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2005

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Have an opinion? Click to post your message directly to our Feedback column below. Opinions expressed in this column are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BACHorgan.com. BACHorgan.com reserves the right to remove any message which it deems offensive and/or not in the spirit of this forum.

"Busy Making Other Rampages"
I think we have come a long way in rediscovering good organbuilding since the 1960's from Arp Schnitger to Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, and we should continue in that vein. I personally don't like Pitman chests; I grew up with them and think they're sluggish, compared to tracker instruments. However, we must recognize that E.M. Skinner built instruments that have tonal beauty and good craftmanship. Otherwise, why would the great Louis Vierne have said, "A Cavaillé-Coll is a superbly harnassed carriage, but a Skinner is a Rolls-Royce."? Frank Mento
frank.mento@neuf.fr
Titular Organist
Saint-Jean de Montmartre Church
Paris, France
12/31/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
I already gave my opinion on this article which I think is excellent, and I have read all the feedback. Nevertheless, I still maintain that a digital organ is an imitation of a pipe organ, just as synthetic leather is an imitation of genuine leather. In spite of this, I would like to propose some food for thought: Is it better to have a good digital organ than a bad pipe organ? Frank Mento
frank.mento@neuf.fr
Titular Organist
Saint-Jean de Montmartre Church
Paris, France
12/20/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
I've noticed in some of the discourse this week that many organists feel, especially in a small church, a real pipe organ can never offer enough possibilities (essentially not enough stops) to play a broad spectrum of music. Therefore, digital organs become OK, justified, and accepted. Organists, please ponder this hypothesis. If you just want the congregation to hear all organ literature possible, even if the instrument is not real or even potentially real in that space, what's the difference if you merely played your favorite CD through the church PA system? Are they not both equally tacky?

Why can't we sober up and first look at what are the minimal requirements for the liturgical functionality of the instrument? You need look no further than some of the modern European instruments being built in some very modest churches. They typically have two plenum offerings, a good flute chorus and a complete principal chorus and maybe a reed. Many of these instruments are usually two manuals and pedal, no swell box, and sometimes just one manual. What are they good for? Supporting a cantor, choir, and congregation with simple, dignified and artistic austerity. Joseph Rulli
jrulli@jrorganbuilding.com
Organ Builder
Joseph Rulli Organ Building
PA
www.jrorganbuilding.com
12/7/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
Yes, but most organists wont a "grand organ" (three manuals and pedal--or more)even though a church is only 900 square feet inside--they have no ))talent(( to play anything else!
An organ for this space would be a small unit organ (a mechanical organ that small is useless for a church)that organ would be reedless or have "only one reed".
Like: Principal8 (probably stopped basses);Octave unit 4,2,1;Stopped Flute 8',4';Oboe-Gambe 8;maybe a Celeste to the Oboe-Gambe; and an independent Bourdon 16' (musically necessary) on the pedal. Tremolo.

It does not support the concert literature that most college and university trained organists are taught. It can play some Bach, but not the "fancy pieces" that most organists are trained to use. They are being trained to give concerts, rather than how it really was in the Bach's time--you made use of the resources that you were given, and you used it "for the glory of God" rather than 'for the glory of yourself".

Also, it takes a real musical talent to play an organ that small and have variety. You will notice that it really is entirely possible, but not the type of challenge that organists today are trained for..................
john wiley
johnfr3@sbcglobal.net
Consultant
La Grange. IL
http://www.techjohngeekeducated-mensa-old.info
11/30/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
A Marriage Made in Heaven.

I remember 30 years ago when I saw for sale in the Santa Barbara News Press (Local Paper) for a 12 rank divider Pipe Organ.

It was installed in a private home, and the price was no more expensive than a 2 manual electric $2000, although it would have to be disassembled, moved, re-assembled which would have added some additional costs. I went to the sellers house, and thought what an excellent opportunity for my parish to have a real pipe organ, with an AGO 32 note Pedalboard, and 4' pipes available on the pedal. It was well maintained in first rate condition, (I test drove it, by improvising so I try every stop and play every key.) A real joy that would last for decades.

San Roque Church had been built originally to host a new Bishop for a new Diocese(to be split from the Diocese of LA, 2 hours drive away) and had organ chambers (used as closets/storage)and the typical "Gee Dad its a Wurlitzer" electric Church organ (16 and 8' on the pedal). (Santa Barbara did not split, LA Diocese wanted all that collection plate money from a "rich" town).

It would have been a simple "Organ Transplant"

I talked to the Choir Director, and to the Sister in Charge of Music Direction, and of course,the Pastor (who was from Ireland, originally). I thought they were as enthusiastic as I was over the prospect.

I thought it was "a marriage made in heaven." Divine Providence that I should fine instrument at such a bargain price, and a perfect match.

And San Roque did get a Organ......................A New Kimball Electronic with 24 non AGO pedals, purchased by the Pastor from the local Kimball Organ Owner/Salesman who "was a parishioner, who routinely donated to the church." (Said with an Irish Accent) It probably cost much more than $2,000.

The pews to the left of the altar were removed (for the choir and new organ not the best acoustical arrangement) in an area already overcrowed for in need of more, not less seats, in front of the "Crying Room" (the area for Parents with young infants and toddlers).

The Old "Fertilizer" Organ remained in the choir loft, used only occaissionally for Weddings and the Pipe Chambers were used for storage of banners and other junk.

"Wasn't I thrilled the Church got a new Organ?" (Said with an Irish Accent) (I switched Parishes)

It called to mind during those tender years before college the lamentations of my old Salinas High School friend, then an Organist at a local church, and his churches "Organ Committee" (Hammond Organ Nuts)that after their old "Gulbransen" (sic) gave up the ghost went out and purchased a Brand New Hammond (draw bars and all). (His language would have made a sailor blush.) It was sold on the idead that the "tone wheels" would never go out of tune and give faithful service to the church for many years to come. (And to cause the organist to pull out her or his hair by the handful trying to registrate a piece with those stupid bars, when stops would have been so much easier).

My Piano teacher said that Electronic Organs were perfect examples of "Planned Obsolesence" and the Music Company made more money on repairs to the electrics and replacing with new models (and I am talking solid state, ie transistors), than was ever made on Piano repair and Piano Sales.

Salinas did have an Aerolian Skinner at St Paul's Episcopal (one of the last made before A S went bankrupt, the organist at the time let me climb into the Organ Chambers) and the First Baptist Church (in its old location) had one (I played on both).

The Catholic Churches were all electronic, however.

Although many things have improved over the years, Digital Organs still can't cut the mustard, any more than a digital piano (even the most expensive) can compare with a real piano.

Unfortunately, Churches, regardless of the denomination, are not solely populated by Organists (Blessed are the Poor)or other Musicians. Many of these people have their own agendas, could not care less about music and who can blame them with the old standards ignored (except Christmas and Easter Sunday, when the highest attendances are)and a new "song" is being foisted on the unsuspecting church member every week. If such traditions are not instilled in the youth, who will teach them or the next generation to come?

As such, the cost of an Organ is not on a high level of importance in .

Feeding the poor, outreach programs, or buying bronze statues and replacing perfectly good pews with new ones (as Mission Santa Barbara's Pastor and Pastoral Associate did for $200,000 several years back) seem to rate higher on the priority list. (Then again, Mission Santa Barbara has a Pipe Organ.)

To its Credit The local churches of the city of Santa Barbara do have a number of Pipe Organs, but the smaller Churches had the Electronic Organs to be sure.

To be fair, small chapels and small churches in small towns and hamlets would either have no organs (or just piano for their services, I have nothing against a Piano) if it were not for Electronic Organs. And many a budding organist cut his teeth on those first lessons from the Gleason Method on an electronic organ. Something is better than nothing.

George Foss
foss_steven@yahoo.com
San Gabriel, CA
11/30/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
I agree completely Dan, nothing will ever compare to a real pipe, much like a digital vacation to Paris will never equal a real one. I frequently play weddings and special services at another church that has an older allen organ. The sound is horrible, I have renamed a few of the stops - heres a few just for laughs. Trumpet 8' = Nasal Horn 8', 4' Koppelflote = 4' Poppleflute, and my favorite, the 16' Quintaton = 16' Quitalready. Ahhh, if I could only convince the pastor to sell that hunk of junk and start a pipe organ fund, he'd be much better off and may actually be able to draw people in, including a permanent organist.

Lastly, I find the photo of the organist at Christ Congregational Church to be a joke. If I had the word "bach" included anywhere in my last name, I surely wouldn't be seen near any digital instruments. I doubt Bach would have ever settled for a digital organ had they been around in his days. Vic Kovacs
victorkovacs@fuse.net
Organist / Choirmaster
Holy Trinity Church
Cincinnati, OH
11/29/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
Well Dan,

I would be the first person to join you in toasting the ultimate demise of the Electronic Organ, but not so much the Digital Organ. I submit that we need to be cautious when catagorizing the "non-pipe" organs. I will be the first person to party in the streets when any and all pre-digital sampling organ goes to the scrap heap. There is a three manual Allen that is 20+ years old in my hometown, that when you play it.... and begin to add the reeds, you recognize very quickly that all you are doing is adding more "buzz", you are not adding a robust battery of 16', 8' and 4' reeds. Organs like that can go and they won't be missed. However..... the digital age has brought us the ability to digitally sample pipes...... some of the most unique stops housed in the most substanital of organs have been sampled, and made available for the disposition of these digital instruments... I think that's kind of cool. I think it would be neat knowing that when a solo trumpet is used, you know that it is a digital sample of the St. John the Divine State Trumpet. That being said, there is no replacing a real, high wind pressure, beautifully voiced State Trumpet....... quite frankly, there is NO REPLACING A REAL PIPE ORGAN..... so, why am I in favor of "digital stops"? Because... they are the closest thing to the real thing. After reading the article you provided, I came to several conclusions. 1. The Juilliard Rodgers that this church purchaced is more organ that they would have ever had..... so that's good for the repertoire that can be presented. Try playing Jongen's "Choral", or Langlais' "Mors et resurectio" on a two manual organ of any size..... it just can't be done, and in most circumastances, thinking of the organ that this church had..... they could have never been presented properly. 2. At the very least, the congregation is "hearing" real pipe sound.... that's at least one consolation. Thank God they are not hearing soft and loud "buzzing" noises. 3. According to the article, the church seems to understand the value of a real pipe organ.... they retained some of the ranks for future addition to the Digital Organ.... that's a bit consoling. 4. This point is reflective of point 1.... the pretty young lady who apparently is the organist now has a three manual organ to explore.... that's a good thing for her to broaden her horizons..... and, 5. At least they didn't replace the pipe organ with a praise band. Now that would make me ill. Now.... in the spirit of this discussion..... We all know that some organs are "junk".... pipe, electronic or digital..... and the new fad.... pipe/digital combos. Some of them just need to be put out of their misery. They sound awful, they have ridiculous dispositions...... the list goes on and on. Pipe/Digital combos bring a whole new set of complex issues to the table..... essentially, how do you marry the two worlds successfully? Well, from experience, I can tell you that I've not yet heard an Allen Pipe/Digital combo that sounds good. I've not heard a Rodgers Pipe/Digital combo at all, but I'm sure that they are in the same boat. However, have you heard stops produced by Bob Walker? Magnificent! If you ever have the chance to hear one of his organs... either fully digital, or pipe/digital.... take the time to go and give a listen. It's worth it.

I'm in favor of every church and concert hall installing the finest instrument they can. Sometimes, this means a new piano... in lieu of a Hammond (boy, that statement could open up some wounds..... the Hammond sound has a sub-culture all its own!). Sometimes, you have to take two steps backwards to take one forwards. In this case, I think this church did a good thing. Yes, they could have spent the 40K on repairing their pipe organ..... but some pipe organs.... like some cars, homes, etc., are beyohd repair.... and maybe, just maybe... this congregation's swells of hymn singing are loader and more joyful because of the enhancement of the instrument accompanying them. Who knows. One other item comes to mind.... congregational education. We are going through a 100K + renovation of our pipe organ right now. Most people in the congregation would not care if you accompanied them with two spoons, a chain saw and a mouth harp... so, we need to be mindful of little miracles that surround us. At the very least, this church cares about the quality of their music program. They didn't replace the live music with a band or like some, recorded music. I guess the next discussion is for us to construct a list of pieces that should be permanently loaded into the sound recorder (for those pipe organs that have one)...... so that future generations can just press a button, and have live music... because the issue is soon going to change from "should we purchase a digital organ or a pipe organ?", the issue is going to be why don't we just get rid of the organ because there is no one around who can play it. So, maybe someday in the forseeable future..... our ears may delight in hearing a digital organ play.... because it can be. This in no way means I am a fan of anything but a pipe organ.... it just means that we need to focus our energies on other things...... digital organs are considered one of man's achievements..... so, they are here to stay.... like it or not. Bill Fuhrer
wfuhrer@att.net
11/29/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
"Demise of Digital": not in your life time! Here's the problem: It's about values. You must value the REAL over the imitation. We now have a majority in the culture that doesn't care what's real. If you don't believe that, just check a web site of a large regional electronic organ dealer and look at their installation list. Some of these outfits install more "organs" in one year than most pipe organ builders will build in their entire career. They also can make more profit in two days on one sale than a pipe organ builder can make in two years actually building one instrument.

