Videos and Concerts

AllSaintsAisle2Duets and Pedal Fun

Preparing for the two organ duet concerts with Jaime Carini created a very intense week. I hope you enjoyed the video from our first day of practice in the last newsletter. ( Click here in case you missed it or to see it again.) We also posted Promenade by Dello Joio from our practice session in Daytona here. By far, the most popular piece on the program was the set of waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr. transcribed for four feet. These were very challenging to learn as we often found ourselves playing the exact same notes right after each other. We had to practice slowly and watch where and how we moved to each note in order to make sure we didn’t step on each other or keep the other person from getting to the proper location. We even took a little video to see if we could spot any better ways to stay out of each others way. Have a look and see for yourself: Pedal Practice for Strauss Waltzes.

Naji Hakim – The Apostles

It was a great joy to play the US premier of movements from The Apostles by Naji Hakim. We have audio and video from both concerts, and I hope we will receive permission from Hakim to post a couple of excerpts on YouTube. We enjoyed doing these concerts together, and we both hope to be able to play the pieces again in other locations as well as actually learn all the movements of The Apostles.

John Stainer – The Crucifixion

After putting Jaime on the plane early Monday morning, I went up to Leesburg that evening to play for a rehearsal of The Crucifixion by John Stainer at Morrison United Methodist Church. When I last played the piece, I burned my hand the week before the concert, so had to play the piece using basically only my right hand and pedal with a few single notes by my left hand and a little assistance from my page turner for a couple of passages where Stainer requires the organist to play on two separate manuals. The concert is tonight at 7:30 pm. I am looking forward to it as not only a wonderful musical event for the Lenten season, but also as a chance to finally play the piece uninjured and pain free!

Even though I know many of you are not able to attend these events in person, I hope that the clips on YouTube provide some entertainment. Once this set of concerts is over, I hope to be able to post more videos of performances and improvisations in the next few months. I also wish to continue exploring how music gets both to and from the written page.

Hoping spring arrives in April!

Glenn

Newsletter Issue 18 – 2014 03 31
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Pedal practice – Strauss Waltz for Pedal Duet

Jaime Carini & Wm Glenn Osborne prepare for organ duet concerts on Friday, March 21, 2014, at All Saints Episcopal Church in Winter Park, Florida, and Sunday, March 23, 2014 at First Church of Christ, Scientist in Daytona Beach, FL.

This excerpt is from a set of waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr. arranged for four feet. We took this video today while practicing in Daytona to see how we might better avoid each other….

Merkel Day 1

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While everyone was out celebrating, Jaime and I were working on our program for our concerts this weekend. We still have some polishing to do, but here is a little teaser so you can see a little of what happens when two people sit down at the organ.

Naji Hakim – The Apostles

Because our concert in Winter Park is the same weekend as the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, we chose to include as many art-inspired music selections as possible. While looking for repertoire, I discovered a set of pieces for organ duet by Naji Hakim inspired by wood carvings by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The Apostles presents a series of short movements based upon the artwork but also making use of Gregorian chant and other chorale themes. As the composition was only written in 2011 and not that many people perform organ duets, I recently contacted Dr. Hakim and was informed that we would be doing the US premier! We are super excited to be the first American performers and hope you will be able to come hear it at one of the concerts on Friday or Sunday!

Wishing you all the luck of the Irish!

Glenn

Newsletter Issue 17 – 2014 03 18
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Practice, Practice, Practice

Mastery

carnegie3I forget the exact setup, but the standard joke is a musician on the streets of New York asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” and the reply is, “Practice, practice, practice.” From the research widely publicized by Malcolm Gladwell, we know that in order to become an expert at just about anything, it requires 10,000 hours of practice. While I’m sure I’ve put in at least that much time at the organ, I’m still looking for opportunities to improve and learn more.

Rice University

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the symposium on French music and improvisation at Rice University. Featured on the schedule were performances by Ken Cowan, George Baker, Tom Trenney, Johann Vexo, and Philippe Lefebvre. Because I had worked with Philippe Lefebvre previously, I was very excited to see him again and to see what new tips and tricks he might have to share with us this time.

