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    Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



    My organ teacher in college was a student of Anton Heiller in Germany. According to her, he was the only person in the world who played the organ correctly. Everyone else played it wrong! Anything written about playing the organ from greats like Albert Schweitzer, E. Power Biggs, etc. was "incorrect" according to her and I shouldn't believe them. I should only believe her and what she learned from Anton Heiller.</P>


    Twenty years later, after taking organ lessons from her, I am finally starting to get back on the organ bench.</P>


    My question is this. Should I believe what she said about Anton Heiller or should I also consider what other people have said about organ playing?</P>


    One of the things that was big about her was that you needed to take a "break" between beats and that you played the notes within a beat legato. She was so insistant about this that she even had me do fingering that purposely made me take a "break" (nonlegato) between the beats. Twenty years later, after not playing the music during that time, I find many of these fingerings awkward and they make it difficult to play runs or scale passages.</P>


    Again I ask, should I continue with what she taught me, or should I try something else?</P>


    Tony</P>

    #2
    Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



    HI, short answer.</P>


    Yes, I've heard of Heiller and I've played some of his music. Some of it is quite listenable. I can give you some of my favorites another time.</P>


    In terms of playing style, I don't know what Heiller taught, but it seems to me like your teacher is a bit over-the-top. No ONE person is EVER "the only person in the world who played the organ correctly." That automatically discounts Bach and a few others who are noted for their ability on the instrument.</P>


    It sounds like she was trying to teach you a style of playing based on historic performance practices. Remember that a lot of teachers from that era were ground-breakers and we owe them a lot, but they were "first generation." After them came another generation or two, who continued to research and refine those practices by hunting down various sources and playing and listening. Take what she said into account, but also check in with more current thought. You will find that some of the ideas overlap, and in some cases, a new approach will help to explain more clearly what she might have been trying to get you to do.</P>


    An example of something that smacks of being wrong already... if there is a series of 16th-notes in groups of 4, you have the options of:</P>


    all legato</P>


    all staccato</P>


    2 legato + 2 legato</P>


    2 legato + 2 staccato</P>


    and probably more, depending on the context of the work. So, playing "the notes within a beat legato" is just too limiting. Also, although one might "break between the beats," you make no reference to how one differentiatesbetween beat one of a measure and any other beat.</P>


    Many of the players who got on the "historic performance practice" early, were reacting against an overly romantic approach, and ended up being criticized for their lack of emotion or feeling or passion. They pushed the pendulum over to one side, too far, and now it has begun to swing back to a more reasonable position.</P>

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      #3
      Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



      Thanks for the answer.</P>


      According to her Bach did play the organ correctly and Anton Heiller was the only person in the world since thenwho could play the organ just like Bach!</P>


      I never knew that Heiller wrote any music. She never had me play anything. I wonder why she never had me play music from her god?</P>


      Tony</P>

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        #4
        Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



        Some people are good players.</P>


        Some people are good composers.</P>


        Some people are both.</P>


        Some people are neither.</P>


        LOL</P>

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          #5
          Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



          Brief bio, taken from Corliss Arnold "Organ Literature; A Historical Survey," second edition:</P>


          Anton Heiller - 15 Sept 1923 - 25 March 1979.</P>


          Studied piano with his father from the age of 6. Was organist at Pfarrkirch, Dornbach at the age of 12. In 1945 [age 22!] became a teacher in the Dept. of Church Music, Academy of Music, Vienna. Won various prizes including improvisation and choral composition.</P>


          It looks like there are about 15 published organ works/collections, plus an organ concerto for Positiv Organ, Harpsichord and Chamber Orchestra. Most works published by Doblinger.</P>


          My favorites are a partita on "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," and a partita and organ setting of "Es ist ein Ros'" [Lo, how a rose e'er blooming.]</P>

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            #6
            Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



            [quote user="Tony Milwaukee"] According to her Bach did play the organ correctly and Anton Heiller was the only person in the world since thenwho could play the organ just like Bach![/quote]</P>


            Hi Tony!!</P>


            Has your organ teacher ever <U>demonstrated</U> howBach should be played according to Bach or Heiller?? It occurs to me, thismany years later, that I've never ever heard any of my organ teachers sitdown and show me how a particular should be played; and in retrospect, I often wonderif they could actually play the organ at all?? []</P>


            Perhaps Anton Heiller was thevery best of my organ teachers; and this goes back about 45 years to a time when I had a rather large vinyl record collection; mostly organ recordings consisting of anything and everything I could get my hands on. Of all the recordings in my collection, Biggs, Fox, etal, adnauseum;there was <U>one</U> organist who stood out aboveall therest: Anton Heiller!! [] I particularlyloved his which was performed like no other I've ever heard before or since. In those days, many an afternoon was <U>invested</U>, listening intently to Weiller playingthrough the while I reclinedcomfortably relaxed in an easy chairwith the in hand following the score phrase by phrase until I had almost everyHeiller nuance throughout the book committed to memory. A great way to practice when you don't have the energy to get up off your butt and accomplish something even less significant. Glenn Gouldimplemented a very similarapproach by spending much of his practice time merely reclining in and easy chair, and reading/humming through scores.</P>