Secondly, along with not valuing what's real, we have a "fast food" culture that wants it all. Once again the electronic salesman has the goods. So what if you have a church seating 200 people; you can have a virtually unlimited stop list, you can have four 32' stops in the pedal, romantic stops, classical stops that chiff on command, or don't when chiff at all when you don't want them to, etc, etc. Do you think that the people who buy this junk really care about artistic tonal design? The only thing that's left (and it's actually possible) is for one of the digital organ people to come up with the "Ultimate Organ" which would include samples from every major builder in history playable at every pitch. Then you can have Schnitger and Silberman principals, Skinners tubas and everything in between all from the same console in your 200 seat carpeted, seat cushioned American church. Joseph Rulli
jrulli@jrorganbuilding.com
Pipe Organ Builder
Joseph Rulli Organ Building
PA
www.jrorganbuilding.com
11/29/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
I heartily agree with your article. It is true that an electronic or digital organ is and remains an imitation of a pipe organ. We as organists must do all we can to encourage pipe organs in spite of how costly some may be, otherwise they will become extinct. It's better to have a small pipe organ than a large digital instrument for the same price. A fine mechanical pipe organ well taken care of will last you 100 years and more, whereas its digital counterpart will last from 10 to 20 years. Frank Mento
frank.mento@neuf.fr
Titular Organist
Saint-Jean de Montmartre Church
Paris, France
11/29/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
I agree that no digital will every equal the sound of a pipe organ. However, the demise of the digital organ is not going to be in sight for years if ever. Several years ago, my small church in Forest Hills, NY decided to replace the Hammond they had used since the 50s with a new organ. Yes, we had a pipe chamber, but no one would talk to us for less than $150 thousand dollars. Our congregation was too small to consider all of the work involved in buying and restoring a used pipe organ. Then of course there would be the maintenance through the years to consider.

We bought instead a large two manual Allen. The pipe sampling was state of the art for 1998. While it may not be ideal, it gives the church much more than it ever had in terms of organ music, and at a price they could manage. Yes, there are times when I am listening to a service or practicing that I really am aware that it is digital and not pipe. There is a primal element that is certainly missing. However, it was a major step up for this church and they could manage it financially and keep their budget in bounds.

Perhaps a day will come when they can take another step up and actually buy a pipe organ. That would be wonderful. Until then, I am thankful that digital organs have come as far as they have. John Perry
jcpdt@yahoo.com
11/29/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
Hi Dan,

I had to come up for air out of my political activity to post a comment on digital organs. Other than cost, one reason churches buy digital organs is because a lot of members of the congregation can't tell the difference between the sound of a digital organ and a real pipe organ. That is really revolting to me, but not everyone is uncomfortable when a singer is off key either. In my opinion these are the folks who would take reality TV over real life.

The main use I see for digital organs are as practice instruments for people like me who may not always have access to a real pipe organ. I have an Allen at home. I am satisfied with the lower range of sounds on my Allen, but the higher range always ends up sounding like some kid's Casio keyboard. I am thinking of getting some flutes and clarinets in pipe form to mount on the wall and hook into the electronics to give the upper range a more realistic sound. I think I could live with this instrument for practice purposes then. Does anyone know what would be involved technically to attach pipes to a digital organ? Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer
Northrop Grumman
Fairfax, VA
11/29/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
You CAN'T be SERIOUS ! Attach pipes to an electronic appliance? I think this church was missled. As to the issue of cost: Yes, the up front cost of a pipe organ is higher; however, a well built pipe organ will, with minimal mantiance, last for centuries, and will be a much more sastisfactory instrument visually and sound wise.

How about a REAL trip to Paris? Craig Wagstrom
craigwagstrom@yahoo.com
Organist
No Current Position
Moorhead, MN
11/29/2005

"The Demise of the Digital Organ"
Everything you say about digital organs is true, except they ARE cheaper. My church has a 4-manual Rodgers custom hybrid with 5 ranks that cost about $225,000 five years ago. When we looked at replacing just the digital flutes on the Great with pipes, the cost was overe $70,000. You do the math. Craig M. Stoops
Substitute Organist
Zionsville United Methodist Church
Zionsville, IN
11/29/2005

"Toccata and Fugue day on 18 December"
Dear collegues,

I was pointed (by a Norwegian organist) towards a British site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/classical/bachtfc.shtml

which announces 18 december 2005 as the nationwide Toccata and Fugue day requesting other organists to join and to play the well known Toccata and Fugue in D-minor at the end of our services or for special occasions etc.

I will try to join with as many Dutch organist as possible and bringing it to your attention hoping that all of you will not only join but spread the word as well.

If everyone spreads this call and if everyone cooperates, Bach will be honoured that day all over the Christian world.

With some luck and with the time differences chances are that the Toccata and Fugue will heard for 24 hours on December 18.

I am counting on all of you.

Dutch Regards,


Chris Faddegon
christian@faddegon.com
organist
German church
The Hague, The Netherlands
11/21/2005

"The Grand Canyon of Music"
I know this sounds really ignorant of me, but I have been looking through my Bach editions and I cannot, for the life of me, find this "Fantasy and Fugue in A minor" I use the Peters Editions for the most part, and there are none that are titled this way. BWV number anyone? Maybe its titled differently? Vic Kovacs
victorkovacs@fuse.net
Organist / Choirmaster
Cincinnati OH
11/17/2005

"The Grand Canyon of Music"
Does anyone have any thoughts or info on Bachs Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Im writing a paper on this piece. Andrea Finney
finney_andrea@yahoo.com
11/17/2005

"Education Perspiration"
You are so right, Dan!! When our son was young, he wasn't allowed to have Nintendo-type games and Gameboy (our daughter either, but she didn't want them as much as he). He never got one until he was 16 1/2, and by then had developed good habits of reading, playing sports and using his imagination. I took the children to the library every week until they were over 10. Also our children weren't allowed to watch anything but public TV until our daugher was 8 & said, "All my friends are watching "Family Matters" (whatever the show with the Olsen twins was called), then we gave in, but limited their TV time until they were older. Susan Burkhalter
scastlekep@aol.com
organist
Methodist church
Bethesda, MD
11/2/2005

"Education Perspiration"
I haven't posted here in a while because I am heading up a progressive political group. Even in politics one can see the effects of the lowered standards on our country. How can one explain the dumbing down of American? One explanation is that it benefits extremists politics. Why else would certain groups be challenging science and the scientific method itself? What else is the scientific method than the ability to think logically and not to jump to unfounded conclusions? To me it doesn't matter how well a person reads or does math if all they are reading is trash and all their math is used to see how little they can get away with paying on their credit cards. To me the real issue related to education is WHAT are they reading, and are they learning how to THINK critically.

The beauty of complex music is that it does require that a person be able to think. It the case of Bach's music it requires dealing with the interaction of melodies. Bach's music is actually quite democratic. But most of all, it requires effort. I think one of the benefits of learning music is that it teaches a certain amount of methodical thinking, and it teaches self discipline. I'm afraid most kids just wouldn't see the value in practicing to learn a piece for two months and then performing it in ten minutes. But that does teach something -the wisdom of waiting.

As far as Bach's music and Halloween, there are pros and cons to that. The pros are that at least people realize that organ music can go beyond the church. One of the cons is that it does depict the organist as somewhat of an insane, ghoulish figure. I don't think most organists are insane because those prone to insanity by the frustrations of learning to play would have dropped out long before they gained any level of competence. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer
Fairfax, VA
10/31/2005

"Education Perspiration"
Keep up the good word, Dan,we need all the help we can garner in this time of devaluing culture. I have really never liked the equating of the d minor Bach with All Hallows. Our AGO Chapter does a "Pipe Screams" and I really don't like that either. It only serves to belittle the majesty of the King of Instruments. I guess they mean well in an effort to keep the organ in the forefront of the "Great Unwashed", just as many like to think they are bringing the "Word" to the "Great Unchurched". In my book, this dumbing down only would affirm my feelings of wanting to stay away from any institution which seeks the lowest level message. Why would I want to spend my Sunday morning in such a place? To me the church should be somewhat like a College or University; a place of learning which appeals to the intellect.About the Philladelpia/Stowkowski d minor/Bach - I agree in principle that the organ original is superior, but at least this effort was on a higher plain, and reenforced the lofty message. Keep up the good work. Bob Shone Robert C. Shone
Rcshone@aol.com
Organist and Choirmaster
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church
St. Petersburg, FL
10/31/2005

"Rude, Crude and In a Mood"
I don't think I could call J.S. Bach greedy, at least not in a monetary sense. I think I recall the job dispute was over a matter of very few pennies - by today's standards, trivial, but a sum worth the squabble in those days, especially to one with so many children. On the other hand, he did overstay his vacation when he went to hear Buxtehude play, so he wasn't entirely selfless, either.

I managed to survive driving through Manhattan in 1987 when a friend and I drove to The City to see Cats at the Winter Garden. I only got lost once, looking for the Holland Tunnel, and remained lost until I recognized the Washington Bridge, then crossed safely into Jersey (on the Martha level). What an adventure!

Asheville, known by some as the "Hippie-Dippie" capital of the world, has its own share of rudeness, in and out of cars, including pan-handlers, drunks and hopeless degenerates sleeping behind the bushes surrounding banks, etc. No, I doubt NYC will ever have that monopoly again, if ever it had. Bill Smith
mailhtims@charter.net
Organist
St. Johns Episcopal Church, Marion NC
Asheville NC
http://www.wnc-ago.org
10/22/2005

"Registration"
Just read the article on the Christmas recital workshop. Do you keep copies of your registrations? Would love to see what other organists use. And yes, my name really is Dan Long Dan Long
RBCDJL@aol.com
Organist
Aldersgate UMC
Durham, NC
http://danlong.yourkwagent.com
10/21/2005

"Busy Making Other Rampages"
I don't think we're going to "get this straight" unless we actually try to understand the point and accept the value of the progress was being made. Honest hindsight tells us that the developments of color possibilities made available to organists by Skinner (and others) far outweigh the dubious notion of expression only through mechanical action. Dubious? To me, yes, since I have yet to be convinced by even the most illustrious in the field that mechanical action is the bee's knees when it comes to allowing the fingers to communicate a musical line, particularly since every action is somehow a little different from another. I play and teach on both a Skinner and a mechanical action organ literally every day, and while the mechanical instrument is excellent for teaching, so is the the Skinner in its own right. By the way, some of the finest mechanical organs, EVER, are still being built and are available, and I'm thrilled about that. So the assertion that something was lost or overlooked by Skinner's monumental developments is far-fetched, to say the least. Not trying to throw stones here, but urging a little more realistic and less cynical thought. Stephen Williams
SCWill42@aol.com
Director of Music / College Organist
St. John's Lutheran / Muhlenberg College
Allentown, PA
10/7/2005

"Busy Making Other Rampages"
The second pipe organ I was involved in, as a pipe organ builder, was an E. M. Skinner in a Baptist Church in Savannah GA. While most of the "Orchestral" stops found no favor in my ears, the one I remember and appreciate is the 16' Violone. When I heard it, I could almost hear the rosin falling off the bow of the bass viol it imitated. The rest of the stops seemed like good organ sound, different from most, but not an orchestra reproduction.

High wind pressure is not my friend, either. After dilligent re-leathering of reservoires and careful gasketting of windways, I was dismayed by the number of wind leaks I heard when we inflated. I had to reseal some of the most difficult joints to work on, likely the reason they leaked in the first place due to their tight, cramped fit which disturbed the gaskets upon reassembly.