Fisk109RiceThe instrument for the class was C.B. Fisk, Inc. Opus 109 / Rosales Organ Builders, Inc. Opus 21. When I was looking for someone to build a French-style instrument for the Cathedral in Albany while I was music director there, I heard a great deal about this instrument, so was delighted to finally be able to see and hear it. It is decidedly well-suited for the French repertoire and offered many tantalizing sounds for the concerts and masterclasses. One of the elements that Philippe Lefebvre shared with us in the final improvisation masterclass was how he searches for new and different sounds at the organ. Most organ stops have very traditional uses and functions, however, he encouraged us to consider non-standard uses and registers. Instead of using the 8′ Harmonic Flute as the solo, why not try the 2′ Octavin played two octaves lower? Or the Quint or Tierce by itself as a solo stop? I have always been attracted to the organ because of the variety of colors available, but Philippe showed us an even wider palette of possibilities!

Improvisation Practice

While many musicians are accustomed to practicing repertoire (after all, how else will they get to Carnegie Hall?), many seem confused at the idea of practicing improvisations. Aren’t improvisations supposed to be “instant music” created on the spot? How can you ever practice such a thing? The truth is that to do it well, those same 10,000 hours of practice are required.

Any one who has attempted to learn a foreign language should recognize the difference between being able to read or pronounce what they see on the page and being able to carry on a conversation. For me, musical improvisation is being able to carry on a conversation. We have to learn the rules of grammar and be able to apply them spontaneously to convey our thoughts in a way that is meaningful to the listener(s). Just as a child learns to spell, we must learn how to spell musically. Which notes will follow in what order to create what words? How do we fit the words together to make sentences and paragraphs? These are all items that we must study and practice if we are to improvise well.

The concert by Philippe Lefebvre at Rice was one of the best organ recitals I have heard in quite some time. He took us through a Sunday at Notre Dame, sharing both improvisations and repertoire that reflected the typical activities of the day. Having heard him play there, I truly felt like I had been transported to Paris for the evening! Thanks to the marvels of YouTube, we can all visit Notre Dame from the comfort of our own homes without any jetlag! Below is a fugue that Philippe improvised for Communion at Notre Dame.

Enjoy the music and keep practicing!

Glenn

Newsletter Issue 13 – 2014 01 16
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Louis Vierne meets The Munsters

For the CFAGO Spooktacular, I decided to write a new piece for organ. Unfortunately, I was not able to record the performance at the Chapel at the Towers, so instead I decided to attempt a recording tonight (10/31/2013) after the vigil Mass for All Saints was over at Holy Redeemer. Because the organ console is in a pit at the front of the church, I often have people come speak to me while I’m playing, and tonight was no exception (c. 3″ in tonight). I hope you enjoy the piece and can look past any bobbles I might have made from the distractions. Happy Halloween!

1. Listen now     

Rondo Fanfare

Composed in October 2013 for the Sovereign Brass Union, this 3-minute fanfare is for 10-piece brass ensemble and organ it was premiered in concert at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe on November 3 at the Power and Glory of Brass Concert. The audio below was generated with the Finale music notation program.

1. Listen now     

Fanfare on ‘National Hymn’

BNSMQU Michael Face
On Sunday, September 29, a new statue of St. Michael will be dedicated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. Discovering that there would be an additional procession of banners, music director Bill Picher asked if I would make a short fanfare arrangement of the tune “National Hymn’ to provide music for the extra procession. With only a few days to complete the project, I got to work as quick as I could.

Here’s a video from a rehearsal at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen:


CFAGO Easter Hymn Sing

Event Description:

Join with the
Central Florida Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Orlando Brass Quintet to celebrate the season of Easter in song. Among the hymns included on the program will be Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, O Sons and Daughters, Now the Green Blade Rises. Come even if you just want to listen because this will be a glorious occasion to bask in the joy of Eastertide.

Event Date

05/14/2013

Event Time

7:00 pm

Event Venue

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
1603 N. Thacker Ave.
Kissimmee, FL 34741

The British Way Concert Videos

While looking around on-line today, I discovered that TampaKurt had posted videos from the Festival Singers of Florida concert in January. The video playlist includes 11 selections from The British Way! and may be seen here. It was a pleasure to work with Dr Kevin Fenton and the Festival Singers.

As a teaser, here’s the first piece on the program: ‘Let The People Praise Thee, O God’ by William Mathias