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was E. Power Biggs good?

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  • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

    heard old man biggs live
    he was an EXCELLENT organist
    dignified
    controlled
    used the quanitity of organ that the music was suited to
    spoke with him briefly
    a wonderful old gent

    met fox too
    he was brilliant
    i liked them BOTH for what they were about
    different as nite is from day yet they BOTH likewise were legendary

    hope some new virtuosos spring up

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    • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

      Please, tell us more about Biggs' character. I have often wondered what his personality was like. From the look of him in pictures (including the original 1945 Time magaize ad hanging on my bedroom wall), he seemed very...strict, not carefree, but as you say, dignified and friendly.

      Tell me more! It's hard to get an impression from a picture.

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      • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

        he was difficult to please
        my name sake after who i am named g donald harrison
        had a devil of a time pleasing the old man
        after busch-reisinger aeolian-skinner experiment in 1937 old man biggs who was called "jimme"
        by harrison and other close friends jumped ship
        he became critical of harrison's work for biggs and was impossible to please
        old biggs went on board with hermann schlicker in buffalo
        then flentrop in 1957 here in harvard u
        still i heard the ole boy play the double moller at st george in manhattan dec 31 1971-early hours jan 1 1972 and he was MARVELOUS
        for money he played any organ
        was under contract with columbia records and WAS FORCED to do a performance at radio city on the wurlitzer and virgil went to the 6th gallery level at the hall and laughed his head right off watching biggs suffer and squirm

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        • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

          Biggs' St George's recording of "A Festival of French Organ Music" is indeed marvelous. I find it difficult to believe to this day that he was the organist for that august Columbia recording. I wish that they would reissue it.

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          • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

            So who is going to take their place?

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            • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

              No one to replace Fox and Biggs. The molds were broken when they checked out!

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              • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                I think the answer to how good Biggs was is that someone decided to take the time to register a domain name in his (Biggs) name and throw up silly photos of Virgil Fox.

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                • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                  Amen, Mr. Taylor, Amen. Having heard both Biggs and Fox, I prefer Fox. If my memory serves me correct, Biggs played a recital at Passau Cathedral in which he played Mozart's F-minor Fantasy and Fugue. It was quite a romantic interpretation. Biggs could "romanticize" but "classicist" that he was, he preferred to keep Bach constrained and fettered to period instruments. Bach was known to have complained about the inadequacies of many of the instruments of his time. I bet that if Bach lived today, he would grin like a Cheshire Cat, knowing that he had been vindicated insofar as inadequate instruments are concerned.

                  Cheers,

                  Giovanni

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                  • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                    I think the answer is a bit of both...

                    Individual tastes and preferences are just that, so everyone in their own opinion will remember who was the "best" organist of the last century etc.

                    Fox has a huge fan base and made an incredible contribution to organ music.

                    I don't have every recording ever made by either Biggs or Fox, but I do have many. And as a general rule in my own humble opinion Bigg's recordings sound better in the "digital age". This could very well be just the limitations of digital technology. True sound afficianado's prefer LP's over CD's because something is lost when it goes digital. It is hard to describe but there is nothing like a E. Power Biggs recording on a LP (record) played on a higher end stereo system. I have the exact same album on CD and the sound is just not as rich. However, it is still very nice.

                    E. Power Biggs's contributions are that he brought the Pipe Organ into people's living rooms during the late 1940's and most of the 1950's with a radio show that was broadcast nationwide on one of the big networks. (either NBC or CBS...I forget which one).

                    From those radio shows he brought millions of people in contact with his own personal preference of organ music which was more classic or "boroque"... This counterbalanced the image in people's mind at the time of pipe organs being the "mighty Wurlizter" theater organs which tried to imitate an orchestra or a railroad engine or what have you.

                    I think for whatever reason maybe Bigg's experience broadcasting on Radio and the limitations of that medium brought him an understanding of how to play his music so that it sounded as best it could on the limited radio medium. After playing for radio for 10 years and learning what sounded best on radio, I think gave him a training on how to play to be recorded that Fox just never had, or wanted.

                    As we all know nothing on earth replaces 'being there' for a live organ concert. So Fox 'in person-live' would of course have been spectular. But what we are left with today are the recordings of both and the way Bigg's plays and was recorded is just far superior to the Fox recordings I have heard.

                    But..again..that is NOT saying anything bad about Fox..he was outstanding.

                    But digital technology of today in my own opinion favors Bigg's recordings over Fox's.

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                    • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                      Posted By: NYCFarmboy on 04/02/2004 03:51 PM
                      Subject: Re: was E. Power Biggs good?



                      I think for whatever reason maybe Bigg's experience broadcasting on Radio and the limitations of that medium brought him an understanding of how to play his music so that it sounded as best it could on the limited radio medium. After playing for radio for 10 years and learning what sounded best on radio, I think gave him a training on how to play to be recorded that Fox just never had, or wanted.


                      which simply translates Fox loved the organ and loved playing it. Biggs on the other hand only loved Himself!

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                      • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                        Is self-love a bad thing?

                        Fox did love the organ...just too bad he didn't have any technicians who knew how to record, like Biggs did.

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                        • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                          Posted By: NYCFarmboy on 04/02/2004 08:48 PM
                          Subject: Re: was E. Power Biggs good?
                          Message: Is self-love a bad thing?



                          Not if you consider auto fellatio a good thing! other wise conceit always raises an ugly head and is disliked by all

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                          • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                            I never heard either Biggs or Fox play live.

                            Question..has anyone in this forum heard both play live? Their thoughts on each's live performance?

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                            • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                              I was fortunate to hear them both live. Fox could out-show, out play Biggs any day of the week. Biggs was a very fine organist early in his carreer. I believe the arthritis did him in.

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                              • Re: was E. Power Biggs good?

                                biggs was excellente
                                fox was superb
                                like them both....
                                heard them both live
                                finest playing/music anywhere

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