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And here is the thing, I love these kinds of stories as the size of my romance shelf can attest. The lack of printed music — not only of music of high artistic value — at that time should not lead us to view the quality of organ-playing as generally in- ferior, and the reports of the poor skills of organists must be critically evaluated with regard to origin and purpose, and even to where the ob- servations were made or published. The quality of this organ was modest, however; it constantly sufered from multiple defects and needed continuous repairs. Research literature Erdman, Jerzy The suitability of diferent kinds of music for use in the church and its ser- vices, a topic intensely discussed throughout the nineteenth century, proved to be a complex issue: We visit, judge and record the instruments in a situation to which they were not fully meant to correspond.
Here again most likely I exaggerate by generalizing, but surely we are not far from the picture of countless long-forgotten musicians, pro- fessionals included, who proceeded in this way, along with the writers of music who catered to their needs, basic or circumstantial. Why, having an abundance of publications worthy of taking their place in the library of a serious organist, must we be looded in a deluge of petty, more or less bland rantings, drawn without elaboration, without inspiration, from the brains and the pen of a crowd of run-of-the mill organists?
For them, the composition of a volume is the matter of a morning; they must produce, at any price, in order to sell a lot. Hence, what an abundance of advertisements! See how, with a trumpet call, works are published that, short of having any other merit, at least have that of being itted with attractive, pompous titles.
Open the irst page of these precious methods; there you will ind new, simpliied procedures, pieces of sublime advice, such highly illuminating harmony treatises whereby with a bit of good will you can be convinced of beco- ming, in one week, a perfect musician. But the question of models remains: What is stirring, poignant, what is beyond reach, out-of-touch? Yes, barring the improbable em- brace of Bach or Couperin by what we nowadays call the grand public, grand opera may have been the highest creative corpus to which they could conceivably aspire, clearly surpassing the cabaret or the military band in musical depth.
To do justice to him would require a book-length study, a prerequisite being examination of his extensive secular output, particularly the unexpectedly diversiied and rich Sonate dramatique, op. Both love their craft with passion and give only their best which is far from the claim that everything they brought forth was automatically of lasting worth.
Other artists — I think of Guilmant — sought to meet these two ideals halfway, with music that was generally routine and predictable, ranging from carbon-copy texture and structure to deft, lyrically-inspired handling of classical models.
His music is un-provocative enough for any average listener to keep track from beginning to end, while displaying a knack for small features of variation and development that gently challenged that average listener to deepen his or her listening and comprehension; among the major French composers of his time, he went the furthest in supplying larger-scale repertoire expressly intended for the liturgy; in this sense he could be seen as a benchmark that could possibly be transferred to our day.
It should be once again recalled that ultimately his contribution to the oices was largely that of a recitalist, meaning that he could readily play, say, a movement from his latest organ sonata for a communion or ofertory. The epitome of this approach, indeed this axiom, is surely the lyrical yet noble Prelude in 5 parts by Lemmens, written exactly at mid-century. For this he must efect a thorough, consistent study of the trios by J.
Bach, whose pedal part is replete with such combinations, such diiculties that the imagination is appalled.
Yet it is these trios that Mr. Lemmens, professor of organ at the Brussels Conservatory and today perhaps the foremost organist in Europe, performs with an ease, a freedom of allure that boggles the mind and causes one to doubt the obvious. Ce sont pourtant ces trios que M. Parallel to and underlying the question of creation for the organ, the immense question of the plainchant or Gregorian repertory held a front seat in the debates and polemics that continued unabated at least up until the Motu proprio of It goes well beyond pondering what rhythms are proper for Ein feste Burg or, for that matter, Freu dich sehr o meine Seele.
The Lutheran chorale is, for practical purposes, a fairly straightforward afair. We are not likely to go back, in our liturgy, to any of the solutions that existed or were created or recreated during the long nineteenth century — Gregorian chant is hardly even used any more by the Church — but it is interesting to note that even in the area of contemporary songs used in the liturgy, the syncopated rhythms intended by the composers are often not properly rendered by con- gregations, used as they are to their own routine.
Kurt Lueders, vol. I, Bonn—Bad Godesberg: Forberg, , 24— Ironically, today the potentially stif-sounding Characteristic piece in the Phrygian mode by Guilmant which, by the way, was written in might actually be more immediately gripping than the time-worn passage in Franck!
It is stunning to relect upon where the potency of this little seed was to lead with Tournemire and Messiaen, showing the way in a grandiose expansion during the s and 30s. My experience, narrow as it is, suggests that Finland and the Baltics may be in a particularly favourable position to ofer an analogous, non-avantgarde yet novel and highly eloquent pal- ette. Rhythmic, periodic, and intervallic structures, as well as that je-ne- sais-quoi of a sort of northern-light tinge can likely enrich sacred music everywhere.
The musical landscape sketched out above underlies the various writings by the thinkers whose essays and debates contributed to the evolution of organ and church music culture. Religion had its irm if not completely uncontested place in creating the social and moral fabric of the people: How fascinating it would have been to participate in the discussions among church musicians at the time!
So these, in stenographic form, were a few elements from the his- tory of organ-playing and organ music in nineteenth-century France; many more can be studied along the same lines. In the short time I have spent in Finland over the years, learning from observing and talking with colleagues, I have been struck by how much unity and apparent stability and consensus has come to the fore. Surely not everything is rosy — it seldom is!
How to come to grips with all of that? Do we have anything similar we ind ourselves confronted with today? Is there an ideal bal- ance between traditional languages and less accessible, modernistic endeavours?
France today is not alone in facing momentous shifts in frequenta- tion and use of churches: Many musicians have, to dif- ferent degrees, stood up for establishing the organ as a secular instru- ment like any other, so the approach that versatile musicians took in the nineteenth century to forge their identities and professional balances can perhaps inspire us yet today.
It is my hope that the above remarks may lend some perspective and counterpoint to the other essays in the present volume. However, the principal question that plagues me personally is not speciically musical but, it seems to me, has great bearing on our pres- ent-day and near-future strivings for excellence and relevance as mu- sicians and scholars within our society: Music and art hold promise of an alternative to crass vying among what might be termed conlicting realities.
Our world stands to be increasingly dominated, schematically speaking, by YouTube, and speciically for the organist, by Hauptwerk. Will Wikipedia and Google eventually replace the university itself, or at least reshape its ends and means? What is right, what is wrong? What is progress and betterment, what is regres- sion or degeneration? What is noble and what is communicative, what is popular and what is elite, and can they be made to coexist peacefully or, better yet, merge without sacriice or compromise of values, an age- old ideal that we see lurking constantly in the background within the nineteenth-century organ world as well?
Six pieces pour Grand Orgue, Paris: Lasceux, Guillaume Sonate dramatique, op. Lemmens, Nicolas-Jacques Lueders, Kurt ed. Sources Chorley, Henry F. Musical Manners in France and Germany: Colin, Charles Couturier, MM Institutions liturgiques, vol. Fleuriot, and Paris: Huysmans, Joris-Karl En route, Paris: Research literature Hameline, Jean-Yves Known for his technical skill and impeccable taste, he was highly at- tuned to the German tradition.
As assistant to Ambroise Thomas he may well have become organ professor at the Conservatory but for his premature death in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war. A controversial igure in his lifetime, he came to be largely considered after his death as the epitome of super- icial, pianistic virtuosity and secular styles in organ playing, although contemporaries lauded his skill and originality as an improviser, and his unlagging devotion to his art.
