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was E. Power Biggs good?

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  • dec
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    You posted in 2003. You are now 55. It is 2005. If you have to scald your fingers, then it is time to do the Nancy Reagon things and "Just Say No". Lower your expectations and continue to play. Everyone will excuse your advanced age and finger problems. Just play and have fun. I know an organist who plays totally deaf. He does fine. He has talent.

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  • DuffOrgan
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    Dear Miss Smith, I waited several days to reply to your post.

    I feel you are lacking a sense of humor. and, are you really, "the Ethel Smith"? In which case I used to play several of your arrangements when I was playing popular music in a local restaurant.

    I haven't had a "drinkie" in 25 years, nor did I on the night in question! That was something that merely happened. During an organist convention, the end of the night is often a little libation before going to bed.

    I am certainly not jealous of Mr. Fox. After all, I'm still alive!

    As far as my friend Jeannette, hmmmmmm ..... she usually played about 6 recitals a year, she was a more than competent church organist who held the same post for many, many years. She was the most called upon accompianist in our area and was the regular accompianist for the Mendelssohn Singers, The Barnstormers, the Waterbury Oratorio Society, and many concerts of the Messiah performances and sing-a-longs in our area. Jealous???? Hardly. All this she managed while being a housewife and mother of three. She also possessed a wonderful sense of humor.

    Further, in leaving that Fox performance, I hardly missed anything. I heard (saw) him perform many, many times, including the Wanamaker concert in '64 and several at Riverside Church. By the way, the best of these was the Wanamaker one, because it is the perfect instrument for Fox. And Fox possessed a wonderfuld sense of humor also, and probably would have laughted at Jeannette's remark. I was very fortunate, indeed, to have attended performances by Biggs (about 6), Langlais, Dupre', the Durufles, John Weaver (under who I also sang), ditto for Fred . Wilma Jensen, Marilyn Mason, John Walker, Paul Winter, Gerre and Judy Hancock (who I also sang under), Piet Kee while in the Netherlands, Michel Chaupis, Carole Terry, Catherine Crozier, Michael Murray, Thomas Murray, Robert Edward Smith, Gillian Weir, Charles Krigbaum, Dan Miller, Marie Claire Alain, Thomas Brown, Wilma Jensen, Joyce Jones, Susan Armstrong-Ouellette, David Higgs, Klaas Bolt also in the Netherlands, Keith Chapman, Elizabeth and Raymond Chenault, Douglas Cleveland, Pierre Cochereau, Naji Hakim, Jon Gillock, Walker Cunningham, Jean Guillou, Todd Wilson, Douglas Major, Franz Haselbock, and many, many more whose names escape me at the moment. I used to play at least 8 concerts/recitals a year, but now, in my 60s I only play about 4. I always do a pre-Christmas one in December at my own church and one just before or just after Easter. I usually do a couple of others as guest at someone else's church. I also have heard many other great and lesser known organists who played maybe a number or two at an AGO convention. I feel at least qualified enough to say that I know good organ music when I hear it. Fox was best doing transcriptions and romantic music. He was also a very clever and gifter performer who took many liberties with Bach. Would Bach have done so? One can only speculate.

    Last, but not least, Ms Smith; I believe this site is meant to be an open forum for all of us to add our "opinions", which is what they all are, after all. I will not stoop to the name calling that you did with A#SS..... it is beneath me and should be beneath you, unless of course, you were into the "drinkies"!!!!!!! LMAO



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  • DuffOrgan
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    Dear Miss Smith, I waited several days to reply to your post.

    I feel you are lacking a sense of humor. and, are you really, "the Ethel Smith"? In which case I used to play several of your arrangements when I was playing popular music in a local restaurant.

    I haven't had a "drinkie" in 25 years, nor did I on the night in question! That was something that merely happened. During an organist convention, the end of the night is often a little libation before going to bed.

    I am certainly not jealous of Mr. Fox. After all, I'm still alive!

    As far as my friend Jeannette, hmmmmmm ..... she usually played about 6 recitals a year, she was a more than competent church organist who held the same post for many, many years. She was the most called upon accompianist in our area and was the regular accompianist for the Mendelssohn Singers, The Barnstormers, the Waterbury Oratorio Society, and many concerts of the Messiah performances and sing-a-longs in our area. Jealous???? Hardly. All this she managed while being a housewife and mother of three. She also possessed a wonderful sense of humor.

