AVA226: Could Jesu Meine Freude, BWV 610, be setup with a big registration, which includes reeds and mixtures?
Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start Episode 226, of #AskVidasAndAusra Podcast. And this question was sent by Daniel. He writes: “Vidas: In your opinion, could Jesu Meine Freude, BWV 610, be setup with a big registration, which includes reeds and mixtures?”
V: So, this is a narrow question, quite Ausra?
A: Yes, it’s a very narrow question.
V: But we could talk a little bit about what type of pieces requires reeds and mixtures, right?
V: So, first of all, I don’t think Jesu Meine Freude would work well with a big registration, because, for several reasons: We have this score in front of us. Maybe the first reason is the slow tempo, Largo.
V: What do you think about it?
A: Yes. Of course some Largo could work with reeds and mixture, probably not this one. Because when I have the free works, then you know, I register them as the free works. But when I have the choral-based works, I always try to look at the text—what it means. And I don’t think the meaning of choral Jesu Meine Freude, or Jesus my Joy, you know, requires reeds and mixtures.
V: I agree with you Ausra. And plus, if you look at the mode, it’s another thing. It’s written in basically in C minor although in the original notation, Bach didn’t use three flats.
A: That’s because that’s C dorian, so it has the six scale degree.
V: And only two flats are required.
A: That’s right.
V: So in any case, it’s a minor mode, rather somber character. And for that reason I think, more quiet registration would work well. What do you think about Principles 8 and 4, for example?
A: Yes I think that I would not go louder than the principles. Even I think it’s possible to play this choral on the flutes too. It wouldn’t hurt, but definitely not a big registration, with mixtures and reeds. Not the Organo Pleno.
V: Could it be, maybe a mixture of two stops? Maybe a Gedacht and a Quintadena.
A: Yes, could be.
V: If your organ has Quintadena. Very soft nasal sounding stop.
A: Yes. And for example with like some smaller organs, they have Principal 8. You could Principal 4, but Flute 8.
A: Yes, and you know, experiment with the softer stops.
V: And after I wrote down suggested registration for this piece, I took a look at the recording that George Ritchie made.
A: So what did he use?
V: Principles 8 and 4.
V: Somehow we’re both intuitively agree with this concept.
V: So in general, Ausra, if you want to use mixtures and reeds, what kind of piece would you choose for that?
A: If we are talking about J. S. Bach, I would choose, you know, his Preludes and Fugues, or you know, Passacaglia, Fantasias and Fugues, or Toccata and Fugue.
V: Free works.
A: Yes, free works basically.
V: But not trio sonatas!
A: True. Not trio sonatas, and probably not all of the choral based works also would work with Organo Pleno. Some of them yes, maybe. But not as often as free works.
V: The thing about Organo Pleno and mixture sounds that are included in Organ Pleno, is that Bach frequently indicates his choice, right?
V: For example; in the first choral fantasia from 18 Great Choral Preludes or the Leipzig collection. It’s called Komm, Heiliger Geist. It is written for organ, Organo Pleno.
V: For Organo Pleno. Which means, yes, you need full principle chorus, and probably 16’ reed in the pedals too, emphasize the Cantus Firmus in the bass. If you have a 32’ stop, it wouldn’t hurt there too.
A: True. True.
V: Because it moves in slower note motions.
V: Excellent! So in other cases, let’s say you’re playing In Dir ist Freude, BWV 615 from Orgelbuchlein. Would that be nice with mixtures?
A: Well, yes, I think it would suit the character of that particular choral.
V: And it’s different, right, from Jesu Meine Freude.
A: Yes, it’s very different in character.
V: And mode is joyful, the rhythm is repetitive, and the tempo is quick.
A: True. Or you know Herr Christ, der einge Gottes-Sohn, BWV 601 from Orgelbuchlein, I think it would also work nicely with the mixtures. It’s also has a joyful pattern, you know, of trust, fast tempo.
V: Mmm. Yeah, so Orgelbuchlein collection there are a number of those pieces suitable for playing with Organo Pleno.
A: Yes, but not so many longer chorals. Not so many, you know, light chorals, or other.
V: Mmm-hmm. So the main idea basically is to look at the character,
V: At the tempo,
V: And the text. Right?
A: That’s right.
V: Excellent! What about the soft registrations? What are the type of things you have to look for?
A: Well, you need to look if the choral or the piece is written or manual or pedals, or two different manuals and pedals, and that makes a big difference, you know, if you have a solo voice in one of your hands, then you need to register it on the separate manual. And sometimes you could use reeds for a solo voice or you know, other suitable stops would be, probably Cornier, or you could do you know, combination of various stops. Maybe Quintadena as you mentioned before, work nicely too, sometimes.
V: We don’t have a Quintadena in our church, so I haven’t used it for quite a while. The last time I used Quintadena, was probably in Sweden, in Stockholm.
V: St Gertrude’s church.
V: On the Duben Organ, a modern-day replica of the organ from the 17th century.
V: What is the last piece that you played with mixtures, Ausra?
A: Well, good question. Probably E Flat Major, Prelude and Fugue, BWV 552 by J. S. Bach.
V: Mmm-hmm. So it fits the idea very well. Free work and it’s even written I think for Organo Pleno.
A: Yes. Although you do some softer stops in the prelude, that Bach indicates himself. But you also use the Pleno but on the other, you know, manual.
V: Exactly. So maybe the second level of Pleno would be less thick without 16’ in the manual. Sometimes even without the mixture you could, if the mixture is too fierce and too harsh. My piece that I recently played with mixtures is probably, I think, one of the free works too. Mmm-hmm. That could be B minor Prelude and Fugue, BWV 544.
A: Yes. It’s very sad piece I would say, tragic piece. Don’t you think so?
V: It is tragic piece, exactly.
A: It has all of dramatic descending lines all the time, you know, throughout the Prelude. And I think that the theme of that fugue, it has sort of like sign of cross.
V: I think I first learned this piece at the Lithuanian Musical Academy.
A: Had you played it? I don’t recall it. I played it, at the academy.
V: With Gediminas Kviklys.
A: So it was much later, yes.
V: In our masters degree program. And only yesterday I understood why I played this piece. Because Gediminas Kviklys himself loved this piece and plays it all the time.
V: Wonderful, guys. So please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And we hope that this question was useful to you. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: And remember; when you practice…
A: Miracles happen!
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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