Good news first:
Our first e-book "Is It Possible to Learn to Play the Organ When You Are 56 Years Old" is available here for a low introductory price of $2.99 until August 9. If you have already read it, please leave a rating and review.
And now let's go to the question of the day.
Vidas: Today's question was sent by Robert and this is Episode 42 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. So, Robert writes, “While comparing two versions of Franck's Offertoire in Eb Major, from the organist I noticed there are some differences in the score, hearing there they have naturalized the odd note here and plus other variations. Is that normal? I suppose they modify as to difficulty or based on level of competency. Thanks again, Robert.”
Do you know this collection, Ausra, L'Organiste?
Ausra: Yes, I know it.
Vidas: Ever played yourself a few of the suites?
Ausra: I have played them before.
Vidas: For people who haven't played mastered or even sight-read this wonderful collection, can we recommend really looking at it and playing a few times, it's it worth it?
Ausra: Yes, it's very worth it, especially for those who work at church, so they are suitable pieces for liturgy. Because they are not long, not too complicated and actually very beautiful.
Vidas: Yeah, it's constructed very interestingly. It's sort of multi sectional organ suite and there are seven of them?
Vidas: Seven and each of them starts on each note C and C#, D and D#, Eb and E, F and F#, G and G#, Ab and A, Bb and B, sort of chromatically, but sometimes they are put together into each suite and each episode can be played for any particular spot for the liturgy, right?
Vidas: It's like an organ mass, right?
Ausra: Basically it is.
Vidas: And it's all without pedals or maybe pedals have not complicated, you can add the lower part, the bass note if you want to do this optional pedal line, but you could play everything without any pedals?
Vidas: What Robert is asking in this additional Franck's Offertory in Eb Major, he noticed some notes are different from other editions, so is this normal, does this happen in your case, have you noticed these things and why?
Ausra: Yes, actually, I had noticed it so many times, because what you will have to do would be to compare maybe another edition and to look to which one of those two or three editions is the most scholarly based.
Ausra: And then you would also read an editorial word, what editor has to say about things and know sometimes those scholarly editions are very expensive, so what could you actually could do is just go to a library to see that edition and then maybe know to write down, to take some notes to your own score that you own-
Ausra: To do some corrections.
Vidas: Circle some notes-
Ausra: Yes, circle some notes, add some flats or sharps-
Vidas: In red probably-
Ausra: Yes, yes.
Vidas: Remember Ausra, we did that with Klaus Beckmann's edition of Organ works by Tunder, I believe.
Vidas: When we studied with Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra at Eastern Michigan University, she had this collection and we played also from it, so she advised us to do this very scholarly work, or was it Reincken? Might have been both, right?
Ausra: Both, yes.
Vidas: Because, we played a lot of North German music-
Ausra: We did both, yes.
Vidas: So what Klaus Beckmann did in his time, in this edition, he changed some of his Tunder’s and Reincken's original manuscripts.
Ausra: Yes, because some editors wanted to know to make that music to sound more like modern, more normal I could say. And that's not the right way to do it. So we tried to get back to the original resources.
Vidas: Yeah and remember when a few years ago they discovered a copy of Reincken's “An Wasserflüssen Babylon”. It was Johann Sebastian Bach's copy. Basically it means that Bach studied Reincken's work and mastered them and assimilated this style and was influenced by Reincken. But what I mean that Bach's handwriting had those mistakes that were also present in Reincken's autograph that Klaus Beckmann corrected.
Vidas: And that means that they're not mistakes probably- they're original.
Ausra: Reincken intended is pieces to sound like this.
Vidas: What Beckmann did sometimes if you have a sequence and this sequence sounds like this and you transfer and transpose the sequence into other keys, so you maybe expect to do this every time the same in modern terms, but in those days composers did whatever they wanted and the fragment of the sequence might be a little bit different.
Ausra: Because for our modern ears we listen to that major and minor system, like harmonic minor for example, we've raise the seventh scale degree, but in those days, you know the modal harmony was still very common, you know and all those ancient modes, Phrygian, Dorian and so on so forth so basically many compositions were based on those modes. Of course, they’re very influenced by major minor, but not as much as classical music or liturgical music.
Vidas: Exactly, modes were still very common an everyday tool for composers. So in Franck's case modes were not necessarily the very prevalent tool. But think about this, this way, there are a number of Franck's editions and the first edition is maybe based on the autograph from the 19th century and then later in 20th century other publishers reissued Franck' works and published them again and some of them are based on the autograph and some of them are based on the first edition.
Vidas: And this is different because the first edition might have done mistakes.
Ausra: Sure, definitely. We really need to be careful about editorial mistakes because humans make mistakes so that's natural.
Vidas: Or sometimes Franck himself in his autograph might have made mistakes, but you never know, which is what so you really need as Ausra says to read the editorial comments.
Ausra: Yes. I think that's the best way to do it.
Vidas: So we hope this answers your question and for other people who are listening, please send your questions to us and the best way to do this is through our blog at www.organduo.lt. Please subscribe to get our daily messages or weekly messages, and you can choose basically the time that you can get them. You can reply to our messages this way and send us more questions and we'll be very happy to help you grow.
Thanks guys, this was Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: And remember when you practice ...
Ausra: Miracles happen.
Would you like to say "Thank You" to us? Buy Us Coffee.
Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Do you have a unique skill or knowledge related to the organ art? Pitch us your story to become a guest on Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.