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...

9 comments:

The Lakelander said...

Lovely music, Scrobs.

Thank you very much.

Philipa said...

Yes, I agree, lovely music, thaks, Scrobs :-)

The music I am always transported by is Allegri's Miserere. Full body shiver every time.

I know what you mean about a big church organ sound, Scrobs. I particularly like Bach and remember staying up one Christmas to hear someone play Bach's music on the very same organ Bach would have played it on himself.

You all may think it cliche but I like Toccata & Fugue in D minor (Bach). Look at this one, Scrobs - played on the organ in Sydney Town Hall.

Scrobs... said...

I hoped you'd like this Lakes.

The picture of your mum is almost identical to that of my MIL! We felt that everyone should remember what a stunning beauty she was in the 1940s.

Keep going Young Man, they'll live on really...

Scrobs... said...

Ooooh Pips!

That high note just sends the shivers everywhere every time, thanks for the link, it's much better than mine!

Toccata and Fugue is still a big fave, and also Vidor's (still), because I once asked our music master what he was playing in chapel, and he immediately told me, much to the sneers of everyone else on the school breakfast table...

Definite ROHOBON when he stamps on the pedals for the big one! That's not a cliche at all Pips; it's still a famous piece, and I love it too!

We had some music by Vierne when we were married, and I never knew what he was playing! However, as Princess Alexandra had married Angus Ogilvy just a small time before, we were damned if we were going to have the same bit, which of course, was the Toccata from the Music master...

Thud said...

Thanks for the education.

Scrobs... said...

My pleasure Thud!

It just seems to be that time of year, and there have been a few funes recently...

Electro-Kevin said...

Whenever I was allocated 7 beat from Snow Hill I'd go into St Paul's and listen to the organist practicing in the empty cathedral.

Sublime.

Scrobs... said...

I'd have done that Elecs!

They often get into their own fantasy and let rip! Very occasionally, the organ in the church behind us gets a good belting by someone, and on a quiet evening, as you say, it's sublime!

Philipa said...

Scrobs I hope you can find a minute to pop by my place, I'd love your opinion on something (see comments). Ta x