Monday, December 31, 2012

The colorized version...

A couple of weeks ago I posted a preview version of a piece I played for Christmas. With the sanctuary being re-carpeted  I, the displaced organist, sneaked over to one of our other facilities, and recorded the piece on our second-string, out-of-tune piano. Was it good for you, too?

Today, may I present the "colorized" version of what was then a black and white performance. It is the last of a set of twelve "Noels" by 18th century French composer Claude-Louis Daquin. First I'll re-post the not-ready-for-prime-time piano version (gasp) so you'll be stunned by the transformation :-)

Daquin: Noel XII on the piano

And now, what you have all been waiting for this overlong fortnight, on the organ, in its full glory, and possibly (see Monday's post) registered correctly! (or not) Here it comes....wait for it....

Daquin: Noel XII, "le suisse" on the organ

Hearing the same piece from different angles can lead to some interesting discoveries. I hope that's the case here--though I do personally find the piece repetitive and realize that hearing it twice is only going to aggravate that situation if your ears are telling you the same thing. But beyond the apparent repetition of the same tune, Daquin's piece is also evolving. If we realize that Daquin was basically using this piece as a chance to show his skill as an organist (imagine a human being with a desire to show off! how odd....) the piece begins to make dramatic sense. First he plays the tune more simply, and then the fireworks being to unfold.

Actually, the Noel I posed on Monday does a much better job of this. It begins with a jaunty little tune with a built in Baroque contrast between loud and soft, and then, exactly one minute in, the tune is repeated, but now it has three notes in the space of two. This second verse is followed by a third strain (1:41) which is just the same thing we heard at the beginning. After that, (2:05) the organist really lets his fingers run riot, particularly in the left hand. You can imagine the people listening holding their breath and wondering if his hands were going to fall off. In our day and age we are spoiled by so much virtuosity that the effect may not be nearly so great, but imagine when this sort of thing was rare.

Then again, I am often approached by persons after a concert whose first comment is that they didn't think anybody's fingers could move so fast, so there you go....

I probably ought to make a video of this sometime you so get a better idea of what I'm talking about, but for now, the organist (as in most churches) is hidden from view. Anyhow, here is the 7th noel again so you can hear the gradual evolution from pretty tune to time-to-melt-the-plastic-off-the-keys-and-prove-that-I-am-Lord-master-of-the-organ-playing-universe time.

Daquin: Noel VII

See you next year!

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