Saturday, 10 March 2012
Durufle - The Master...
So what is it about organs?
I'm not going on about those that bulge all down the Daily Mail page, but the real pneumatic, wheezing, clattering musical instruments. I mean those damn great multi-keyboarded, several-chimneyed leviathons which look like an office block in a church!
For as long as I can remember, I've always loved the sound of an organ. When I was a tot, my dear sister would sometimes play the piano with both feet on both pedals, and of course, the sound is pretty close to something vaguely like a church organ, if you shut your eyes tight.
Pips rekindled a thought the other day, when we were talking about being up early. I bought an early music composition package years ago, and the first sounds were of course, a church organ. Mrs S bought the family a Yamaha Midi keyboard years ago, and although it's been surpassed by newer models, it still works well. I have no formal piano training at all, play everything by ear, and am pretty hopeless on a keyboard, except that with the recording software, you can make as many mistakes as you like, mend them on screen, and (nearly) always get a result.
But what is it about the actual sound an organ makes, and why is it so gorgeous? I sometimes think it's because the sound is retained as long as the keys are depressed, and, as an amateur, you can think what you're actually going to play/do next, while the groaning is going on!
I remember, when The Beach Boys brought out Good Vibrations, I used to shiver at the super quiet bit between 2.15 and 2.50, because it was so innovative back then, They also did something similar with Here today, and I even went out bought the record on the strength of that tiny bit between 2.15 and 2.24!
And times move on, and keyboards are so common in music these days, I really can't keep up with the sorts of instruments which make all these fantastic sounds, which I suppose started in the Hammond and Mellotron days, and graduated through the Synthesizer years, but everyone is better off for them.
Just recently, we were choosing the music for Mrs S's dear old mum's funeral. I'd always had some special music in mind for my eventual flyaway, so it was easy to put these on the list, and we sat down one day to make sure that we got exactly what we wanted. Eventually, we went for 'A Shropshire Lad', by George Butterworth. and the quiet bit at 2.08 in Lux Aeterna, by John Rutter, which I think I'd also like to play for Lakes and his dear mum.
But, neither of these have a huge organ presence, although, they enclose you with an almost tangible harmony and warmth, and, during the search I found a piece which now just sings continually, sometimes for the whole day in this ol' grey head.
I'd bought Faure's Requiem some years ago, mainly because I like it, and there's no better reason I suppose. But also on the CD, was one which I can't even remember playing, which is a bit sad, so during the search, I put it in the machine.
I defy anyone not to be utterly transported to supreme bliss by this. Durufle didn't write a lot of music, but he sure played it, and was his own legend, I have since found out. The whole Requiem is also magnificent, but this final chapter is just so gorgeous, I need to hear it regularly, to make sure that I still have hair on the back of my neck, because it is a total ROHOBON piece, and unsurpassed...