View Full Version : Virgil Fox possibly playing the right hand parts of a piece at one point, over two manuals?
04-26-2010, 07:11 PM
HI all, in the Handel Aria in F-major, that's on the Virgil Fox Encores album, at one point, when he's using a solo reed, likely an 8 foot oboe on the top note of the right hand, , it sounds like he's playing the lower part of the right hand on another manual? This was recorded on the Riverside organ, and am trying to think how this could remotely be possible? Were its manuals quite close together, enabling him to do such a thing? Or could he have just moved his left hand up higher, taking those notes with it instead?
04-26-2010, 10:01 PM
Could he have been using a melody coupler?
04-26-2010, 10:02 PM
Virgil was quite adept at thumbing a part for right hand by dropping the thumb to the manual below. One selection that calles for this is an arrangement for Panis Angelicus by Cesar Franck.I have tried thumbing and its not real easy to do well , but the artistic effects that it opens up are worth any effort.
04-27-2010, 02:34 AM
That was my thought possibly as well. In the specs of the Riverside organ in Virgil'stime, , was there one anywhere?
04-27-2010, 11:41 AM
The purpose of overhanging manuals was to allow just that thing. You have tolearn alternate fingerings, but it is very natural once you work on it a bit.</P>
David Snyder Lumierist
05-08-2011, 12:31 AM
You are very astute! Virgil used this fingering more often than many realize. To the question of a Melody Coupler,,"NO"
David Snyder, Lumierist Heavy Organ Productions
05-08-2011, 07:26 AM
... Were its manuals quite close together, enabling him to do such a thing? Or could he have just moved his left hand up higher, taking those notes with it instead?
I have no special knowledge of the particular performance you mention, but I would not be a bit surprised if Fox was 'thumbing down'. Cameron Carpenter does this routinely*, and it is mandatory for certain pieces. I was initially surprised and confused when attempting to sight read through a quiet section in a Widor symphony to come across sections requiring 4 staves of notes to be played simultaneously, then I realized the wonderful effect the extra manual can add - if played well that is! And it is not that hard on a classic organ. I have not tried it on a Hammond (wrong keyboard arrangement if you ask me) ;-)
05-09-2011, 06:15 PM
regarding VF thumbing down, I know that in the Durufle' Suite Op. 5, there are times in the sicilienne (2nd movement) the score calls for holding a pitch on one manual with the thumb, first and second fingers playing a moving pattern on another manual (below, if on an organ with the normal french arrangement of GT on bottom, POS on the center manual and SW above). You can see this in the video of VF's concert at Riverside that is on YouTube.
regarding the 4 staves printing of the slow movement from the Widor 4th organ Symphony, I think that was done for clarity rather than calling for those long suspended notes to be on another manual, as the score for the left hand is quite busy visually. challenging, but not difficult to play.
Rick in VA
David Snyder Lumierist
08-07-2011, 05:30 PM
I am thrilled that so many organists and musicians are so astute in listening to Virgil Fox that the question is asked about his possibly playing two manuals with one hand. Well, you hear correctly. Yes he did just that. He used no melody couplers but I observed him many times in the 17 years I worked for him, doing just that,,usually from the Swell Organ up to the Solo Organ.
Just a foot note to all. This year,,May 3, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Virgil Fox's birthdate. I'm asking everyone to write to the Post Office and request they now issue a special commemorative Stamp for him. After he passed away, we did ask them and they said he certainly qualified,,but that he needed to be "demised" for more years. Me thinks the time has come to ask them again. Im also thrilled so many of you are listening to recordings of his Transcribtions. To me,,in my humble opinion they represent the greatest orchestration ever recorded,
and thus the most brilliant of Virgil's achievements.
David Snyder, Lumierist.
08-07-2011, 10:38 PM
..I observed him many times in the 17 years I worked for him, doing just that,,usually from the Swell Organ up to the Solo Organ...
Hi David - thanks for that info. I've heard of thumbing down, but not up - which hand and fingers went where? (I had not noticed his fingering on the videos closely enough). This may be an obvious question that doesn't deserve an answer, please ignore if so, otherwise, I'm interested in how he played swell and solo together - right hand? Thumb on swell, fingers on echo?
The postage stamp idea sounds great. In your communications with the post office did they mention which attributes are most prized in advocating for an postal stamp candidate. I'm asking because it might help our letters (or emails?) carry more weight if we can appeal to known valid criteria. American citizen. World class musician. 100 year anniversary birth. Etc...etc.
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