The Sunday after hurricane Hugo blew through Charleston SC, the only church to have music was the Circular Church, wherein was a 16-rank Geo. S. Hutchings tracker with restored feeder bellows and a hand pump. It took three of us to feed its need for wind under full organ, but it sounded so much the better to have that more gentle wind after that which Hugo brought with him.

I remain unconvinced about the "expressiveness" of tracker action. I learned to play on a tracker, and like most who did, I remain faithful to them in theory. I've never been able to make any change in the attack of a note on any tracker I've played, even the modern ones with delightfully light pluck. The palet springs open and the sound starts. It snaps shut, and the sound stops. When others play them, too, I hear no difference in attack from that I hear in electro-pneumatic or electo-magnetic action.

Given the choise, though, I'd play a tracker any day. Of course, given a choice, I wouldn't be operating an electronic appliance, either.
Bill Smith
mailhtims@charter.net
Organist
St. Johns Episcopal Church, Marion NC
Asheville NC
http://www.wnc-ago.org
10/7/2005

"The Price Is Wrong"
The price is definitely wrong. Where does one go to apply for minority status? It sure seems like I am in the minority: I like organ.

Also, whatever happened to the concept that church was for God? Church is not for me, although I benefit. Whenever I have gone to church with a humble attitude, God has always met me somewhere. And guess what? There was no praise band there! Drew Meyer
organ2@iw.net
9/28/2005

"The Price Is Wrong"
I am a professional organist, certified (and proudly) by the American Guild of Organists. I recently invited members of our church's nursery school to hear me play the organ. The 120 four-year-old children listened with rapt attention for 30 minutes. The pastors, church staff and sociologists who say organ music can't reach people are wrong! Give a good organist even half a chance and they can transform a room with wonderful music! C. Wilkinson in Chicago
9/28/2005

"The Price Is Wrong"
Olá eu chamome filipa e gostava de o conhecer
e gostava velo cá,em Portugal Filipa alexandra corria pires leitão
9/28/2005

"The Price Is Wrong"
I am not surprised by you comment, but like many trends, is not restricted to any one credo or church. And you get paid to play the organ?

I was many years ago a relief organist at a Catholic Church in Santa Barbara. I was not the Choir director, who may have been salaried but I suspect was a volunteer, and the choir's organist was a Sister. It was an honor (or a penance) to play. At end of the year at Christmas we were given a free dinner on the Pastor (from his wallet I might add).

At that time I had a certain level of freedom as to which pieces I played (sometimes with a song leader and sometimes without playing filler music at before service during Communion and after service) so long as it was appropriate to the service.

Since there was a "youth service" similar to what you described held at a diffent time, I would play the old standards when ever I was able.

The older parish members loved those pieces what I was playing (and it was embarrasing how much I was complimented in return) as they felt alienated or disenfranchised with the "newer" music.

I left my post as "relief" organist as my work changed my schedule and having young children precluded my getting any opportunity to practice. However, the trend went from bad to worse. And the new music and re writing of the service expanded. (Our Parent who is in Heaven, Holy is your name)

However, new liturgy committees and new Pastors (Ministers, or Fathers) have a way of throwing out tradition and trying anything new just for the sake of change whether Lutheran, Anglican, Episcopal, or Catholic. And so often the Change comes from Above or with a tacet approval from those in charge.

I have seen (payed) Organists and Choir directors preferring to quit when told what exactly they could or couldn't play as decided by a committe, or having to go along with the new trends to save the job they have.

In Santa Barbara, unless your wife is working to support your Organ Habit or she is independently wealthy, don't expect to hold an Organ post long or at least have no pretext that you are a gainfully employed breadwinner. The converse is true for the lady organists.

It is not just the dumbing down of Church services that is the problem. It is a shifting of the central issue of worship. If the members of your church attend each Sunday to be entertained,rather than for spiritual reasons, not only are short changing a generation, the whole message and reason for being in service is diluted.

A quotation, "I don't attend services at (left blank for a reason) anymore as I don't recognize the prayer service (everythings changed from prayers to the words in the hymns), I can't relate to the songs that are being introduced (you can't call them hymns). And the new Pastor is more concerned in Performing as the Center of Attention at these Ceremonies than inspiring devotion, it doesn't feel as though I attended church on Sunday. Hell, the changed the pews for no reason, too." (This person had civil ceremony at the Courthouse and stopped attending Church.)
George Steven Foss
foss_steven@yahoo.com
Los Angeles, California
9/21/2005

"The Price Is Wrong"
Dan, I can't agree with you more, and Stan.... your point is very well taken.

We just had a "church leadership" retreat on Sunday afternoon. The contents of this conference made it very clear that not only has music and musical training been "dumbed down"... now we in the Lutheran Church are marching toward the dumbing down and diluting of the entire worship service experience. One of the major problems I see is that no longer do we have parents bringing their kids to church and teaching them the benefits and value of how we worship and why we worship the way we do. No longer do we have the older generations focused on exposing their kids to fine music, and pointing them in the direction of someone who can discuss it with them if the parents are not able. We now look to our kids to tell us how they want to worship, and we seem to just adjust and change to comply. So far as Dan's Rampage and Stanley's response, I must tell both of you and all of you, I have finally been able to put a finger on the "group of people" that are driving all this "dumbing down"... and you know what, that phrase really does describe what is going on all over the church.
First, at this conference, we were introduced to some statistics that assemble age groups into 5 different demographic categories. "Seniors" encompass folks born in 1926 and earlier; "Builders" are born between 1927 and 1945; "Boomers" are born between 1946 and 1964; "Busters" are those born between 1965 and 1983; and finally, "Mosaics" are born between 1984 and 2002. Now, we were instructed to combine Seniors and Builders into 1 category called "Elders" for discussion purposes on Sunday evening.... For this discussion, I want you all to know that I am a Buster (I was born in 1966). I lead a few small group discussions that as prepared questions were asked and answered, it became so logically clear to me as to why we are subject to this mass "dumbing down" and lack of any appreciation for serious sacred music. When we verbally put a description on all of these demographics, "Boomers" were defined as a "rebellious group that for the most part, failed to identify with and conform to anything called an "institution". This might not be true for many early "Boomers", but it is the stigma the generation has. Also, the documented statistical facts I was given show that 19% of "Boomers" stuck with their church and faith as they grew, 64% of "Busters" stuck with it.... 80% of "Elders" stuck with the church and grew. Now, I'm not here to offend, or promote that it's the "Boomers" fault for where we are at... but they are the folks that seem to be on this rampet search for a church, or a return to the church or faith they were raised in... and are subjecting all of their thoughts and ideas on the type of worship and music we present and experience. That's one reason why the mega-churchs are growing so rapidly... It fits the bill for the "Boomers"... entertainment instead of interactive experience. Singing fun and uplifting rock and folk type "praise songs" instead of singing traditional/classic hymnody. It just seems so clear to me that this generation is the culpret of inflicting most of this pain. Again, I am not trying to offend anyone in the "Boomer" generation that is reading this.... just remember, anyone who cares about Bach and sacred traditional/classic worship is in the 19% of "Boomers" who stuck with the program! For any of you who are Lutheran... I hope you've taken the time to play through the proposed "Renewing Worship", and taken a look at the "New Hymns and Songs" that was released. I hate to be so darn negative, but it is worse than the "Lutheran Book of Worship". The LBW really fouled up a lot of 4 part hymns with tinkering and re-writes. Those all need restored to their original form.... look at LBW 50, "Angels from the Realms of Glory".... it still tops my list of the LBW's worst tinkered with hymns. The new liturgies are unsingable, and unpleasant to listen to and play. And... the biggest jolt I got from paging through the "RW New Hymns and Songs" book was when I turned to Hymn R 111, "Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light"... thankfully restored back to the Bach harmonization... (BTW... the LBW only had 2 Bach Harmonizations prinited in it.... imagine that, the Lutheran Church only having 2 Bach works in its hymnal)..... OK, so look at R111, and look at the evaluation question printed at the bottom... "This classic Bach harmonization for Christmastide is included in part ot pose the questoin: to what extent are Bach harmonizations useful for assembly singing in the generation to come?"..... I AM SHOCKED AND APPAULED BY THIS QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it proves one thing.... no matter what generation is leading the charge on this new liturgical setting and hymnal... they don't have a clue about music, or what the hell they are doing. Simple as that. For all of you Lutheran organists/directors... I'd like to list out all of the LBW's lousy hymn arrangements that I've just written down on a list over the years. One other thing that shocked me is the fact that the LBW is being highly depended on as a resourse for the new RW. This blows my mind, because the LBW has never been overly popular, and has been supplemented at least 4 times since 1978, and has had at least two of our very well known Lutheran organists and composers (Michael Burkhardt and David Cherwien) write alternative accompaniments to the first two settings. What does that say? I know I'm going to sound like an "SBHer" (Service Book and Hymnal), but I've got to tell you... that 2nd Setting is gorgeous, and the seasonal graduals we used to sing between the Epistle and Gospel lessons were magnificent short pieces. We lost those forever when the LBW thrust itself into our worship. Anyway, if any of you Lutheran musicians want to read the essay I wrote and sent to the program director and the ELCA worship director regarding the RW, I'll be glad to send you a copy... just email me. One other item I found to be disturbing during our Sunday evening session is the fact that a professor at Gettysburg Seminary supposedly came up with two diagrams, one explaining the church and how it works from a former time, and how it should work now. The way it supposedly is to work now is that we are simply "Christ Centered", and we are to take up our crosses and go out among the masses in mission..... Just draw a circle for this one, draw a small cross in the middle, and draw arrows going outside the circle from all sides.... something like a clock if you will. This diagram says nothing about ministry development for your current church body, nothing about finances.... being fiscally responsible, nothing about internal stuff.... all outside the walls. I think this is pretty irresponsible, and once again.. shows the lack of lifetime experience working within the confines of a church family. Being called by God to be of service to the church has much more of an impact than just going out and ministering outside the walls of your particular church.... it has everything to do with taking care of and growing what you have inside the walls. There has to be a balance. One other thing that I must say that I've been seeing and experiencing, and it has everything to do with this circle model I mentioned. It seems we are taking "Lutheranism" out of the Lutheran Church. Right now, what would have been called our "Catechetical Class", of course renamed for the last few years as our "Confirmation Class" is now our "Affirmation of Baptism Class"..... For a liturgical church like the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church.... it seems to me that taking the Catechism out of the youth, or being more politicall correct
"young-adult" curriculum is a disasterous move on the church's part.... whether this is just my church, or around the country... it seems like "Luther's Small Catechism" is no longer a factor in learing about your denomination, your faith.... whatever. I guess I just don't get it...... "The Price WE are paying is wrong, and unfortunate". Bill Fuhrer
wfuhrer@att.net
9/21/2005

"The Price Is Wrong"
Your comments are kind. Not only does the contemporary thrust dumb down the music, it discourages learning to read music. Why bother? do it by rote! (That's what they do in kindergarten.) This lack of printed music for the congregation also discourages participation by those who have "bothered" to become musically literate. Of course, the contemporary leaders couldn't stand the scrutiny if printed music were provided, since they can't/don't do what is written on the printed page! Stanley Wernz
9/19/2005

"It's Good to Be King!"
Hey! I love that Mendelssohn fugue, and the fugues of Brahms, too. Okay, you can't beat a good Bach fugue - there's just nothing like it, but variety is the spice of life! I have just started my own organ blog at http://pipings.blogspot.com. Hope you'll visit and comment. Laura
leylowe@alltel.net
Organist/choirmaster
St. Francis of the Islands
Savannah, GA
http://pipings.blogspot.com
8/30/2005

"It's Good to Be King!"
Let me first state that I love Bach (and His Organ Music)and his Keyboard and Organ Fugues inspired me to learn this art form. In fact the best book of instruction is Prof E Prout's book on the subject of writing Fugues where he took J S Bach as the basis for the rules by which Fugues where to be practically written.

He did this in response to theorists, teachers, pedagogues, et al who had used Palestrina as the basis of Fugal composition. In fact Cherubini has said the Bach never wrote a single Fugue(!) as he "violated" all the rules of Fugal composition. In his school, Cherubini would have flunked Bach!

I assume that your quote, "What it comes down to is that nobody since Bach has written a good fugue." Plenty have tried besides Mendelssohn (Brahms and Schumann come to mind) but there's just no comparison," you mean Organ Fugues. I take exception to your statement if you meant that as a general statement.

