Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

First concert in Poland

On Saturday, Aug.3, we arrived early evening in Krakow. Beautiful city! Our hotel is right near the very center. Sunday morning we meet a new friend, Arkadiusz Bialic, who made all the arrangements for the concert (a wonderful organist himself). Together, we drive first to the castle Pieskowa Slawa, for a brief visit before arriving in Olkusc.

We did manage to see there one keyboard instrument!

After lunch, we arrived at the church in Olkusz, where my concert wouldd take place at 6 pm. I had from 2-4 to practice my program. The organ was really interesting - it clearly needs a new renovation (the keyboard is extremely heavy, and the temperament has, as Arek says, "a mistake in it". Hm yes - Bb is somewhere south of the North Pole and the G-D fifth is more or less a wolf fifth. Unfortunately I have at least 5 pieces in G minor. O---kay! But it's still an amazing instrument - short octave both keyboard and pedals; big stop list - as many pedal stops as on the hauptwerk. The positiv has amazing wrought iron levers in the side of the case (it's hard to describe, but we had to get a flashlight out to read the stop labels) that there's no way I am going to pull on, ever. Good thing Dongsok is with me!

I had one piece with me that fits the Sion organ (Valente - Paso e mezo) which goes up to high C, but this organ only goes to high A - like the Zeerijp organ. So that piece was interesting to play - I had to keep transposing down  phrases on the fly. Other pieces I was constantly changing open fifths G-D to drop the fifth when I could. Dongsok got to play the tympanum on the battle piece! All in all, despite a short rehearsal time, the concert went really well, and the audience (the church was quite full) seemed to love the funky old organ music of the medieval, Renaissance, and early baroque eras...There was a musicologist speaking before each piece who explained it to the audience, which I think really helped a lot. It was all in Polish, but I caught the phrase "Landini cadenz" which is exactly right for the earliest piece. Afterwards, flowers, speeches, newsphotos... more speeches...
I'm definitely not in the USA.

Pictures from Olkusc (maybe in a few days a video will appear here too!)

No comments:

Post a Comment