Lemmens, Jaak Nicolaus [Nicolas-Jacques] — Belgian organist, pianist, harmonium virtuoso, composer, Professor of Organ at the Brussels Conservatory before marrying a major English soprano and living in England. Trained many important Belgian organists as well as the Frenchmen Guilmant and Widor. Himself a Protestant, Niedermeyer turned to the reform of Catholic church mu- sic. In these compositions, the young Johann Sebastian — juvenile, provocative or ambitious, depending on how we like to see him — introduced a new style of chorale setting in the context of the service, an enterprise which, in the words of the church council in Arnstadt, caused confu- sion in the congregation.
The bold harmonies that Bach employed to accompany these well-known melodies made it impossible for people to continue their singing — or, at least, it disturbed their piety or religious feelings Bach-Dokumente II, no. But could it be that Bach intentionally confused the congregation as an expression of boredom with the many services he had to play, or as a protest against the working conditions imposed on him by the Council?
Or, did he perhaps imagine that it was expected from him, as a young and gifted organist, to show his ability to accom- pany chorales in a modern style, and was thus genuinely surprised at the reaction that followed? The case of these few, albeit well-known, chorale settings focuses on certain aspects that will guide the following discussion since they are paradigmatic for the understanding of organ music in the liturgy in the nineteenth century as well: The quality of the instruments 2. The state of organ composition 3.
The state of the art of organ-playing, including the education of organists 4. Opportunities for organ-playing 5. Liturgical duties 6. It was completed and examined by Bach in , and after its inauguration the examiner was engaged as organist. Neither the council mem- bers nor Bach himself complained about the quality of the instrument, and we have no reason to suppose that Bach in his playing would have wanted to demonstrate deiciencies in the instrument — if such there were.
The idea of playing chorales in this way returned in the nineteenth century in syllabi for teaching and examination — a small but notewor- thy sign of the skills required from organists, as well as the capacities of the instruments. There is no reason to assume that organs were generally insui- cient in the irst part of the eighteenth century, nor is there any such information for the following decades.
The high level of organ-building in central Germany and beyond continued during the entire Romantic era, and the high estimation of Baroque instruments, particularly the Silbermann organs, is relected in music journals as early as the s almost a century before the Orgelbewegung. A brief look at the history of organ-building in the nineteenth century conirms the impression of the great value put on tradition.
As for the erection of new instruments — for example, the organs by Buchholz in Greifswald and Ladegast in Merseburg — there is absolutely no reason to speak about a decay in organ culture during the nineteenth century. Neither would there have been any reason for spending large sums of money on great new instruments if there had been no one capable of using this wealth of sounds in services, concerts, or on other occasions.
Regardless of the era, organs are too expensive to be built exclusively for purposes of decoration or representation. The unique position of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose compositional skills widely surpassed those of his colleagues, and not only in Saxony, has distorted our view of the historical situation, and also of the general standards of organ-playing, which, if we again disregard the exceptional case of the Thomas Cantor, did not decline as a whole.
Furthermore, there were organists in the second half of the eight- eenth century who produced chorale melodies and preludes for prac- tical purposes in a style that did not change at all. Although it is thus not possible to speak of a progress in writing organ music during that era, it seems to me all too easy to postulate that a new beginning for organ composition came only with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy; his music rested on traditions that had never been discontinued.
The works of organist-composers such as Adolph Friedrich Hesse and Gustav Merkel, while not equal to the piano masterpieces of Schumann and Liszt, are not totally insigniicant.
The depreciation of organ mu- sic from this period, and perhaps from the entire nineteenth century, seems to emanate from the Orgelbewegung, which, with its preference for baroque music — in particular the organ compositions of pre-Bach masters — was prone to denouncing not only the instruments but also the music of the recent past. The success of this movement reached its peak after the Second World War; with new instruments built in neo-baroque style and the destruction of romantic organs, especially in West Germany, the music composed for these instruments disappeared for at least a generation.
The irst rediscoveries of this music, dating from the s, were followed twenty years later by an increasing num- ber of reprints, and it is perhaps only today that we are inally able to appreciate the wealth and quality of nineteenth-century organ music. However much there is to be said for this organ music, one cannot disregard the strong element of epigonism and mere craftsmanship, rather than art, to be found especially in chorale settings.
The history of chorale preludes from to is indeed diicult to describe in terms of development or progress. Most of the pieces show the same quasi-polyphonic manner of writing, and the harmonic spectrum of the later settings is very often more limited than in the earlier pieces. Moreover, the cantus irmus does not allow much variation in musical form.
Mainstream organ music did not change, however, and on the whole, the extremely conventional manner of composing prevented organ music from keeping up with the development of music aesthetics and modes of composition. This undoubtedly revealed conservatism — but not quite decline.
In particular, printed chorale preludes are very often not, strictly speak- ing, compositions, but rather models for improvisation or are intended for didactic purposes.
The lack of printed music — not only of music of high artistic value — at that time should not lead us to view the quality of organ-playing as generally in- ferior, and the reports of the poor skills of organists must be critically evaluated with regard to origin and purpose, and even to where the ob- servations were made or published.
Though we cannot ignore the fact that only a small body of organ music was published around the turn of the nineteenth century, we should not jump to the conclusion that the organ culture of the time was inferior. Reports about the playing of organ arrangements from operas during services signal a change in taste but not a decline in performance skills. The situation becomes even more diicult to evaluate when we come to the ield of improvisation, where the total lack of musical documenta- tion leaves us with the sole option of discussing the skills of the players.
The diference between the printed organ music of organists such as Adolph Friedrich Hesse or — later — Anton Bruckner, and their reported achievements as improvisers, however, gives the impression that our perception of the situation of organ music in the nineteenth century remains incomplete if we fail to pay attention to these sources.
The state of the art of organ-playing simply cannot be ascertained solely by evaluating printed compositions. The state of the art of organ-playing, including the education of organists In a textbook from the end of the eighteenth century, the organist is advised to play passion music with his arms crossed in order to show his devotion and humility Moritz , This suggestion — a rather strange one from a modern perspective — may appear to be a joke, but it could perfectly well have been serious.
Playing the organ in servic- es, especially during Lent, would require a special posture, not only mentally but also physically. The playing was regarded as a kind of religious exercise, and the physical behaviour should have an impact on the spiritual attitude of the organist. Recommendations such as that cited above may deserve some amount of criticism — but at the same time they show the intensity of the discussion on how to play the organ in a proper and digniied style.
As widespread as degenerate modes of playing were from this point of view , there were also strong reactions against them, showing an awareness of how it should be. A degraded state of organ-playing in general cannot be deduced from these debates. Even the demand for a revival of the practices of former allegedly better times conirms the relevance of this issue, since other- wise there would have been no interest in conducting such a discussion. At the turn of the century, however, some new accents were added to the discourse; it seemed no longer self-evident that organs were intend- ed mainly for divine services.
Kittel opened the introduction to his book with some moral instructions: The moments that we devote to the adoration of the Supreme Being, the relection on our destiny, the consideration of our duties, are the most important and holy ones of our life. The sublimity and dignity of the subjects with which our spirit here concerns itself, require a serious dis- position, separated from all worldliness.
Therefore, one should always intend to conduct public divine services in the manner that would seem the most suitable for preparing for and evoking such a disposition. The solemn sound of the bells, the majesty of the temple, the seriousness of a great assembly, the splendour of clerical ceremonies — these are circum- stances, which, though we may not be fully aware of it, exert a powerful inluence on our senses, strain our perceptions and make our spirit more receptive to the most sublime and great that it may attain — that is, instruments for the enhancement of our devotion.
He should not only arouse his audience but also entertain and educate it the baroque triad of docere, delectare and movere is still current. It should be noted that the presence of the chorale always serves as a guarantee for the dignity of the composition, and for Kittel, as a pupil of Johann Sebastian Bach, it is self-evident that the style of the composition should approach the music of his master. Remarkably, the organ works of Bach also serve as models for a freer style of handling the instrument.
