TIME TO GET DIS-ORGANISED?
I've noticed that, if I tell people I'm a pianist, they say things like "How lovely - I do envy you!" But I never get that response when I say I'm an organist. More often than not, eyes glaze over. I've even had remarks such as "Oh, church dirge music?", "You play The Birdie Song in places with sticky floors, do you?" and "Regina Dixon, eh?" Now all of those reactions are accurate: I do play church organ, I have played 'entertainment organ' in sticky floored venues and I've even had the joy of playing at Blackpool Tower. But doesn't it just show how the word 'organ' covers so many different bases, and many of them misunderstood or even disliked. When I explain that I mainly play an instrument that can sound like an orchestra, a choir, any solo instrument you can name - even a piano or organ, I often get another puzzling response: "You mean one of those things that plays itself?" Even the organ world has its own divisions. Many pipe organists eschew electronics and vice versa.
The oddest thing is, when you play people a selection of clips on various types of 'organs', there's usually one clip amongst them that they like. One chap of my acquaintance who heard some orchestral music played on a modern electronic organ said "That's more like it - proper classical music. I'd much rather hear that than an organ. Don't like organs at all."
It seems that the organ world as a whole could have done a better job in the PR department. People are usually well informed about different makes of cars, computers, washing machines, even pianos, violins and guitars. But by all being under the one 'organ umbrella' we've ended up virtually out of sight.
Maybe you're like me, and you simply enjoy any good music which is well played, irrespective of the instrument. I thought it would be fun over the coming weeks to share our favourite organ performances in whatever styles, so I'm setting the ball rolling today.
As a fan of classical orchestral music, I'm particularly bowled over by this one:
Or this one:
Marco Cerbella can do no wrong in my book - lovely repertoire, beautifully selected sounds and heart-felt performances. People might ask why one would want to hear orchestral classics played by a 'mock' orchestra. My feelings are that Marco and his like are both orchestra and conductor, giving their own interpretation, and they can set up and play in venues where an orchestra would neither be expected nor even fit, bringing lovely music to a new audience.
Next, a taste of pipe organ music but with a modern twist:
Yes, the one and only Cameron Carpenter, sparkling his way through one of his virtuoso arrangements.
Tony has been greatly enjoying Mike Reed's daily offerings on Facebook, which capture what I like best about Hammond organ:
I think that should really be titled 'What a difference a sound makes' as Mike is constantly adding or subtracting footages and moving his hands around the keyboards to such good effect. A few mornings back he was struck by inspiration so early that he appeared on Facebook playing in his pyjamas!
Time for a dollop of theatre organ music I think:
George Wright playing one of my favourite melodies, only enhanced by the thick warbling tibias and exotic harmonies he uses. My romance with theatre organs is still in its infancy. I came to them later in life, which is a shame as my great uncle was organist at the New Gallery and I could have learned a lot at his side.
So there we are - a random scratching of the surface of some of my favourites. If I could only use one instrument , it would be the Yamaha we started with as it can pretty much make all the sounds. But what about you? I'd love to hear about your favourite tracks, especially if you can email me a link! Maybe by sharing the many different styles of organ music we can win over some new devotees?