If you knew the Masses of Mozart, you might change your tune. These vocal pieces have the same level of genius as Bach and exhibit all the contrapuntal techniques one finds in Bach's Art of Fugue and do not lack in development of musical ideas. Beethoven (whose first piece at 5 years old was a Fugue) wrote fine Fugues in his quartets and his Grosse Fuga from his last Opus is no slouch of a piece either. And Old Cherubini (Beethoven's favorite Church composer) could write some effective if "old fashioned" neo 16th century fugues in his Masses, too. (I will omit Haydn's fugal writing in an attempt to be short) I would not say the Fugues of Albrectberger for Organ are deficient either. And Mozart did write some fine Fugue for 2 harpsichords and for Mechanical Organ, too.

The Organ was in decline from the end of the Baroque Period and had been somewhat eclipsed for the same reasons as the Harpsichord fashions and taste had changed. The Symphony Orchestra, the Opera, and the Solo Piano rule supremme. With all due respect to Felix Mendelsohn, Franz Liszt did more to popularize Bach's organ works (true Felix performed Bach on the Organ, but who went to Organ Concerts then or for that matter today).

Good old Franz transcribed Bach Organ Preludes and Fugues and scheduled them into his Recitals, which were followed with the enthusiam of a Rock Star. The Prelude and Fugue on the Theme of BACH for organ by Franz Liszt is a worthy piece.

And Lizst like Bach was a virtuoso at his instrument but most Fugues whether they be written by Paderewski (he wrote other pieces beside his "Minuet alla antiqua") or the Twelve Fugues in Hindemith's Ludus Tonalis are more works of Homage to Bach.

But the vast majority of composers were not putting there efforts into organ music because the public, who vote with their "dollars" weren't buying.

That's not to say that other Musicians such as Richard Strauss (he used a Fugue in Also Sprach Zarathustra), or Dmitri Shostakovich (he wrote a set of 48 preludes and fugues for the Piano) did not write fine Fugues it wasn't the center of the audience focus. (Nor was the Fugue in the end of a Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by Britten.)


"Bach invented the fugue," Bach after careful study of previous Fugual writing (upon which he built) reinvented and continued the evolution of the genre. Unfortunately, after Bach's passing, primarily Church Music was the main center of Fugal Composition, a reactionary environment.

"Oh, sure, there were "fugues" before Bach but they were little more than glorified fits of imitation."

I would not so easily dismiss the works of Boehm, Pachabel (His short Fugues on the Magnificat may have been the inspiration for the Art of Fugue) and Buxtehude as trite, many would stand on equal footing with most of Bach's Organ Fugues. And Vivaldi's Fugal writting was interesting enough for Bach to transcribe for Organ (although the Piece was for years attributed to W F Bach).

Also the Fugue is a very free art form, Handels Fugues are of very fine quality but differ greatly in construction. Not every Fugue has to be written in a North German manner. Boyce and Chilcot both wrote fine Fugues (after Handels italienate fashion) that although short do not lack for Beauty for having a more southern quality.

Bach is the highest art to which others aspire, but to say that no wrote another Fugue worthy since his time is very much like saying that no wrote a good Symphony after the death of Beethoven.

And yes good old Felix fugue you thought was a waste of time has lessons to be learned from. He could improvise a Fugue so well that Goethe did not know it wasn't the Fugue from the WTC that he had requested.

I have written Fugues (in the style of Bach) and it is indeed a humbling a gratifing experience for the study of Bach is worth the time. It lead to all the information I quoted above. It was not the end of my discovery of the genius other composers works. George Steven Foss
foss_steven@yahoo.com
Freelance Amateur Composer
Formerly a Church Organist (I have got to eat).
San Gabreil, CA
N/A
8/25/2005

""
Dear Dan,

I expect you enjoy to hear this, as a suggestion for improvement of same, else I would not have endeavored to write to you:

Maybe you can understand or feel, that I find your writing slightly vulgar, a way of communicating which seems to be excused by "being able to communicate to everyone." That maybe defines 'vulgar' quite well.

Anyway, I have some expectation that you might not desire to go down that way, and so I enclose what I wrote regarding - amongst other things - 'synchronicity' (which you mention in your Book Review corner), and which is an example of that 'vulgarity.'

In other words, rather than 'calling things otherwise "in order to make them acceptable to everyone",' which is a form of vulgarity, things are what they are and can be so recognized and described.

KNT hrpp

___________________________________________
(nn) 'The Nature Of Life As Seen From Earth
- Life Energy Particles
- Perception At A Distance' {HRI 20010829-pi9-V2.0}
(29 August 2001 - part issue 9 Version 2.0 on 21 Aug 2005)
http://www.googlegroups.com/group/Fine-Particle-Physics/msg/3c571f55d616c2c2?fwc=1
Koos Nolst Trenite
plato_world@yahoo.com
http://www.angelfire.com/space/platoworld
8/25/2005

"It's Good to Be King!"
I have to say, I agree and disagree with this rampage at the same time. (must have something to do with my insanity problem - read my blog for more info on that) I have played several of Mendelssohn's sonatas, my absolute favorite is the 6th, which I am preparing for a concert in November. True, the fugue from the 6th sonata is easier, and might work better. However, I frequently play the fugue from the 2nd sonata. I combine it with the movement before it, and use them together as an excellent postlude for weddings - never heard a complaint yet.
As far as who invented and wrote the best fugue, I have to give Bach a lot of credit. Bach being my favorite composer, I feel that he wrote the most intricate and beautiful fugues for the Baroque time period. I feel that a distinction should be made between the Romantic fugues and Baroque fugues. For the Romantic era, Mendelssohn's fugues from his sonatas and preludes are some of the best. It takes more of a love for Romantic music to understand my point. True, his fugues are written in a standard fugal style, but it is the harmonies that vary much from Bach's style. Vic Kovacs
victorkovacs@fuse.net
Organist/Choirmaster
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Cincinnati, Ohio
http://www.geocities.com/organhomepage
8/25/2005

"It's Good to Be King!"
I can't disagree more! That Mendelssohn Fugue is maginificent. I played it myself. At first when I heard it, I also thought it was a drag. The more I played it, the more meanining it got for me. I think Mendelssohn is wonderful: BUT he has to be played correctly. If it's played badly then yes it sounds awful. Same with Bach, if Bach isn't played well, then his music sounds awful too! Voix Celeste
8/25/2005

"Jailbirds of a Feather"
Dan, what a fascinating story about Bach! I'll put it into my music history file for my students. It makes him seem more human and we have to admire his stand. No matter how much I learn about him, though, I will always be in awe and will think of him as a godlike figure. Susan Burkhalter
scastlekep@aol.com
organist
Bethesda, MD
8/20/2005

"To Fill with Wonder...Again"
I'll admit that this is mostly in response to your previous rampage on the terrorists attacks. I have used the music of Bach to escape the chaos of life most of my life. Having coming from a chaotic family it was an island of sanity. I've always loved the way the voices of the fugues work together harmoniously, taking turns being in the spotlight, unlike certain families or so-called representative governments. What a balm it is to have one's mind integrated by the fabric of Bach's works!

I have been wondering how I can return to the state of mind I had previous to all the terror attacks. I have become even more interested in art as a haven than I was before. I am a person who loves to make noise (and music). That is to say I love to express myself and the chaos we face gives me an opportunity to do that in several ways. If the government were really interested in preventing terroism they would secure the border instead of ordering the Border patrol to stand down. They would also release the Homeland security money they promised to the states. Texas has only seen 4% of what it was promised. What the heck is going on here? The metro in Washington, DC has been told by Homeland Security that "You are on your own." I don't know about you, but I smell something rotten in Denmark,I mean the USA. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer
Northrop Grumman
Fairfax, VA
7/28/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
I also apologize myself to everybody here, including Mr Fuhrer.
It's just Mr Fuhrer made furious with his first message.

He calls me simple minded and moroon and with a mind of a kid, etc etc.I don't mind being called like this by a mere stranger who doesn't knows me. I'm a successful man with an engineering and also a masters degree. I'm a director of a multinational company that is listed in the NYSE. And yes, sometimes, I make mistakes, but I'm not perfect. Who is?

I't just that I don't want to let this issue where Mr Fhurer wants it to be. I think by attacking my sanity or intelligence, Mr Fhurer wants to hide the crude facts.

I stand by what I say and I say the war in Irak is illegal, and started on the asumtion that there were weapons of mass destruction in Irak and that Sadam was linked to 9/11. Also Mr Bush and Mr Blair started the war to "make the world safer".

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/232622_ourplace15.html

Well, after 2 years there is 5 times more violence and terror. US is having a publicly known Guantanamo site where it is demostrated it has tortured. Also in certain prisson in Irak ( Abu Grhaib)See
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/powabuse.html
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/torture_pow.html

Also more than one hundred thousand civil deaths in irak since beginning of the invasion and Iraqi soil and air has been poisoned. And, guess what? there were no WMD, and no link of Irak with 9/11. All a pack of lies, as stated in the Downing street memo.
http://www.rense.com/general66/equals.htm
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8270144

and now, You, Mr Fhurer ( sorry I thought it was a nickname) come here and tells us we have to support US troops.

Well, I'm not an american, I'm from Europe, and don't have to support them, but I don't think that it is a duty of the american people to support a president and an army acting against its own constitution on an illegal war. In fact you shall strongly ask for the inpeachment of Mr. Bush and its goverment, beacause they lied and went into a war that has killed ( unofficially more than 8000 americans,and seriously wounded more than 20000)

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/lieofthecentury.html

Anyway, you may support whatever you like, but at least the truth is out there for everyone to see, and as my eyes sees it the terror on this world is your army and your criminal goverment.

And what happens in USA?: Civil liberties are down the sink, with citizens in police black lists without commiting any crime.

http://wuamericaru.blogspot.com/2005/07/think-about-these-questions-and-then.html
http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/1480/1/108/?PrintableVersion=enabled

People in your country are afraid of terror attacks, and the funny thing is, terror has being started by its own goverment.


And about my name, yes I hide it, not because of you, but because I'm speaking against a powerful goverment, and I don't want to expose myself.

This will be my last message regarding this issue.


Caroni

Caroni
caroni311@hotmail.com
7/17/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Dear all BACHorgan.com members,

I wish to extend my apologies to you all. This site is for musicians to inspire and intellectually stimulate everyone's love for Bach, discuss him and his works, and other musically related issues.

Even though we all wrestle with political issues, we should all be considerate as to the content of our feedback, and in this case, I guess I should have tempered my thoughts........ I am sorry that I attracted such a rogue, simple minded moron to use this site to cast stones, not intellectually stimulate. My feedback on the current situation in Iraq was posted for no other reason than to give another point of view. I am passionate about our heritage, and military, and will support them when they are in harm's way for no other reason than I feel it is the right thing to do.

The inflammatory response that was posted and directed to me just goes to show that if you cast a baited line in the water, you have no clue what type of fish you're going to catch....... and I seem to have caught a beauty. Sorry everyone.

Bill William B. Fuhrer
wfuhrer@att.net
7/17/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Dear caroni311,


Wow buddy....... chill. How old are you, 5?


Your passions certainly are strong, and I too am quite saddened by the fact that I have to share my love of the organ and any music........ Bach first and foremost with a person like you...... but we all have to share don't we? Your immediate use of name calling and somewhat terroristic language suggests that you are not well educated, and quite frankly, a coward. This site, if I'm not mistaken, was designed to encourage and harbor thoughts and ideas....... no matter if the subject be Bach or whatever. This situation right now is something we have to live with...... none of us have control over it, so I'd rather be positive and vigilant than negative and demeaning like you.

Fuhrer is my given name, and I'm very proud of it. I don't have the pleasure of knowing your sir name, and that is a shame........ whatever it is, I would have to speculate that it may mean "no manners". Or, were you just raised in a hateful home? No matter...... my name means leader and William, my proper name means "Bold Protector"....... so, in response to your utter garble, I will attmept to do both........ Boldly protect my thoughts with facts, not name calling.

We ARE the good guys this time and every time, and it seems to me that you don't have a clue what it means to be American........ so much the better........... we do not need anymore people like you in this country. So, please..... stay where you are........... and, by the way....... if you're going to go on a name calling rage which is exactly what these ridiculous terrorists do, then at least make sure that your spelling is correct....... you look stupid. I thought since you got into an inflammatory name calling rampage, I can at least call you stupid, because you certainly present yourself that way.

