Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start Episode 183 of Ask Vidas and Ausra podcast. Today is a beautiful Wednesday, right Ausra?
V: Do you feel that Spring is coming in Vilnius, to Vilnius?
A: Well, not yet but from tomorrow I think Winter will join us again.
V: Do you, are you fed up with Winter?
V: Me too. I somehow long for more green colors.
A: Yes and no. The snow is getting awful.
V: So guys I hope you have enough green in your part of the world right now and that you feel the Spring returning. Of course, if you are in Australia for example, then there is or in the summer hemisphere somewhere then it’s Autumn, right?
V: After Summer and temperatures might be dropping a little bit too.
A: That should be nice I think.
V: OK. So let’s talk a little bit Ausra about organ playing. Today were going to go to our church to practice for the first time actually together our program for J. S. Bach’s three hundred thirty third birthday recital which will be in what, in less that two weeks from now. Were recording this a little bit earlier than you are probably hearing this. And of course, we’ll be playing organ duets, right, that I have transcribed or sometimes were using the original score. By the way do you like playing from original score Ausra, the Aria?
A: Well it’s OK although I have to play from soprano clef.
V: I have to play from two bass clefs. And you have to play from soprano and treble clef, right?
V: Which C clef is your favorite?
A: Now it’s soprano because I’m playing from it, so.
V: Yes, soprano is kind of nice.
A: But otherwise alto is OK too.
V: You mean where C is in the middle?
V: Not too bad I think. Was that always the case for you?
A: Actually alto was my favorite first. But now it’s soprano.
V: Is it because you play more on the soprano clef?
A: Well I think it’s easier for me to transpose a third than a second. That’s funny but that is how it is.
V: What about a perfect fourth? Do you like those clefs which let you transpose a perfect fourth?
A: No, I don’t like those.
A: It’s harder then.
V: So if you transpose from a treble clef that would mean G on the second line would have to become C, right?
V: And this would be what, mezzo-soprano clef.
V: Do you like it?
A: Not too much.
V: Why? Because it’s far away from the original.
A: Yes, that’s true.
V: It’s very old clef. I don’t think it’s used often enough today.
A: I don’t think either. I think two clefs are used nowadays, that's alto clef and tenor clef.
V: Tenor clef, right. Cello is playing from the tenor clef sometimes.
A: Trombone I think.
V: Bassoon too I think.
V: Sometimes in the upper range. And who plays from the alto clef.
V: Viola. Is that all?
A: Probably not but that’s the instrument I know the best that plays from alto clef.
V: And of course singers, right? Alto.
A: Of course.
V: If they sing from original scores.
A: Sure, but singers use all those C clefs if they use the old scores.
V: Um-hmm. Yeah.
A: Even Mozart’s Requiem is you know original is written in C clefs except bass, of course. Bass is I think is in the bass clef. But other three voices are written in C clefs.
V: Yeah. Bass has its own clef. F clef. And Ausra, from your solo compositions that you are playing. You are playing Bach’s BWV 552 E flat Major Prelude and Fugue. What is the most frustrating part for you? Everything or not so much?
A: I like this piece so much although sometimes I get frustrated by the length of the prelude. Sometimes right in the middle I just feel that you know wow. There is still so much music to go.
V: Do you lose your concentration?
A: Sometimes yes.
V: What do you do then? Regain your concentration?
A: Yes that’s what I am trying to do.
V: What helps you to regain your concentration?
A: Just think about music what I’m playing right now because sometimes my mind just travels somewhere.
V: To warm places? Warm Spring?
A: (Laughs) Not necessarily. To somewhere else.
V: To the Caribbean.
A: Well, no.
V: Caribbean beaches where you can sit and drink Margaritas.
A: I never was there.
V: That’s why you dream about it.
A: No, no, no.
V: OK. Then for me, do you know what I’m playing?
A: Yes I know what you are playing.
V: Tell us.
V: OK. What else?
A: And three chorale pieces from the Clavierubung Part III. So actually that’s what we are doing. I’m playing Prelude and Fugue and then playing three chorales. The Kyrie, Christe and Kyrie.
V: And guess what is the most challenging for me? Which piece or a few pieces?
A: I think all three of them are quite challenging. But the first Kyrie is my favorite, the first chorale. Especially that it is so chromatic. I love it.
V: Do you feel Ausra, that the more you play the E flat Prelude and Fugue the more relaxed you are and the more you can enjoy it.
A: Yes, of course but I don’t know how I will do in actual performance because when I played it a year ago it was, well it was a nightmare. I don’t remember actually how I did do it in performance. You said it went well but I just can’t remember it. I was so scared you know my mind just shut down.
V: So when you say you sort of panic but it didn’t seem too obvious.
A: But actually I played it on my auto-pilot.
V: So you almost memorized it then.
A: Well, I don’t know. Don’t ask me. I don’t remember how I did it.
V: We could consult the recording.
A: Yes. But actually that was because I haven’t played that piece before the last recital for what, like ten years. And that’s a long break for any piece. Especially so grand as this one. But now because I played it last year so I don’t worry about this year so much. Because if I could play it last year so now definitely I would be able to play it this year.
V: That’s what I mean. The more you play the more you can enjoy it. And for me I don’t remember if I have ever played in public those three Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie.
A: That’s a new piece for you.
V: And I’m not feeling too relaxed with them. I have to work.
A: But you know since I played entire Clavierubung way back for my last degree recital in Lincoln, NE I think these three Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie I wouldn’t say that the easiest of entire Clavierubung because each piece is challenging in it’s own way but, but, but, sort of I felt quite secure about playing these three particular chorales because there are some much trickier ones as for example Allein Gott this is you know trio texture.
V: That’s what I am playing next.
A: I know and for example Vater Unser.
A: Those are more challenging I think, than these three. Kyrie, Christe, Kyrie. Because you know tempo is not so fast in them and you could feel quite secure when playing them.
V: Bach was a master of writing advanced music and although it sounds simply you know it isn’t. In reality it is quite complex. Polyphonically, rhythmically, metrically, and organistically, right?
Excellent. What about the Passacaglia, do you think that I’ll be able to play it better than last time?
A: Now remind me when was the last time you played it?
V: (Laughs) I don’t remember.
A: I don’t remember either, so.
V: I might have played it from the eighteenth century score, but that was very foolish idea of mine. So now I’m playing this from the regular score.
A: I think you will do fine.
V: Will you help me playing if I panic.
A: I can sing.
V: Which voice.
V: Bass, that’s my part.
A: I’m just making fun of you.
V: You know sometimes I sing together with you the duetto part.
A: And I hate it.
V: Why? My voice is like a Nightingale.
A: (Laughs.) Wow.
V: If not a Nightingale then which bird you would compare it to me?
A: You know that black one.
V: So you like crows?
A: I’m just pretending that I don’t.
V: So you say that my voice is like a Nightingale then?
A: Maybe like a cuckoo.
V: So I can sing a minor third down.
A: Well cuckoo not only can sing this interval. Sometimes it’s major third. Sometimes it actually augmented fourth.
V: And what birds voice remind you when you sing?
A: I don’t know. I don’t have a nice voice.
V: Today when were going to play in church I’ll try to encourage you to sing and we’ll find out which bird you are. OK?
A: I think if we both try to sing we will kicked out from the church and we will scare tourists.
V: But then we tell all about that in the next podcast conversation, right?
A: Yes. Of course we are making jokes because when we work in church we often sang Psalm. Our voices are not so bad.
V: Don’t spoil everything. Don’t reveal the punch line. OK. Thank you guys. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions because we love helping you grow. And remember when you practice…
A: 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.