For, although Bach preferred the learned style — accord- ing to Kittel — with respect to his contemporaries, he would certainly have been able to write in a sentimental mood as well, as evidenced by certain examples: This means that the reconstruction of a culture of playing the organ or accompanying chorales is not only a matter of written-down compositions, but also involves a considera- tion of the speciic context of the performance as well as the individual style of the organist.
Bach, Handel, and Johann Gottfried Walther. The core of the syllabus is improvisation, and not only in the liturgy. To this end, Knecht gives ample information about the organ as an instrument that incorporates a wealth of sound colours from the orchestra, and he describes the organ as suitable not only for the learned style but equally for a brilliant, ardent, even brisk manner of playing.
He characterizes the organ as solemn and magniicent, but also as sweet, lovely and gentle. Following his intention of preparing the organist to treat his instrument, with its wealth of sounds, as an orchestra, in the second volume, Knecht describes the stops and their use in detail. It is not the texture of the music that is the focus, but the realization of the music by using attractive and impressive sounds.
Pieces with solo voices are used as examples to demonstrate the quality of individual stops, as are movements from concertos for wind instru- ments. Indications such as cantabile or rondo make it clear that this is no longer a culture of chorale settings, but of pictorial music. II, This is not music for a service but for entertainment by a virtuoso organist playing in churches — in particular, Vogler himself.
It would be too simple to accuse Knecht of abandoning the traditions of organ-playing. Around the turn of the nineteenth century there was a signiicant change in organ culture in general; alongside the practice of playing the instrument in a baroque manner, i. Here the performance itself becomes more important; the aspect of pres- entation comes to the fore and seeking sounds believed to have an im- pact on the listeners, not only on their spirit but on their hearts — and probably their bodies as well.
Opportunities for organ-playing The organ was still regarded as one single instrument, but more and more varied practices for playing the instrument developed over time. Organs sounded not only in the liturgy but also in concerts, whose structure and content were quite diferent from those previously re- ported. The church as a place for divine service still precluded the use of music without reference to religion.
This situation changed radically at the turn of the nineteenth centu- ry, when the liturgy and church service became more a matter of mood than of mind. Spiritual elevation and enhanced religious feelings could be evoked by diferent kinds of music, such as the ancient sounds of vo- cal polyphony in the style of Palestrina and strict baroque counterpoint, but also with arrangements of arias from contemporary operas. This was not yet a sign of secularization, as is often assumed, but only of a new era, bringing about a shift in the approaches to religion in general and liturgy in particular.
There was a gap, not only between services and concerts or paral- iturgical events , as could be observed in the time of Handel, whose organ concertos served as interludes in oratorio performances, or of Bach, whose Orgelproben were well known, although unfortunately, the programmes of these events have not been preserved.
The establishment of organ recitals independent of services during the irst half of the nineteenth century was not a problem for organists or for their audience, but rather for the liturgy and its music, so it makes sense to describe the interde- pendence of the two spheres where organ music could be heard.
Not infrequently, in order to get permission from parish authorities to perform such compositions in the church, it became necessary to include references to religion, often provided by the inclusion of a chorale. On the other hand, there was no reason to refrain from using mod- ern techniques and modes of playing the organ in the liturgy. But a problem now developed, commented on by no less a composer than Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.
In a letter to his friend, the theologian Ernst Friedrich Albert Baur, he wrote: If the liturgy puts the kerygma in the centre, the music will retreat to the background, serving as simple accompaniment. At the same time, the music should not be too elaborate, lest it disturb the emotional mood; too much advanced compositional technique or virtu- osity or just persistent sounds, are not ideal for evoking religious senti- ments. Perhaps Mendelssohn saw his organ sonatas as a solution, in particular the irst movement of the D-minor Sonata, op.
In a similar way, the slow movements, with religioso as part of their titles, indicate a relation- ship with religion; again, it is not quite clear whether these pieces came to the concert hall from a liturgical context or if vice versa, they were intended to show the possibility of composing autonomous pieces that were also suited for the service. This is not to say that only a few organ chorales date from this era or that all of them are unimportant.
This gap between large-scale fantasias on chorales, re- quiring exceptional skills from the player, and the large quantity of small pieces which have more the character of textbook examples than of proper compositions, suggests that there were two cultures of or- gan-playing in terms of artistic level, function, social status and, not least, topography.
The diference between art music composed for organ recitals, which attracted more attention as the liturgy petriied, and function- al music, which does not really require a skilled professional player, simultaneously shows the diference in social status between organ- ists, as exempliied by their place of employment.
The irst type was a virtuoso artist travelling and demonstrating his art for an audience, which in turn became a crowd on the lookout for entertainment; this type of organist, if at all employed by the church, performed at the main churches of musical centres, which boasted huge instruments and many occasions for performance outside of the liturgy. The opposite type of organist worked as a teacher besides carrying out his musical duties; this was a very common combination since it joined the obligations of education in the school and the church, ofering at the same time a common aim for musical practice in lessons and services.
Because of the limited artistic capabilities of organists in smaller towns and villages, organ recitals were rare, not to say non-existent — with the exception of the inauguration of the instrument. However, I see a contemporary parallel with the use of organs, as well as in the diference between pro- fessional organists and those who try to play the organ during services in order to support the singing of chorales.
Liturgical duties The above-mentioned diferences between cities and villages, between professional players and part-time organists, between the require- ments of concerts and the liturgy, are problems more relevant to the Protestant than to the Roman Catholic liturgy, but they converge on a highly controversial topic: The resulting irritation in the Arnstadt congregation was frequently repeated in criticisms and admonitions in the nineteenth century, although the gist of the criticism was no longer that people were confused whilst singing, but rather that they were disturbed in their devotion.
Such restrictions not only meant that the organist should abstain from too-elaborate interludes but al- so constituted a recommendation for a modest accompaniment with a limited set of harmonies that refrained from all movement in the oth- er voices.
Salmen , 33— Still, even in such recent reviews one inds a mixture of arguments which had already complicated the discussion in the mid-nineteenth century. Liturgical, aesthetic and pragmatic arguments were interwo- ven. The question of whether interludes — both between lines or between verses — were necessary to support the singing of an inexperienced con- gregation was mixed with the argument that unusual harmonies would not only disturb worship but hamper the continued singing.
Beside such arguments concerning the conditions for congregational singing in the liturgy is the no-less-intricate quarrel between art and theology: The discussion was dominated by the question of how artistically advanced the music for the liturgy could be and still avoid disturbing the piety and worship of the congregation. The matter was not easy to decide, since both sides — theology and art, organists and priests — were aware of the demands of the liturgy but also that music could serve as a means to enable religious experiences.
It must be admitted that there was also the phenomenon of vanity in organists as well as priests, both of whom vied for the attention of the congregation, likely wishing to cast a light on their skill and even their persona as well. As regards the music, however, the worries concerned more the quality of the interludes, and nineteenth-century tutors unanimously recommended restraint in case of doubt on that point in order to avoid undue attention to uninspired, or, from a liturgical perspective, unsuit- able music-making.
In their opinion, virtuosity, as commonly displayed in the cadenzas of concertos, had no place here. The total prohibition of interludes, however, is found mainly in Calvinist regions, where music, if at all permitted, was tolerated exclusively in the form of modest accompaniment. The accompaniment of the chorale was also the subject of intense discussion on several accounts: Concerning harmonies and chromatic modulations, rules were formulated that were similar to those for interludes, mutatis mutandis.
Tempo and agogics are rarely mentioned in textbooks and instructions, probably because the mode of singing varied considerably between regions and congregations, depending on their size, structure or age. The texture of the accompaniment might change according to the competence of the singers; if, as is often emphasized, the main pur- pose of the accompaniment should be to support the singing, it could be useful to double the melody and just add the bass line, or to shorten the accompanying chords so that the chorale melody could dominate, discreetly supported by modest harmonies.