My last word to you on this is that you've encouraged me to do what every terrorist bully wants....... a reaction. I would hope in the future, when you use this site, you stick to regaling us with your esteemed thoughts on the works of Bach..... If you have anything more you'd like to say to me, say it to me directly........ use my email address to contact me, and I'll be glad to keep this alive...... but keep the fine musicians, composers and organists out of this. You took a healthy debate and made it personal, so....... if you have the guts and courage, bring it to me on a personal basis.
William B. Fuhrer
wfuhrer@att.net
7/17/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
I have two comments on the ongoing rampage:
"Sheep May Safely Graze" JS Bach
"Song of Peace" J. Langlais
Bill Kistler
wakistler@optonline.net
Asst. Organist
First Pres.
Metuchen, NJ
7/16/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Wfuhrer must have come from another planet.
I cannot believe he thinks US troops are the good guys this time, when they are assasinating innocents, torturing in Gantanamo Iraq afganistan, suppoting the criminal israely goverment and being the real terrorists in an illegal war that started on a pack of lies.
I just think he is one of those right-wing terrorists that are around the globe killing women and children just because they aren't WASP. Maybe your nick name ( fhurer) mean it and you're just a nazi who cares a dam about humanity and really believes in the white race supremacy.

A pity I have to share my love for Bach music with right wing cretins such as Wfhurer.

FSC FSC
caroni311@hotmail.com
Eurome
7/15/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
I'm really becoming dissappointed with the massively liberal political content of these emails. Bach was neither liberal or conservative, we have no record of how he voted or his political leanings. There seems to be an all-to-eager willingness to take the sorriest excuses to begin a political tirade. I joined this mailing list to read and share opinions on Bach and his music, not to be bombarded with Michael Moore-esque propaganda from the left about how Bach wouldn't have approved of the war in Iraq, or wouldn't have voted for George Bush, or what have you. To be fair, this hasn't happened often...once after the election, and once now. But still...let's leave politics in that infernal closet in which it should be left, and discuss the finer things of life...Bach, for instance. Ryan W. Frederick
ryanwfrederick@yahoo.com
Emmanuel Lutheran
Fontanelle, Iowa
7/15/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Guys......... Come on now. I appreciate reading your opinions, but please......... musicians..... especially organists should be looking at world affairs from a much more enlightened state. There is a much bigger picture here, and maybe..... a history lesson is necessary. The wars that we have fought until 1991 had a defined purpose and conclusion.......... one that you could see on maps and battle plans. We were not always successful, but we fought with bravery and honor. If you surmize that we are just raking up casualties for no purpose, it seems to me that the core of your patriotism toward this great country may be in question. Keep in mind that those soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan are very much aware of the stakes, and are willing to free us of the madness of 9/11 or most recently, London. Would you not willingly give your lives to protect the Constitution of the United States? I know I would......... why? So that in 100 or even 200 years from now, our future generations can enjoy working on, playing and even just listening to the magnificent works of Bach. Do you want one, or even several of our wonderful cities to fall to the devistation that occured on 9/11? I am not saying that we cannot in earnest disagree with the jargon, or even stated policy of our government........... that is a right guaranteed to us in our Constitution.......... and if you need a refresher, read the Constitution again........ and soon. What those soldiers are doing is not in vain, and it is not a waste of time. We are not picking fights around the world, we are taking the fight against the very terrorist groups that fired the first shot on 9/11 to their home turf. If you choose to live in fear, so be it. Do you really want to leave your apartment in NYC, walk to the church to practice, and worry if today is the day that the car bomb goes off while you are out and about? Do you want to get up during the middle of the night, through some water on your face to hopefully calm a sleepless night, just to find out that the water supply has been compromised, and that you may have washed your face with contaminated water? These extremists want only one thing........... to kill Americans. They have no coagulative message...... The terrorists are not leading their people on a Christian Crusade like campaign...... at least when we were out terroizing the world, we had a distinct message and goal..... to spread Christianity! All these bastards want to do is kill the infadel americans in the name of Allah........ and by the way, and here is your history lesson........ don't forget who fired the first shot with al quida........... it was us. The CIA is who gave these rogue bands of terrorists the training to become effective fighting machines when the goal of the west in Afganistan was to drive out the Soviets.

You cannot in one breath say that you support our soldiers and then condemn there objective. You're saying "OK Private, we support you and the military, but what you're doing is crazy"......it doesn't work that way. This is not a support from the top down deal, this is a support from the ground forces up...... and if you do not support the President on this, then that is your right......... but what they are doing right now is helping rid the world of the complete and utter misery and saddness that terrorism brings, and for that, I salute not only the hard choices our elected officials make, but the ground forces that face death every damn day to keep us safe as we sleep, work and play. NYC is the greatest city in the world, and I am deeply saddned to hear that every time you see our flag fly, you don't have a tear in your eye.......... The Navy had built several new state of the art ships...... one of which is to be cristend the "USS New York"........ her bow, and armor made of steel from the WTC. This is a time to pull out John Knowles Paine's Variations on Star Spangled Banner, not play Bach's hymn Komm Suser Tod. This is a time to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers", and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "For All the Saints".......... think of the shock of the people who perished in the WTC....... one's who were alive after the attack......... those people are looking down on us from Heaven blessing the campaigns to rid us of the fear of terrorism. We may question and even become angry with the political tactics, but NEVER EVER should we question or become angered over the big picture, the end result.............

If you want to question our government and our future prosperity at home, why not question why we have people who question and litigate the use of the word God in the Pledge? Or, why in do we have such a problem reforming Social Security to keep it healthy? We can openly question these and other things because of our magnificent Constitution. We can agree, disagree, speak out, keep quite, stay neutral..... whatever. And, keep in mind that we have not experienced an attack since 9/11. Seems to me that our efforts so far have been effective. OK....... One last time........ forget worrying about day-to-day news reports, and focus on the big picture............. the end result, 'cause I guarantee you all this fact........ if there is no bloodshed over this, it will never end. It comes down to if you want the soldiers who swear an oath to protect us to potential lose there lives doing what they enlisted in and swore to do, or do you want countless civilians to shed the blood hear on our soil? Up to you, but there is no way to make this go away....... it's here, we have to face it, and we have to defend our way of life, not only for us, but the generations of people that will come after us, whether they are born here, or come here to find the American way. William B. Fuhrer
wfuhrer@att.net
7/15/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Focussing on what stands to ameliorate society (art or exalted prose, or whatever) is indeed difficult at this time, when everything seems bent on baser, more primal impulses. How's your medulla oblongata functioning would seem more to the point.

Sigh. The current situation is causing rifts in many families, including my own, but so far *not* in the Bachorgan.com community! Victor Frost
VFrost@gis.net
NY
7/14/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Worried about machine guns on the NYC subway? National Guard in Grand Central?

HELL YES!

When I first saw them after 9/11, the thought ran through my mind, "When the hell did we become an armed encampent?" I do not like it. And with the buildings, sheesh. You have to walk in and flash ID, and even then, you could get stopped (I know, it happened to me a few times after i had been at a job for 6 months, seeingthe same rent-a-cops every morning, and I had a passcard).

Personally, I'm more worried about one of these overly armed people going nuts than being in a terrorist attack.

Place is looking more and more like Israel and less and less like America. James Winstanley
7/14/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Thank you, Dan. I really respect the fact that you're speaking out against this encroaching tyranny. I hope that you don't get too many negative responses to your editorial. Keep speaking your mind! Ted O'Brien
www.whatreallyhappened.com
7/14/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
re: "How do I go about my business and ignore the fact that the number of dead Americans in Iraq will soon equal the number of people killed on 9/11. When that number is surpassed, will it still have been worth it? Not to mention that Iraq had nothing to with 9/11 anyway".

What about the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Iraqis (otherwise known as "fellow human beings") slaughtered, tortured, and maimed (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9460.htm)? Not to mention the million-plus unceremoniously snuffed-out due to the murderously criminal sanctions imposed and enforced by Clinton-and-the-UN.

Although I recognize the obvious fact that the U.S. military is being used by the State and the Ruling Class to further the aims and "needs" of their kleptocracy, I find myself harboring more anguish, sorrow, and empathy for those at the business end of the Imperium's colonizing and privatizing technology.

I wish the "anti-war" crowd (agnostics and true believers alike) would place at least as much emphasis on the lives, deaths, and injuries of our manufactured enemies as they do on "our boys and girls" in camouflage fatigues.

In the words of "a daughter of Iraq":

“May we ask why the Security Council did not condemn the massacre in al-Amiriyah and what happened in al-Fallujah, Tal‘afar, Sadr City, and an-Najaf? Why does the world watch as our people are killed and tortured and not condemn the crimes being committed against us? Are you human beings and we something less? Do you think that only you can feel pain and we can’t? In fact it is we who are most aware of how intense is the pain of the mother who has lost her child, or the father who has lost his family. We know very well how painful it is to lose those you love.

“You don’t know our martyrs, but we know them. You don’t remember them, but we remember them. You don’t cry over them, but we cry over them.

“Have you heard the name of the little girl Hannan Salih Matrud? Or of the boy Ahmad Jabir Karim? Or Sa‘id Shabram?

“Yes, our dead have names too. They have faces and stories and memories. There was a time when they were among us, laughing and playing. They had dreams, just as you have. They had a tomorrow awaiting them. But today they sleep among us with no tomorrow on which to wake."
[Quote culled from "A Letter to the British People from a daughter of Iraq" (http://tinyurl.com/d2lf9)]

As for the daily increasing encroachment of reality (the finite Earth, its life forms, the biosphere, and the natural universe) in the lives of average Western Imperial First World citizens: IT’S ABOUT TIME!

"We the people" have a LOT to answer for...and then some.

We desperately need to understand that it is our--yours and mine--absurdly rapacious rates of consumption and surreal standards of living that are, when all is said and done, ultimately fueling our carnage, torture, occupations, machinations, manipulations, and privatizations abroad.

In the words of James Howard Kunstler:

"Finally, thousands of miles away, there's the war in Iraq and Afghanistan -- it's all one war, by the way. It's being fought to fuel up all those Nascars, and power the interstate highways, and to keep the weed-whackers and fry-o-later hoods humming, and keep the suburban housing industry chugging along so more Americans can drive to the video store to get violently stupid movies about quasi-humans with great destructive powers. We are watching ourselves become monsters."
[Quote culled from Kunstler's website: www.kunstler.com/mags_diary14.html (July 5th entry)]

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that said “encroachment” will more than likely continue unabated into dark and ugly realms as industrial civilization finds the far side of Hubbert’s Peak (think “Olduvai Theory”: http://dieoff.org/page125.htm).

In sanity and struggle,
--
David Emanuel (NY/USA) David Emanuel
7/14/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
You said:
"How do I go about my business and ignore the fact that the number of dead Americans in Iraq will soon equal the number of people killed on 9/11. When that number is surpassed, will it still have been worth it? Not to mention that Iraq had nothing to with 9/11 anyway."

Actually, the number of suffering and pain caused in Irak has surpassed onehundred-fold the number on 9/11.
Not only the official death toll of US troops is said to be 1/4 of the real number, but also the number of wounded americans is (officially) more than 20.000, one third of whom has permanent lessions, such as legs and arms loss, not to mention, the children born with malformations transmited by fathers (US soldiers) said to be exposed to depletted uranium.

But, if you take into account the number of Iraqi civilians and soldiers( those also suffer, and have families, you know), ( including also thounsands of childrens, mothers and elders) then add up the vast amount of iraqi land contaminated by depleted uranium bombings and its probable negative influence in the future generations of iraqi children, then the 9/11 is just a veeery small event.


FSC
Francisco Salgado
fsalgado@wanadoo.es
Santiago
7/14/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
I deeply sympathize. The U.S. seems to go completely over the top sometimes - as in the McCarthy era - but ultimately the purpose of such insanity is to strengthen the military-industrial complex rather than make people safer. I really wonder why Americans are generally - New Yorkers seem to be a major exception - so easy to manipulate. It's as if you all WANT to go crazy from time to time. Social Democracy Now
http://www.blogigo.co.uk/socialdemocracynow
7/14/2005

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
I totally agree with your comments. Maybe someday our country will learn that war ISN'T the way to solve our problems. Yet, I find that being at the console and playing Bach will allow me to temporairly forget the problems of our country and world and marvel once again at the beauty of the music that I wish was in everyone. Appreciation for classical music is on the down trend, along with alot of our morals and values, and we need to put an end to it. Craig Wagstrom
craigwagstrom@yahoo.com
Organist
Moorhead, MN
7/14/2005

"Flash in the Pan"
I also feel that so often the organist "shows off" for the sake of it. The most common - and hackneyed - piece of bach is the Tocatta and Fugue in D minor. Bach wrote it to be pretty showy I guess but most organists simply play all the tiny notes as fast as humanly possible which is very clever but seems pointless. Bach's organs simply could not have gone that fast.

