SOPP629: Thank you for all you do, all you online organists are amazing at this time and offer so much to those of us who feel safer not going to church, a real godsend indeed
Vidas: Hello and welcome to Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast!
Ausra: This is a show dedicated to helping you become a better organist.
V: We’re your hosts Vidas Pinkevicius...
A: ...and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene.
V: We have over 25 years of experience of playing the organ
A: ...and we’ve been teaching thousands of organists online from 89 countries since 2011.
V: So now let’s jump in and get started with the podcast for today.
A: We hope you’ll enjoy it!
V: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 629 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by James, and he writes,
Thanks Vidas for acknowledging my donation. With lockdown and retirement I have a bit more time to work at learning the organ. I am now 73 so things are a bit slower for me.
I have an old analog Viscount organ but I have found that my new iPad can produce even better and authentic sound. Favourite at the moment is Pipe Organ and St Just. So I have brought out my old Casio keyboard which has a MIDI possibility and bought the necessary connectors and connected it to my old stereo system, it really can sound amazing and have to keep the volume down. Love the “pedal notes”.
Over the winter I shall follow your example and buy new keyboards, I think it will be better than only one.
Music wise I continue to work away at hymns and have started flowkey. I bought your Prière à Notre-Dame as it is just about my level though hard work with all the accidentals. So I would appreciate you doing more of the simpler stuff, I am not quite ready for the toccata. The likes of simpler advent music and Rhoysymedre like what you are beginning to play with fingering would be really useful. It helps build confidence and speeds the process up if an expert such as yourself does the ground work.
So thank you for all you do, all you online organists are amazing at this time and offer so much to those of us who feel safer not going to church, a real godsend indeed.
So you keep safe and bless you,
V: So, wonderful. James donated, I think, some money for us after probably seeing one of my videos, I would say.
A: Yes, I guess so. And we appreciate it very much.
V: Yes, and I asked him how is your, how is his organ playing doing these days. And he wrote that rather extensive feedback message.
A: I think it’s so nice that nowadays you can have instruments at home and have different sample sets and that would connect you to organ from various countries. And that way you might not feel lonely, and you always have some goal and I think this will help so many organists to survive this pandemic.
V: Yeah, definitely. It’s like a hobby - a good hobby, right - to keep your mind and body occupied while so many terrible things are happening around the world, and you are sort of trying to forget it all, or distract yourself.
A: And I think making music is an excellent way to entertain yourself.
V: Yeah, in early days without the recorders and stereo systems, YouTube and internet, people would really entertain themselves while playing, by reading out loud to family members, playing games, probably board games, card games, right? What else - probably drawing, probably acting together, like a small theatre production. It’s all amazing pastime. And I think people who don’t have hobbies, who only have a job and after job they return home, they sort of are tired. They get something to eat, go to bed, get up in the morning and go to job again, miss a great deal something in life, don’t you think so?
A: Yes, I think so. I think we are really really lucky to be able to make music.
A: You and I, and all people who can play.
V: Oh you mean we. I thought you said “they.”
A: No, I did not.
V: Okay, I need to wash my ears more often. More often than twice per year.
A: But I think this is a great idea that James suggests, to record easier music for beginners. You should think about it and do something.
V: And I did! For example, during my this recital upcoming Saturday, I’m playing - well, it’s not that easy, but - I’m playing a piece which people could start learning themselves. For example, Crown Imperial by William Walton. Very nice, fanfare-like voluntary. Then I’m playing Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, but a short one, BWV 549, which starts with a pedal solo. It’s a basic level piece, it’s not a difficult piece. So maybe James could pick it up. I have fingering and pedaling available in the score. What else I’m playing...I’m playing Eleven Preludes, Chorale Preludes, by Johannes Brahms. Those are really basic level pieces, not very difficult, although some have more thick texture than others. But they are short.
A: And some don’t have pedal.
V: Exactly, yes. And then after that, I’m playing two Chorale Preludes by Jan Zwart, Dutch Romantic composer, which I love very much. Recently discovered his music from some of my Dutch organist colleagues.
A: Well, his name, sorry for that Zwart, but makes me laugh every time. Because somehow that Zwart sounds like a “dwarf” for me.
V: Oh, you mean Zwerg.
A: Yes, that’s what I mean.
V: In German, Zwerg means dwarf.
V: Okay, and then I finish with the Gigout Toccata. Gigout Toccata is not a basic level piece, but it’s one of the easier ones in the toccata repertoire.
A: Yes, I guess it’s sort of manageable.
V: Mm hm, yes. So even after 25 plus years of experience, I can choose a variety of repertoire. Some of it is difficult, some of it is easy, some of it is medium, intermediate level. Right? And you can do the same if you follow our work. Ausra is also practicing at home. What are you playing right now, Ausra?
A: I’m practicing the G Major Prelude and Fugue by J.S. Bach.
A: Yes, and I’m also learning the Offertory by Alexander Guilmant.
V: On the two noels.
A: Yes, on Adeste Fideles and another French noel.
V: Mm hm. So, it’s a wonderful piece, and I think you play it already very well.
A: Well, but I will play them for Christmas time.
V: And Christmas is so far away, I think you are ready for another challenge right now.
A: Well, we are still learning that Haydn quartet, quartet.
V: Yes. We decided to play for four hands, arrangement of Haydn, Josef Haydn’s quartet, it’s called Emperor’s Quartet in C Major. It’s called Emperor’s because one of the movements I think…
A: The second one.
V: The second one has this traditional anthem. Right now, it is German national anthem, but in earlier days it was Austrian anthem too. So I think people who will listen to us will recognize this theme right away.
A: It’s very beautiful one. My favorite.
V: All right, so hopefully we will manage. We will start to practice it more often this week after tomorrow’s TV production. Can you tell us a little bit what’s going on with TV?
A: Well, yes. And I’m afraid of it so much, so tomorrow we are going to our church to be filmed by national television for so-called interesting learning, or…
V: Curious lessons maybe.
A: Yes, maybe curious lessons would be the best translation. And we need to, in two minutes, basically to represent our organ at St. John’s.
V: So we’re kind of, for the first minute, I will go upstairs and show some pipes. Ausra will stay at the organ console and also play some sounds with those pipes, or maybe operate some organ stops so that people could see how the mechanics work. And in the second minute, maybe we will play a coda, only the ending, from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
A: Yes, that’s our plan. We will see if it will work. I’m already having goosebumps.
V: (laughs) That will be fun. So interesting week. I hope this was helpful to you guys. Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow. And remember, when you practice,
A: Miracles happen.
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A: It has hundreds of courses, coaching and practice materials for every area of organ playing, thousands of instructional videos and PDF's. You will NOT find more value anywhere else online...
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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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