There is no consensus, how- ever, as to whether the pedal should always be used or not. Much more attention is given to issues of registration. Here, rec- ommendations in tutors or introductions to anthologies reveal the ex- istence of a great deal of bad practice: As Johannes Cordes explains in his Paderborner Orgelbuch , this only leads to a more intense, louder, even shouting manner of singing since the congregation not only likes to be able to hear itself but to actually drown out the organ.
The ac- companiment should be intended solely to support the singing, to ofer a fundament that highlights the beauty of the chorale. In such situations, it could be useful to play the cantus irmus as a solo with a strong but well-tuned stop, accompanied by two middle voices on a separate manual and the bass in the pedal. Other advice given by Cordes is relevant even today: All of these rules and observations, recommendations and advice concerning chorales and interludes may be easily applied for prel- udes, whose design should not be so elaborate that they would draw attention away from liturgical events to the music itself.
Such events in Protestant services include the sermon and in the Catholic liturgy, the consecration. The separation in the Mass according to the regula- tions of the Council of Trent between the liturgical action of the priest at the altar and the congregation, who was mainly a silent spectator rather than an active participant, led to diferent music than in the Protestant liturgy; it also led to a diferent kind of organ-playing.
Since congregational singing is not at the centre of the music of the liturgy here but rather Gregorian chant sung by only a few, the importance of accompanying, introducing and framing the chorale melodies received less attention than solo, even independent, organ-playing during large parts of the mass, and not infrequently during the entire service.
The consecration in particular was accompanied by organ music, which was often criticized as of inferior quality or even unsuitable. It is easy to understand that such a continuous low of organ sound would need a competent organist, whose repertoire of improvisational techniques would have to be extensive and versatile enough to not bore the listen- ers but to support — once again — worship and piety.
In want of such skills, many organists had recourse to written compositions. It was not exceptional for an organist to play a polonaise during consecration. One of the most prominent critics of the habit of playing marches and arias from popu- lar operas during Mass was Franz Liszt. But the comments on how the instrument should be treated are rich in polem- ics that concerned not only the kind of music that was played but also the context and the manner of playing.
It goes without saying that op- era arias with virtuoso coloratura or brilliant piano music do not seem suitable for the liturgy, and the report about the playing of a polonaise during consecration seems rather strange even today. It might be worth asking why such music could be at all considered suitable for the liturgy and the instrument. Three circumstances can be mentioned here. First, the congregations in such churches would have had an understanding of worship that was quite diferent from oicial doctrine; they may also have wanted to be entertained even during the service.
This might be another sign of secularization, or perhaps it just relects a conception of the relationship between sacrum and profanum that was not much diferent from that of the Baroque era, when opera arias with a slightly changed text could be used in services, though even then such practices provoked a similar discussion about the suit- ability of theatrical music for the liturgy, a problem that could not be solved in a satisfactory way.
In the masses of Haydn and Mozart, this diference was still not signiicant; only with Romantic-era aesthetics did change come, though apparently more marked in Protestant than in Catholic countries. Second, the repertoire of an organist playing light music in the ser- vice may have been so small that he had to have recourse to pieces that he played in other contexts; alternatively, he may simply have been devoid of taste.
From Rinck to Reger: Not every composition played on the organ is suitable for the liturgy, but not every performance of a piece of light music in the church necessarily profanes the service. To evaluate this discussion from a present-day perspective, we must respect the attitude of the reviewer as well as that of the musician, posing questions about the function of music, especially organ music during concerts and services, in the church room in general and in the liturgy in particular.
As regards the competence of the organist, this is quite a complicated discussion since not only his skill in performing written compositions but also his general ability to handle the instru- ment must be taken into account.
During a service, especially a Catholic Mass, the organist had to play several types of music: A brief view of the reception of J. Especially in the larger towns and cities of Protestant Central Germany, we may assume a broad and growing familiarity with organ music, including works from previous epochs as well as by contempo- rary composers, not to mention virtuoso improvisations of sometimes doubtful quality.
When organ music is mentioned in contemporary novels, it is by no means as an example of a culture in decline, but rather as a musical phenomenon, the sound of which leaves a deep impression, which is, of course, connected to the special atmosphere of a church event, or to the sacred space itself. The critical judgments of the aesthetic value of some of the pieces presented on such occasions are by no means verdicts on the quality of the instruments or the players.
Since the oft-reported play- ing of opera arrangements, marches and dances obviously required a well-functioning instrument and a competent organist, the reports can be seen as not derogatory but rather as conirming the qualities of the organs and their players while simultaneously pointing out that the instrument and the occasion were worthy of other music. Nevertheless, the audience liked it. The organists too saw no obsta- cles to meeting their desires, likely by playing fewer elaborate compo- sitions but more improvisations, which could fulil the requirements of any occasion and use all of the resources of the instrument.
The success of such presentations on the organ was a function of sound and texture, and of the occasion and the listeners as well. For this purpose — and to maintain an atmosphere of devotion and piety — the sound of the baroque organ seemed unsuitable; it was perceived as too light, too sharp, perhaps too garish, or simply too loud. The expectations of the listeners varied with the occasion: It was therefore, then as now, diicult to establish general rules for the handling of an organ, and, similarly, for what constitutes suitable music for a speciic situation.
The treatment of chorale melodies involved not only the accom- paniment of congregational singing but also the playing of preludes. Printed organ music throughout the nineteenth century gives plenty of examples of preludes and other chorale-based music, from quite simple settings to the great fantasias of Reger, the latter a type of composition with no liturgical purpose but which demonstrated the elevated level of organ composition at the end of the nineteenth century.
At the be- ginning of that century, however, stand the chorale preludes by Rinck, serving perhaps as models and inspiration rather than as full-ledged, elaborate music. Between these extremes lies the ield of improvisation, huge but rarely and inadequately documented. There is a multitude of examples in organ tutors, however, sometimes equipped with remarks prompting the pupil to use his own mind to develop his taste and power of judgment. Unfortunately, the available documents do not provide much con- crete information.
How helpful it would be to have access to reports from actual performances together with information on the music played on the occasion. It is precisely this dearth of documentation that makes that of the controversy between Bach and the council in Arnstadt so precious. It is not quite clear whether the organist played a piece that he had composed in advance or improvised on some motives and sketches that he had prepared, since the construction of a fugue with a retrograde theme does not seem to be ideally suited to extemporized counterpoint Mann , — This art of playing the organ does not require a congregation; the organist, sitting alone in the church or with only one person very close , plays his music, not in order to impress or make people admire his art, but as a quite personal manner of devo- tion — perhaps using the B-A-C-H motive, in retrograde or transposed, but surely with crossed arms.
Dresdner Gelehrten Anzeigen Kittel, Johann Christian Der angehende praktische Organist, 1st ed. Knecht, Justin Heinrich — Mann, Thomas Verfall einer Familie 1st ed. Moritz, Carl Philipp Andreas Hartknopf: Predigerjahre, Berlin. Research literature Bach-Dokumente II: Salmen, Walter Geschichte der Musik in Westfalen im Jahrhundert, Kassel: Schiwietz, Lucian and Sebastian Schmideler eds Wollny, Peter et al.
The general level of church music in Poland This article is devoted to the most important Polish composers of litur- gical and liturgically-inspired organ music1 in the nineteenth century. It also describes the general musical culture, especially the development of church music in Poland within the context of the political situation, which was undoubtedly very diicult after This historical fact greatly impacted Polish culture, including organ music.
Secularization and the decline of church music was com- mon throughout Europe, and had already begun by the second half of the eighteenth century Mrowiec , The same process took place in Poland: Polish organ music at the beginning of the nineteenth century was of a very low level. The reason for this was not only secu- larization, but also the political situation of Poland given that the three occupant powers worked against the development of Polish culture.
