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Which artist is your favorite & why?
There are two theories to arguing with women, but...neither has worked
I donít believe Iíve ever seen a performer more enthusiastic about the music he was playing than Virgil Fox. After every song he literally jumped up from the bench and onto the stage so excited to explain the details of the next piece and bring the audience along with him at the same level. Iíve never seen Mr. Biggs but itís hard to imagine the same level of outward enthusiasm although Iím sure he would have put on a masterful display of musicianship.
I heard Biggs play in concert once. An amazing number of clinkers. That would have been in the early 70's, but when I mentioned it to my mother, she said he was that way even when he was younger, on his radio show.
didn't know it was available on CD. Very cool.
Biggs is a serious, gigantic figure in the world of organ music. He has a strict playing style, a regime if you will. He seeks out the gourmet menu of the world's organs to render compositions perfectly. In little words, he is DA MAN. He is inside Bach's head 100% in a way that at time stuns me. His playing sends my mind to Musicville like no other organist. I have a fairly complete EPB discography on vinyl.
My exposure to Virgil Fox is a as sort-of pop stylist. Nothing against him, but there's nothing going on there. Maybe I'm just being a blockhead and saying "I like what I like" but, well...
EPB was a musician and musical scholar. I have and enjoy many of his recordings.
Fox was talented. I have seen and heard him live. He played well, even spectacularly, but to me he was more of an entertainer than a serious musician in EPB's class.
Virgil Fox was a magnificent organist in romantic music that Biggs rarely recorded., e.g. Widor's Toccata from Symphonie #5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8iYJH2dsB4
Compare the leaden Biggs performance:
On the other hand, Biggs played Bach in a less romanticized fashion that is closer to what most "historically informed" performers today are doing, but with less rhythmic flexibility and improvised ornamentation. Fox's Bach, in contrast, is closer to romantic performances styles, leaving it way out of fashion. But he can be pretty exciting:
cf Biggs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4pb_W_dSK8
I saw Virgil on TV and video many times and he had a personality that was endearing at least to me. He used to play the Fillmore, Virgil Fox and Heavy Organ. The folks at those shows really "dug" it. His reading of Toccata and Fugue in D minor (?) was my first exposure to "heavy organ". I was hooked for life. I used to have some "heavy vinyl" VF organ records back in the day. My system back then could not do them justice. I went to an organ recital last year by a fellow that reminded me a lot of VF. Most of the "popular" organists these days are pretty flamboyant or at least have a lot of personality. I like that. I heard a young organ phenom here a couple years ago who was truely gifted but had no stage persona. He put on a great recital but there was no show. VF put on a show and would give you a history and music lesson as well.
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