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Widor Piece


DaveHarries
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This is "the" Widor Mass for two choirs and two organs. There are several recordings of it. I have never had occasion to get to know the piece. I do remember hearing it once and thinking it "mostly harmless". Others, I suspect, will think more warmly of it.

 

Edit: You can get a fairly good impression of the piece from the sound clips here (tracks 12-16): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vierne-solennelle-...e/dp/B000002ZYG

 

Listening to these I think I've probably been a bit unfair above. It may have been the performance I heard, of course.

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Edit: You can get a fairly good impression of the piece from the sound clips here (tracks 12-16): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vierne-solennelle-...e/dp/B000002ZYG

 

In the same way that the St John's/George Guest 1969 recording of the Langlais Mass Solennelle established that setting in the the repertoire of many Anglican cathedrals and 'places where they sing' (helped by former John's organ scholars now in positions as DoMs), this excellent recording from Westminster Cathedral has, in my opinion, led to the frequent appearance on many choral establishments' music lists in the last ten years of the Widor and (particularly) Vierne Masses - as well as the Widor and Dupré motets.

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This is "the" Widor Mass for two choirs and two organs.

 

I wonder where they're going to find the second organ for it at Bristol? :rolleyes::blink:

 

Joking aside, am I right in thinking that somebody has arranged the accompaniment for just one organ?

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In the same way that the St John's/George Guest 1969 recording of the Langlais Mass Solennelle established that setting in the the repertoire of many Anglican cathedrals and 'places where they sing' (helped by former John's organ scholars now in positions as DoMs.............

 

Was this ever released on CD? - it is still almost the best I have heard. The choir sounds incredible and the quick zap of the Trompeta Real at the end of one of the movements by ( I think) Jonathan Rennert is spine tingling.

 

AJJ

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From what you guys are saying, it should be worth hearing.

 

Pity that we have a visiting choir doing it (the cathedral choristers having their holidays at the moment) called "Cantores Literati" (never heard them but they might well prove to be good: we had the "Cantus" choir doing the Darke in E on the Sunday just gone: superb!).

 

Dave

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Doen't one just arrange it one's self as one goes along (and ditto the Vierne)? I'm supposed to be doing the Vierne in a couple of months so I guess I'll find out...

 

There is an arrangement of the Vierne for one organ, though I've only ever used the 2 organ score and.

 

The Widor is pretty straightforward to do on one organ.

 

Stephen Barber

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Was this [Langlais Messe Solennelle] ever released on CD? - it is still almost the best I have heard. The choir sounds incredible and the quick zap of the Trompetta Real at the end of one of the movements by ( I think) Jonathan Renert is spine tingling.

Sadly, no. I treasure greatly my cassette tape copy of that vinyl recording which, one day, I'll transfer to my computer and thence to CD/iPod. Stephen Cleobury, not Jonathan Rennert, was the organist on that John's recording. Having heard much about the work, I heard it for the first time on Easter Day - in St John's College Chapel - in 1979 while myself up at Cambridge. The mix of music, liturgy, incense (!) and occasion left me in a stupor for the rest of the day.

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Stephen Cleobury, not Jonathan Rennert, was the organist on that John's recording. Having heard much about the work, I heard it for the first time on Easter Day - in St John's College Chapel - in 1979 while myself up at Cambridge. The mix of music, liturgy, incense (!) and occasion left me in a stupor for the rest of the day.

 

I remember the Jonathan Rennert connection now - my first live experience of the piece - they all came to my local PC with him as organ scholar and did the Langlais as part of a recital - 'must have been early 70s.

 

AJJ

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... the Langlais Mass Solennelle established that setting in the the repertoire of many Anglican cathedrals and 'places where they sing'

I recently performed this and the Widor in Exeter College, Oxford. The conductor told us in his introduction that when Stephen Darlington performed the Langlais liturgically in Christ Church cathedral, the Dean came up to him afterwards and said that he never wanted to hear it again!

 

Paul

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I recently performed this and the Widor in Exeter College, Oxford. The conductor told us in his introduction that when Stephen Darlington performed the Langlais liturgically in Christ Church cathedral, the Dean came up to him afterwards and said that he never wanted to hear it again!

 

Paul

After a service, I was playing a very modern and astringent voluntary. The choir were saying their prayers in the vestry after the service, which included a line about hearing heavenly music.

 

Once the prayer had finished, the vicar looked up at the back of the organ and said "If the music in heaven is anything like that, I'm not sure I want to go!"

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I 'did' the Widor (op36) a couple of years ago in Swindon with a 120 strong choir at a large Catholic Church. My pal Simon Bertram was orgue 1 (pipe organ)and I was orgue 2 (imported digital organ with 2200 watts of audio :eek: The performance was quite an event and we also performed the Langlais Equisse Gothique (duet) as well.