The denominational structure of this territory in the nineteenth century was also dif- ferent, e. Protestant inluences were stronger in Prussian part. This had an impact on organ culture which was developing diferently in parts occupied by Russia in compari- son to those occupied by Prussia and Austria. Complaints about uneducated organists can be found in sources throughout the nineteenth century.
The same complaints are also found in periodicals from the second half of the nineteenth century: In this last publication, the editors wrote that it was their dream that all or- ganists would be able to read music. The level of not only religious but also secular music and musicians during the nineteenth century in Poland was generally low.
Of course, great musicians such as Elsner, Freyer, Chopin or Moniuszko were exceptions to this general situation. Liturgical organ compositions at the beginning of the nineteenth century resembled piano writing, not only in terms of texture, but also of form Sonatina, Arietta3 etc. The form of such pieces was to be simple, without complicated polyphonic techniques, and igurations were only to be used in the melody Frotscher , — Later, the new con- ceptions of church music were taken further: It was not surprising that such organ music, in connection with substand- ard instruments, provoked the demise of this repertoire.
The standard varied from one place to another. Similar pro- cesses could be observed in Poland. Many composers of that time in Poland composed pieces which were not very interesting. Karol Freyer The greatest organist and composer of organ music in Poland in the irst half of the nineteenth century was Karol August Freyer — 5 Complaints about the style of pieces can be found even much later: The letter was not signed by name, but in Latin: He was born in Oberschaar, Germany, and took his irst music lessons at the age of six with cantor K.
At the age of ten, he moved to Leipzig and took lessons in composition and the- ory of music with the famous organist Friedrich Schneider. In Freyer moved to Warsaw and remained in Poland until the end of his life. He studied music theory in Warsaw and also began teaching. Freyer was a close friend of Fryderyk Chopin.
Freyer was a great organ virtuoso and composer, admirer and per- former of J. Many positive reviews of his concerts can be found in periodicals from the irst half of the nineteenth century not only in Poland, but also in Germany e. He was without doubt one of the irst European virtuosos of the Romantic period who travelled as a concert musician to diferent parts of the continent.
In that matter he can be compared with the great organist and composer from Breslau — Adolph Hesse, who was a famous organ virtuoso admired by Chopin who heard him play in Vienna and was a friend of Freyer.
Indeed, Freyer dedicated some of his compositions to Hesse. After returning to Warsaw as a famous virtuoso, Freyer opened a private music conservatory which was the only one of its kind in Warsaw at that time. All other universities in Warsaw were closed by the Russian authorities following the failure of the Polish November Uprising against the Russian occupation in The Lutheran Church in Warsaw became an important centre of good music, visited not only by Lutherans but also by Roman Catholics.
We know that one of the visitors was Fryderyk Chopin. It is interesting to observe that Chopin played the organ in his early years.
As a high school student in , Chopin often accompanied Masses. Chopin University of Music. Freyer thus closed his private school and became an Organ and Theory Professor at the new institute. In general, organs in Poland built in the irst half of the nineteenth century continued to draw upon Baroque tradition. In , he was one of the founding members of the Warsaw Music Association. Karol August Freyer was not only an esteemed music teacher and virtuoso, but also a composer. He wrote mainly organ music but also masses, variations for piano and even dances.
Many of his compositions are still played today. In addition, he also published an organ method and edited a hymnbook for Lutheran communities in Poland.
Although he composed many organ pieces, only three of them are for concert purposes. It seems that Freyer was more focused on composing practical pieces for lesser-skilled organists. The three concert pieces are: Fantazja koncertowa op. The third composition was inspired by an Orthodox hymn tune. Freyer performed these pieces on his concert tours. Freyer employed the early Romantic variation technique, in which inluences of Weber and Mendelssohn may be discerned.
Obbligato pedal playing was very important to him. The Finale of Fantazja, op. His pieces from op. It appears that in the s, Freyer composed liturgical chorale preludes which were inspired by Bach.
Baroque, Classical and Romantic elements were combined: His music had a great impact on younger generations of Polish organists and composers. In , G. He also composed many chorale preludes and variations on Polish hymn tunes. Moniuszko was the second most outstanding Polish composer of the Romantic era after, of course, Chopin. Moniuszko also had plans of founding a publishing house with the intention of popularizing Polish church music, but this plan was unfortunately never realized.
He was also a founder and conductor of a church choir. Moniuszko composed two collections of liturgical organ pieces. Gebethner i Wolf, Warszawa In fact, there are two types of pieces in this collection: The harmony is more advanced than in other pieces and is sometimes reminiscent of Chopin. Moniuszko composed longer homophonic fragments with chords, and both Franck and Moniuszko provided an optional pedal part to strengthen the lowest line Erdman , In his liturgical compositions, Moniuszko tried not to exceed a cer- tain level of diiculty, most probably because he wanted to make them playable for average church organists, and saw no reason to compose more complicated pieces.
This is understandable considering the level of church music at that time not to mention the fate of his Association of St Cecilia. Most of his compositions for organ can be played without pedal. Moreover, it is possible to stop part-way through a piece, if nec- essary, for liturgical purposes. Another Polish composer of liturgical organ music in the nineteenth century was Teoil Klonowski — Most of the preludes were written by other composers e. Bach, which was unusual in Roman Catholic publications.
Klonowski composed some of these preludes using a polyphonic tech- nique. His publication of Polish hymns was without doubt a contribution to the aims of that association. The objectives of this movement were simple: The style of such pieces had to be very diferent from that of concert compositions.
In the irst Roman Catholic church music school Kirchen- musikschule was founded in Regensburg.
This city became the most important centre for Catholic church music. For that reason, some of the most signiicant Polish organists and composers of organ music from the second half of the nineteenth century went to study there. Because of the political situation in partitioned Poland, the Cecilian Movement was not developed equally in all parts of Polish territory.
Those Roman Catholic priests who were also musicians helped to popular- ize Cecilian ideas. This was the irst high-level school for organists in Poland, but its activity was interrupted by the First World War.
The school contributed to the raising of stand- ards of organists in Galicia. Nevertheless, the situation for organists in the Austrian part of Poland was rather bad.
There were many remarks in newspapers concerning church musicians in Cracow being poorly paid, and having to depend fully on the decisions of priests. He composed a large number of preludes for organ which were published in many foreign editions: His piece Adorazione. Quasi Fantasia was published by Otto Gauss in Regensburg in in the collection Orgelkompositionen aus alter und neuer Zeit zum kirchlichen Gebrauch wie zum Studium.
This indicates that he was highly regarded amongst Cecilian musicians. The second half of the nineteenth century: A renaissance of organ music in Poland Generally, the second half of the nineteenth century could be called the Renaissance of organ music in Poland. This was most noticeable by the number of organists and composers educated at The Warsaw Conservatory and The Cracow Conservatory. From on he was a profes- sor at the Warsaw Conservatory, and from on, President of the same institution.
Roguski composed two books of organ preludes that were published in Warsaw in Some of these preludes were based on Polish hymn tunes, especially those for Christmas. Jahrhunhderts one of the four volumes of the aforementioned Orgelkompositionen aus alter und neuer Zeit zum kirchlichen Gebrauch wie zum Studium.
Works of Polish composers were published within the Gauss collection in in a separate book XII Polnische Komponisten , which conirms the important contribution made by Polish composers to the European organ literature. In , he returned to Cracow, where he founded The Cracow Conservatory in He was the Director of the Conservatory and remained in this position until his death in His twenty-ive preludes for organ were published in and became a standard work, still used in the Polish education system for organists.