    Further, in leaving that Fox performance, I hardly missed anything. I heard (saw) him perform many, many times, including the Wanamaker concert in '64 and several at Riverside Church. By the way, the best of these was the Wanamaker one, because it is the perfect instrument for Fox. And Fox possessed a wonderfuld sense of humor also, and probably would have laughted at Jeannette's remark. I was very fortunate, indeed, to have attended performances by Biggs (about 6), Langlais, Dupre', the Durufles, John Weaver (under who I also sang), ditto for Fred . Wilma Jensen, Marilyn Mason, John Walker, Paul Winter, Gerre and Judy Hancock (who I also sang under), Piet Kee while in the Netherlands, Michel Chaupis, Carole Terry, Catherine Crozier, Michael Murray, Thomas Murray, Robert Edward Smith, Gillian Weir, Charles Krigbaum, Dan Miller, Marie Claire Alain, Thomas Brown, Wilma Jensen, Joyce Jones, Susan Armstrong-Ouellette, David Higgs, Klaas Bolt also in the Netherlands, Keith Chapman, Elizabeth and Raymond Chenault, Douglas Cleveland, Pierre Cochereau, Naji Hakim, Jon Gillock, Walker Cunningham, Jean Guillou, Todd Wilson, Douglas Major, Franz Haselbock, and many, many more whose names escape me at the moment. I used to play at least 8 concerts/recitals a year, but now, in my 60s I only play about 4. I always do a pre-Christmas one in December at my own church and one just before or just after Easter. I usually do a couple of others as guest at someone else's church. I also have heard many other great and lesser known organists who played maybe a number or two at an AGO convention. I feel at least qualified enough to say that I know good organ music when I hear it. Fox was best doing transcriptions and romantic music. He was also a very clever and gifter performer who took many liberties with Bach. Would Bach have done so? One can only speculate.

    Last, but not least, Ms Smith; I believe this site is meant to be an open forum for all of us to add our "opinions", which is what they all are, after all. I will not stoop to the name calling that you did with A#SS..... it is beneath me and should be beneath you, unless of course, you were into the "drinkies"!!!!!!! LMAO



    Leave a comment:


  • toodles
    replied
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    Post deleted by author

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  • Ethel Smith
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    Mr Duff,
    As an organist who has had the luxury of careers in both the popular and classical music fields . I have found that there is a lot of jealousy of those who rank higher on the professional ladder from those who are not as fortunate on the rungs below. And because of their lack of talent, and lack of listening abilities, "a couple of Drinkies" is always on their Liszt!
    unfortunately!
    Fox obviously had enough respect for his audience to give them a performance of worth. I for one would have sat there all night. To leave a recital at intermission for a couple of "Drinkies"? Really? When one personifies an alcoholic drink, one should realize that they are in fact, an alcoholic, and thus having the shakes, needed to leave a recital to nurture their addictive habits.
    Obviously then, When you said, "As far as the Fox interpretations, I would never even attempt to do with Bach what he did". you Should have said, "As far as the Fox interpretations, I could not do with Bach what he did" or "As far as the Fox interpretations, I do not have the ability to do with Bach what he did"
    As far as handed down theories and studies from understudies go. I doubt very much that anything Bach taught his students made it to you.
    Then , after piling up all of that you state , "The funniest remark was made by my friend Jeannette ....."
    How pathetic! Please explain how that is funny? or do I need a few "Drinkies" in me to appreciate the humor? How many recitals has Jeanette played and I wonder how well she would have done if right in the middle of a major work, the organ started ciphering?
    Leaving one of Fox's recitals was a loss you and your friends probably never will realize. I hope that if you are a teacher, you do not encourage a lack of respect and professionalism for others in your field that you have stated here.
    Most likely, there was a lot more in the audience who were glad you didn't return. A rethinking of what is humorous may be of worth to you because as finished reading your post, only one word came to mind..... A#$$# holes!

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  • DuffOrgan
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    Hi all, Well, for my money the present organist for Bach (and many other composers) is a lesser known English organist, Kevin Bowyer. He makes Bach extremely exciting without "breaking conventional thinking on Bach interpretation." He does well with other Baroque composers and with modern composers. He has in fact done the world premiers of recordings and performances of several contemporary composers at their request. Not bad for an obscure organist, huh?

    As far as the Fox interpretations, I would never even attempt to do with Bach what he did. I attended several concerts of his, mostly at AGO conventions. I remember one in particular in Providence, R.I. It was a new Wicks organ. It kept developing ciphers during the performance, the first half of which was all Bach. When he'd get a cipher he'd go back to the beginning of the piece and play it all the way thru. The Wicks organ people were on the site and would go in and fix the damn thing, over and over. Well, he finally reached the intermission at 10:30 pm of a program that started at 8:00 pm. My friends and I (all organists) went outside during the intermission and decided not to return to the concert but to go and have a couple of drinkies before going back to our hotel to sleep. The second half of the program was the Liszt "Ad Nos." The funniest remark was made by my friend Jeannette. She said, "why stay for the Liszt, he's been playing Bach like it was Liszt all evening?" LOL

    There is no question that Mr Fox had probably one of the most prolific memories (over 200 concert pieces committed to memory) and certainly one of the best techniques of his time. However, it is certainly questionable some of his interpretations. Besides going so romantic with a baroque composer, he also played things far faster than anyone and certainly faster than Bach ever intended, and Bach was a brilliant performer, recitatlist, organ tester and probably could have played things much faster than he did, but he played them at the tempo that he intended, since he was the composer. Much of this has been passed down from generation to generation. My teacher studied with Walcha, who studied with someone, who studied with someone, all the way back to Bach. There are many pieces, particularly the French toccatas that are meant to be played very fast, some of which I play at the fastest tempo that I am able to play them. I do not, however, do that with Bach, unless my adrenalin is somehow off and I get going too fast, and then, one doesn't have much choice but to continue on at that tempo.

