Dr Michael Spacie: Musicianship

The link at the foot of this page will take you to the Sound Cloud page of Michael Spacie. Here, there are some digital recordings of the Rodgers 928 Trillium Masterpiece 3-Manual Digital Organ which is installed in the liturgical south choir of Rotherham Minster. Michael has intentionally recorded music in various styles to suit most musical tastes, interests and persuasions and generally kept the overall mood quite light and energized to hopefully have a wide appeal – all of which can be heard in the Cloud on the link below. After seeking permission to play the organ in Rotherham Minster, the digital recordings were made between December 2011 and January 2015. Each digital recording was done in one ‘take’ without any technological tweaking.

Also, there are some digital sound tracks of Michael Spacie playing some Christmas Carols on his home teaching studio piano and also a few digital recordings of him playing an original Wurlitzer organ whilst visiting a different part of the UK.

Generally speaking, playing the organ is really great for the development of musicianship. ‘Listening to the building’ is important when performing – particularly in a large building, and for the performer, using, for instance, such techniques as when to release the keys after they have been played – a sense of ‘legato’ (joining and smooth) and ‘staccato’ (short and detached) help to punctuate phrases in a large building and thus articulate sound and, along with tonal colours of registration, communicate convincingly and excitingly with character and musicality and with a sense of humour, enjoyment and fully energised playing that is very much individual in character and musical sense and, which most of all, is alive.

When Michael plays the organ, depending on the style of the music, he often uses both written notation and advanced improvisational skills (both sets of musical skill are handy to have as an organist and are the hallmark of a creative artist) to produce a desired musical result of tonal colour along with energy and vibrancy which can be appreciated both emotionally and intellectually. Knowing how notes and phrases fit together is paramount, along with knowing the scientific rules of music and pattern making with regard to pulse, metre, rhythm, syncopation, motif, variation, development etc.. It is also essential to have an ability to engage and communicate, where music is played with relish, enthusiasm, and is warmly presented for the enjoyment of both the player and the listeners – whatever the context of performance.

As an organist, there is always opportunity to demonstrate some vigour, flair and personal style rather than an inflexible approach and attitude (as there are always different approaches and opinions in matters of sound production with true artists willing to appreciate and understand unusual interpretations etc.). It is good to try and reignite the image of the organist as a musician that is fashionable and fun and an independent-minded individual with performances that reflect experience, professional distinction and creative passion with versatility. After all, it is exciting coordinating all four limbs on the organ in order to communicate the broad emotional picture rather than constantly being hung up on technique and minutiae. ‘Performance’ is as important as ‘technique’ and devotion and motion derive from emotion where others feel what the performer feels.

Occasionally, Michael has played the organ in public, but always without remuneration, wanting only to pass on his abiding passion for music, as the endeavour to inspire passion for music far surpasses in importance any financial rewards.