SOPP620: The speed of this piece and transparency of registration made me appreciate how generous the acoustic is at your church
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.
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A: We hope you’ll enjoy it!
V: Hi guys! This is Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
Vidas: Let’s start episode 620 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by James, and he writes about my piece called “Nassat, from the Organ ABC”:
“The speed of this piece and transparency of registration made me appreciate how generous the acoustic is at your church. I’m still stuck on Krummhorn and Larigot”
Vidas: James apparently watched the video of me improvising this piece which later was transcribed by Diana, and now it is available as a complete score with fingering and registration. So if you guys are interested, you can take a look. But I was thinking we could talk, Ausra, about the acoustics in our church. What do you think? Is it generous?
Ausra: Well, yes. Especially as comparing to many churches in America, I think in Lithuania, we have quite generous acoustics in general.
Vidas: Yeah, because we have many old churches, and in general, old churches have very good acoustics—sometime too big acoustics for the organ! Don’t you think?
Ausra: Well, I think the acoustics at St. Johns’s is very good.
Ausra: Yes, adequate.
Vidas. But you still need to know how to play the organ in these acoustics. Right?
Ausra: Of course, because you know it often struck me while playing in the United States in some of the churches that had no acoustic at all, and even worse that when I played organ where I felt like I am being naked.
Vidas: What do you mean?
Ausra: Because, sort of when you have acoustics, it sort of covers you up, and you may hide some things in your playing.
Vidas: Yeah, I know what you mean. When you said “no acoustics at all or worse” what do you mean by “worse?”
Ausra: Because sometimes it’s not like you hold the last chord then omit it, but it seems like the sound disappears even before you lift your hands from the keyboard!
Vidas: Oh, you’re like in a closet!
Ausra: Yes. And because, I think, all these soft carpets and soft big cushions to make people feel comfortable… but it’s not good for acoustics.
Vidas: Well yes. Unfortunately, a lot has been done for the comfort of the people, right? But that interferes with the quality of the sound, and sometimes acoustics are disregarded in favor of how well people of a congregation is feeling in the pews.
Ausra: I don’t think that all the architects even consider this issue while they are making new churches.
Vidas: That’s true. Luckily, we have sometimes artificial acoustics. Right? You can enhance the acoustics of the building by adding some acoustic enhanced materials, but it’s not my expertise, so I don’t want to talk about it too long.
Ausra: And I don’t think it’s the same results. It’s still maybe not quite as good as if the acoustics is natural.
Vidas: Talking about acoustics and environment, what’s your most memorable church that you played in the past?
Ausra: Well, probably Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London!
Vidas: Yes, I wish we could go back there and record a proper recital, because they didn’t allow us to record and make a video. I secretly recorded for myself just the audio, and a short improvisation when I tested some of the sounds, but somehow this Cathedral doesn’t allow one to make recital recordings… official recordings… maybe they are afraid of people admiring the organ and the church and the cathedral too much.
Ausra: But I guess this is not only the case with Saint Paul’s. I think that’s true when talking about many other famous cathedrals.
Vidas: Yeah, I remember you were invited to perform at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and one of the sentences in the contract stated that you cannot also make a recording of your recital.
Ausra: Yes. Too bad, but such is life.
Vidas: Right. Imagine if this weren’t the case, and people could come from all over the world and record their videos, YouTube would have been full of recitals from Notre Dame Cathedral, and now this organ is no longer functional because of the fire, so we don’t know how long it will take to restore it, and people all over the world are still… missing this instrument, and if they would have allowed to make recordings, people and fans from all over the world could enjoy this instrument even more.
Ausra: Well, I think there’s nothing that we could do to change church policies, so…
Vidas: Right. So hopefully, people can listen to the video, to the Nassat video that I performed, and check out the score that Diana has transcribed. If you’re interested in easy basic-level organ music, modern sounding improvisations, on every letter of the alphabet, but based on some of the terms from the organ world, so this could be helpful as well. I intend to finish all the collection maybe by the end of this year, if the situations are favorable and we’ll have the entire “ABC” ready for you to listen to and to play.
Ausra: Wonderful! Looking forward to hearing the entire collection.
Vidas: James promised to make a recording of it when it’s ready. So, I’m looking to it as well. James Flores, you could check out his YouTube channel and Website: https://jamesfloresorganist.com
Vidas: Okay guys, please send us more of your questions; we love helping you grow. 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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