SOPP557: Because of a very late start, my playing resembles one of your slow-motion videos, but nevertheless I greatly enjoy it
Vidas: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 557 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Monty. And he writes,
Vidas, I'm slowly going through the Orgelbuchlein. Because of a very late start, my playing resembles one of your slow-motion videos, but nevertheless I greatly enjoy it. A wonderful thing about music is that there is something great for everyone.
One thing I especially appreciate is that you mention things, and dozens of times they've turned out to be very useful. For example, I use the Wayne Leupold Orgelbuchlein edited and fingered by your old teacherQuentin Faulkner. It is a treasure. Had you not mentioned Faulkner I probably never would have been introduced to his books.
Another example. A while back you mentioned that you were going to interview Frank Mento. I didn't know anything about him but I went right to Amazon and picked up his two new consolidated volumes. While my Hauptwerk organ has a harpsichord sample set (without of course realistic touch), so far the pieces work for organ.
This is a beautiful progressive series, thoughtfully created by someone with an obvious dedication to education. As mentioned near the beginning of the podcast that I just started, it required a huge amount of work to produce. The books contain hundreds of nice period pieces.
Advanced organists who already play well and understand early fingering might find the series to be too elementary, but I'm getting a lot out of it. In particular, there is a strong focus on shifting hand positions.
Maybe to give one more example, someone was once having trouble with Bach and it might have been Ausra who suggested that maybe they should try Pachelbel because his works were more approachable. So I picked up the Belotti edition from Wayne Leupold and, sure enough, it was full of very nice fugues that can be played by ordinary people.
The year is almost at an end and I'll wish you and Ausra a very Happy New Year. ~Monty
V: First of all, Ausra, where is the question?
A: It seems like it’s more like appreciation, and it’s very nice and very thoughtfully written, and we truly appreciate it. It’s very nice to receive a feedback from our listeners and our readers.
V: That’s right. I read it through and was looking for something to click, but I didn’t notice any specific concern that Monty is having, other than his wish to thank us.
A: Yes. And it’s very nice that he mentions Quentin Faulkner, who was our professor at UNL, and it’s really nice, it’s a remarkable person - he worked in both directions, as an educator, and also as, I could call him a philosopher even. If you would read his book, “Wiser than Despair,” you would know what I mean.
V: Mm hm.
A: Because his ideas about how human mentality developed during the centuries, it’s really interesting.
V: Yeah, it’s a book about evolution of the ideas around music and the church. Specifically, not about church music itself, but ideas around music and the church. I heard he is almost done with his new publication. What it’s about? Registration of Johann Sebastian Bach’s work maybe? Organ works?
A: Yes, and do you know if Wayne Leupold is going to publish it or not?
V: Not sure, but it’s possible.
A: It’s possibility, because they have collaborated a lot during the lifetime. And in general, Wayne Leupold name was mentioned a few times in this letter, and I think it’s worth mentioning, because he’s really one of the most outstanding editors in the organ field.
V: And I was lucky to interview him for the podcast, too.
V: I remember holding the laptop on my knees and sitting in our former summer cabin.
A: Yes. And he’s remarkably good with all the commercial stuff. I think if more musicians would have his skills, we would all be much more rich, richer. Wealthier.
V: He’s good, you mean, with selling his music.
A: Yes, yes. Remember how his demonstrations would go? Talking about his music when he publishes.
V: He has a good quality of a salesman, too.
V: Which could only be admired. And taken as an example for some of the musicians who are maybe either shy, or for some other reason, don’t bother marketing their music.
A: Yes. And actually, it’s sort of a joke, but he reminded me a little bit about that turtle from the Ice Age…
V: Oh - who could sell anything!
A: Yes, yes! And it’s sort of, really good at what he is doing. But you know, I am talking this because of admiration. Because what he’s selling, he’s selling the good stuff. We have tried it many many times ourselves. So we can really advocate for it.
V: Yeah. First of all, you have to be good at what you do, and don’t sell crap. I mean, there are organists online who advertise themselves basically shamelessly. Much more than a real good organist do. But their music is, well, let’s say below average. Right, Ausra?
V: Have you seen them? And I think they spend more time marketing themselves than playing organ. And in their particular situation, I would reverse, reverse the efforts and practice more and market less.
V: And for some other organists, maybe do the opposite: market more and practice less.
V: But that’s, of course, very, very personal. What else can we say - Frank Mento, right -you haven’t met him when we visited Paris. No? But I talked with him for three times, I think, on the podcast, about his harpsichord method, and highly recommend it. I’m glad that someone like Frank started doing it for the harpsichord, because there wasn’t anything available online. And his age, I mean, he’s a senior, and already retired, and to do this online work is not easy for seniors. And he of course has good health, collaborates with probably someone with more technical knowledge. And that’s very good advice. If you’re not equipped technically, find someone who is.
A: But I guess now, age is not an obstacle. More and more elderly people discover the internet, and even I have heard that teenagers are leaving Facebook because their grandmas actually are sort of taking over Facebook.
V: Have you met grandmas who sell harpsichord methods yet?
A: No, but…
V: That’s what I mean. They usually are users of the platform, but not creators. That’s a little different level. And from time to time, one or two people also reach that level. But it’s rare.
A: Yeah, it’s rare, but I think it will become more often the case.
V: I mean, it’s not rare if you did this your entire life, and you gradually discovered the internet, and share your work there. Because you’ve been sharing it offline all your life - it’s not that big of a difference. But if you haven’t done this before, to switch the mindset that you can be a creator online at this age, this is truly rare, I think.
A: Yes. But I think it will become more and more popular. Don’t you think so?
V: Absolutely. There is no other way. Because if there are...it’s just statistics. The more users there are, the more creators, too.
A: Because now the new generation will grow up, who were born with smartphones and the internet. And they had it together with mother’s milk, so to say. So they don’t have to learn it in middle of age, as we did, for example.
A: Or as elderly, as there are some people now. So it will be natural to publish your work online, and to share your work online.
V: The different thing with us is that we went to the United States, right, early enough. And we picked up new ideas from there. And when we got back, we could talk similar language with the teenagers, because those new ideas were just getting transferred to Lithuania. But not necessarily picked up by the people of our age, but only by the people of earlier generation, right?
V: Okay. And of course, Monty likes Pachelbel, and we highly recommend Pachelbel as well.
A: Yes, he’s an excellent composer. I have done many of his pieces in church.
V: I haven’t…
A: For liturgical purposes.
V: I haven’t played Pachelbel for awhile now. Maybe I should prepare some slow motion videos and give our team to transcribe for fingering.
A: Yes, I think that’s a good idea. It’s very useful for church musicians.
V: Yes, and easier than Johann Sebastian Bach. Like a preparation for Bach.
V: Good. Thank you, guys. Thank you, Monty, for your thoughtful message. We really appreciate it. And please keep sending 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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