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Thread: Works for organ

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Default Works for organ

    Aside from the formidable achievement of JSBACH, what post-Buxtehude, post-Bach composers of organ music do you feel are the primary artists/composers for this instrument? I presently own a good collection of the organ masters of North Germany in the late 16th and 17th centuries, and of Bach, but would like a more extensive catalog running through the 'moderns' such as Messiaen. I have perused Amazon.com closely, but would very much like some personal opinions.

    Thanks for any input, composers, specific works, and especially specific performers/albums will be much appreciated. nh

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I suspect that both Krummhorn and Mr. Magle might be the best guides. I will just suggest the French composers of the 19th C. Both Franck and his organist successor Fauré composed some good stuff. Alkan's contributions are at least interesting, and not subtly slanted as is much of his piano music.

    -In the 'of very little help category- I recently listened to a CD containing Franck & Fauré works performed on 'old French organs' that pleased me greatly. I may even have posted about it. But the CD doesn't 'come to hand', so what the hey, eh?
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    Senior Member jalex's Avatar
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    Yes, I think Franck is generally considered the most significant post-Baroque organ composer.

    There are also the six organ sonatas of Mendelssohn and the ten organ 'symphonies' (for solo organ) of Widor.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention Mozart's organ sonatas. They are not heavy duty, but they are Melodious Mozart.
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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Maurice Durufle - although he lived a long life his actual output was rather meagre and all of his compositions for organ (or, to be precise, those published while he lived) fit onto one disc and are widely available. One piece is based on the name of Alain - another highly-regarded French exponent of organ music who sadly died too young. If you like Franck's organ works then I imagine you'll like Durufle. Organ music from Franck's time through to Messiaen seemed to be a genre that the French excelled in.

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    Handel (concertos), Mendelssohn, Franck (chorals), Brahms, Widor (symphonies), Vierne (symphonies), Dupré, Sorabji, Messiaen, many more in between... Mozart, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Reger, Hindemith, Langlais, etc.

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Thanks! Franck is a composer I know through only two works - the Violin Sonata in A, and the Symphony in D minor. Can also say the same of Faure in terms of knowing but little of his gift for melody and beautiful harmony - I know the Requiem slightly, and have heard a number of his art songs. Will definitely check them out. Thanks again!


    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    I suspect that both Krummhorn and Mr. Magle might be the best guides. I will just suggest the French composers of the 19th C. Both Franck and his organist successor Fauré composed some good stuff. Alkan's contributions are at least interesting, and not subtly slanted as is much of his piano music.

    -In the 'of very little help category- I recently listened to a CD containing Franck & Fauré works performed on 'old French organs' that pleased me greatly. I may even have posted about it. But the CD doesn't 'come to hand', so what the hey, eh?

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jalex View Post
    Yes, I think Franck is generally considered the most significant post-Baroque organ composer.

    There are also the six organ sonatas of Mendelssohn and the ten organ 'symphonies' (for solo organ) of Widor.
    Widor is already on my list, and Mendelssohn is a favorite, so thanks for the confirmation and recommendation!

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Handel (concertos), Mendelssohn, Franck (chorals), Brahms, Widor (symphonies), Vierne (symphonies), Dupré, Sorabji, Messiaen, many more in between... Mozart, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Reger, Hindemith, Langlais, etc.
    Great! Plenty of composers little known to me: Vierne, Dupre, Sorabji, Reger, Langlais, and others I know but not their works for organ. Thanks.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Mendelssohn is a favorite of mine, especially Sonata I for organ. I've played that piece many times in concert and it is always a crowd pleaser, in particular the fast and furious pedaling towards the end, along the with final arpeggios in the manuals.

    Alexander Guilmant has composed many works for the organ as well. Maurice Durufle was mentioned ... another French organist/composer was Marcel Dupre.

    Cesar Franck Chorale No 3 in A minor (for organ) is a beautiful piece - Vierne's works for organ are also excellent resources ...
    Three Rhapsodies of Saint-Saens are worthy of listening to.

