Vidas: Let’s start Episode 142 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. This question was sent by David. He writes:
“I really can't thank you enough for making all this available. It has been my dream to be a proficient church organist (my wife is a United Methodist Pastor) and perhaps to do some recitals and some composing. I practice on a real Møller organ but where I play once a month is an electronic Allen organ. Your materials have kept me moving forward.
You've spoken about lineage through you too Bach. Here, also is my lineage through Dean:
1. David Koch (me)
2. H. Dean Wagner
3. Barbara MacGregor
4. Marie-Claire Alain
5. Marcel Dupré
6. Louis Vierne / Charles-Marie Widor
7. Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens
8. Adolf Friedrich Hesse
9. Christian Heinrich Rinck
10. Johann Christian Kettel
11. Johann Sebastian Bach
For all you do, thank you and God Bless, David”
It’s amazing, Ausra, that people can calculate their lineage through ages until Johann Sebastian Bach, right?
Ausra: Yes, it’s amazing; and I think they should be thankful to George Ritchie, who introduced us to this sort of thinking about J. S. Bach, and feeling like a part of that big organ tradition that lasts for centuries!
Vidas: Although, when we published that early post about our lineage through Bach...it’s basically an idea. It’s a nice idea; but of course, we have to remember that among those masters, especially in the 20th century--in French tradition and even in German tradition--there were people who would do different things than Bach did, right? Let’s say, Marcel Dupré: he believed Bach’s music should be performed in one way. Today we are not agreeing with him, right?
Ausra: Well, but these sort of things, these are just details, in terms of the larger picture.
Ausra: I think the most important thing is that they are all carrying that organ tradition.
Vidas: Absolutely. And that, of course, helps us to see the big picture.
Ausra: Yes, and that also creates a responsibility on each of us, to be better, to practice more, and to be the best we can.
Vidas: And what comes next? For example, our students...
Ausra: Yes, and to spread our message as far as we can.
Vidas: Right. If, guys, you are considering yourself, let’s say, our students...it’s a little bit dangerous, because we don’t know everyone, right?
Vidas: It’s a long-distance relationship. But still, our teaching across the globe spreads wide and far. And people might say, “Oh, we’re studying with Vidas and Ausra!” That’s fine! That’s fine...until a certain point, right?
Vidas: If it’s ethical. And then, what comes next? You have to think about your own students, right? Students--like, to the twelfth generation or thirteenth generation, too! Because then, your own students will probably continue this tradition, if you present it well.
Vidas: If you transmit it the best way you can possibly transmit, of course.
Ausra: Uh-huh. And thinking about this, you know, chain of generations starting from J. S. Bach--it’s very interesting, because I’ve never thought that I’m so close to it; but when you start to count, then you see that happened not so long ago.
Ausra: That not so many people are in between you and Bach!
Vidas: And going further into history than Bach, you could say Buxtehude, right? And then, through Buxtehude, you could say things like Tunder, and Reincken also goes back, probably, through his interactions in let’s say Lübeck, and Hamburg was related there, too, so Scheidermann and Sweelinck come into play, at least indirectly, right? And then what comes before Sweelinck is also interesting: like, people from Italy--theorists and composers: Zarlino, right? The famous theorist and composer. And before him, in the Renaissance period, it can really, literally go into probably the earliest instances of organ literature that we know today. Not only organ; probably choral, too.
Ausra: Yes. Church music, probably.
Vidas: Mhm. So, organ music is maybe like 7 centuries long. The earliest instance of surviving notation is from about 1350 or 60, or the middle of the 14th century, basically: the famous Robertsbridge Codex. And they have several dances which are called Estampies; and we can at least hypothetically connect emotionally with that collection, too right?
Ausra: Yes...maybe too far back, for me!
Vidas: We don’t know what happened in those centuries, right? But yes. Do you think we could trace our lineage back to, let’s say, people who played Estampies?
Ausra: Heheh! I don’t know. I don’t know this; but actually, I just read an article that, let’s say, for example, in Lithuania--we could all trace our lineage back to our only one king, Mindaugas.
Ausra: I mean, yes, well, if a person had kids, and grandkids, it means that through a few centuries, their genes spread all over that area.
Ausra: So they might all have...or maybe not Mindaugas, because I don’t know if his kids survived; but like, our Grand Duke Vytautas, that’s for sure--that we are all grandchildren of him.
Ausra: Of his lineage.
Vidas: This year in Lithuania is very special, because in 2018 we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of restoration of Lithuanian independence.
Ausra: Yes! That’s actually the hundredth year of modern Lithuania.
Ausra: Modern, independent Lithuania.
Ausra: That happened after the First World War.
Vidas: February 16th of 1918.
Ausra: Yes. You know, because the end of the First World War helped many European countries to declare their independence.
Vidas: Yeah. But then, later, the Nazis came, and then the Soviets...
Ausra: And then the Soviets came. And then the Soviet occupation began that lasted for 50 years.
Vidas: And only finally in 1990, March 11, we declared our Restoration of Independence again.
Vidas: We’ve been independent for almost 28 years now.
Ausra: Yes. That’s a good question--for how long. Don’t you think, sometimes, about this question?
Vidas: Well, let’s hope the peace will last, and that reason will prevail, and emotions and madness will pass. I think political, diplomatic solutions are always a better way than military solutions.
Ausra: Yes, that’s true. Because even when now, when we can spread our knowledge and share our thoughts with everybody in the world...that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. History would take another turn.
Vidas: Yeah, like if some dictator would close down the internet, right?
Vidas: And we would have to be enslaved again, and...
Ausra: Or you know, to just, to leave our country. That’s what happened, you know, during the Second World War.
Vidas: A lot of people emigrated.
Ausra: Yes, yes, when they saw that the Soviets were coming.
Vidas: Mhm. Sad history. But we’re hopeful for the future; and we’re thankful, guys, that you’re listening to this, that you’re continuing this tradition, that you’re helping this tradition of many many centuries--after Estampies, after the Robertsbridge Codex, after Zarlino and Sweelinck and Bach--to continue. And we’re hopeful for the future, that through our efforts, and your efforts, too, that it will continue for many centuries to come.
Ausra: Let’s hope for it!
Vidas: Alright! And let’s practice now. Enough talking!
Ausra: Yes, yes!
Vidas: Enough theoretical hopes!
Ausra: Don’t forget to practice every day!
Vidas: Good. Thanks, guys! This was Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
Vidas: And remember, when you practice…
Ausra: 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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