            Was Anton Heiller the greatest??With respect to his interpretation of the Choral Preludes; within those limits, I would vote: YES!</P>
            2008: Phoenix III/44

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              #7
              Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



              Yes my teacher did demonstrate how to play and she was some hot shot performer back in the day. She played recitals for OHS conventions and other places as well and had her business card size ad placed in organ magazines on occasion. </P>


              What she didn't demonstrate was how to be a good teacher. She was a difficult teacher to study with and impossible to please, always being overly critical.</P>


              I loved the organ before I took lessons from her. It was my passion in life, but after four years of lessonswith her I hated the organ and didn't play it for many years.</P>


              I never even knew that Heiller had any recordings. She never once told me he did nor did she have me listen to any. I would have loved to listen to his Orgelbuchlein for inspiration. I guess the words from her lips about his technique were enough and I never had to actually listen to her prophet since she was wearing his mantle now.</P>


              Relaxing comforting listening to the recordings of Heiller? I would have gladly traded that for some of the many and hours a day, sitting on a hard organ bench,she required me to practice.</P>


              Tony</P>

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                #8
                Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?

                <P mce_keep="true">[]</P>
                2008: Phoenix III/44

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                  #9
                  Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



                  Listening to Anton Heiller's mono recordings on modern Swiss pipe organs in the late 1950's, released by Philips, had a profound effect on my life. While I have no wish to rank him as a player or as a teacher or as a composer, I do know that those recordings of the major Bach organ works blew me away completely, and made me an organ-obsessive (and started me on becoming also a Bach-obsessive).</P>


                  I shall always hold his name in the highest regard.</P>


                  John Reimer</P>

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                    #10
                    Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?

                    One of mymost influentialorgan teachers was a good friend of Heiller. I have several of his recordings andrecall beingimpressed by his playing.

                    Since Ino longerhave a way to conveniently play LPs I'm afraid it has been a very long time since I've heard him play.

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                      #11
                      Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



                      Are Heiller's recordings out on CD?</P>


                      Did we have the same organ teacher?</P>
                      <P mce_keep="true"></P>

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                        #12
                        Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



                        [quote user="Tony Milwaukee"]Did we have the same organ teacher?[/quote]No... my teacher was a 'he'. []</P>

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                          #13
                          Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



                          I have one CD of Heiller playing Bach. It's a Vanguard recording: VCD-72014 Stereo</P>


                          GREAT BACH ORGAN WORKS - ANTON HEILLER, Organ</P>


                          T&amp;F in d - Fantasie&amp;F in g - 2 Chorale Preludes on "Liebster Jesu" - P&amp;E in e [wedge] - P&amp;F in a - Pass&amp;F in c - Fantasia in G</P>


                          The organ used is at the St Mary Church, Halsingborg, Sweden - 1959 Marcussen and Son.</P>


                          Copyrights 1987, 1981, 1965 VANGUARD RECORDS.</P>


                          Liner notes [by Allan Kozinn]give info about the pieces -nothing about the organ or performer. I find this reference odd - "... known as "The Wedge," largely because of the fugue's unusal three-part structure wherein the normal fugal development is interrupted with a wedge-like section that alludes to but does not develop the fugue subject." [I thought it was called "the Wedge" because the subject looks like wedge on paper.] The Chorale Prelude "Liebster Jesu" is referred to as "Liebster Herr Jesu," 3 times -a peculiar error. The notes also state that Bach's "surviving organ works number in the hundreds..." I didn't think there were THAT many.</P>


                          I've listened to it frequently in the last few days, as a result of this thread. I really like his playing, his choice of instrument, his registrations, his approach, his passion, his clarityand his tempo. The only thing that I might wish for would be a bit more articulation - I find it all a bit legato, although it is definitely not a muddy, mushy legato. I also wish for a little more give at cadences. I want him to bring out the architecture of the music a bit more; not much, but a little bit. For my taste, he motors through just a bit too metronomically. He is still excellent, though, considering the era in which he was working.</P>

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                            #14
                            Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?

                            Ah yes, that is the recording I have. Your descriptionmatches very well with what I recall about the album. I like that organ too; it was a favorite instrument for many recording artists of that era.

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                              #15
                              Re: Anton Heiller? Has anyone heard of him? Questions?



                              "All a bit legato?"</P>


                              I find that comment interesting. According to my teacher he only played legato within a beat and didn't play legato between beats.</P>


                              Maybe she was just making all of this up and Heiller didn't say the things she was saying after all.</P>


                              She did seem to contradict herself often.</P>


                              Maybe I should just forget EVERYTHING she said.</P>

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