John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Organ music

It occurred to me on Christmas Eve that I really enjoy organ music. It helped, I imagine, that I was listening to this piece at the time:

Which is just so joyful that I don't think it's possible not to be put into a good mood listening to it. And I think it's the organ that really makes it as good as it is. Gustav Holst did a fine orchestral transcription of the same piece, but it doesn't have the same snap as the original.

And then there's my favorite choral work, Florent Schmitt's Psalm XLVII, which for my nickel would not be half as majestic or exciting without the organ. Pay particular attention to the first and third parts of the embedded playlist, especially the last three minutes or so, and especially especially the last 30 seconds, and tell me I'm wrong.

One more: the work "Polka and Fugue" from the Jaromir Weinberger opera Schwanda the Bagpiper. The organ comes in toward the end, adding depth in the lower register, but right at the end it comes to the forefront, and I've always found that oddly exciting.

Of course, not everyone agrees. I remember hearing a story about the great Fritz Reiner conducting a performance of the piece with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; it's said he hated the organ part so much, he ordered the brass to play as loudly as possible to drown out the organ at the end. Which is crazy, to my way of thinking. You can be sure that when I conduct the Chicago Symphony, I won't do the same.
Tags: music: classical

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