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Talking at organ recitals

Thomas Dressler

New member
I'm just wondering how some of you who read this forum feel about the performer talking to the audience and explaining the music he/she is playing. Here in the US people disagree on how they feel about it. I've been told that in France it's common and that programs are often not printed, but announced during the program. How do you all feel about it?


Vice Admiral of Notes, Dots & at times also Slurs
Sr. Regulator
Re: Talking at (organ) recitals

I don't think there's any general rule in France or anywhere else for that matter.
If there's no, or very little, information other than the title of the piece and the composers name in a program I myself would perfer to get a small introduction to the "world" in which the composer lived and the piece was made, and eg. short tidbits about a given piece. It's on one hand nice to have a certain work "framed" before hearing it - maybe someone has discovered some facts about a wellknown piece which can help put it into a different perspective. But on the other hand I'm also advocating that the music is (or should be) able to "speak it's own mind" - so I'm not looking for a great analysis, just enough information to "lay the ground" so to speak.

I've rarely seen conductors of professional orchestras speak, which is a little sad, eventhough there might be a well written program, because some of the most interesting thing about going to a concert is to hear new ideas/interpretations. - If I wanted to hear a specific conductor or a specific orchestra I could buy a cd and listen to it at home - eventhough I don't have a soundsystem that would give the same concert experience like a "real" concert will, the technology is getting very close... so to me, it also comes down to the "atmosphere" in the concert/recital hall and the "relationsship" one develops with the performer(s).

Thomas Dressler

New member
Re: Talking at (organ) recitals

That's pretty much how I feel as a performer. I do short talks to put the music in perspective. I don't especially like program notes because I'd rather have people listening to the music than reading about it. And I feel very strongly about making a connection with the audience. People here are mixed on how they feel about it, and I think it could be because it's becoming the "thing" to do, and some people are not good at it. In my opinion, those people probably should not do it.

Since I can't jump in a jet and fly to Europe all the time (I've yet to come over) it's interesting to read what others think about things like this.


New member
Re: Talking at (organ) recitals

I'd tend to agree with both the opinions stated. Talking at a recital, IMHO, brings the performer to the level of the audience. I've given program notes at the end of a recital to help keep music and information fresh, but I'd rather the audience listen, either to the music or the comments.

Colorful Mage

New member
Re: Talking at (organ) recitals

Personally, it makes a performance for me when the performer can play a piece, and then give a description of his interaction with the piece. It somehow broadens the performance in its communicative sense.

It really depends on the performer, though. If he wants to, sure. If not, that's fine too.