Messiaen improvising at the organ

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Messiaen improvising at the organ

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu May 01, 2008 1:07 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSH9sVjpy8g

Can you imagine going to Mass every Sunday and hearing Messiaen play? Boggles the mind

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26092
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 01, 2008 6:10 am

Sorry, Steve. Given a massive Romantic style organ in a great acoustic I could also noodle around producing pleasant sounds all day, which is pretty much what most of Messiaen, improvised or composed, consists of.

This is not improvisation in the great French Romantic tradition as practiced by, famously for one, Marcel Dupre. He would improvise an entire organ symphony that might very well be superior to many that others wrote down and do it all on a theme submitted by someone in the audience, often with a true and grand concluding fugue (I never hear this but had a classmate who did). The tradition has stayed alive with organists such as Marie-Claire Alain and Olivier Latry, the current organist at Notre Dame. Nor do you have to be French to be good at it; it is expected of the high ranks of organists in much of Europe. The organist at the cathedral in Bamberg, Marcus Willinger, improvised an astonishing organ symphony which he committed to CD (I do suspect in that case that he probably dotted some i's and crossed some t's before thus enshrining his improvisation).

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

TopoGigio

Erased

Post by TopoGigio » Thu May 01, 2008 6:12 am

Image
Last edited by TopoGigio on Fri May 02, 2008 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Post by piston » Thu May 01, 2008 6:23 am

Impressions of the spiritual world? Spiritual impressionism? Can Messiaen be viewed and understood as a descendant of Claude Debussy, beyond the physical world?

TopoGigio

Post by TopoGigio » Thu May 01, 2008 6:29 am

Olivier put as domicile the Church ! Its no spiritual, and birds, well,
never more... 8)

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26092
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 01, 2008 6:30 am

piston wrote:Impressions of the spiritual world? Spiritual impressionism? Can Messiaen be viewed and understood as a descendant of Claude Debussy, beyond the physical world?
No.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu May 01, 2008 7:52 am

jbuck919 wrote:Sorry, Steve. Given a massive Romantic style organ in a great acoustic I could also noodle around producing pleasant sounds all day, which is pretty much what most of Messiaen, improvised or composed, consists of.
Sorry John if I do give you any credibility in your trashing one of the great composers of the past century. The weight of the classical music world is against you. You might as well rail against Lizst or Schubert.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26092
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 01, 2008 8:02 am

BWV 1080 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Sorry, Steve. Given a massive Romantic style organ in a great acoustic I could also noodle around producing pleasant sounds all day, which is pretty much what most of Messiaen, improvised or composed, consists of.
Sorry John if I do give you any credibility in your trashing one of the great composers of the past century. The weight of the classical music world is against you. You might as well rail against Lizst or Schubert.
I was referring to his organ music, about which I have commented elsewhere as well. I don't know his other works well enough to comment, though what I have heard did not impress me very much. I hate getting into these things, because there can be no "winner," but sometimes I have to speak up and what you posted was an extremely obvious case of what I was talking about.

But what is to be done when someone mentions "Lizst" and Schubert in the same sentence? While I'm at it, Liszt wrote a few compositions that are still performed for pretty much the same reason--they sound superficially grand when played on a grand organ and are vapidly virtuosic--but they are not musically among the most valuable organ works of the Romantic.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Post by BWV 1080 » Thu May 01, 2008 9:41 am

jbuck919 wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Sorry, Steve. Given a massive Romantic style organ in a great acoustic I could also noodle around producing pleasant sounds all day, which is pretty much what most of Messiaen, improvised or composed, consists of.
Sorry John if I do give you any credibility in your trashing one of the great composers of the past century. The weight of the classical music world is against you. You might as well rail against Lizst or Schubert.
I was referring to his organ music, about which I have commented elsewhere as well. I don't know his other works well enough to comment, though what I have heard did not impress me very much. I hate getting into these things, because there can be no "winner," but sometimes I have to speak up and what you posted was an extremely obvious case of what I was talking about.

But what is to be done when someone mentions "Lizst" and Schubert in the same sentence? While I'm at it, Liszt wrote a few compositions that are still performed for pretty much the same reason--they sound superficially grand when played on a grand organ and are vapidly virtuosic--but they are not musically among the most valuable organ works of the Romantic.
I was not speaking exclusively of organ music, nor did I take you to be. The point is that if you don't like Messiaen, fine but at this point in time trashing his ability as a composer is on par with Liszt or Schubert (2 random examples of 19th century composers).

greymouse
Posts: 205
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:42 pm
Location: MI

Post by greymouse » Thu May 01, 2008 4:21 pm

Agree with BWV, this is breathtaking.
Last edited by greymouse on Thu May 01, 2008 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2376
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
Contact:

Post by diegobueno » Thu May 01, 2008 4:55 pm

In any case, it's great to see the big M in action at the keyboard.

The Ninth
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:00 pm

Post by The Ninth » Thu May 01, 2008 5:20 pm

Have to agree with John. I found much of it uninteresting and unpleasantly random-sounding.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 14 guests