Monday, August 05, 2013

Have you ever made a pipe organ rumble?

from w
Have you ever made a pipe organ rumble?  Because that's what they can do!  I never was taught to play one but when I was 17 I was studying in Melbourne, doing some piano studies but wanted to have a go at a big church organ, so fronted up to Christ Church (Anglican) South Yarra and asked could I practice there. Rather a bold thing to do as I was a real novice. Anyway I taught myself a bit about stops and foot pedals.  Since then only rarely do I play a pipe organ, just occasionally in one of the Geelong churches but I'm not very good. Mainly I play a modern instrument at East Geelong, another kind that tries to mimic a pipe organ. But it can't rumble. And for church I actually prefer the piano, so as not to overwhelm the singing.  We have a super young musician helping now, a Japanese student who plays the clarinet beautifully.
Anyway what triggered this post was that there are some good organists in Geelong, such as the organist at St David's Uniting in Newtown. I don't think they go in for clapping and drums and bands there!  This is from the Weekly Review which I read this morning, catching up with the free Geelong newspapers.

The pipes are calling

11:54:AM 01/08/2013
Kim Norbury
Brendon Lukin started learning the organ as a six-year-old. But it was at 12 that his love affair with the instrument really began.
“I was playing the electronic organ and then at 12 I got to hear my first big pipe organ. It was just so exciting. I loved the sound, I loved the power,” Lukin says.
“I was absolutely gobsmacked.”
About the same time, it was suggested he join his brother in the local band. 
Lukin didn’t see the need to play anything but the organ and says he was dragged kicking and screaming to meet 
the bandmaster. 
“The bandmaster asked me what I wanted to play and I said the flute,” he says.
“But he said, ‘No, you don’t want to play the flute. We have 20 flute players in our band but we have no one playing the tuba’.
“He took me out the back to the storeroom and handed me this dirty hunk of metal and said, ‘I want you to play this’ … so I started having lessons.”
It was no half-hearted effort by Lukin. He went on to win world competitions and has played with the Melbourne Symphony, the Sydney Symphony and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, to name a few.
Despite the success on the tuba, Lukin says he has always regarded it as fun and the organ as his serious instrument and passion.
He has played the organ in concert halls and churches in Europe, Asia and the US. One of his most memorable concerts was in 2000, in the smallest and most intimate venue he has played.
“I could say the Gewandhaus in Leipzig or the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam … or London, but it was a performance in a tiny little church in the middle of a wheat field in a village west of Stockholm in Sweden,” he says.
“It was one of those really rare moments in your life when time stops. The sun was setting and the whole church was lit by candles. We were playing beautiful chamber music in this gothic church that looked like nothing had changed there in 500 years. It is a moment that will never leave me.”
Lukin is the organist at St David’s church in Newtown. The organ there has about 1000 pipes – 
small in comparison to some of the instruments Lukin has played.
“The first time they let me on the Melbourne Town Hall organ (about 10,000 pipes), I just sat there and thought where do I begin?” he says.
“I had it sorted out in about an hour but in the 
first five minutes [I didn’t know what to think] … I mean you’re controlling nearly 10,000 pipes – it’s 
that massive.”
While the popularity of the organ has declined over the years, Lukin isn’t worried about its future. He’s heartened by the number of young students he teaches and is heavily involved in planning events that showcase the instrument. 
At the moment he’s among those lobbying for the big grand concert organ from Hamer Hall to be relocated to Geelong’s Costa Hall. 
“If we don’t take it, it’s going to leave the state,” he says. “It would be great for Costa Hall. There are a lot 
of meetings going on right now about it … and it’s looking positive.” 


Post a Comment

<< Home