Some of those preludes were based on Polish hymn tunes and may be used as liturgical pieces. He remarked that the organ represented one of the most important factors contributing to the perception of beauty for people living in villages.
For those reasons, he based some preludes upon well-known hymn tunes and folk melo- dies. VIII, Another outstanding personality among Polish organists was Wincenty Rychling — , who was of Czech origin. This collection contains pieces, some of which are based upon Polish Christmas carols. Well-known in Poland is his Toccata in F Major, a short piece unsuitable for concert purposes, but which could be used as a postlude.
It was published in the USA in and not until in Poland , and probably crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the hands of one of his pupils. This short piece requires a developed pedal technique and demonstrates the rich harmonic ideas of its composer. He was a winner of The European Improvisation Competition in Saint Petersburg at the beginning of the twentieth century,13 where the chairman of the jury was Hugo Riemann Hilary Majkowski: As a student in Leipzig, he was recognised by Brahms and Grieg.
The Polish musicologist and organist Jerzy Erdman cites relation of A. One thing is certain: In he moved to Saint Petersburg, where he was responsible for the organising of church music at The Metropolitan Cathedral. Nine years later he moved to Saratov Russia to become a piano and theory teacher at the Conservatory. In he became a professor of organ and counterpoint at The Warsaw Conservatory. We also have informa- tion about his pedagogical achievements. During the First World War he was deported to Russia as a prisoner and only returned to Poland in in bad health.
Three years later he died in Warsaw. Some of his other concert pieces are also inspired by the liturgy and based on hymn tunes. He also composed many liturgical pieces: Many of his pieces for church purposes were published in sup- plements to periodicals or in collections of liturgical pieces containing compositions by various composers.
Liturgical and Liturgically-Inspired Polish Organ Music in the Long Nineteenth Century 83 was inluenced by the Cecilian Movement, although many examples can be found which show that he did not strictly observe the Cecilian rules of church music composition, which advocated the exclusive use of diatonic themes.
During his theological studies in Rome — , he met Franz Witt, one of the most im- portant ideologists of the Cecilian Movement. He was active within the ield of reforming church music according to the ideas of the Cecilian Movement in Poland. Wojciecha , which aimed to develop church music. They were published in many collections of liturgical pieces in diferent countries, in addition to church music periodicals.
All of his known compositions were composed for liturgical purposes in the Cecilian style. In some of his chorale preludes, he used Baroque contrapuntal patterns. He also published several collections of liturgical pieces which included pieces by other Polish Cecilian composers.
Feliks Nowowiejski The greatest Polish composer of organ music was undoubtedly Feliks Nowowiejski — Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — One Day by David Nicholls. One Day by David Nicholls. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.
Twenty years, two people, one day. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Emma Morley , Dexter Mayhew. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about One Day , please sign up. Does Dexter remain an ass for the whole book?
Elen mmm lets say he makes a lot of mistakes. Hes immature and I feel hes out of his depth a lot in his life. He trys too hard to be something hes not. Like a lot of people in life. To be honest, I Like him and feel quite sad for him at times. Did you enjoy the book. I loved the book. All the people in the book came to life for me.
This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [What did you think the purpose of Em dying was? Was it to teach us or the characters a lesson? If so, what lesson? Thomas The point is to cherish what little time we have with the ones we love. It is a traditional Greek tragedy. See all 14 questions about One Day…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order.
Jul 03, Laura rated it it was amazing Shelves: Rarely am I left speechless, I usually have plenty to say, but as I reflected on this novel, I realized there would be no surefire way to describe this book. It is a complete conundrum. It will speak to those with similar personal experiences. I enjoyed the format. I think this was an intelligent way to approach a story that spans 20 years. Characterization was excellent. Dex and Em quickly became real in my mind, as if I was peeking into the lives of a couple of friends, or reading their journal pages.
I too quickly began to know what Emma would or would not like just as Dex did. The characters were genuine. Some reviews say that they were stereotypical…but I find that some people latch onto stereotypes, it helps them define themselves. I feel this is what Emma was doing in her youth with her political stances and thus why they are not as important as she grows older.
So are they really stereotypical characters? Or are they just portraying their ideal personas as so many people do? I find that comparisons to When Harry met Sally fall short. I understand the reasons for the comparisons in that they are both about friends that seem to circle back every few years and make sarcastic quips to one another. But I feel like it ends there. To me, this is more of a modernized Wuthering Heights. I am hesitant when I read something written by a man, trying to sound like a woman.
Not with this book. Em thought the way I would think, said things that I would say. In the end, this novel deeply affected me. I have not read something that has touched me this much in some time.
It spoke to me completely as I was tortured by my own Dex in my youth and early adulthood. The emotions are portrayed as they should be; the frustration, the yearning are, from my perspective, completely legitimate. I found myself feeling like I was reading bits and pieces of my own story.
I had knots in my stomach through most of the book and after finishing this at 1 am this morning, I could do nothing but stare at the ceiling and walls, absorbing what I had read, tearing it apart mentally, and extracting lessons from it to be applied in life. That, for me, is the mark of a wonderful novel, reading that reaches into your soul and touches your heart, writing that moves you to feel. View all 35 comments. People who love: Message in a Bottle, Atonement, Love Story.
I just copied this from my blog I mean seriously hate it! I am sorry I read it, if I hadn't bought it on the Nook I'd burn it. I don't want to read anymore books by this author just incase he tricks me again! I want to I am crying Yes, I hated the ending that much, not since Atonement have I felt this emotionally cheated. Emma Morley dies and no, I, in no way, saw that coming.
Why didn't I see that coming because this book One Day by David Nicholls a name that will be seared in my brain so I don't slip up and buy one of his books again was not advertised as a book in the same vain as Message in a Bottle. See, the thing is I hate when books have needless death and dying. I hate books that intentionally kill off characters you love think the Weasley twin in HP7 to make you cry, not to propel the plot along.
And, in this book, after reading about pages of a wonderfully tormented friendship on the verge of something more I was relating to the characters, to the places I mean Emma has a flat in Earl's Court, really, Earl's Court and I was relating to the hurt and desire of wanting your best friend I was relating soooo much, that when Emma died I felt like a friend died and my breathing became erratic and my world darkened.
Frankly, if I'd known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have read the book as I do not read such books. And, that's just it I feel that Mr. Nicholls had Emma die towards the end because yes, there's still like 30ish pages after her death I don't know why I suppose so you can short out your Nook crying while reading because that was the ending no one expected.
I mean he even knew what was over there in the forest I'm not into gimmicks and I am not into tricks while reading. I don't have to guess the ending and I don't have to see it coming, but I do have to feel, at the end, that the book and its characters led to the conclusion.
I have, for many years, read books that use to death or separation to propel the plot. I was a little sad that Boromir died in Lord of the Rings , I was a little sad when Jaimie died in A Walk to Remember , and, I cried like someone died at the end of Bridges of Madison County you know the part where all she has to do is get out of the truck and leave her whole life behind to be with the one she loves and she's there grabbing at the handle and you know she isn't going to do it, but you want her to, you really want her to , I don't mind that The English Patient dies, I don't mind that Hubbell and Katie never get together in The Way We Were.
I understand weakness and I understand death when it is used in a proper way to drive home the major themes and symbols of a book or movie. Nicholls used Emma's death to do neither. I read a review on GoodReads I read many reviews looking for closure and answers that talked about how David Nicholls wrote a book that didn't really address any audience and therefore made a certain type of audience incredibly upset.
This is true, maybe he didn't understand his audience. I know I'm all for learning about relationship mistakes in a work of fiction, I just don't need characters to die to do that. I also know that there are people who love this book, just like there are people who can't get enough of Nicholas Sparks.
