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Organ pieces requiring 3 manuals

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  • Organ pieces requiring 3 manuals

    What are specific pieces that, in your experience, call for a 3-manual instrument? Imagining French repertoire would be a candidate but trying to collect specific pieces.

  • #2
    David German's Festive Trumpet Tune is annotated for (and a lot easier to play on) three manuals. I have performed it on a two manual instrument, but that took a lot of registration changes with the presets.
    I have a version of the Toccata and Fugue in Dm annotated for three manual organ by Virgil Fox.
    Sam
    Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
    Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by amenadeo View Post
      What are specific pieces that, in your experience, call for a 3-manual instrument? Imagining French repertoire would be a candidate but trying to collect specific pieces.
      Most of the 'romantic' or symphonic French pieces of the genre of Franck, Vierne, Widor, Dupre', Durufle are more easily realized on 3 manual organs, particularly if the French keyboard arrangement (Great on lowest manual, Positif on middle manual, Recit (Swell) on the top manual. The Sicilienne from the Durufle Suite Op. 5 is a prime example of using all 3 manuals simultaneously.

      Rick in VA

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      • #4
        The only music that always requires a three manual instrument is that which requires that notes on all three manuals to be played simultaneously by thumbing up or down. Gaelic Air by Keith Chapman comes to mind as such a piece. Most other repertoire can get by with two manuals provided that the combination system is flexible enough and the organist is dexterous enough to use it.
        -Admin

        Allen 965
        Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
        Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
        Hauptwerk 4.2

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        • #5
          Originally posted by amenadeo View Post
          What are specific pieces that, in your experience, call for a 3-manual instrument? Imagining French repertoire would be a candidate but trying to collect specific pieces.
          Welcome to the Forum, Amenadeo!
          • Fantasie & Fugue in Eb by Camille Saint-Saëns requires 3 manuals for the Fantasie part. I've found no conceivable means of playing all 3 parts while using a combination action. In fact, it is printed on 3 treble staves to designate the manuals.
          • Also, Dupré's Cortégè et Litanie generally requires 3 manuals for the Cortégè part when thumbing down the Chimes or Carillon as the procession leaves the church in the distance to proceed to the graveyard--where the Litanie begins.
          • I can't remember if the Priérè from Suite Gothique by Boëlmann requires 3 manuals or not. Probably not, as I've seen transcriptions of that movement for 2 manuals.
          • John Cook's Fanfare in F uses 3 manuals for the B section of the piece. I have done that section on a 2 manual organ, however, it loses some of its intensity if the organist is too busy changing pistons.:-P But then, I had the piece memorized, so the changes weren't that taxing.

          I hope that helps get you started. Please keep us posted on your progress.

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

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          • #6
            Fantaisie and Fugue in Eb, myorgan? I know of his 2 fantasias in Eb and P&F in Eb? In some other pieces or transcriptions S-S has passages on five staves, they prolly qualify.

            Brahms' 'O Welt ich muss dich lassen' has echoes of echoes, so is ideally played on 3 divisions. Karg-Elert copies this effect in 2 or 3 pieces e.g. his beautiful 'O Gott du frommer Gott' which is in the fantastic Karg-Elert Album For Organ.

            In the Kalmus book of Charpentier transcriptions are two very fine longer pieces ready-made for multiple manuals, indeed I keep meaning to rig it up via MIDI on multiple keyboard instruments around the church.

            Anything French Classic called Dialogue or Echo will prolly work fine, amenadeo. Grande Dialogue pour quatre choeurs!
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKs91R8e0sI

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            • #7
              Originally posted by amenadeo View Post
              What are specific pieces that, in your experience, call for a 3-manual instrument? Imagining French repertoire would be a candidate but trying to collect specific pieces.
              May I ask, what situation or thought prompted the question?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Victor Jules View Post
                Fantaisie and Fugue in Eb, myorgan? I know of his 2 fantasias in Eb and P&F in Eb? In some other pieces or transcriptions S-S has passages on five staves, they prolly qualify.
                On IMSLP it's listed as Fantasie No.1, and it is in Eb. That's what happens when I rely on my aging memory. I guess I've always referred to the Allegro di molto e con fuoco section as the "Fugue", though it's not really a Fugue.

