There are very few bonuses flowing from this pandemic in the world of performing arts. So it has been a very welcome sight to see many performers grasp the opportunities the internet provides using social media to present music to us while our concert halls and churches are closed.
It’s probably fair to say that the availability and variety of ‘broadcast’ offerings has never been greater. I want to bring three musicians exploiting the internet in this way to your attention.
Three organists taking their music online
Andrew Pink is a stalwart of the London area organists rota playing for services of all types far and wide, with as you will see a very accomplished musical education. You will find two of his live streams below.
Graham Twist, a retired teacher, has thrown himself at composition with great energy, and jolly good they are too as you will also find out below.
Ian Higginson has taken this one step further actually professionally publishing his compositions which have been played in excerpt by Jonathan Kingston on his own Viscount instrument to give potential customers a flavour of his work.
I am sure there are a great many others that merit mention but for the moment enjoy listening to what these three gentlemen have been up to recently courtesy of our 21st-century cyberspace tech world.
Andrew Pink a Viscount Sonus customer
Andrew Pink is an experienced, well-qualified church musician and organist based in north London.
He studied organ-performance and choral conducting on the Advanced Post-graduate Performers course at the Royal Academy of Music (University of London) and have a PhD in historical musicology (Goldsmiths, University of London) as well as a Masters degree in Contemporary Liturgical Music (APU Cambridge), and a Bachelors degree in Education (University of Winchester).
Andrew has successfully combined a musical career with that of a teacher in inner-London secondary and primary schools and as a university-based project manager both at UCL and Birkbeck, University of London.
You can read more about Andrew on his website.
Pre-recorded organ music for live-streamed mass
In November Andrew wrote to us saying that he’d taken part in a live-stream cantor-led sung mass from a local Catholic parish. All the sung parts were recorded in the church earlier in the week with the parish priest as cantor, and then inserted at the appropriate points during the live-stream.
Andrew has a Viscount Sonus 60 at home and pre-recorded the organ music that was used before and after the live-streamed mass. The actual recording was done by direct feed via the Sonus headphone socket to a Zoom Q2N-4k unit, monitoring in real time via headphones also plugged into the Zoom unit.
The piece used before the mass begins was a short Interlude by Noel Rawsthorne, using default English voicing Baroque church, @440 and equal temperament plus some reverb.
The second piece played after the mass was Bach’s BWV 604 Orgelbuchlein chorale prelude using Werkmeister, Baroque church, @440 and the default Baroque setting plus some reverb.
Andrew mentioned how he was pleasantly struck in hearing the different colours produced by the two pieces, a testament to the versatility and quality of the Sonus instrument.
Unfortunately the sound in the live-streamed video of the mass isn’t good at all. The original audio in above files are 3-dimensional, rich and clear while the mono live-stream leaves a lot to be desired. Please bear this in mind if you want to have a look at the mass below.
Graham Twist creating compositions on a Chorum organ
Graham Twist featured in an earlier blog, with his composition called Marcia della Corona – an ode to the virus that has knocked so many musicians off their proverbial chairs.
Having been like many other citizens more house-bound than usual due to Covid-19, he has been able to ‘toy’ with some more compositions which you will find below.
Graham is a regular reader of our blog and not so long ago he found the article about ‘Ian Higginson – A Versatile Musician‘. Ian Higginson is another musician who’s been keeping busy during these coronavirus times and producing music.
Graham admits to envying Ian for his creative talents as he has found his own voice, while Graham still struggle to escape from the many influences that shape his musical offerings.
A particular favourite from Ian Higginson’s music was the excerpt from Prelude on “There is a green hill” which you can listen to below.
More short audio clips from Ian’s latest publication, ‘Organ Sound Colours Volume 1’ can be found in this blog.
Introduction and Passacaglia
In late June Graham commissioned Australian organist Graham Flores to record his most ‘serious’ attempt at an organ composition. It is a tribute to the wonderful man who introduced him to the glorious world of all things organ.
The composition is called “Introduction and Passacaglia” and is a homage to Rheinberger’s 8th Sonata with moments of Bach’s monumental Passacaglia, BWV 582.
In July Graham also finished composing a piece called ‘Idyll’. Graham describes how it showcases the gorgeous English flutes on his Chorum 40-S organ.
He has entered the piece into a competition looking for organ compositions for quiet moments, but says he doesn’t expect to get too far! We certainly hope it will do well, let us know what you think?
If you need a moment for quiet reflection, you should definitely enjoy the audio and video recordings below.
With restrictions on what everyone can do socially during these Covid-19 times, Graham felt it fired up further creativity in him. Graham says he loves his Viscount Chorum and the accupipe sound module he subsequently acquired.
He finds the Chorum to be a tremendously versatile instrument for home practice (and composition), and particularly relish the English Great reed stop (Posaune). Over the summer, Graham was inspired to write something to show it off.
The result can be heard below, and Graham hopes it may amuse/entertain/please you to see such a satisfied Viscount customer.
In August Graham completed yet another composition. Graham loves the French/Romantic division on the Chorum, and in particular, the Viscount Flûte Harmonique stop that is preloaded.
It features in “Toccata Giocosa” which he thinks showcases the remarkable potential of this budget organ. Graham says his playing is not as good as he would want, as arthritis was a little flared and he couldn’t quite get the fluidity the piece required.
It is a fairly easy toccata to play – no page after page of semiquavers – and in a French style more in keeping with organ toccatas from the era of Dubois and Widor!
Graham continues to ‘dabble’, as he describes it himself, with organ compositions. An American organist friend made through his recordings asked him to write a little prelude on “East Acklam” to mark Dr Francis Jackson’s 103rd birthday (may all organists enjoy such longevity!).
Dr Jackson has written his own prelude based on his hymn tune . . . but Graham responded as requested with his own simple composition (which Dr Jackson has graciously allowed us to share providing it does not get published commercially!).
Below is a video with Graham playing this piece on his Chorum 40-S organ.
We would love to hear from you if you have recorded or composed your own music. Please leave a comment below with a link to your website, blog or video!
Are you looking for a home practice organ or want to find out more about any of the instruments used by the organists above? Then please get in contact with us or check out our blog on the benefits of having a home practice organ.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.