    Other not so well known organists/composers would include Paul Manz, G.T. Thalban-Ball, Alexander Schreiner, Randall Runyon, Leon Boellman, Theodore Dubois, Ralph Kinder, Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Joseph Jongen, and Percy Fletcher.

    Gosh, there's just an infinite list of post Bach/Buxtehude organ literature.

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Yes, the French Connection seems strong. Durufle is known to me by name only, and Alain not at all. Thanks so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Maurice Durufle - although he lived a long life his actual output was rather meagre and all of his compositions for organ (or, to be precise, those published while he lived) fit onto one disc and are widely available. One piece is based on the name of Alain - another highly-regarded French exponent of organ music who sadly died too young. If you like Franck's organ works then I imagine you'll like Durufle. Organ music from Franck's time through to Messiaen seemed to be a genre that the French excelled in.

  19. #12
    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Thanks for your post! Especially the 'not so well knowns' - I appreciate the naming of specific works too, and am looking for the Mendelssohn today, along with some of the others that have been mentioned by you and others. What about Bruckner - to me his symphonies sound like they were written by an organist (not a pejorative statement!) - any solo works?


    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    Mendelssohn is a favorite of mine, especially Sonata I for organ. I've played that piece many times in concert and it is always a crowd pleaser, in particular the fast and furious pedaling towards the end, along the with final arpeggios in the manuals.

    Alexander Guilmant has composed many works for the organ as well. Maurice Durufle was mentioned ... another French organist/composer was Marcel Dupre.

    Cesar Franck Chorale No 3 in A minor (for organ) is a beautiful piece - Vierne's works for organ are also excellent resources ...
    Three Rhapsodies of Saint-Saens are worthy of listening to.

    Other not so well known organists/composers would include Paul Manz, G.T. Thalban-Ball, Alexander Schreiner, Randall Runyon, Leon Boellman, Theodore Dubois, Ralph Kinder, Sigfrid Karg-Elert, Joseph Jongen, and Percy Fletcher.

    Gosh, there's just an infinite list of post Bach/Buxtehude organ literature.

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    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
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    Two American composers who wrote some excellent organ pieces are Ned Rorem and Leo Sowerby. I also greatly enjoy the organ music of England's John Stanley, William Walond, Maurice green, William Boyce and Thomas Tomkins to mention a few. Also some Scandinavian composers like Knut Nystedt, Egil Hovland and Thomas Aberg and of course Frederik Magle.

    A story is told of Fernando Germani, who was for many years Organist at the Vatican commissdioning a "difficult pedal Toccata from Leo Sowerby. On its arrival in Rome Germani cabled bact to Sowerby "Not That Difficult"
    Rob

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    The Bruckner organ works are small and rather modest. But there are a couple of good Liszts, especially the Ad Nos Fantasia, lasting 35 mins. Some of the recorded performances never get off the ground musically, but the Chorzempa (philips) does (and, I suspect, Parker-Smith). Likewise Louis Vierne has a major oeuvre, including the 24 Fantaisies, admirable by the intriguing titles alone & influenced by the Symbolist movement and Gothic fascination of the day. The Dane Langgaard wrote a lot of obscurely visionary pieces as well.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Feb-19-2012 at 23:40.

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Had no idea about Rorem who is a fine composer. Except for Stanley and Boyce all the other names are new to me. Nice to find so many to explore.



    Quote Originally Posted by GoneBaroque View Post
    Two American composers who wrote some excellent organ pieces are Ned Rorem and Leo Sowerby. I also greatly enjoy the organ music of England's John Stanley, William Walond, Maurice green, William Boyce and Thomas Tomkins to mention a few. Also some Scandinavian composers like Knut Nystedt, Egil Hovland and Thomas Aberg and of course Frederik Magle.

    A story is told of Fernando Germani, who was for many years Organist at the Vatican commissdioning a "difficult pedal Toccata from Leo Sowerby. On its arrival in Rome Germani cabled bact to Sowerby "Not That Difficult"

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