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Thread: First Organ Concert / Performance

  1. #1
    Ensign, Principal Oneiros's Avatar
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    First Organ Concert / Performance

    Well, the other day I went to my first Organ concert... It was quite amazing. In recordings, the organ sounds to me very heavy when the notes are packed on, but here it was brilliant - a totally unique sound. My favourite piece for the evening was one of Messiaen's - slow moving and serene, like a meditation. The concert hall setting was fairly grand too, but would have been better in a church.

    So, who can remember their first Organ concert, and what was it like?

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    It was at Organ Stop Pizza when I was fourteen. I was visiting my
    relitives there and they took me there. That was long before I first
    stepped into the church I go to. I was awestruck at the different
    pipes and what was on display in the pipes. There were no artifical
    pipes for show there! They all functioned for different pitches and
    sounds. Even then the organ was huge! I had a ball when the
    organist told us how the organ worked and how old the Wulitzer was.
    Now I play a pipe organ! It's funny how time changes things.
    judy tooley

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    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Wow - this is going down memory lane: The first organ recital I went to featured Virgil Fox at Riverside Church in New York City. The program was a Bach and it was 3 hours in length. If my memory serves me: Passacaglia & Fugue in d minor, Fantasy & Fugue in g minor, T&F in F major, T&F in d minor (dorian), P&F in e minor (the wedge), the whole set of Schübler chorales, P&F in Eb major, P&F in b minor, Virgil's renditions of Komm Süßer Tod and Now Thank We All Our God. The man Virgil was an artisan and showman in just the right amounts.

    Cheers,

    Corno Dolce

    *Nota Bene* - Virgil also played the Gigue Fugue - That had the listeners dancing in the aisles. :-D
    Last edited by Corno Dolce; Oct-27-2007 at 23:54.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corno Dolce View Post
    Wow - this is going down memory lane: The first organ recital I went to featured Virgil Fox at Riverside Church in New York City. The program was a Bach and it was 3 hours in length. If my memory serves me: Passacaglia in d minor, Fantasy & Fugue in g minor, T&F in F major, T&F in d minor (dorian), P&F in e minor (the wedge), the whole set of Schübler chorales, P&F in Eb major, P&F in b minor, Virgil's renditions of Komm Süßer Tod and Now Thank We All Our God. The man Virgil was an artisan and showman in just the right amounts.

    Cheers,

    Corno Dolce
    Nice, is it true that Fox would play his recitals from memory?

    As for me, the first organ recital was about 5 years ago, which is around the time I actually started to learn something about the instrument. After I came to the States, I pay much more attention since my university has a fine pipe organ and music department, and I attend every event they have for the Organ. Most memorable recitals are Marie-Claire Alain and Daniel Roth when they visited the university for recitals few years back. I'll fish out the programmes sometime and let you'll know.
    Last edited by Argoth; Oct-27-2007 at 22:28.

  5. #5
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi Argoth,

    I never saw a score on the music rack when Virgil had a recital or concert. Are you at Rice Universtiy or Oberlin Conservatory or at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor or Indiana U in Bloomington? Daniel Roth is unbeatable, Imho.

    Just curious,

    Corno Dolce
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    The first organ concert I attended was also Virgil Fox - it was in Van Nuys or somewhere in that vicinity. The organ console was buried in a deep pit at the front of the church - they had installed a very large mirror over the console and angled in such a manner that the audience could see the keyboards and artist playing. A noted organist of the time, Korla Pandit, was also in the audience - my dad had pointed him out to me.

    Dr Fox used no music for that program - one of the pieces that inspired me was composed by Marcel Dupré. I cannot recall what church or the organ, except that it was 4 manuals and had an enormous sound and wonderful acoustics.

    I don't recall any concerts I attended where Fox ever used a score ... even for the Jongen Symphonie Concertante for organ and orchestra ... magnificent memory.
    Kh ~~.
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    Lieutenant, Associate Concertmaster AllanP's Avatar
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    I have never heard Virgil Fox in live performance. We had tickets to his concert in Schenectady, NY just before he passed away. The concert was canceled because he was too ill to play. His recordings are great.

    The first organ concert (other than normal church services) was an organ interlude at the Plaza Theatre in El Paso, Texas. My wife and I went to a movie and were surprised to hear the organ prelude to the film. This is the first time I heard a theatre organ (Wurlitzer Balaban 3) live. The sound was stupendous in the large volume of the room.

