Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Playing the pipe organ

In the babasiga blog I wrote that I would post something here about music, so here goes.

Recently I visited St Paul's Cathedral, an Anglican church right in the heart of the Melbourne, opposite Flinders Street Railway Station. Their pipe organ and choir are renowned for excellence in maintaining the musical traditions of Europe. The organ has four keyboards for the hands and a pedal board for the feet, was built in England, shipped to Melbourne and first played there in 1891, renovated and fully restored in 1990 back in England again!

Now the accompaniment of hymns using an organ is common in the main churches in Geelong, though not all of us have expensive pipe organs. I play an organ or piano on Sundays - but easy ones, though at times I have played the majestic big brother of one. And Faure, Saint-Saens, Albinoni can sound fantastic. BUT - this instrument has problems - I. it dominates the style of music and 2. it depends upon specialists to play it. Not many kids are learning the pipe organ these days to take the place of the oldies.

Because I like to hear the human voice, I sometimes stop playing for a verse. Though people sing on, some tend to worry that the electricity has gone ka-foot or I've collapsed, but then I tune in on the last note of the verse and we all carry on tunefully.

Okay, I'll get on my high horse another time about other kinds of music for churches.

There are mistakes in the pictures here - can you spot them?
Not just the coffee spot, but the pipes are upside down, and the choir does not have girls or women! Hmmm.


Blogger The Moody Minstrel said...

What a coincidence. My mother is also a church organist/music director.

I would love to hear an organ like that! Traditional pipe organs, especially in a traditional church or cathedral (or tabernacle) with excellent acoustics, make a sound unlike anything else!

8:03 AM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

It's a great sound, and can be conducive to worship, but often it's overpowering and the organist just enjoys his/her own emotional experience!
As I get older, I like quieter music. I occasionally played - at church - some of Erik Satie, without telling anyone the music was really about young Greek lads dancing in the forest!

10:39 PM  
Blogger The Moody Minstrel said...

Speaking of overpowering pipe organs, what if you tried playing Mannheim Steamroller's "G Major Toccata" (from Fresh Aire 4 )? You'd probably want to do without the drums, however...

9:11 AM  

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