alain's music leaves a 'deeper' impression in peeps than Langlais's. But then I also found Langlais's music to be somewhat light in character relatively speaking, and Soubasse's description of whimsical I find to be right on the mark, from what little I have heard. It's fun, light-hearted music?

    Maybe I should have called this thread the French organist composers' thread...
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


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