Showing posts from 2011

Robert Noehren playing works by Johann Sebastian Bach

Robert Noehren (1910-2002) was an influential American organist with a broad interest in organ building, performance practice and writing. He was named “International Performer of the Year 1978” by The American Guild of Organists, and in that connection I’ve found this short biography ( “Robert Noehren (December 16, 1910 – August 4, 2002) enjoyed a long and distinguished career as international recitalist, recording artist, scholar, author, and teacher. He was for many years University Organist and Head of the Organ Department at the University of Michigan. His discography numbers over 40 recordings, from earlier vinyl LPs to a number of CDs made late in his career. Among his many honors were the French Grand Prix du Disque for his recording of the Bach Trio Sonatas. His interest in historical organ building led to numerous trips to France, Germany, and Holland, and the establishment of his own organ building company, where he designed and

Feike Asma & Hans Vollenweider playing works by J. S. Bach and F.Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

I’m now able to present two new organists to IHORC, the Dutch organist Feike Asma (1912-1984) and the Swiss organist Hans Vollenweider (1918-1993). "Forever closely associated with the organ of the Great Church of Maassluis (near Rotterdam) is the name of Feike Asma. In 1927, Asma succeeded his father as organist of the Reformed Church of Den Helder. He played the organ of the Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden from 1933 to 1943, afterward moving to the historical organ of the Lutherian Church in The Hague. Asma served as organist here for a period of 22 years, gracing the services and giving many recitals. In 1965, Asma became organist at Maassluis until his death in 1984, again playing for services and in numerous recitals. In the notes to the last recording issued during his life, Mr Jan Quintus Zwart characterised Osma in these words: "Over half a century, organ virtuoso Feike Asma has achieved his own place among Dutch organists. While giving so many recitals, he was as

Olivier Messiaen plays Olivier Messiaen part 3

This is the third and penultimate release with Olivier Messiaen playing his own works for now. The last works missing is his “Messe de la Pentecôte” and his “Livre d’Orgue”. Oliver Messiaen also recorded the “Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité”, but since it was composed in 1969 it was from obvious reasons not included in the 1956 recording sessions. He recorded the “Méditations” in 1972, but we’ll have to wait until 2022 for a public domain release of that. I’ve already covered many sides of the circumstances connected with these recordings, so I’ll again let Timothy Tikker speak. This time it's concerning the interpretations by Olivier Messiaen, and also draw attention to his excellent article from The American Organist (Nov 2008): “Identifying Messiaen as a romantic performer may seem surprising, when so many think of him as the ultra-modernist who, for example, did so much to introduce total serialism in composition. And yet, he admitted plainly: "I'm n

Olivier Messiaen plays Olivier Messiaen part 2

The second part of the complete Olivier Messiaen plays Olivier Messiaen consists of Apparition de l’Èglise éternelle and Les Corps Glorieux. I discussed the technical and historical details in the first release, so I’ll not go into these details again. As mentioned in the first release, I’m very reluctant in naming the definitive renditions of any works, but Messiaens own interpretation of the Apparition is simply amazing. His tempo is extremely slow but never dragging and his overall musical perception of the piece is so incredible grand. In fact looking over just a few other recordings of this piece puts Messiaens version as the slowest: Olivier Messiaen (1956) 10:05, Latry (rec. 2000) 9:45, Rudolf Innig (1996) 9:16, Jennifer Bate (1982) 10:00, Susan Landale (1986) 7:36, Thomas Trotter (1993) 9:48, Louis Thiry (1972) 8:01. The overall timing of a piece doesn’t directly tell anything about the actual tempo (or tempi) in a piece. There are many other factors in play, just listen to