To me his greatest work - referred to elsewhere - is the St Anne Fugue [I can even play the first bit on my Casio!!!] which can reduce me to tears when listened to on teh headphones after a few glasses of wine.... David Bettoney
david_bettoney@yahoo.co.uk
Organ lover and mad record collector
St Peters [AD 1270] Zeal Monachorum
Devon UK
7/3/2005

"Get Bach!"
Ok. I have just skimmed the last rant, but this gives me an opening to do something I've wanted to do for a long time. That is to bash MOZART! I am doing this because of the comment that some supposedly have said that Bach was not that great. Well, I say Mozart was not all that great. He had the emotions of a child, an exceedingly clever child. I can't stand his music. I think there is little emotional depth to it. Most of it sounds like it was flipped off after eating a bowl of chocolate. That is, it is just pure energy looking for an outlet, without having the emotional content or purpose which should have justified it.

In contrast, the music of Bach never gets old for several reasons. One is that it sounds like it was written by an ADULT! Another is that it doesn't try to overwhelm the listener. The modulations and sequences are (seemingly) self-evident and accessible without being condescending. It is interesting because it is accessible while still being complex. One feels in the greater works that everything is justified and nothing is fluff.

Nevertheless, his early works show the evolution of his technique and style and many works are not perfect by a long shot (How dare I say this!) Just as Monet painted many less that great (a nice way of saying it) paintings before he found out what he was about, so Bach did the same as he developed his style.

A friend of mine did me a favor recently. We had just attended a concert of some Russian music which included the opera by Rachmaninoff "Aleko". She later said she didn't like some of the other composers like Mozart because their music had no depth and it sounded as if it were written by a child. I thanked her because that is what I had always felt about the music of Mozart. I asked her if she liked Bach and she wasn't sure. I told her she needs to hear someone who really knows how to play Bach and she will put him in the category of adult composers. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
System Engineers
Northrup Grumman
Fairfax, VA
6/24/2005

"Mission: Possible"
While playing the works of Bach, the purist would say that there should be no registration changes "per say"...... think of the fact that when Bach played, there was at least one other person that had to assist him, if not two. One man would attend to the bellows, the other would be a "console assistant"..... his job is to pull stops on and off. I think the console assistant was rare, so really, it is modern thought that draws us to use a fluctuating regisration. The beauty of Bach is that he wrote his pieces..... especially fugues.... in a way that there are many places that suggest a registration change. I think a great example of this would be the triple fugue "St. Anne". Modernists call for a foundation chorus in the first portion of the piece, a much lighter regisration for the second, and then a much fuller...... leading to full organ regisration in the third part which joins the first two fugues with a third......... Bach left us regisration hints encoded in each work...... but it would be my thought that to play Bach purely, regisration changes during a piece should be minimal. Bill Fuhrer
wfuhrer@att.net
6/5/2005

"Mission: Possible"
What about registration,stops to be used,changes during playing? hugo
hugo_1950@yahoo.com
6/2/2005

""
The B Minor Fugue (BWV 579). Bach wrote is a Double Fugue.

I believe you misunderstood the type of Fugue Bach was writing. Bach was known to write Double Fugues from time to time.

Not all his Fugues were written in the form most often associated with Bach as found in the Well Tempered Clavier, Fugues on a Single subject and a countersubject i.e. a strict Fugues(point of reference 17 or the 48 fugues in the WTC have no countersubject).

The Fugue on a theme by Corelli is a double Fugue as Prof E. Prout wrote of in his book on Fugue, "in which instead of giving the answers, repeat the subjects, but inverted (not the subject but the placement) in their relative positions."

This is a Double Fugue, in which both Subjects appear from the beginning of the piece (as opposed to Bach's more typical way of writing Double Fugues with seperate Expositions for each subject before combining the 2 subjects together later).

This variety of Double Fugue is more often written by Handel who took a more Italian approach to Fugal writing.

In fact Handel uses this same formula in a Fugue written for his oratorio Judas Maccabaeus (And is quoted as an example of this Specie of Double Fugue by Prout.)

Subject 1 in the Alto is answered by Subject 2 (which you erroneoulsy call the Counter subject in your examples)in the tenor with a restatement of Subjet 1 in the Bass with Subject 2 in the Soprano in this work.

In your example number 6 (I would get out my old Kalmus addition if it wasn't on loan to a friend) you see the same order of entries as was used in Handel's work quoted above:
Subject 1 in the Alto is answered by Subject 2 (which you erroneoulsy call the Counter subject in your example)in the tenor with a restatement of Subjet 1 in the Bass with Subject 2 in the Soprano in this work.

This may account for your identifing this Double Fugue as a atypical Fugue with no answers.

I would agree that it is a Double Fugue written in a Form not usually associated with Bach. (Similar to a Double Canon (with 2 subjects) intitially up to the first part of the 7th bar.) Also the conjecure "Bach's Motivation...in..problem-solving opportunity to work a fugue that foregoes an Answer..." would be totally irrelevant. Bach was doing an excercise in writing a Double Fugue in the Italian manner very appropriate for an Italian theme from an Italian master.

In writing in this manner he was not alone. This is a glimpse of the Italian side of Bach, rather than the North German School of Fugue writing.

George Steven Foss
foss_steven@yahoo.com
5/29/2005

"Mission: Possible"
Hey, I'm interested in birds, too! There's lots of trees in our neighborhood, & in our yard we have tufted titmice, pileated woodpeckers, the exquisite song of the wood thrush, cardinals & robins, & minnie moore. I even go on a bird walk once a month at 8:00 a.m. About cartoons - I don't like the looks of the cartoon characters that are Asian-inspired (that style of cartooning, I 4-get its name), like Digimon - I like the ones with children and adorable animals, like they had in the 80's and 90's and some Walt Disney ones. Woody Woodpecker is great, I can do his call!
Although Ninja Turtles are still pretty cool (if a bit too violent at times)
Susan Burkhalter
scastlekep@aol.com
organist
5/28/2005

"Electronic is niether good nor bad"
...it's merely a tool for a job. Just like the pipe organ, in fact.

"The problem is simply that they are fake." The emotional charge of the word "fake" is only relevant if "genuine-ness" is important. Otherwise they just become two alternative ways of satisfying a particular need. For example: if I buy a fake Rolex for ten dollars instead of buying a ten dollar casio watch because I want a way of telling the time, then the "fake" nature of the product is irrelevant. If I buy it because I want to feel good about wearing a Rolex then it does matter.

The object of having an organ in a church is NOT "to make the organist happy". The object is to lead and accompany singing and (much less important) play solo music. If the sound is indistinguisable from the real thing, then it achieves that, so I don't understand why it should be a problem. If the sound IS distinguishable from the real thing, but nevertheless will function to lead and support singing, then you can have an argument about whether it's desireable for whatever reason to choose a pipe organ, but you have to be aware that you're then into getting people to pay for things that - while desirable - are extra to the basic function of the instrument, like, a nicer sound, beautiful casework, the ability to attract more highly talented musicians, the creation of something that will last for hundreds of years.

? There's nothing divinely ordained about pipe organs in church. An electronic is a way of leading and accompanying singing and having interludes, etc available. If it provides this to the necessary degree, what's the problem?

We don't all have the time to restore an antique pipe instrument. And while it's certainly true that a 12 pipe portative makes a very beautiful sound, it isn't very useful for leading the singing of 400 people.

As to 'you might just as well play a recording of the sermon' - well, and why not?, if that's the best way to achieve what you want achieved. The value of the sermon isn't the preacher in the pulpit, it's the effect (if any) that the sermon has on the congregation (which perhaps suggests we could do just as well without, most Sundays ;-> ). Paul Hodgetts
5/27/2005

"Mission: Possible"
In terms of tuning, I wonder about the effect of early works from the master's pen like the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, which is about as wild and woolly with respect to keys as you can get! Was this before he had worked out the system Lehman describes?

As someone who has written two sets of keyboard Preludes (one for organ, another for the piano), I can attest that a lot of transposition had to happen to yield pieces in all twenty-four major and minor keys! In terms of Bach's 48, we know for certain that the C-sharp major from Book I was originally in C. I always figured that Bach figured that many would be playing it on instruments on which C-sharp major would sound sour, so he wrote it in C-sharp (rather than D-flat, a "simpler" key if you're counting flats and sharps) to faciliate retrofitting it at sight to C. It would seem, instead, that he took a hard look at the original C major piece and ran through it with the prospect of transposition to C-sharp major, and decided that it passed muster, perhaps was even enhanced by the process. We are also told that he transposed the entire French Overture from C minor to B minor, just to afford variety of key within the Clavieruebung.

How much then did his experience of the different flavors of keys inform his writing in the pieces he wrote for the Well-tempered in a specific key specifically for inclusion therein? Is this why some numbers stay closer to home ground than others, harmonically speaking?

I was surprised that one of Lehman's audio samples was of a piece by Buxtehude. This composer would seem to have scrupulously avoided the tonal "outer reaches" (more than four flats or sharps). Wouldn't that imply that he used a different tuning system from Bach's? Victor Frost
VFrost@gis.net
5/26/2005

"Pander to Me, Please!"
I think sometime in the 1940's it became fasionable to be obscure. That is to reject all things familiar and go into other territory. I do like musical experimentation, but there is nothing wrong with good music which is accessible. When performing to children this is as important as providing interesting music for them to learn to play. When I say interesting I don't mean overly intellectual. I regret to say that for many years being accessible was considered a form of dumbing down so many performers did the opposite which was kind of "stupidly inaccessible". I'm happy to report that most of the music community now realizes the difference between art and arrogance.

Rebecca Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer (and organist!)
Northrop Grumman
Fairfax,VA
5/16/2005

"Very Interesting Article on Music and the Church"
This is not really a comment on musical pandering, but it is an article on the history of the troubled relationship between the church and the arts.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GE17Aa01.html

Rebecca Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer (and organist!)
Northrop Grumman
Fairfax, VA
5/16/2005

"Pander to Me, Please!"
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions!" So said my fifth-grade teacher. I resolved, then and there, to never have good intentions!

Virgil Fox knew the benefit of performing to an audience's likes, rather than preaching against their ignorance. His university appearances are well known for enthusiastic responses from the youngsters.

I attended a recital by James Darling, then organist at Colonial Williamsburg's Brutan Parish, wherein he wowed the audience with early American tunes including Variations on Yankee Doodle - my personal favorite.

An organist can get away with Ives' America or Buck's Star Spangled Banner, but sandwiched between better known/loved standards. My wife is quite skilled at playing some modern French pieces (that I find, frankly, sound, in places, rather like my first attempt at playing Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C Major), but doesn't use them for postlude music. She does, at times, use the much maligned Toccata and Fugue in d-minor, because she knows the congregation will recognize it and respond to it.

When I played my first (and last, so far) concert, I included some unknown works by Max Drischner and Simon Sechter, but light and fresh arrangements of familiar chorale tunes. When the audience heard that I didn't play unfairly with their ears, they responded with interest to my rendition of Intermezzo Founded on an Irish Air (which I refer to in closed circles as "The Queen's Hind" or "The London Derrier") by C. V. Stanford. Since many of those attending were members of the local AGO chapter, I felt inadequate to tackle any major works. By selecting familiar and yet obscure works, though, I was able to "strut my stuff" without offending anyone.

I also heard a recital, which had been less-than-stellarly presented in my opinion, closed successfully with a fugue on the Theme of the Pink Panther. It doesn't always have to be standard concert fare. It does, though, have to be interresting to most of the audience.

If I had a dollar for every time I snoozed through Music Appreciation class...!
Bill Smith
mailhtims@charter.net
Organist
St. John's Episcopal Church, Marrion, NC
Asheville, NC
http://wnc0ago.org
5/12/2005

"Resolution Accomplished!"
I agree that the problem with electronic organs is that they are fake. The physical vibrations in the air are different than those of a real pipe organ. Since my primary interest is playing I find that the health (physical and mental) benefits of playing a pipe organ vs. an electronic organ are significantly greater. I believe that the vibrations themselves and their quality offer a unique kind of physical and spiritual experience. -Just my two cents. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer (and organist)
Northrop Grumman
Fairfax, VA
5/3/2005

""Electronic IS That Bad""
Hello everyone,

Please excuse me for being such a purist, but I don't believe the problem is how much electronic organs sound like real pipe organs. The problem is simply that they are fake. You might as well play a recording of the sermon during the service.

