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Thread: Suite Gothique - Boellmann

  1. #1
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Suite Gothique - Boellmann

    Discovered this performance:

  2. #2
    Ensign, Principal
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Wow. And she played it from memory!
    I'm just watching/listening to her play Liszt's "Ad nos ad salutarem undam", also from memory! And watch her feet fly at about 1:30


  3. #3
    Captain of Water Music
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Amazing ability! According to her biography, she only began playing the organ when she was 20. The link below is not in English, but 'school French' should mostly suffice to get the gist of it.

  4. #4
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Tucson, Arizona
    Perfect tempo . Too many organist take this Toccata at break neck speed for odd reasons. This tempo is absolutely perfect, imo.

    Wonderful registrations too ... brilliantly played. I wish her all the success through the years.

  5. #5
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Taylors, South Carolina, USA
    Agree Lars.. very comfortable, not rushed as many do ( particularly American Organist. I often think might be because of all the electronic actions here. Well done. I too wish her well.
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.


  6. #6
    Commodore con Forza
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    I still think that a lot of the ambulance-chasing tempi are just an attempt to show off that they can do it. I have a hard time believing that the original composers played that fast - especially in view of the organs they played at the time. What is more, in a large church with a long reverberation time, it would be just a cacaphony of noise.

    Some years ago, Sir George Solti and the Chicago Symphony recorded a complete set of Beethoven's symphonies on CD's. The accompanying booklet made quite a to-do about how the symphonies should be played "faster than is normally done". It seems that Ludwig left at least some "metronome markings" on his music. That may be debatable, but if true, why did it take conductors 150 years to "discover" them???

    It is sometimes said that the most important stop in an organ is the room it plays in. Especially with baroque-era music, overly fast tempi obliterate the various voices in a fugue or whatever. Just trying to show that it can be done doesn't prove much.

  7. #7
    Recruit, Pianissimo
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    This is literally my first post on this forum. I searched using Google, for a pipe organ forum to ask a burning question about the Boellmann Toccata. Not only do I find a music site with a pipe organ forum, but it also has an open discussion on the Boellmann Toccata... ... how cool is that? So, hello all. I have listened to the link even though I am sort of hijacking the topic. Hopefully it isn't a bad sort of hijack. To stay with the topic for a moment I will say that I think characterizing the tempo as "comfortable" is unfortunate. It does not appear all that "comfortable" for the performer. Quite likely she is maxxed out even at this "comfortable" tempo. I would be. And maybe that is the point. We should all be free to play a work within the limits of our technique without apology. A slow, clean performance ought not to be derided, but it would be. A hyperfast one is also derided but that is pure sour grapes. If I could play as fast a Julian Beswig as cleanly as he does, I WOULD! And I would want the world to know I could. I don't see anything wrong with that. But it should be clean and as musical as is possible under those conditions. I've heard some hyper-fast Bach that brought out amazing phrasings that aren't apparent at slower tempi. Bach may not have been able to even imagine the tempi attainable by a Cameron Carpenter but his genius is such that it cannot be harmed by such treatment. It's like a fractal artwork, the more you speed it up, the more inner detail you find.

    Here is my question about the Boellmann piece: On just about any recording of this piece you can find, the pedal line swings in a way that is not indicated by the written score. It doesn't sound bad, it almost sounds like what should have been written in the first place. I find it hard to do... take a full half beat off the leading half note in the pedal melody but play the full set of 1/16th notes in the right hand. This present performance does not swing as much as others, but even she does something odd with the 3rd beat quarter note, no doubt because she has internalized all those existing performances which almost sound as if the piece were witten in 3/4 time rather than 4/4. How do you fit the proper number of 1/16 notes into the right hand figures and still get a pedal line that doesn't sound stilted???

    Back on topic, I don't know if their really is any national bias in the penchant for hyper fast performance. Is it possible to find a performance of the Prelude and Fugue in B major (a work that AFAIK has not been recorded (on youtube) by any Americans). If I were to finish learning this piece and put it up on youtube, the contrast between my tempo and the tempi of all the other performances there would be VAST. All of the nuances of the composition are lost at the insane tempi that modern musicians are able to achieve. Dupre doesn't scale up as nicely as does Bach I feel.

    With the Boellmann I don't think it is so much tempo, but the desire to get the pedal line to sing pleasingly, overwhelms the dictates of the notation. I'll admit to not knowing how to resolve the dilemma and hence this post. Any thoughts?


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