SOPP556: Could you suggest a piece of music for organ which could be shared with a violin player?
Vidas: Hi, guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra
V: Let’s start episode 556, of Secrets Of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Maureen. And she writes:
My brain won’t work!… Could you suggest a piece of music for organ which could be shared with a violin player.
Fr. Benedict wants to play his violin at a Gaudy night which is usually on Epiphany Sunday. I’m not sure of his level of playing. I would take a guess and place him around grade 6 of Royal Schools of Music. He could be much higher but a monk who has a lot of responsibilities and little leisure time.
Thank you so much; I do appreciate your help.
V: Have you ever played with a violin player before?
A: Yes, I did.
V: What did you play, Ausra?
A: One of the Bach sonatas.
V: That’s right. You played the keyboard part.
A: Of course! I cannot play violin.
V: Oh, right.
A: But my violinist I think couldn’t play violin too, so it was really a bad choice of I dread. And after that semester, my teacher told me, maybe you will find yourself another soloist.
V: (Laughs). Funny. Do you think this piece might qualify as a grade six piece?
A: Well, maybe…
V: Slow movement.
A: Yes, that’s what I thought. Maybe just pick up a slow movement and then it will be just fine, because fast movements might be too difficult for the third grader.
V: Basically it has probably maybe three movements…
V: Fast, slow, fast, and you can pick the middle one. And there are several violin sonatas.
A: Sure. At least six that I know, but there might be more.
V: And you can pick; the good thing is that this piece doesn’t require pedals of course. It’s a keyboard piece. Could be played on the piano, on the harpsichord, on any keyboard instrument including organ.
A: That’s right.
V: With the violinist. Um, I have played before with a Swedish violinIst—Magnus Wasenius. But that was many years ago. We shared a concert in Gothenburg. And he had four or five pieces from Swedish composers, Romantic and Twentieth Century composers that they needed to learn before coming there.
A: How did you like them?
V: I liked it. Swedish music is, kind of, was kind of unfamiliar to me at the time and I liked this Nordic atmosphere. He expressed an interest to play with me again in the future so, not long ago, so maybe we’ll have another chance. Um, yes, so, but I was thinking maybe something closer to home could work also. Not everybody can access Nordic music, you know.
A: Yes, I guess so.
V: Something more classic. Um, what about some hymn arrangements?
A: That could be done, of course.
V: Or choral arrangements by Johann Ludwig Krebs. They are written for the organ and oboe, or for the organ and trumpet, could be. But Father Benedict could play the choral tune and the organist could play the three lower parts—it’s like a trio texture then.
A: That’s a possibility. Also I guess that most of the footwork also work for violin.
V: Right. So Bach’s fugues, sonatas also work in this case. I’ve played them all and they are as beautiful as violin pieces.
A: Actually Carl Philip Emanuel Bach also wrote some sonatas for organ and solo instrument.
V: Very nice. So that’s, that are some of the ideas which could help Maureen, and others who want to collaborate on the organ with a solo instrument. Doesn’t matter if it’s a wind or string instrument, the repertoire could overlap.
A: That’s right.
V: But sometimes not. Sometimes they’re very instrument specific directions. For example, for example, Petr Eben modern Czech composer wrote, for example, a piece Landscapes of Patmos, for organ and percussion. It’s for percussion. You cannot play with melodic instrument. Right?
A: But I guess even many arias for the soloist, let’s say soprano arias, would work for organ and violin too.
V: Oh, that’s right. For example from cantatas, Bach cantatas. We are playing some of the duets in our repertoire too—recently played the Christmas recital, Christmas with Bach, and those are pieces from Christmas oratorio, and now preparing for Easter oratorio arrangement. And what do you think about some of our duets? Would they work for organ and, let’s say, violin?
A: Yes I think it would work pretty well. Maybe you, if because you know that you will be playing on Epiphany, maybe you need to find some of the Bach’s music that related to Epiphany.
V: Like "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern"?
V: Cantata. Right. Okay guys. We hope you can try those ideas yourself. This was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more questions. We love helping you grow. 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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