                There is also an arrangement of Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns. I also can't remember, but I also think César Franck's Prelude, Fugue, et Variation (I think I have that right;-)) may require 3 manuals as well. Most pieces requiring 3 manuals do tend to be French, as was alluded to in the OP's post.

                I also had forgotten about Strickland's(?) arrangement of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. I've been waiting to perform that sometime, but not many venues have the license for performance of ASCAP registered pieces. For that reason ONLY, I've never had an opportunity to play the piece publicly. All grousing aside, I've found using 3 manuals to perform that piece is extremely helpful in achieving the gradation of sound required.

                I, too, am curious regarding the motivation of the original poster's request. Curious minds, you know!

                Michael

                P.S. Victor, I think the Fantasies, to which you refer in your post are actually in the key of Db for No.2 (with the final chord in Bb minor), and the other (No.3). is in the key of C. The Fantasie, to which I referred is actually No.1.
                Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks all for your helpful answers. Myorgan, I think the Boëlmann doesn't require 3 manuals. I remember playing it on a 2-manual and didn't have to make adjustments. Either that or I'm gifted :-) (doubtful).

                  Since some of you asked, I had heard the perhaps conventional wisdom that French romantic repertoire is more suitable for 3-manual instruments and was wondering what truly is "out of bounds" for a 2-manual organ if that's what you had access to at a given moment. Judging by the relatively few (though very helpful!) items you all have mentioned, I'm getting the sense that there is a sizable universe of repertoire that could *benefit* from the advantages of that extra manual and a much smaller one for which you *really need* 3 manuals.

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                  • #10
                    Except for certain early music or specialty fields (such as "manuals only") you will generally find that each geographic region and period of time will have music that works well on two manuals and music that requires (or at least would be easier) with three. Once multiple manuals became commonplace, it only makes sense that musicians would have exploited the opportunities they provided. At the same time, many composers would have sympathetically written music for their fellow organists to play on smaller instruments.

                    You have to remember, too, that the different divisions have been designed to accomplish different tasks or to be distinct, yet compatible.

                    As far as French Romantic goes, the Vierne 24 Pieces in a Free Style are a perfect example of repertoire that can be performed on modest instruments and still be immensely satisfying to both performer and listener.

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                    • #11
                      This thread reminds of a comment that someone once made to me. "Why do you need more than two manuals? You only have two hands."
                      Bill

                      My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by voet View Post
                        This thread reminds of a comment that someone once made to me. "Why do you need more than two manuals? You only have two hands."
                        I have two feet therefore I think two pedal divisions are in order. (that could be fun)
                        Sam
                        Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
                        Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by samibe View Post
                          I have two feet therefore I think two pedal divisions are in order. (that could be fun)
                          http://www.organforum.com/forums/sho...l=1#post172560
                          -Admin

                          Allen 965
                          Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                          Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                          Hauptwerk 4.2

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There are organists, myself included, whose church instrument has only 2 manuals. Surely I would always prefer have a 3 manual to play, but we have to make sacrifices as not every single church is able to afford, yet maintain, a large 3 manual instrument.

                            We make do with what we have available. I have played the Mendelssohn Sonata I on 2 manual consoles - it's much preferred to have 3 decks, but when one has only two we make do with what resources we have. With an excellent/reliable capture system we are able to make pieces like this sound wonderful. Same is true for the Franck Chorale No 3 in E minor which I have also played, in concert, on a very limited II/9 with only 4 generals.

                            I will always try to make pieces written for 3 manuals work on 2 manuals ... most of the time I succeed. There are pieces I encounter that cannot make the conversion from 3 to 2 manuals. So be it ... I go on to something else.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Piperdane View Post
                              I will always try to make pieces written for 3 manuals work on 2 manuals ... most of the time I succeed. There are pieces I encounter that cannot make the conversion from 3 to 2 manuals. So be it ... I go on to something else.
                              Aside from the ones mentioned earlier in the thread, are there any others you can think of where the conversion is not possible?

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