I have had enough of both. View all comments. Frankly, after reading a spoiler about the ending, I simply have no will to continue on, there is just no pay-off after enduring this depressing tale sprinkled with occasional one-liners. Granted, I am never opposed to taking a good dose of drama, but melodrama I detest.
This story is about a man and a woman who one day come together as lovers, then break up, but stay connected. Their relationship is followed through the next 20 years by presenting just one day - July 15th - out of their lives.
T Frankly, after reading a spoiler about the ending, I simply have no will to continue on, there is just no pay-off after enduring this depressing tale sprinkled with occasional one-liners. This is indeed a great premise and technique , but I wish they were used on different characters and situations. Both Dexter and Emma are not likable enough for me to care to see how their relationship unfolds. I dislike watching Dexter waste his life on partying and hooking up and Emma - on pining over him for years.
There is nothing remotely romantic, deep, or compelling about it IMO. I agree with one of the reviewers here who said that the author didn't quite know his target audience.
One Day is neither a literary fiction which can spin the star-crossed lovers theme in a meaningful way - see Atonement , nor a light-hearted chick lit some reviewers mistakenly compare this novel to the movie "When Harry Met Sally". But alas, this is not my favored genre. View all 31 comments.
Sep 21, Brittany rated it it was amazing. Is love really all that difficult? Yes, yes it is. David Nicholls crafts a beautiful love story about two people who are so different that they really only have one thing in common: The frustrating thing is though, that however much these two people love each other, they maintain a "friends only" status throughout most of the book.
What starts out as a possible love affair after just graduating college, Emma and Dexter's chemistry and attraction falls through th Is love really all that difficult? What starts out as a possible love affair after just graduating college, Emma and Dexter's chemistry and attraction falls through the cracks as the years pass. Distance, missed opportunities, and even a letter that never gets sent, are all obstacles that ultimately determine their romantic fate and and life that they may have led together when they were young.
Each character experiences struggles, dysfunctional relationships, setbacks, and successes and eventually it is clear that life is passing them by because their true soul mate is not truly in their life. If you're in love, go for it. Missed opportunities are hard to overcome. Don't let the years go by in vain.
Thanks David Nicholls for such a glorious, heartbreaking read. View 1 comment. It begins light, humorous, warm and aloof, just like most of us are once we graduate, all our efforts and studies paying off, looking into the future full of ideals, hopes and dreams. Then we face adult life and responsibilities, disappointment, and all the disillusionment that eventually knocks our doors. Life happened.
View all 26 comments. Sep 03, Anna rated it did not like it Shelves: Every moment with this book felt like a waste of my time. I've seen it all before: This plot is so well trod that I feel like there are hundreds of better examples of it that I could have been reading.
And here is the thing, I love these kinds of stories as the size of my romance shelf can attest. But I hated these characters so much Every moment with this book felt like a waste of my time. But I hated these characters so much that I couldn't root for them. And as to the ending, can I just say that I didn't like it the first time it happened in City of Angles , and I still didn't like it when Nicholls ripped it off.
View all 5 comments. Jun 28, Trin rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Let's talk about death. Not death which is inevitably part of life, but death in fiction, where it is not inevitable at all. Death in fiction is a deliberate, well-thought out decision: There are good fictional deaths, and ones which feel cheap.
This book lost me for good because it contains a death that felt exactly like the hand of God reaching down: Oh, thought the writer-god, I don't really know Let's talk about death. Oh, thought the writer-god, I don't really know how to end this but I know that an element of tragedy will make this novel seem super deep. Die, character, die! This did not seem like a senseless death of that type that in real life is imbued with honest tragedy. It felt like an author scrambling for a final act, and not being brave enough to let his characters simply face the rest of their lives together.
To die might be a very great adventure, as Peter Pan says, but Peter Pan is an eternal child. Isn't this book supposed to be about growing up? Isn't the greatest adventure simply living? But let's stay with youthful mistakes for a minute. You see, the thing is: I wrote this novel. Not that I wouldn't like all of those things one day—I totally would—but the novel I wrote, which shares a freakish number of similar elements with this one, sucked.
I mean, it really stank. This novel, it must also be noted, is much, much better than mine was: However, there are definite and bizarre similarities: It's the tragic bicycle accident that really gets me. I saw the one in One Day coming from miles away, and approached it with increasing incredulity.
Because I had done the tragic bicycle accident, in the shitty novel I wrote when I was 20, and it was dumb then and it is dumb now. So allow me to make another one. This involves yet another embarrassing confession: I really, really like the movie City of Angels. Yes, the one with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan: I also love the movie it was based on, Wings of Desire.
I remember at some point discussing our mutual appreciation for these two films with my mother. Which did we prefer? I know I hesitated, because as much as I love Wings of Desire , I also think it drags at certain points—that long, lengthy speech in the bar at the end!
What's that about? City of Angels , though Here my mom stepped in, definitive. She liked Wings of Desire better, because of the crucial difference in the movies' endings. See, in Wings of Desire , the angel falls, finds the woman he loves, there is a pretentious speech in a bar, and then they just That's the ending: In City of Angels , on the other hand, the angel falls, finds the woman he loves, and then the very next morning Seriously, what gives?
Are we all just a bunch of scarred Nico fans inside? Is this a public safety announcement of some kind? Wear a helmet—or your death may facilitate the important, if sadly belated, epiphanies of your loved ones! How is that not an equally valid story to tell?
The fact that David Nicholls seemed to do everything in his power to ultimately avoid telling it really frustrated me. This novel definitely has its charm: But—in part because of its clever format—too many of this story's important moments happened off-stage, and the—one is led to believe—central event of its two protagonists finally, finally falling in love is downplayed horribly so that—dun dun dun—the tragic bicycle accident can occur several chapters later.
I felt cheated and manipulated, frankly, having slogged through pages of the male lead behaving like an utter ass while not a lot of other stuff happened—all that, for this? And sure, one could argue that that sense of disappointment is realistic to life. But I would counter that it doesn't make for very good fiction. Neither does the fact that this book has more endings padding out its already hefty page count than The Return of the King.
You'd already lost me with the tragic bicycle accident, dude, can we just wrap this up already? Your internet profile was enthralling, but on a one-to-one level it just isn't working. Let's split the check and go our separate ways. Maybe in ten years' time I'll look back on this and laugh; in twenty I'll have forgotten your name. View all 15 comments.
Dec 18, Wendy Darling rated it did not like it Shelves: Why do these two like each other, exactly? View all 9 comments. Opening Line: I will say hopefully only once that I adored this book but you should know that I'm a bit of a sucker for a tragedy too.
ONE DAY was brilliant in every way; making me laugh and cry while filling me with nostalgia and longing. This is one of the most hilarious, perceptive, witty, moving and heartbreaking books I have ever read. He is Dexter, beautiful, pretentious and in his mind destined for greatness. As the sun rises they drink wine and talk about their futures. Now nothing does. Aug 12, Rosanne rated it really liked it. A hilarious and realistic love story. Excellent characterizations, Nicholls captures life's ups and downs so well and tells Emma and Dexter's stories through snapshots on one day over the course of twenty years.
If you are a HEA junky like me, you might want to be aware that this is not a traditional happy ending at all, but in a way it is even better because the story continues beyond the HEA, it is real, honest and bittersweet.
I don't necessarily think this is a story everyone will enjoy, it is A hilarious and realistic love story. I don't necessarily think this is a story everyone will enjoy, it is not really a romance, it is a truthful love story with all that it implies.
Dark and gritty at times as well. View all 8 comments. Mar 02, Tran Thanh Tu rated it really liked it Shelves: Well well well The characters are alright, however, I personally "slightly" hate the leading male character Dexter who is, needlessly to say, arrogant, cocky and ahem! There I said it! Seriously this takes me W Well well well Seriously this takes me WAY too long to finish as you can probably see, and there are several times when I have to fight against my will not to leave this one in the DNF section how cruel and guilty I shall feel for having done such a thing to a book!
