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 637 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Rosemary, and she writes,
Firstly can I thank you for the wonderfully informative emails you have sent during the last week, To date I have found them very helpful and thought provoking. A good beginning to the information I need to develop my study for the next 12 months.
In reply to your first question. My goal for this coming year is a 30 minute lunchtime recital on 8 October 2021.
My practice situation is a small instrument, one manual with a full pedal board and 5 stops in our local church (country town). The recital is on an instrument 8 times this size
in a provincial city 45 km away.
Aug 2019 I was included in the programme and played an all Bach programme (BWV 554, BWV 555, BWV 604, BWV 536 and BWV 570 ) I lacked confidence and found it a rather tough experience and have resolved to better the experience.
Important aspects to address. Developing a plan for the year's study. Developing the programme. (Bach again as his music is a passion of mine, or a European tour,
(Boellmann, Faure..Italian school, and Bach )
The learning of a piece, bringing it up to concert standard and maintaining the standard for the recital date.
Work on analysing the piece, Your email of Dec 1st has been a great catalyst. Maybe this is one of the secrets to understanding the piece and gaining confidence in performance.
Additionally, I have shortened the length of the fragments I learn at a time and have resolved to trial your suggestions.
The content of the material you've sent seems like a good foundation. I need all these tips and more. I have had no formal lessons on the instrument, gathering knowledge through reading, listening and suggestions from colleagues in recent years. More information on ornaments, (BWV 555 do you include the marked trill on the resolution of the prelude.) The French Noels how do you fit in the mordants and how are they played,
Currently I am learning Priere a Notre-Dame L Boellmann your copy with fingering and pedaling,
Sicilienne OP.78 G Faure
Sonata 5 BWV 529 Bach third movement
I am particularly interested in your copy of Ich ruf' zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 639 where you have written out the interpretation of the ornaments and how they fit in. More on this please.
Time I stopped, I have gained regular access to the organ for the recital determined to be more familiar with the instrument, I have considerable support and assistance from the regular organists especially with choice of registration. A big learning curve.
Hopefully this finds you and yours well, a strange year with so many new challenges. Every good wish for this festive Christmas season.
V: First of all Ausra, I recommended Total Organist Program to Rosemary, because her goals are very ambitious, and she would really benefit from our ambitious program. And she just signed up yesterday, I think.
A: Wonderful! Congratulations to you both.
V: Welcome Rosemary to Total Organist. So Ausra, going back to her experience and feedback, what would you notice at first?
A: Yes, that she’s very much determined and motivated, and I think she will succeed, because it seems like she has a clear plan and she’s very persistent and hard-working, so I think she will succeed in playing that recital on the 8th of October in 2021.
V: Uh huh. It’s interesting the pieces that she mentioned on the program that she already played in August 2019 was BWV 554, it’s D Minor Prelude and Fugue from the Eight Little Preludes and Fugues; 555 is E minor; 604 is something from the Orgelbüchlein, let me check.... 604 is Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ. And then 536 is A Major Prelude and Fugue, and 570 is C Major Fantasia without the Fugue. So, well polyphonically, these pieces are, with the exception of A Major Prelude and Fugue, I would say basic level. Not even intermediate, right Ausra?
A: Yes, maybe between beginning, beginner and intermediate.
V: A Major Fugue is more complex. It’s a minuet probably, and dancing rhythms 3 part, 3/4 meter, kind of tricky to get, because sometimes they have canons in the middle. So it’s maybe intermediate piece. Good that she is determined to learn a new program for October, right? Hopefully she will adapt to a new instrument eight times the size of her practice organ. Eight times - so what is this, like 40 stops?
A: Yes, that’s a good size organ.
V: Three manuals probably.
A: Not necessarily. It might be two as well, with pedal, but it might have the third division.
V: Mm hm. Yeah. Generally with three manuals you can do a lot, but it takes a little bit more coordination. You don’t have to play all three manuals, though. You can couple the Swell to the Positiv and play like on two manuals, right? Pretend you are playing three.
A: Yes, but Rosemary has one manual at her church, so how would you suggest she practice pieces that requires at least two manuals?
V: I would either play right hand higher or left hand lower, depending on which sounds better. But you see what I mean, right?
A: Yes, on the same keyboard.
V: On the same keyboard. It’s like practicing on the piano. When you have to cross hands, but if you move one hand higher or one hand lower, you can effectively play two manual pieces.
A: Yes, that’s a good suggestion. As you said it before, I imagined that you would play in the air with your hand higher or lower. (laughs) Do you see what I mean?
V: Uh higher, like not an octave higher but a little bit higher.
A: In the air, in the air I mean.
V: Oh, virtually higher.
V: Imagining there is a second keyboard.
A: So better don’t do that.
V: Actually, I’ve done some practice on our instrument at home, before Hauptwerk, when we only had two manuals, and if I had to make echo passages from second manual to the third at church, I would pretend I have three manuals here at home, and jump from the second manual to the music rack and back and forth. It’s about the same size, so it fits. It’s a little bit maybe higher jump, but teaches you the same physical movement.
A: Yes, true. But it’s nice that Rosemary does a lot of Bach’s practicing, and actually you can pretty much play entire works by J.S. Bach just on one keyboard.
V: You mean practicing.
A: Yes. Not, of course not all of them. Like not ornamented chorales, and obviously not Trio Sonatas, but like all preludes and fugues you can easily do on one keyboard.
V: But again, if you want to play Trio Sonata, like she was mentioning Trio Sonata someplace…
A: Middle movement, I believe.
V: The third movement, actually…
A: Oh, the third!
V: C Major Trio Sonata 529. She’s currently actually working on that. So I would probably drop the left hand one octave lower. You see, the key with this kind of trick is to check the lower part, the middle part. If it descends lower than the tenor C, if it descends lower, then when you drop one octave lower, it goes beyond the range of the keyboard. Then maybe some notes have to be rearranged, not necessarily entire voice, but maybe a measure here and there, a phrase you know, to make it meaningful. But in general, yeah, Trio Sonatas work on one keyboard if you adjust the left hand one octave lower.
A: Is it safe to prepare it for a recital when you know you don’t have much time to play before it, actual performance?
V: No, of course not. That’s very risky. Actually, Trio Sonatas in general are very risky, and even if you have a lot of time - myself included. Whenever I played Trio Sonatas in concert, I didn’t have good experience.
A: Ha ha ha!
A: But I have a good experience about this particular movement. I played it on my exam for my Bachelor’s Degree at the Academy of Music, so I remember it quite well. It’s not a hard movement, well of course it’s hard, but it’s not long comparing let’s say to the first movement of the same sonata. But it’s trickier than the first movement.
V: Mm hm. So the last thing that we need to mention is the ornaments, right?
A: Yes, and basically if you know you study well that Vidas’ example of Ich Ruf Zu Dir, I think it’s sort of a key to the rest of Bach’s ornamentation. And Rosemary asked about French Noels and how to ornament them, so basically, Bach used the French ornament tradition.
V: It’s actually in the preface to Klavierbüchlein for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Bach copied by hand ornament table by d’Anglebert. And you can find this example online, the same ornament table. So basically, you need to just play most of the ornaments from the upper note in his mature works, and there are some other exceptions of course, which we could discuss on a deeper level. Maybe I should do a video or something.
A: I think this would be very helpful.
V: Okay. Stay tuned, guys. Thank you for listening to our conversation. Please send us more of your 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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