What are Odysseus qualities and faulty chords

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John L. Birley HOW THE ORGANIST VISITS AN ORGAN

John L. Birley HOW THE ORGANIST SHOULD VISIT AN ORGAN Organ tours are extremely important to both organists and organ builders. The way in which the surveyor undertakes this task is essential. The author, who is neither an organ builder nor a professional organist, may see these things from a perspective that enables a better understanding of the problem. Why are organ tours important? Because the organ is rarely privately owned, so that the organist has to visit organs in order to gain experience with his instrument. Such inspections form the basis for a proper assessment of the organ system and the disposition. He gets to know the style and working methods of different organ builders. Without such knowledge, he cannot play his role as a member of an organ committee or as an adviser on a new organ. The organ builder can encourage organ tours very much. Despite the costs involved, many organ builders are extremely generous in providing the organists with brochures, dispositions, photographs and even records of organs they have built. The organist should not be bribed with this material, but rather his interest should be stimulated to visit these organs and to provide the necessary information. For a fair assessment of an organ work, it is important to find out about some of the details before going to the organ. If the disposition is peculiar or the console is impractical, this will put a strain on the opinion of the organ builder - but that could be unfair if, for example, the disposition or the console was prescribed by a so-called "expert". Organ Tours Need Preparation The most important and difficult part of this preparation is for the organist to rid himself of prejudice. He may have a bias towards specific directions, but he must learn to be objective in his judgments and to be aware of his own limitations. He must also find out more about the organ itself. At least he should know who designed it, who built it and when it was built. He should know whether the whole work is new or whether old material had to be used. It is useful if he has studied the disposition in detail so that he is familiar with the registration as soon as he starts to play. Organizational preparations are also necessary. The tour should be planned in advance so that the visitor can come to the organ in a rested state to properly appreciate it. It's not good to arrive with your ears numbed from hours of traffic noise and nerves frayed from hectic driving. It may seem trivial, but it is important to have sufficiently clarified such things as permission to play, whether the organ is free, where the key can be obtained, etc. You can only concentrate fully on your project if all of these little things go smoothly. You have to take enough time to see it. It is a bad habit to rush around each other and visit multiple organs in a day. Some organ builders encourage this type of organ tour, but they shouldn't if they are not ashamed of their work and only want to impress by the sheer numbers of organs they make. When the clever organist comes to an organ, he looks at it calmly. He doesn't even turn on the fan until his ears have got used to the noises in the church. He looks at the gaming table, studies the kicks and buttons in order to be all the more sure when he starts to play. He won't fumble around looking for registers instead of making music and listening to it. If he has done his preparatory studies correctly, he will soon find his way around a well-laid out gaming table. He checks whether the controls are handy, whether the music stand is comfortable and whether the lighting is sufficient. Only then, after these preparations have been made, does he switch on the fan. It is important whether he walks calmly or makes noises. The noise of the fan or the sound of escaping wind may not be a nuisance on a short tour, but it can be torture if you have to endure it day in and day out. Now the organist begins to play. Right from the start he has to think musically. If he wants to try out individual registers, he has to put their use into a musical context. Only in such a framework can they be properly appreciated. Badly chosen chords and unmusical modulations destroy the mental attitude that leads to creative improvisation. Only a real musical use can show the real value of a register. The question of whether to improvise or play from sheet music is of paramount importance. We believe that only those organists who are able to improvise really satisfactorily and generously should conduct an organ tour improvisationally on their own. For too many organists, improvisation means stringing together a few hackneyed expressions, an unconscious repetition of the same organist's brain without any musical vitality. Such “improvisation” cannot do justice to the demands for new timbres, cannot yield new combinations of sounds and thus give the organ a fair assessment. But the organist who can improvise properly, e.g. who can play a series of variations that encompass all kinds of musical forms of expression, may mainly improvise when visiting the organ. When playing organ music, it is important that the literature chosen is within the scope of the instrument in question. It makes little sense to limit oneself to Bach and Blow, or Messiaen and Schoenberg. The village organ with a dozen stops and the cathedral organ with a hundred each have their own repertoire. Without at least a representative selection of music of different styles, no judgment can be made about the sound. Organists usually make comments about things like the action. But you should only do this after you have played larger works on an organ. There are some samples of an organ that even many amateurs believe they can perform. Things like repetition speed of the action, wind stability, etc. are popular tests. The organist visiting the organ should refrain from such tests, unless real music demands such tests from the organ by revealing the organ's capacity to repeat long notes or chords, or to maintain a steady melody line. Most organs can be made to sound bad if treated badly enough; but the organist should use his skills to reveal the true beauties of an instrument. The intelligent organ player will aim to make and try out the greatest artistic demands on the organ from the standpoint of the player while he is playing. This includes the type of plenum of the organ; the contrasts between the manuals; Solo mixes and their appropriate accompaniment; different cantus-firmus-mixtures in the pedal registrations for trio playing Of course, he will find weaknesses or mistakes in the process, and he will note these carefully and fairly. It is all too easy to give the impression that an organ is hideous when in fact it is only flawed or flawed in one point, but on the other hand has qualities that must not be overlooked. Ideally, the visitor will not only play the organ himself, but also listen to it when someone else is playing. If for any reason he wants to make a fair, critical assessment of the instrument, then he must also hear it on the occasions for which it was built. A church organ has to be heard in connection with a church service and at an organ concert. The organ in a concert hall can not only be heard as a solo instrument, but also together with the orchestra and a choir. The serious and upright critic will not determine his judgment after a single visit, but will come again and check his impressions before giving his opinion. When visiting an organ, one should always keep in mind that a good organ has a lot in common with a work of art. As with so many works of art, it is the critics, not the work itself, who are on trial. The qualities that we can discover or the weaknesses that we complain about show our own insights. If we make our visit an artistic experience ourselves by dealing sincerely and musically with the instrument, then we can hope, ourselves to form an opinion that we can express with some certainty but with all due modesty. Translation from English: H.D. Blanchard / R.R. In: ISO Information, No. 11, February 1974, pp. 799-802 http://www.abteiorgel.de

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