If money is a problem, (which I find hard to believe, since even I was able to buy a real antique organ and fix it up by myself), then get a smaller instrument.
I would much rather listen to for example a beautiful portative organ with 12 pipes, than a far more expensive Allen, Rogers or whatever with 4 plastic manuals and 200 phoney ranks.

Regards from Japan. Craig Hansen
music@haussonnenschein.com
http://www.haussonnenschein.com/
5/2/2005

"Electronic Isn't That Bad"
I know many organists prefer Pipe Organs. Yes, they are wonderful to play and hear. But many Churches, especially stubborn ones and Churches with small congregations, do not have the money to buy a Pipe Organ. Most of them are very desperate in getting an Organ because it is just about ready to die. The modern Electronic Organs, i.e. Rodgers and Allen, are beginning to sound like Pipe Organs. It is much better if you buy the speakers or else it will sound as if there is no supporting sound, like dinty. In fact, there is a Pipe Organ in Pennsylvania where there the Organ is very old and they have installed Rodgers digital stops and even some of the most professional Organists who have played on the Organ for a long time can not tell the difference between the stops of the Pipe Organ and the Rodgers stops. My Church cannot afford a Pipe Organ and the Church is not built for one. So we are fighting (literally) for a new Electronic Organ that will last us for at least 30 more years. You don't know how bad it is when your Church doesn't have a lot of money and they are not supportive of music, you have to play a Baldwin Organ from 1979 and it is making a lot of noises in the middle of the service. Pipe Organs are good, but they cannot always be bought by Churches. Just be happy that some Churches are buying Organs. At least they are trying to keep the tradition of hearing the Organ played in Church. Some Churches are looking at replacing the Organ with Contemporary music using guitars, drums, and keyboard. Greg Pierson
Organist
Nottingham Presbyterian Church
Nottingham, Pennsylvania
4/30/2005

"Resolution Accomplished!"
I am surprised that you find the Toccata in F by JS. Bach so difficult. I myself am about halfway through after three weeks' work - the fact is that once you have mastered a few sections of the work (ie: the opening two-part canon, the section immediately after the second Pedal solo, one of the later passages with the Pedal moving in semiquavers high up the board, and the very end), the rest is very similar to one of these pre-learnt sections and the whole slots into place nicely and is not unduly difficult. Jason Lowe
not supplied
Mr.
St. Elphin's Church
Warrington
not supplied
4/29/2005

"Resolution Accomplished!"
That's real interesting about the F minor! I myself am going to play it this year and I found it surprising to hear that it's not played often. Why do you think is that? I think it's a wonderful work. Hanné
4/16/2005

"For Shame"
I like many of you prefer a pipe organ over an electronic or digital organ. I don't have a problem with adding digital stops to an existing pipe organ to enhance its capabilities......... and hands down, Walker Digital stops are the best of the best of the best. 32' Flue, believe it or not, are my favorite stops...... and it kills me that churches add 32' digital stops instead of quinting a bourdon, or even quinting a reed........ doing this costs much less than adding a digital stop...... and I have to tell you, I've heard some Allen pipe/digital combos and they are horrible. Allen doesn't seem to take the time to choose a digital stop voice that blends with the voicing of the pipe organ......... Walker has an expansive library that can almost guarantee success. And the more bang for the buck theory is good...... grant you that little churches can now have big organs, but when they do this, we lose the charm of the smaller pipe organs and dispositions that were installed in these smaller churches..... it was fun to go and see and play some of these instruments just to see what the organ company and organist dreamed up. There are a lot of pipe installs that I don't understand, the dispositions make no sense at all....... so, now..... we can go with a digital and have it all...... I guess I have a problem with that. I don't expect to go into a church that seats 100 people and hear 30 ranks, or in the case of a church north of where I live, it seats 300 and it has over 100 digital ranks....... and 4 manuals. Makes NO sense to me....... and then, we get into the fact that these "big" organs are popping up everywhere, and we find organists that can't makes sense of it all............. geez louise! I'll take my III/29 Moller anyday and everyday, and be satisfied with the fact that it does it all, and it does it all well...... the things I'd like to have, I can live without..... because there is no instance where a digital organ can "walk" a day in a pipe organs shoes. We all talk about sound. Digital organs do not, and I think I can safely say, will never offer the accoustical and harmonic experience that a pipe organ does. It's not ALL about the distinct note and stop sound, it's what that pipe does along with the sound that it produces that give us the "pipe organ experience". So....... buy your digitals........ get the sound, lose the experience! Bill Fuhrer
wfuhrer@att.net
4/16/2005

"For Shame"
I am dismayed that this article promoting electronic organs was posted in this magazine. I don't know about other organists, but I refuse to consider a position where the organ is digital. Churches might want to consider that if they want to find a really fine organist they should buy a pipe organ.I can't help but believe that most organists feel the same way as I do about this. When it comes to the player there is a difference even if the listener may not hear one. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer
Northrup Grumman
Fairfax, VA
4/13/2005

"For Shame"
I know that I'm introducing the unthinkable, but I've found that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish good digital from the real thing. A couple of years ago, I attended a concert at a local Baptist church. They had just finished replacing their relatively ancient pipe organ with a large Allen digital. The man sitting behind me didn't know, apparently, because he bragged about helping to install the old pipe organ he thought we were listening to. (confession: of course, I'm a little biased...I play an Allen at my own church, and yes, when we were shopping for an organ we found that we got more bang for our buck by choosing digital over a genuine wheeze box.) Don Heckenlively
dbhecken@comcast.net
Hillsdale, Michigan
4/12/2005

"For Shame"
I agre with Dan 100%. I am horrified that Mr. Astminn would even suggest purchasing an electroinc appliance in place of the real thing. He has done an enormous disservice to the music world, and ought to be ashamed of himself. Craig Wagstrom
craigwagstrom@yahoo.com
Organist
Moorhead, MN
4/9/2005

"For Shame"
As one who used to build pipe organs for a "living", I am behind you, 100%. I built a lovely little 6-rank organ suitable for many of the small churches I have seen in Western NC, and while it was sold with the proviso that the owner would transport it to his home and erect it, its construction was such that he could do it. It cost far less than the "paltry" $100K, and with judicious voicing would serve a church well.

Where is the economic advantage of spending $30-$50K for an electronic organ-substitute, and replacing it every 20 years (or whenever the salemsan can convince you you're well behind the times, quasi-tonally) as opposed to spending $50-up for a pipe organ that will last for a hundred years, and expanded as funds become available?

BTW, I do play an electric keyboard for church, from time to time, when we do our out-door "Picnic" Mass on July 4th, etc., but even our parish knows the difference.
Bill Smith
mailhtims@charter.net
Organist
St. John's Episcopal Church, Marion NC
Asheville NC
http://wnc-ago.org
4/9/2005

"Bach in the Saddle"
I looked at your photos of the art show - it didn't look like an organ, but rather like plastic and metal models of strange-looking internal human organs. Also I read the article in the Christian magazine, it was a bit hard to follow & would be better to discuss it in a live group of people but it seemed rather arrogant. Susan Burkhalter
scastlekep@aol.com
organist
in Virginia (Lutheran)
Bethesda, MD
4/5/2005

"Bach in the Saddle"
Dan,

Thanks for your rant on these various subjects. It was a bright spot in a day filled with the tedium of computer configuration and performance problems.

First, I wonder if sick people go to concerts because it is a passive acitivity and requires little physical effort. Maybe if these people were out hiking around the city more often they wouldn't get so sick.

I read the article on art and spirituality. Boy, this guy really has a problem. I tend to think he may be a preacher of some sort. One thing I have noticed in churches is that there can be a competition between the word and the note. That is, I think some ministers feel threatened if the congregation likes the music or the music director too much. That's too bad because I believe music is a spiritual medium and a healing medium at that. The real issue here is control. If anything is an idol it is the cross which is practically worshiped for itself. I'm a pre-Nicean Christian so I don't get excited about the cross and what it is supposed to represent. I still believe Christ's teachings though.

On the art exhibit, I think its pretty cheeky for this artist to call his contraption a work of art. It just illustrates that people often don't appreciate the works of art all around them such as some of the wonderful pipe organs in churches across the country. In fact I am making a painting of the facade of a pipe organ to put up on my wall as visual art. It will be just next to the winding staircase to my loft which will give it a feeling of reaching for the heavens.

Rebecca Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer (and organist)
Northrop Grumman
Fairfax, Virginia
3/30/2005

"All You Need Is Love"
Dan,
At 2%, I think you're and optimist! <G>
And I do agree on John Lennon. With his talent and today's technology...it boggles the mind.
Bob

Bob Bell
rhb8991@yahoo.com
Bronx, NY
3/29/2005

"I Can See Clearly Now"
Dan,

Thank you so much for your rant about "The Vision Thing". I often have non-conformist ideas about music but rarely dare to mention them to friends who supposedly like music. One recent conversation featured me saying enthusiastically "I heard some Flamenco music lately that would sound great on the piano. I have even transcribed some." -To which the reaction was "Uh, ah I don't know about playing Flamenco on the piano." What a wet blanket! Part of the vision thing is being brave enough to follow your own inner wisdom no matter where it leads. Unfortunately most people don't understand an idea unless it has been blessed by some recognized authority. Unfortunately by then many times the idea has become stale. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer, Organist, Composer
Integic Corporation
Farifax, VA
3/9/2005

"I Can See Clearly Now"
Thanks, Dan, for a really inspiring newsletter. A while back, you said that even if people were making noise or didn't seem to be listening to your playing, play it anyway, since probably at least one person was listening. Well, today out of the corner of my eye, I saw a church member who plays trumpet in their volunteer brass ensemble intently listening while I played "Elegy" by Harold Darke on the organ during the offertory. Oh, also I just had my student recital and we had a music history segment - we listened to an Allegro of the Brandenburg Concerto #1 in F and a 12-year-old girl gave a report on J.S. Bach! Isn't that great! Susan Burkhalter
scastlekep@aol.com
organist
Lutheran church, Burke, Virginia
Bethesda, Maryland
3/6/2005

"Bach's Passions"
good site John S. Candler
johnscandler
3/4/2005

"Preludes, Postludes, Applause"
The congregation I play for, Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, does the following to address these issues.

The service begins Chimes, Announcements, Brining in of the Light (or Cross during Lent), youngest Children's Choir (if they are singing that Sunday), THEN Prelude, which often leads directly to the Introit, Opening Sentences, and.or first hymn. For the Benediction, everyone is seated. EVERYONE remains seated for the Postlude. This was started before my tenure; I don't know how much grumbling there was about it when the Pastor started this practice. Folks joining the congregation often comment that it seems strange to them at first, but that when they visit their former congregations, they find they've grown to appreciate the way we do it and are distressed at having to endure all the talking during the Postlude in their former congregation.

I budget 6 minutes total for the Prelude and Postlude, so, generally, this precludes a lot of longer pieces. One year we were concentrating on Psalms in Lent, so I didn't play Preludes and "saved" my 6 minutes for the Postlude so I could play the Howells Psalm-Preludes.

Applause is another matter. We have tried to avoid this as our view is that God is the "audience" at worship. So, at every opportunity, we encourage hearty "Amens" as a form of appreciative response.

And we do appreciate being led by the Spirit (or the music) to clap during music that needs it. And yes, they sometimes clap along with my Postlude (most recently during John Benke's "Siyahamba"). During Dan Miller's "Count Your Blessings" there was a lot of toe-tapping going on and entire pews of young people in the balcony were swaying back and forth.

So, there are solutions. Whether you can get the "powers that been" in your setting to go along is another challenge!


Tom Bloom
tom@wattsstreet.org
Church Organist
Watts Street Baptist Church
Durham, North Carolina
www.wattsstreet.org
2/22/2005

"Bach's Passions"
I would like to comment on your rant on Bach's passions. There is an off color joke about why Bach had so many children which has to do with the stops on the organ but I won't go there.