    So, there you have my comments on Fox and who is really good. I respect Biggs very much, I've also seen and heard him in concert, in person. I particularly like the Bach on the Busch-Reisinger Hall organ. It is a wonderful instrument, which I've had the pleasure of playing. One of the best trackers I've ever played. Flentrop is a fine builder and he and C.B. Fisk, von Beckerath, Fritz Noack and a few others are building some really fine trackers. When they are built and regulated properly they are not as difficult as some people think trackers are. Of course, they are all fairly new. Some that I've played of over 100 years of age have been very difficult, however, I'm not sure of the upkeep of these instruments.

    ciao, Ed

    Edward Duff
    Trinity Lutheran Church
    Kissimmee, FL
    edwardduff77@msn.com

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  • philomela
    replied
    Re: Biggs Mozart Recordings & Others

    Biggs recorded on Symphony Hall organ from about 1949 to 1951. Very likely the Mozart was recorded in that time frame. I doubt that this recording has much merit, however.
    It would not be in the same league as "Bach's Royal Instrument", which had three volumes.
    "Cathedral Voluntaries and Processionals" was recorded in Symphony Hall at about the same time (1950).

    Let's hope you find a copy of the Mozart.

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  • saintfront
    replied
    Biggs Mozart Recordings & Others

    (1)I am brand new. Looking for info.
    (2) Does anyone know when the Mozart Sonatas for Organ and Sinfonietta (Arthur Fiedler), RCA Victor Red Seal set M1019 was recorded with Power Biggs. Symphony Hall Boston.

    (3) Also in France on their classical music station France Musique, in 1973 or 4 I recorded Power Biggs onto tape, playing a piece called Walkabout?? on the organ at Toulouse Cathedral. It was accidentally erased some years later and have never been able to trace the piece. Would anyone know of a copy as I rather liked it.
    tom

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  • danwebre
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    Isn't that what ruined Paderewski's reputuation? Liszt could have recorded but he chose not to. But just to make apoint about how bad arthritis can be, listen to Dupre's recordings from the 20's v. his last ones. Or listen to Biggs. Some of these peple are pressured into them, including Widor.

    dan

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  • Jerry
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    Certainly not 4 or 8 hours! I stand corrected.

    Here is a quote from the jacket of the CD "Virgil Fox The Bach Gamut" historic Concert Recording - Volume I
    by Charles F. Swisher, producer of the original recordings,


    "We set up shop in the choir rehearsal room, a floor below the sanctuary. Since there was only one master recorder, it was decided that I would record the voice tracks on my Otari recorder to give Keith a chance to change tapes in between selections. We had no closed - circuit TV available, so had to use our ears only for the changes and start times. Remarkably, with the exception of one late start and a few cases of cutting the applause, everything was captured."

    Now tell me Charlie, who is bullshitting who here? The forty measures are right out of the middle of the Fugue. Late starts and cutting applause are no where near.

    How Pathetic!

    They offer a half ass excuse for editing and you defend it!

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  • philomela
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    when did Biggs play at 1st Congregational, Los Angeles? he died in 1977. what was on the program for that concert?

    When Fred Swann was still there (in 1999) I attended a program he played. afterwards he answered questions and explained the damage the 1994 Northridge quake did to the
    divisions in the two "transepts" of the church.

    R.

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  • toodles
    replied
    -

    1-

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  • Jerry
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?


    from the advertisement


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Audio guru Dr. Keith Johnson recorded the concerts live using state-of-the-art 3-channel analog tape and recently transferred the technically superb signal to 2.0 digital stereo for the CD. William T. Allgood created the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound for the DVD-Video disc soundtrack.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    State of the art 3 channel analog tape of those days I believe were capable of 2-4-or 8 hours of continuos recording.

    from this add to "Sorry, but Keith Johnson did the best that he could considering the situation"

    sounds like false advertising or just plain BS to me!

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  • Jerry
    replied
    JerryTaylor501@AOL.COM

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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  • Jerry
    replied
    Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    Dan,

    I posted the response from the" Virgil Fox Legacy" and that's what they claimed. But if it were a live performance and changing of tape was necessary, the time eliminate of where the "D" Major is in the performance does not place it even close to a 30 min, 60 min 90 min 120 min reel to reel tape machine at either speed. So, that shoots that theory right out of the water.

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