 

Fair blew the roof off, it did!

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I have that CD as well. He has accompanied a couple of discs of choirs, one includes a pretty stunning set of Dupre Christmas Variations.

 

On the subject of Langlais Mass, I've heard various stories surrounding the top Cs at the end of the Sanctus and Benedictus. Apparently they weren't in the original, and Langlias only added them after he had heard a choir sing them. Anyone know of the vaildity of this? I know some cathedral DoMs that don't allow their choristers to sing it as it wasn't original, and a couple of places where they don't sing them in the Sanctus, but do on the reprise.

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I have that CD as well. He has accompanied a couple of discs of choirs, one includes a pretty stunning set of Dupre Christmas Variations.

 

On the subject of Langlais Mass, I've heard various stories surrounding the top Cs at the end of the Sanctus and Benedictus. Apparently they weren't in the original, and Langlias only added them after he had heard a choir sing them. Anyone know of the vaildity of this? I know some cathedral DoMs that don't allow their choristers to sing it as it wasn't original, and a couple of places where they don't sing them in the Sanctus, but do on the reprise.

 

I had heard this from a former chorister who sang under Colin Walsh (Langlais pupil).

 

AJJ

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the top Cs at the end of the Sanctus and Benedictus. Apparently they weren't in the original,

When my choir sang it recently, our copies were split evenly between G in earlier printings and C in later ones. Although I have heard the G sung, I find it hard to prefer - the C is just the natural way for that phrase to go. I had presumed that the original G was a compromise for practicality which was found to be inadequate and unnecessary.

 

Paul

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On the subject of Langlais Mass, I've heard various stories surrounding the top Cs at the end of the Sanctus and Benedictus. Apparently they weren't in the original, and Langlias only added them after he had heard a choir sing them. Anyone know of the vaildity of this? I know some cathedral DoMs that don't allow their choristers to sing it as it wasn't original, and a couple of places where they don't sing them in the Sanctus, but do on the reprise.

The choir concerned was that of St John's College, Cambridge in 1985, when Langlais visited the college to give an organ recital - presumably one in the well-established Sunday evening pre-Evensong series; the Messe Solennelle (1951) was sung at the morning Eucharist. What isn't yet clear is whether Langlais spontaneously added the top Cs at the end of the Sanctus and Benedictus having heard the choir in rehearsal, or whether he merely sanctioned something which the choir was already doing. Is there a former choir member on here, or can anyone get hold of the organ students at the time (James Cryer, Philip Kenyon or possibly Robert Huw Morgan)?

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Over the last couple of years Mme Langlais has been very helpful towards my son and we've exchanged a few e-mails so I wrote to ask her if she knew about the top Cs.

 

She replied ...

 

Yes, of course, I was there when he changed his feelings : it was in USA, and he asked Karel Paukert (Cleveland) who was preparing an audition of the Messe Solennelle, if the sopranos could sing this high C, because, he thought previously, when he composed the Mass, that it was too high for soprani.

The day after, at the audition, the Paukert choir sung this note beautifully.

Then my husband asked the publisher to add a correction on the score.

The problem is that most of the choirs use old scores, then are not informed of this capital change!

 

With my best regards

 

Marie-Louise Langlais

 

 

J

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I have the Vinyl disc of the Langlais Messe Solenelle recorded by St John's College and have just played it for the first time in many years. As soon as I heard it I remembered always being slightly underwhelmed by the organ part, until the final two chords of the Agnus Dei on the Trompeta Real which come as a real flash of light.

 

I have a couple of cassettes recorded from the vinyl, made in the days before CD stackers in cars. If anyone would like to have/borrow one, please feel free to PM me.

 

P

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Further to my previous note, I've checked the chronology. Langlais last toured the USA in 1981, so the inclusion of the top Cs came about in Cleveland some four years before the St John's incident.

 

It would seem reasonable to suppose that, after Cleveland, Langlais suggested the top Cs to every choir he encountered performing the Messe Solennelle. In doing this at St John's in 1985 it may well have been interpreted as inspiration of the moment though, in fact, it wasn't.

 

Best wishes

 

J

 

 

The choir concerned was that of St John's College, Cambridge in 1985, when Langlais visited the college to give an organ recital - presumably one in the well-established Sunday evening pre-Evensong series; the Messe Solennelle (1951) was sung at the morning Eucharist. What isn't yet clear is whether Langlais spontaneously added the top Cs at the end of the Sanctus and Benedictus having heard the choir in rehearsal, or whether he merely sanctioned something which the choir was already doing. Is there a former choir member on here, or can anyone get hold of the organ students at the time (James Cryer, Philip Kenyon or possibly Robert Huw Morgan)?
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