On the subject of his many compositions I would like to offer this. In Bach's day producing a composition was like an assembly line. The original score and parts had to be copied by hand before it could be performed. If the composer could afford it he (unfortunately shes were usually prohibited from this profession as from many others) would hire someone to make these copies. In Bach's case he had an advantage in having a wife who was schooled in music and several musically educated children. Many of them were enlisted to work feverishly copying his works in time for performance. In particular his wife was able to balance house work with being the major copyist for many of his works. I have no doubt that copying was also part of his childrens' education. The bottom line here is that "everyone worked on the farm". We need to give credit the entire Bach family and, in particular his wife, for enabling him to produce such a large volume of work. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer, Composer, Organist
Integic Corporation
Fairfax, VA
2/16/2005

"The Agony of De-Postlude"
You may recall thay earlier I had written saying that at my church we decided to have softer postludes so that people would be compelled to not talk at all in the church or at least just a whisper. Well, that went well for about a month and an half and then it seems like every one went deaf and were shouting over my postlude which usually consisted of Pachelbel's "Hexachordum Appolinis", Bach's "Fantasia in G Major" or some other piece for manuals alone (8' 4' 2' maybe a soft mixture), now I have been asked by the rest of the choir, the ushers, et al. to play things like "Fantasia and Fugue in G minor 'Great'" on basically a Tutti to drown out all the talking. The parishoners recently complained that it (my postlude) was getting TOO loud, et tu Brute!, that they can't hear them selves talk. Luckily now it's Lent so I can't play before or after the Mass anyway which sort of solves the problem. Sort of.

Oh, and about your question regarding the collection:
I don't know what church you belong to, I'm catholic, and alot of the protestant service actually has its roots in cotholcism.
The Mass of the early church (when we were all still in the catechombs) was devided into two parts: 1) The Mass of the Catechumens, those studying the faith in preparation for baptism, and 2) the Mass of the Faithful. The Mass of the catechumens consisted of the Intoit thru the Gospel, and Homily or Sermon. After the Sermon and before the Creed the Catechumens were dismissed. Durring the offertory when the gifts were being brought up a colection of alms was taken which afterwards the deacons would distribte to the poor. The collection at the offertory (after the sermon) was established because the sermon was considered and intigral part of the liturgy, because that was where the faithful (and the catechumens) got basically the Sunday School or education in the faith, so to interrupt that would not be practical, so they had the collection while the gifts were being brought up to the altar. And that ends todays history lesson H. R. Gaida
gaidahenry@msn.com
Music Director, Co-Head Organist
Our Lady of Czestochowa R.C. Church
Turners Falls, MA
http://www.ourladyofczestochowa.org
2/13/2005

"The Agony of De-postlude"
About prelude noise, I suggested at a worship committee meeting upon the advice of my organ teacher that they eliminate the prelude entirely, since people were talking too much and making noise and it was quite annoying to me. Well, they didn't want to do that, so we compromised, and the situation has definitely improved: I play a prelude no longer than 2 1/2 minutes (they were previously 5 minutes). Before I play it, Pastor walks to the front of the church and says something to the effect, "Now to help us prepare for worship and meditate, we have the prelude." It's still not ideal, there are always a few people who talk & they shouldn't, but it's much better. As for the postlude, I have never cared that people get noisy then, since most of them are simultaneously walking out of the sanctuary. Susan Burkhalter
scastlekep@aol.com
organist
Lutheran Church of Abiding Presence
Burke, Virginia
2/5/2005

"The Agony of De-postlude"
Free Meal??? Well yes there is unless you are one of those non-liturgical churches like the Baptists and Presbyterians.
The free meal for us in the other churches is a miniscule meal of the eucharist which we get every Sunday and through the week when we go to Church.

We always pass the plate before the Eucharist---I do not know why this occurs this way---maybe it could be because if the Eucharist runs out of Bread and Wine someone could rush down to the local grocery and buy some wine and bread(oh that's right you southern Methodists and Baptist think that no wine should be sold on Sunday in the South---well now that is downright unfair when up north and elsewhere we can buy wine 24-7. Well they do not have anymore alcoholics because of this--well at least you can buy your grape juice) william rowland
ludwigvan_beethoven
Music director, organist, Carillonneur, Composer
Rowland Productions
Greenville, South Carolina
none
2/4/2005

"The Agony of De-postlude"
GOOD ARTICLE. In order to make the Prelude (Voluntary) to be part of the Service, the Clergy and I agreed to have the minimum necessary announcements before the Voluntary. After the announcements, the clergy states something to the fact about "continuing our worship... during the Voluntary." This has helped tremendously; however, there are always the occasional mutterings and mumblings that can be easily heard that have no relationship to worship whatsoever!!!!! The Postlude (Voluntary) is another matter that probably will never be improved - although, there are about 7 people that come into the Chancel area to experience the Postlude music. That has been improve "Postlude" manners. Ronald W. Davis
palaicos@comcast.net
Minister of Music/Organist
Ginter Park United Methodist Church
Richmond, Virginia
http://ginterparkumc.com
2/4/2005

"The Agony of De-postlude"
The congregation at Lafayette always listens to the postlude. Generally, I play an improvisation that cannot possibly be viewed as pedantic. Flair, joy, style. I can't begin to relate how utterly bored I have been at the volutaries offered at other New York churches when I'm able to attend them during vacations. One has a large instrument at his/her disposal with enormous color but plays an entire postlude on the principals. No wonder people yawn. J. David Williams
Director of Music & Organist
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church
NY
2/3/2005

"The Agony of De-postlude"
Although all church musicians are always deserving of more appreciation, the inescapable fact is that at a worship service the focus should be first and foremost and entirely on God. Music of many styles and forms can be played to enhance that experience to the fullest extent possible. However, whether we want to admit it or not, applause usually re-directs focus from God to the presenter(s). I certainly appreciate positive comments afterwards for any music that was sung or played, from prelude to postlude. Somehow, applause during the service just seems to redirect the focus too much to feelings of enjoyment or to personal pleasure, as St. Augustine confessed. However, I also recognize its not possible to suppress a congregation's spontaneous eruption of the hands with certain musical items (namely jazz settings and children's choirs) so we graciously accept it when it happens and continue; with some exceptions, I prefer that applause generally be left to concerts or musical events not connected with a worship service. Now, clapping to help us sing certain gospel or spiritual styles is totally acceptable and something which we don't do enough.... Robin High
Organist
Emmaus Lutheran
Eugene, OR
2/3/2005

"How Does Your Garden Grow?"
Great Rampage, I agree. In preparing for another concert, I pulled out some pieces that I am working on for AGO certifications as well as ones I played at a previous concert. I was rusty, and it was bothering me. I could not stand the fact that just a few months ago, I worked so hard to perform these pieces flawlessly, and now, my work is all in vain? I neglected them too much, but with every bit of practice, the music changed. It was as if the gardner came back to his work with a watering can and a tub of miracle grow. Vic Kovacs
victorkovacs@fuse.net
Organist/Choirmaster
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Cincinnati, Ohio
http://www.geocities.com/organhomepage
1/27/2005

"How Does Your Garden Grow?"
Thanks Dan for your rant on revisted pieces. I have found that sometimes when I come back to a piece after not touching it for a few weeks it is better than ever, almost as though I had been practicing all along. I think the mind does work while we are away from the music, cleaning out the cobwebs, so to speak. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer (and organist)
Integic Corporation
Fairfax, VA
1/27/2005

"Dan Long's New Year's Bachin' Eve"
Dan, thanks for your diligence in the promotion of J.S.Bach
I go through periods where I do not play his music as much as I once did, but to me there is no other composer whose music is able to take the place of Bach. Coming back to a piece, or maybe learning a different one can be an exhilerating experience for me. I have heard musicians say that they don't play J.S.Bach's music because they feel that the public can not appreciate it or understand it. One friend said "their eyes just glaze over with one note after another" I believe we are players to educate as well as entertain. One last kudo for you, I thought your remark that "Postlude shouting should be an olympic sport" was a real hoot. I used to have a job where the Rector thoroughly believed in that olympic undertaking. He had a powerful voice and was very proud of it, initiating my recolection of the Litany in the Episcopal Church, "From pride, vainglory and hypocracy, "Good Lord deliver us." Best wishes for the 2005. Robert C. Shone, Organist and Choirmaster - St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, St. Petersburg, Florida Robert C. Shone
Rcshone@aol.com
Organist and Choirmaster
St. Matthews Episcopal Church
St. Petersburg(pinellas Point), Florida
1/20/2005

"Dan Long's New Year's Bachin' Eve"
Bach Revisited seems a good idea. I was just saying to my wife, herself quite a good organist, that perhaps this was the year I'd finally learn a major (size, not key) Bach work. Somehow, I've never learned anything of any size/length, especially by Bach. relying on the axiom that "What they don't know, they won't recognize mistakes in." I'll join your resolution, not to revisit, but to visit and make friends with one Bach piece this year - perhaps even play it - in public.
Bill Smith
mailhtims@charter.net
Organist
St. John's Episcopal Church, Marion NC
Asheville, NC
http://www.wnc-ago.org
1/20/2005

"Post-Season Wrap-up"
I feel for Dan with his interesting occurances at the console during the holidays. I've got plenty to tell. Some of my interesting holiday experiences are in my BLOG, but heres a few for everyone. I was playing one of the hymns on the Sunday before Christmas, and the hymnal fell completely off of the stand and onto the swell. Nothing beats adding a little disonance to the communion hymn. I was playing for a different church earlier on Christmas Eve, where I was to do a concert. And I became frantic when the crescendo pedal became stuck on. It still moved in and out, but the stops and light remained to full. I ended up playing two pieces on a full swell to great + mixture combination before I finally got it to turn off. However, this holiday's winner goes to my organ teacher, Steve. Steve works at St. Xavier church in downtown Cincinnati. The church is huge, marble insides, big slanted roof - the classic cathedral type church. A few days after Christmas when the snow was finally melting, Steve took his wife and kids downtown for some event in the city, and they decided to park at St. Xavier, since he has a staff space and wouldn't have to pay. He went to lunch and enjoyed the day, and then as he was walking back, he noticed a firetruck in front of the church. As he got closer, he saw the whole parking lot was sanctioned off with police tape. When he looked around the corner, to his great horror and suprise, several hundred pounds of sheets of ice had fallen off the roof and completely smashed his family car! In my books that takes first place for holiday experiences with organists!!!! Vic Kovacs
victorkovacs@fuse.net
Organist/Choirmaster
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Cincinnati, Ohio
http://www.geocities.com/organhomepage
1/16/2005

"Post-Season Wrap-up"
Dan,

Thanks so much for your account of the unpredictabilities of live performance. I laughed until I cried. This reminds me of a review of a piano concert I read when I was a teenager. A concert pianist had to give a concert on a baby grand in a damp location in Southeast Asia. After several important notes in various pieces stuck and were unrepeatable and one leg of the piano buckled inward, the pianist walked off stage returning with a fire ax and proceeded to hack the piano into firewood.


P.S. I also enjoyed the feedback about the music that was not needed which made trips to various locations throughout the performance. Rebecca Williams
fasalon@hotmail.com
Systems Engineer (and organist)
Farifax, VA
1/8/2005

"Post-Season Wrap-up"
Dan, your music following the hymnal off the rack reminds me of the first time I accompanied a soloist at church. I had memorized the accompaniment (thank God), but the soloist, not trusting my memory, in order to relieve the page turns, had made a copy of the music, taping pages one and two, and three and four, together so there was only one page turn. I dutifully used the music, at his demand.

When I made the page turn, removing pages one/two, pages three/four followed it off the rack, flowing gracefully over the keys, bench and pedals onto the floor. I watched it go, kept playing from memory, and long, it seems, after it stopped on the floor, a choir member picked it up and placed it on the music rack - upside down. I kept playing, wondering, as any pro would, if I could actually read it upside down. after a while I decided I couldn't. I turned to the choir, looked at the woman who had kindly picked the page up, and said, "It's upside down," all the while not missing a note. She got up and turned the errant page right.

I finished the piece, as note-perfect as I've ever played anything in my life, before or since, amid chuckles from the congregation, for the organ was in front of them and we, the choir and, I were in full view of all. The soloist, who was singing from the balcony, was not aware that anything was awry until he heard the chuckles, and then it was too late to see what the commotion was about.

I'm glad your ordeal went as well. Bill Smith
mailhtims@charter.net
Organist
St. Johns Episcopal Church, Marion NC
Asheville, NC
http://wnc-ago.org
1/8/2005




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