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28 February 2009 @ 04:45 pm
The Organ Recital  

You can't talk about playing the organ without unintentional innuendo.  Ah, well.  I'll count on you guys to act like grownups for the space of a single post, 'kay?

Friday:  I went to see my friend Helen play the recital requirement for her Bachelor's of Music in Organ Performance.  This was at Legacy Hall in the River Center.  You can see a picture of that here, and I highly recommend you look at it, because it gives a clear view of the organ in the back wall.

A note:  I love organ music, ever since I sang in the Georgia Tech Chorale and our accompanist was the accomplished organist Sue Goddard.  It was because we had her that we were able to take the Durufle Requiem on tour with nothing but organ accompaniment across various churches, some of whom had organs that filled entire rooms.

Helen's concert fliers were very cute:  "2 hands, 2 feet, 3,600 pipes".  Because, yeah.  The Legacy Hall organ is THAT awesome, and beautiful.  I have a darling place in my heart for Legacy Hall anyway because of its gorgeous acoustics and comfortable size (not too large, quite intimate with the audience).

So elvinborn and I were treated to free organ music, by Clerambault and Bach and Alain and Gigout.  Brief reviews:  the Clerembault was nice because each piece in the Suite du deuxieme ton gave you a taste of the different flavors of organ sound.  I preferred the lighter, dancing pieces to the heavier ones (I liked Flutes better than Plein Jeu).

All I can say of the Bach is that there is a reason why the most well-known organ pieces on earth are Bach.  He uses ALL of the instrument; it looked unbelievably athletic, all the foot pedals and keys going at the same time.  Helen did Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, which is one of my favorite Bach pieces ever and which was originally conceived for chamber orchestra... it was completely beautiful on the organ, but clearly a lot of hard work as well.

The Alain (Choral dorien) was muted and introspective in the way that only an instrument whose every note already sounds like a "hmm" can be.  That piece may have been my favorite.

Then Helen capped the performance with the Toccata in B Minor by Gigout.  Toccata being for organ what fanfare is for trumpet, it was a great glorious splendid mess of overlaid notes and heavy chords.  The Gigout was big and showy and dramatic, but I still preferred the Alain and some of the Bach.  A heavy organ piece makes you feel like you're being ironed flat under this mass of music.  There's something really special about a composer who can make the organ whisper.

There's almost always something going on at the River Center, and I need to attend more of the student concerts and recitals there.  They're cheap, uncrowded, high quality, and you get to see some really rare talent.  As Helen said after the concert, you haven't really heard organ music until you've seen it live, in a venue with a really superb instrument.
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Ulrich Schnauss - Goodbye
jessxantha on February 28th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
i love organ music.
subgirlsubgirl on March 1st, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
The Alain (Choral dorien) was muted and introspective in the way that only an instrument whose every note already sounds like a "hmm" can be.

Ahhhh! I LOVE THAT. I totally had to read that out loud to Kyle. That's such a beautiful sentence in my head and out loud and I want to hug it!

I'm quite terrible with words as you are obviously not, but I just had to share my glee for that sentence.

And I forget all the time that I really do love organ music myself. Oh, and bagpipes. Anything that resonates like that...
Wiseacreewin on March 1st, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
*snuggle* You have GOT to stop giving me compliments that come pre-packaged with an insult for yourself. (Also you're not terrible with words!) I love compliments! But I hate it when my friends feel bad. :(
subgirlsubgirl on March 2nd, 2009 06:58 am (UTC)
awwww! *pfft* that wasn't a-self-insult, it was more a failure at communicating my failure at communicating. :)

I honestly think there is some other language out there (alien?) that would words for all the things I want to say, and be understandable, and not have lots of rules, like english. Or maybe I could just BEAM my thoughts into other people's heads, and not worry about words at all, but THEN I'd just be blowing people up, because NO ONE wants into the brain of someone with ADHD unless thouroughly prepared, and really, you understand, right? :)

I'm just having a lot of frustration lately enunciating my feelings and there are some of my friends having especially hard times which I feel that some good words might help (as that's all I can offer at the moment, other than support and listening and stuff) but I can't seem to find the RIGHT words, and that's just annoying and it's been kind of a whole system-wide language-failure so I've been (feeling the need to) apologise for not being able to say what I want.

