Music in Bloomsbury with Organists Online
Organ Day  28 January 2023
2.30 - 3.00

Transcriptions &
Organ Design

Philip Norman

All of us play transcriptions. Every time we play an SATB hymn tune we are performing an instant "transcription" of a choral work. For most weddings and many funerals, the repertoire requred of us is rarely of organ music. Instead, we are asked to oblige with a written out or demi-extemporised transcription of a piece written for another medium.

Transcriptions of Handel choruses were on sale to organists during the 18th century and, a century later, many recitals seemed to consist of nothing but transcriptions. Following a period of decline during the mid 20th century, the playing of transcriptions is, once again, booming.

In this talk, Philip Norman looks at the history of playing orchestral and other music on the organ, reviews some of the techniques used by the most successful (and unsuccessful) transcribers, and looks at how these have influenced the design of organs.

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