Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 395, of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Leon. And, he writes:
Until today I thought I had made a lot of progress in this. But found out there is still a significant way to go.
My organ is in the garage. This winter is not as bad as last, but tonight the low will be -7/8 C. The garage usually gets 5-8 C above that. I have a space heater aimed at the pedal area so it heats fairly well. I have used fingerless wool gloves until now. Today I got some stretch nylon gloves, actually made for women. Perfect: warm, and in order to not slip off the black keys, and even the white keys from moving larger intervals, I have to play even more lightly.
As Speedy Gonzales says, Andale, Andale Hariba!
V: So, this was Leon’s probably, recommendation for people to experiment with stretch nylon gloves. Have you ever had those women’s gloves, Ausra?
A: Yes, I have them.
V: I think that you had a least once. I remember this occasion, during your wedding, or our wedding.
A: During our wedding. Or you think I got married to myself only, without you?
V: Yes. No. I don’t know.
A: I had beautiful gloves.
V: Those were nylon right?
A: Yes, and they were very long.
V: Did you play organ during your wedding.
A: No! I did not.
V: Who played organ during your wedding?
A: Oh, classmate. Your classmate—Giernas.
A: And he screwed up right at the beginning.
V: Girenas name is spelled G-i-r-e-n-a-s.
A: And we have recording of it, because he had to perform a hymn to Holy Ghost…
A: And he screwed up right in the first measure.
V: Veni, Creator Spiritus.
A: That’s right.
V: Mmm-hmm. So it was a time to wear nylon gloves. Do you think that such kind of gloves would work for organ playing in the winter?
A: Well, they might, but I guess you would still have to remove the tips of the finger.
V: Mmm-hmm. You know what I’m using now when it’s cold? In our church is warm because it’s heated but whenever I’m travel someplace to play in the winter, I take with me also women’s gloves. But they’re not nylon, I guess. But they stretch and they fit very well on my fingers or my hands, and I cut off the fingertips, and now I can play just about at any speed, even in the winter. They work very well too.
A: Yes, but what a courage to practice in the garage during winter time. Don’t you think it requires some admiration from our side, on our side?
V: Uh, you mean, admiration that the organ is placed in such a cold place, or that Leon is practicing in cold place?
A: That Leon is practicing in such a place.
A: During wintertime.
V: Poor instrument then.
A: Well, if it’s electronic then I don’t think it matters so much.
A: If it’s pipe organ, then yes. It’s not so good.
V: Maybe Leon will write about his instrument next time too.
A: Although I don’t think it’s much warmer, let’s say in the village churches in Lithuania where the pipe organ stands, so…
V: Certainly not! Mmm-hmm. A lot of churches in Lithuania is extremely cold during the winter and actually below freezing temperatures.
A: I guess that the heat and humidity damages organ more than the cold weather.
V: True. And nowadays of course, most people have electrical heaters positioned next to the organ bench, but depending on the power of the heater and the position of the instrument itself, if it’s a large room or not, then it might be enough of heat.
A: Well, it’s funny because I just now thought about that Leon keeps his organ in the garage, and actually our organ is built in a room, where used to be a garage.
V: Yes. Should I go find your nylon gloves?
A: Yes! Why not.
V: And, do you still keep them?
A: No, actually. I borrowed them. They were not mine…
V: So you don’t have any nylon gloves now…
V: With you. I would be really interested to try out, without the need to cut the fingertips, because I presume it works for Leon. He didn’t cut the fingertips.
A: Well, it might work for some types of compositions, for example, for hymn playing.
A: But if you would want to play something more sophisticated then I think it wouldn’t work.
V: But if it fits really nicely on the hands, maybe it’s not a problem then.
A: But it might be too slippery.
V: Too slippery, you say.
V: Yes. He writes that, ‘in order to not slip off the black keys, and even white keys’ he has to play ‘even more lightly’.
A: So, but if you have, for example thick texture, then the light touch might not help.
V: Right. It’s amazing how people come up with various solutions for combating cold weather.
A: Yes, and it shows a real courage. I admire Leon so much for that.
V: Approximately, a few days ago. before we recorded this conversation, in America, in the Midwest, they had very cold weather.
A: I’m glad we are not in America any more. I wouldn’t survive such a low temperature.
V: I wonder if any organists suffered from that cold. Guys, if you live in the Midwest, please write to us how did you survive the extremely cold Arctic weather. It’s really interesting. Did you, how did you keep yourself warm? Did you burn books, hymnals, or tax books?
A: How funny! Ha, ha!
A: It’s like from that movie, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.
A: And some photos that we saw from America actually looked a little bit similar to that movie.
V: Yes. Only Statue of Liberty was not frozen.
A: I don’t think it was, wasn’t probably so cold in New York City.
A: It just had more like Michigan, and I think Ohio, then Minnesota, Illinois.
V: Are you ready for Spring, Ausra?
A: Oh yes, but we still have to wait for it.
V: Mmm-hmm. Okay guys. Please keep warm during those final weeks of winter wherever you are. Of course if you’re in the summer hemisphere, you have, summer.
A: That's right. in Australia, for example.
V: Right. 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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