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New Pipe Organ Album Features Star Wars Music (Parade of the Ewoks?!?! TIE Fighter Attack?!)


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Last week Deutsche-Grammophon released an album by organist Konstantin Raymaier, The New Organ at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.  In addition to pieces you might expect on such an album (Bach, Elgar), it also features three Star Wars pieces.  Including Parade of the Ewoks of all things!!!  An interesting curiosity if nothing else.

 

Parade of the Ewoks

 

 

Ben Kenobi's Death and TIE Fighter Attack

 

 

Main Title

 

 

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Finally!   My ultimate recordings of these 3 pieces! I'll cherish them forever   We need an entire c.d. of this

Last week Deutsche-Grammophon released an album by organist Konstantin Raymaier, The New Organ at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna.  In addition to pieces you might expect on such an album (Bach, Elgar

Just finished the Main Title and it was the weakest of the three   Oof.

Just now, lemoncurd said:

can someone, who has way more knowledge about the physics of music than I have, explain why so much of it sounds out of tune?

 

Because Ewoks don't know their notes, they are little bears with clothes.

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2 hours ago, Jay said:

I don't like it (listening to Parade of the Ewoks). 

 

The tempo is too slow

 

1 hour ago, lemoncurd said:

can someone, who has way more knowledge about the physics of music than I have, explain why so much of it sounds out of tune?

 

I don't know much about the physics myself, but I don't think the tempi are too slow - for what this is. It's a big organ in a big, reverberant cathedral. Tempo always has to take the acoustics into consideration, and even with these slow tempi, the louder portions get close to becoming just a blobby wall of sound. I also didn't think anything sounded out of tune.

 

What did bother me was the instability of the tempi. I don't know how much of that is deliberate and part of an organists freedom to compensate for the fact that the instrument doesn't give them control over the dynamics of individual notes. In any case, it sounds messy to my ears, like a moderately skilled musician sight-reading a piece they've just seen for the first time. What bothers me even more is how the left and right hand (and I suppose the foot pedals, too) seem very much out of sync most of the time. But I don't know if that's actually the player not being able to keep his extremities in sync, or due the physics & acoustics of the instrument (or possible a mix of both, if the player has to compensate for different response times of different registers).

 

But regardless of the reasons for it, the tempi are on the lower end of the excitement scale, and the overall result doesn't convince me.

 

Edit:

I've asked a musician friend and he says as far as he can tell the player is fine, the issues we have with it are due to the physics & acoustics (and possibly the recording).

 

Doesn't make the whole thing any more enjoyable to listen to, of course.

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I'm definitely no expert on organs, but as a pianist my feeling is that the tempo definitely has some uneven bits. Perhaps he's pausing to fiddle with the stops or something? Not sure. But it's definitely there.

 

Beyond that, it's an interesting listen, but it's not my favorite Williams cover on a less common aerophone I've heard today. That honor goes to Hedwig's theme for two accordions:

 

https://www.classicfm.com/composers/williams/accordium-leviosa-harry-potter-theme-accordion-duet/

 

The performance here is unimpeachable, and the Williams passion is palpable!

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3 minutes ago, Datameister said:

I'm definitely no expert on organs, but as a pianist my feeling is that the tempo definitely has some uneven bits. Perhaps he's pausing to fiddle with the stops or something? Not sure. But it's definitely there.

 

Yes, that's certainly a part of it. And I imagine that, along possibly with  the lack of dynamic control, may also have informed a playing style where you are more liberal and "jumpy" with tempi in general. The effects are probably more jarring when performing music that wasn't originally written for organ.

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What baffles me is the choice of the pieces. I guess he must've picked ones that weren't recorded previously with organ.

The faster tempos in Parade of the Ewoks are quite hard to perform in is kind of instrument (considering there's always a delay between playing and the generation of the sound) and I'm not convinced they even exploit the sound of the organ to its fullest. In that regard, the Main Titles, along with some sections of Ben & the Tie Fighters are better suited, though I'm not a fan of the arrangements.

 

Nevertheless, I do think it would be great to have more recordings of arrangements for organ of Williams pieces. Rey's Theme, the Home Alone carols, Omaha Beach, or even Shark Cage Fugue would work beautifully. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Madmartigan JC said:

What baffles me is the choice of the pieces. I guess he must've picked ones that weren't recorded previously with organ.

 

 

At least the Main Title and Ben's Death and TIE Fighter Attack were recorded & released previously.

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I remember listening to the Trotter album in the shop before buying it in 97. One of the staff who looked very much like an indie/guitar band sort of person walked past me and said, in a thick Northern (British) accent, ‘Oh, I listened to that yesterday. It’s f...ing mental.’

 

20 years later, I still think that was pretty spot on as a short review.

 

Mark

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