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The organ built by Gabriel Blancafort for the Chamber Hall of the National
Music Auditorium of Madrid, and inaugurated in January 1991



Punto de Órgano / Organ point

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Commentary


With the name of "organ point" (or, better, point d'orgue, since it is undoubtedly the French locution the most widespread and used internationally) three different musical facts are designated that, although enjoying a certain autonomy per se, are are strongly related and probably owe their origin to the same factor, from which they progressively broke away: Thus, and in the first place, it is designated in French what we call in Spanish "calderÓn" -"fermataā€¯, in Italian and English- (or a sign that, placed above or below a note, indefinitely prolongs its duration and momentarily interrupts its pulse); secondly, the so-called "pedal note" is thus designated, whose origin, with the name "punctus organicus", should be placed in the organa (type of composition of a first stage of polyphony that, in the 12th and 13th centuries was characterized by being made up of long fragments of music in short values, on successions of extremely long values of the liturgical tenor that served as the basis). Lastly, a more recent meaning of the point d'orgue, closely related to the first, is that of the "cadenza" that the performers improvised at those points of the composition marked by the "fermata" sign mentioned above.
As it will be seen, in none of these three current meanings is any reference made to the organ instrument itself. My wish when writing Punto de Órgano, composed in 1990 commissioned by the INAEM to be premiered at the inauguration of the organ of the Chamber Hall of the National Music Auditorium in Madrid, was to bring together the three meanings -different, but not distant- of the term in a short piece for organ, thanks to the innocent but effective plurivocity that the locution provided. Short piece, around ten minutes long, but not easy for the performer, much less for the listener -because of a considerable formal complexity, somewhat lightened by the recurring presence of various elements-, although I trust may these brief notes contribute to some help in hearing. Naturally, the three basic meanings of the "organ point" referred to above are the protagonists of the piece -sustained notes and sonorities, fermatas, pedals of all kinds...-, for whose execution, on the other hand, a careful and difficult registration, in order to obtain the greatest timbre and dynamic richness of the instrument, which would have been impossible without the splendid savoir faire of Presentation Ríos, dedicatee of the work, and whom I consider co-author of the same in that sense, and at whose charge ran its premiere, in the Chamber Hall of the National Music Auditorium of Madrid, on January 7, 1991.

Organist Presentación Ríos

On December 10, 1999, the organist Montserrat Torrent programmed Punto de Órgano to close the inaugural concert of the organ of the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid.

The organ built by Gerhard Grenzing for the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid




Recording


Premiere recording: Presentación Ríos

First page of Punto de órgano



Reviews



Sound worlds
By Enrique Franco
(Review published in the newspaper El País. Madrid, January 9, 1991)


Those who did not know Presentación Ríos (Melilla, 1951) well would be surprised the day before yesterday by her performance on the organ in the small hall of the Auditorium, a beautiful instrument into which Gabriel Blancafort has put the best of his knowledge. La Ríos is an accomplished organist and a classy musician, owner of a great imagination. It is not only about the interpretive way, but about the creation of renewed sound worlds each time thanks to the choice and combination of registers. With great ability to maintain rhythmic and expository continuity and, at the same time, to sustain the most suitable ligatures, the entire performance of the young figure of the Spanish organ was a long sum of attractions. The triumph achieved since the soloist attacked the Bugle Entrance until she closed her program with Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, by Bach, should not be surprising. Between one work and another, the genius of the Aguileras, Cabanilles and Bruna in a moving Tiento. After an example by Buxtehude and a choral prelude by Bach, Ríos offered the premiere work, commissioned by the National Orchestra to José Luis Turina (1952). From his first work, Turina revealed himself as a master of technique to the point of suggesting something in which, from the outset, we do not believe: technique as inspiration. It is not enough to study seriously, as Turina has done, so that, suddenly, such precision in writing is exhibited, such realization of what is wanted to be said to always communicate it with exact solutions.
Punto de Órgano titles its author his piece, and in the term assumes its three historical meanings: that of fermata (in French, "point d'orgue"), that of pedal or "punctus organicus", and that of improvisational cadence. But, in my opinion, the greatest incitement of the organ for Turina has resided in its sound mood, in the possibilities of its various registrations, in the game, well used by the composer, of many different densities and colorations. Thus, Ríos found what she most could wish for and the work triumphed in the midst of a repertoire that added to the talents and knowledge pointed out those of Brahms, César Franck and Schumann.
In summary, a great concert, a demonstration of the high qualities of the recently inaugurated instrument and a clear success for Ríos and Turina.



Solemn inauguration of the Almudena organ
By Leopoldo Hontañón
(Review published in the newspaper ABC. Madrid, December 11, 1999)
Solemn inauguration, in the first place, due to the very fact that the capital of Spain is enriched, with it, with a new organ, and of the category of the one presented yesterday afternoon in the Almudena Cathedral. As simple as that. Then, of course, because of what has surrounded that inauguration: the ecclesiastical presidency of the act, assumed by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Madrid -who closed it with fair and brief words of thanks, addressed especially to the Caja Madrid Foundation and to the master organ builder Gerhard Grenzing-; the civil, by the Infanta Doña Elena; and also for the beautiful spectacle of seeing a huge queue of people advancing towards the entrance of the Church eager not to miss what they sensed as a historical "premiere".
As far as I'm concerned -located on purpose at one end of the church's minor transept, that is, in the place least directly receiving sound-, I can speak of what I have found to be frankly good acoustics, transmitting a sonority of the instrument clean, clear, but also round. If I'm hurried, even too round -notwithstanding the sound explosions, especially noted in the Punto de Órgano by José Luis Turina that closed the program-, although never blurring the conceptual and sufficiently discriminating of "expressive", "trumpets" and "pedals". Of course, the executing and thinking characteristics, as admirable as they are personal, of that great figure of Spanish acting that is Montserrat Torrent, could also contribute to having that impression -and it's not censorship, quite the opposite-. The great Montserrat was a worthy introducer of the new formidable work of Grenzing and his team, with a program that, between our Francisco Correa de Arauxo and Turina, also attended Bach, Mendelssohn and Franck.



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