    The first Cavaille-Cole organ that I heard live is the one in the church of St. Roch in Paris. The sound was glorious in that large stone building. The organ was being serviced so that it was in excellent tune.

    I have attended many concerts on the Spreckels organ in Balboa Park in San Diego. This is an outdoor organ. The sound is unusual in that there is no reverberation at all, less than a carpeted church. The unusual acoustics make the sound quite unique. The tuning is always somewhat "interesting" due to the wide temperature changes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corno Dolce View Post
    Hi Argoth,

    I never saw a score on the music rack when Virgil had a recital or concert. Are you at Rice Universtiy or Oberlin Conservatory or at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor or Indiana U in Bloomington? Daniel Roth is unbeatable, Imho.

    Just curious,

    Corno Dolce
    Rice is close, actually I'm at Trinity University in San Antonio. They have a good organ programme under Dr. Dave Heller. The organ celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and is a 4 manual, with I believe 102 stops, 112 ranks (I am taking the latter figures off the University wikipedia page since they did some renovations over summer and added new stops, so this is probably around the present figure). Someone has a fairly old webpage dedicated to the organ here but it is with the old console and has changed a bit since then.

    Over the summer, Kegg Pipe organs installed a brand new console (Picture), since the old one had had it's day. It really does look wonderful, and is supposed to have some special features oriented towards teaching, including a record/playback feature that I didn't know non-Digital (Allen type) organs had. Last week we had a recital by two recent organ graduates currently pursuing their graduate studies at Oberlin and U Michigan respectively, and I enjoyed that too. At the anniversary recital earlier this school year, they read out a list of performers who given recitals on the organ over the years and it did seem like a who's-who of the organ world. The actual age of the organ was also said to be something closer to around 90 years, cos it really goes non-stop from 7a.m. to about 4 or 5 a.m. (students cramming in late practices). There is some talk of Paul Jacobs coming down next year for a recital, I'll be very excited for that! Well sorry for taking this off topic as usual, but I will always hold the sound of this particular instrument near to my heart since it is the one I know best, and hearing it keeps me company when I'd rather not talk to anyone Nothing I like better than dropping in after classes are done for the day to listen to organ lessons going on, or people practicing.
    Last edited by Argoth; Oct-29-2007 at 04:51.

  9. #9
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Hi Argoth,

    Congratulations are in order that you are studying at Trinity University. I don't know anybody on the faculty there but I have heard nothing but good things about the music program there.

    Cheers,

    Corno Dolce
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  10. #10
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    The first organ recital for me was an AGO event with a bunch of organists playing. I didn't really enjoy it. The organ was lousy and the music was boring. But I already knew organ music from a strong church background so the experience didn't turn me off from the pipe organ.

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    My first organ concert was when I was 15 years old, at the local village church. The performer (and organist of that church) played Messiaen among other things. I didn't understand it back then, but since I started playing organ myself Messiaen is among my favourites.
    It's a small world, the performer has developed into a great organ player, and is my teacher today

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso methodistgirl's Avatar
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    The picture of the new concole looks somewhat like the organ I play
    at church. Although our concole is a bit smaller with only 2 manuals
    not four. I wished the little wicks had two more manuals and a few
    more stops I would feel like I was playing the big organ at Macy's.
    judy tooley

  13. #13
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    My first organ concert was Virgil Fox around l972, in Woodstock, Ontario. He played on the biggest organ in town, the three-manual at Central United. At that time, he was a legend among us kids, and we called him "The Fox." I do remember that his memory failed him in some Bach fugue, but he improvised himself out of beautifully, and actually improved on the original. Still, as a child, I was amazed that he could get away with such antics.
    Looking back now, I realise that he must have had a really big heart to perform in such a little town.

  14. #14
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    Seems like Fox was "the man" back then, so cool to find so many people here have seen him play live! I wasn't even born until a few years after his death, but have been enjoying videos of his performances.

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    My memory is not good but my first was more than likely at the high school I attended in the 70s, as it has a magnificent pipe organ in the main hall. If this is the case, and I'm pretty sure it is I can't remember the program at all ... excepting that Keith Asboe is/was a Bach nut, so there must have been some Bach.

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