Do not watch the movie before you read it, totally ruins the hype!! You've been warned mate: View all 19 comments. Nicholls vuole farmi piangere a tutti i costi. Cara Anne, ti aspetta una dura prova.
Ma so che con le solite smorfiette riuscirai a portare il compito a casa, come ha fatto Meg Ryan per anni.
Miciotto e miciotta. Aggiungo che i personaggi sono insopportabili: Non ha mai visto un film di Fellini anche se vive e insegna a Roma. Emma gli dice …diventare una intellettuale coscienziosa. O anche: Dexter non amava farsi passare per un vanesio, ma a volte avrebbe voluto che ci fosse qualcuno nei paraggi a importunarlo con la macchina fotografica.
Mi pare non ci sia bisogno di commenti. Piccioncina e piccioncino. Bastava essere maneggioni, furbi, arrivisti. Tenerella e tenerello. Mi accorgo che mischio libri e film come se fossero della stessa natura. E il 29 settembre ci sono riuscito, me ne sono liberato! Lupacchiotta e lupacchiotto. View all 28 comments.
This book is completely overhyped. It is so dull. It's not exactly boring, but it's certainly not exciting. In my opinion, dull is the perfect adjective to describe 'One Day'. I was expecting something mindblowingly heart-wrenching from all of the praise I've seen for this book, but it was quite a disappointment.
The book was well written and the premise was fantastic but it just didn't work for me - the whole thing just felt so drawn out and I didn't feel much for either Emma or Dexter - especi This book is completely overhyped. The book was well written and the premise was fantastic but it just didn't work for me - the whole thing just felt so drawn out and I didn't feel much for either Emma or Dexter - especially Dexter.
The whole 'twist' just felt quite ridiculous. After ploughing through most of the book and to be given that ending didn't make me sad, just quite infuriated. I thought that the imperfect ending was the right way for the book to go, but not in this way. The book did show a realistic evolution of a relationship throughout twenty years, but this 'observation' of the couples lives unfortunately didn't really do anything for me.
View all 13 comments. I love, love, love this book! I loved it so much that when I finished it. This was such a wonderful book, funny and meaningful and smart and emotional. A character-driven story about two people, Emma and Dexter, it focuses on their lives and relationship over a span of twenty years.
The format was really original - each chapter taking place on July 15th of a particular year - and I thought that worked really well and set the story apart from other contemporary romances.
Romances that bring friends together should show some reason why the two people like each other. That seems to be the tactic that works for other stories. But, the characters actually seem annoyed by most of what makes them dissimilar. In short, there is nothing to explain why they would actually care about each other. Dexter i Romances that bring friends together should show some reason why the two people like each other.
Dexter is a sleazy pig of a jerk, who is also an alcoholic and a druggy. They are merely a one-night stand gone completely wrong. It seems the only reason they hang around each other is to keep the sexual tension alive, which is really the only thing that they have — attraction.
The only time either one has an insightful thought about themselves or their relationship is when they are drunk. How insightful can those thoughts really be if the two supposed friends bicker and criticize one another more than anything?
To make matters worse, the end does not give anything to satisfy my unanswered questions and confusion about the relationship of Dexter and Emma. Sadly, I wished the story had ended pages in, or less, which meant I was less than half way before I wanted to tear the rest of the pages out of this never-ending unromantic story.
I finished this book 3 days ago and I'm just now coming out of the stupor that I've been wandering around in since. One Day isn't a book with many gray areas I happen to be one of the former Since the author of One Day , David Nicholls, I finished this book 3 days ago and I'm just now coming out of the stupor that I've been wandering around in since. Since the author of One Day , David Nicholls, also wrote the script for the movie, I have no doubt that this is going to be that rare exception where the movie will be as good or better than the book.
The actors they have cast to play the lead protagonists are a perfect fit. In fact, Anne Hathaway loved the book so much, she flew to London to convince the director why she was perfect to play the part of Emma. The one-night-stand they attempt to engage in doesn't pan out; instead, they opt for being friends.
Little do they know, this "off-the-cuff" friendship they've settled for will cultivate and grow - encompassing Dex, Em and all of the book's readers. Thus, July 15, marks the day that changes their lives forever. For each year thereafter, the story stops on that same day to check in with Dex and Em. One Day is a character study like no other. Their hopes and fears, successes and failures - as well as the steadfast bond between them - is all absorbed by the reader.
You will laugh a little at them and cry a lot with them. In fact, there comes a point in the story where the laughter will cease but not the tears Even for those of us that normally don't cry at the drop of a pin Forewarned is forearmed I am not going to elaborate on the storyline because it isn't one to tell; rather, it is a story readers should experience for themselves.
Although it is a fictionalized account, there are situations in One Day that might hit home as being very personal to you. Friendship and love Can they exist synonymously Is there one specific day that changed your life forever? However, if you require your romance to be all wrapped up in shiny paper with a big bow on top like I usually do , I would recommend that you do not read this book.
But for those of you who are willing to step outside of the box, you will get an extraordinary, emotionally-gripping, "laughter despite the tears" powerhouse of a novel in return. The cover of the book says it all! Aug 29, Heather rated it really liked it Shelves: Every now and then you read a book that sticks with you. It may have a serious tone, or in the case of One Day , no particular tone at all.
It was bad enough to have been bombarded with blurb after blurb hailing this book as a comedy, others as a romance. One Day is what life reads like. Guy Dexter and girl Emma meet, have a brief hookup, and settle into a loaded friendship until finally, after nearly fifteen years of angst, they become lovers. What misfortunes they suffer! And what success! Thus is the beauty of this book. Neither Dexter nor Emma are particularly likeable, but they love each other.
Why, I do not know. Nicholls shows us, that not only do such shitheads have friends, they have a mother and father, and even a brilliant woman who loves them. They might even have good, shine worthy moments whilst in those individuals presence. And Emma, what can I say about Emma? For most of the book she is a walking, talking catastrophe. Filled with dreams and utterly clueless as to how to make them a reality. But she endeared herself to me with her fiery passion, intellect except in matters of the heart , indecision and lack of self confidence.
I think we all have. Most of us suffer through a quarter life crisis, otherwise, the coin never would have been phrased. In seeing the disasters that are Emma and Dex, I was reminded that the beauty in life is best shown by living it.
Adversity only magnifies accomplishment. And while we all surely have a fate, our choices very much determine the course of a life. One Day was a touching book, filled with relevant detail and rather lovely, readable writing.
View 2 comments. There will be spoilers I am no longer speaking to this book it has seriously pissed me off. It is imperialist unamerican and majorly depressing.
I have done you a favor Mr Nicholls and decided not to kill myself lest it reflect poorly on your book, but you made me want to repeatedly. And yes I understand you are british and that there is something fundamentally wrong with british people that makes you uncomfortable with anyone have a remotely good day in a novel, but seriously. Honestly David There will be spoilers Honestly David I am a bit worried about you and I think it maybe a good idea for you to go see a therapist you seem intensely depressed to me and you don't want to go ending up like B.
Johnson now do you? Right so now that I am done ranting about cultural differences on to ranting about the book. This book basically has the plot of an american romantic comedy.
Nicholls even knows this and periodically remarks on it comparing the main characters to Harry and Sally for example. Unlike an American story it's well depressing and not a little bit, all the time.
I know it is hard to imagine but this is a book about two people who are basically depressed constantly, okay I lie once Emma is happy and maybe twice Dexter is happy in a course of 20 years, and it is never super happy, just eh okay happy. They are constantly in relationships they hate with people that hate them or generally terrible at whatever they are attempting to do at that moment. Seriously this is why I am getting up in the morning so that I can be miserable once again?