... see! It took me like, three times the words to say what I was trying to say here than it should have! It's like when you go to print on a new printer or someone messes with the printer driver or something, and you get what you printed, only with all this extra wacky ascii all over the place. I'm having spooling issues all over the place.
Wiseacreewin on March 2nd, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
I still think you communicate very well. I understood everything you said here.

If you're frustrated about how difficult it is to communicate, I can WAY relate to that. I think anybody who ever tries to write anything can relate... except for the occasional genius who just wakes up one day and can write a novel. (I'm not one of those.) I pass by dozens of opportunities a day to say something that might help someone, just because I don't have the words, and that's a lousy feeling.

I guess I just have a sensitivity to this kind of thing. My mom frequently gives me compliments in which she compares me favorably against my sister. :( I can't say "you're wrong" without sounding ungrateful.
subgirlsubgirl on March 3rd, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
I understand about both things. I am not a fan of the backward or passive aggressive compliments, but I just don't see them as I'm sure you're attuned to.

So please call me out if I do it again! It just makes compliments bitter-tasting, which is never my intent... they should be candy! Fluffy yummy pink candy that doesn't have any side effects and no calories, but is candy still! :) :)
Wiseacreewin on March 3rd, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
I really appreciate you saying that. *hugs* You're right, they should be!
subgirlsubgirl on March 4th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
bediverebedivere on March 1st, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Bach organ music is LOVE.

Do you happen to know the maker of the organ there?
Wiseacreewin on March 1st, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
One source says it is a "Jordan concert organ".
kenjari: pianokenjari on March 1st, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
I used to play organ when I was in high school, fairly seriously. I still have my organ shoes. It's a fabulous instrument, and can do so much. I still love organ music - in fact, for my last wedding anniversary I asked for and got the Marie-Claire Alain recording of the complete Bach organ works (14 CDs). She's one of the best organists in the world, IMHO.
You should check out Messaien's organ music - it's fantastic. His music can be gnarly and difficult, so if you don't like it at first, just keep listening. Trust me, Messaien really does reward listener effort.
And as for organ innuendo, I was always very careful to tell people that I played organ and piano, and never to phrase it as "I'm an organist and a pianist".
Wiseacreewin on March 1st, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Incidentally, I owe you a conversation about the music you sent me. :)
subgirlsubgirl on March 2nd, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)

I am so in love with this concept!

I am seriously now way way way going to hyperfocus and spend the next week learning about and finding organ music.

Any music that requires specific SHOES is just awesome. :)
kenjari: pianokenjari on March 2nd, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
And the shoes are cute, too:

The shoes are not strictly necessary, but they do make pedaling a lot easier. Organists use both the heel and the toe to pedal, so having the higher heel helps. Also, I found that the thinner suede soles were not only quieter on the pedals, they also made it easier to really feel the pedals.
subgirlsubgirl on March 3rd, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
I am so seriously giddy about this fact, really. I spent all night looking at different forums and things about organ shoes.

They actually look REALLY COMFY, like ballet shoes with some structure... I'd go barefoot if I could. :)

I wore character shoes a LOT in High School (just 'cos) and it seems like they're similar, only with more telegraphing soles.

I just love the idea all around. I'm such a fan of this. I can't explain my nerdiness properly but it makes me all warm and happy that there are shoes for organs. :) (Which totally makes perfect sense, even from a non-musical non-playing point of view)
subgirlsubgirl on March 3rd, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
Oh, and when I see organists really playing, it's like they are truly dancing with the instrument, so it only makes sense that they'd have dancy shoes.