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O Come, O Come Emmanuel


OmegaConsort
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How about hedging one's bets and finishing on an English Cadence? <_<

I don't quite follow you, Colin. An English candence refers specifically to the juxtaposition of sharp and flattened leading notes. Did you perhaps mean a final chord with both the major and minor third? That would be a false relation, certainly!

 

To go off at a tangent, I wonder whether there is anyone who agrees with me that the ultimate tierce de Picardie is the one at the end of the first movement of Hindemith I? The first time I heard this was at an RFH recital by Arthur Wills c.1968. He came to a really tranquil ending on the minor chord and the change to the major third sounded so like an afterthought that the whole audience chuckled. One of those delicious moments you never forget.

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Since I am firmly of the "not before the 17th" school, I didn't have this yestetday but would not - will not - end with a T de P. What I did have was Come thou long-expected Jesus (Stainer's highly chromatic tune Cross of Jesus from TheCrucifixion), a delightful hymn O Comfort my People to an Irish tune, and Hail to the Lord's Anointed. I sent them home to Nun Komm (BWV 599); I know that strictly one should not have voluntaries in Lent but I regard these Advent Chorale Preludes (which are but a minute each) as commerntaries on the preceeding liturgy therefore integral to it. And I made sure the bells were not rung!

 

Peter

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Guest Echo Gamba
Since I am firmly of the "not before the 17th" school, I didn't have this yestetday but would not - will not - end with a T de P. What I did have was Come thou long-expected Jesus (Stainer's highly chromatic tune Cross of Jesus from TheCrucifixion), a delightful hymn O Comfort my People to an Irish tune, and Hail to the Lord's Anointed. I sent them home to Nun Komm (BWV 599); I know that strictly one should not have voluntaries in Lent but I regard these Advent Chorale Preludes (which are but a minute each) as commerntaries on the preceeding liturgy therefore integral to it. And I made sure the bells were not rung!

 

Peter

 

In the RC church there is NO restriction on voluntaries in Advent (I presume that's what you meant!)

 

The confusion arises, because "Musicam Sacrum" (1967) says:-

 

65. In sung or said Masses, the organ, or other instrument legitimately admitted, can be used to accompany the singing of the choir and the people; it can also be played solo at the beginning before the priest reaches the altar, at the Offertory, at the Communion, and at the end of Mass. The same rule, with the necessary adaptations, can be applied to other sacred celebrations.

66. The playing of these same instruments as solos is not permitted in Advent, Lent, during the Sacred Triduum and in the Offices and Masses of the Dead.

 

 

Whjereas "The Ceremonial Of Bishops" (1989) para 236 says

 

"During Advent, the playing of the organ and other musical instruments as well as the floral decoration of the altar should be marked by a moderation that reflects the character of this season, but does not anticipate the full joy of Christmas itself."

 

As the season of Advent is not "penitential" in the same way as Lent is, the latter seems more in keeping with the feeling of "expectation" of Advent. Yesterday I ended with Titelouze's 1st verset on "Conditor Alme". Next Sunday it is "Advent Reflections (Bonighton) from Mayhew's "Organist's Liturgical Year". Sunday 3 will be Sortie sur "Venez Divin Messie" (Franck) and the 4th, Bach's "Nun komm".

 

Hope this helps!

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Yesterday, the minister invited the congregation to remain seated after the service to listen to the voluntary and sat down herself until I had finished "Wachet Auf" from the Schubler chorals. And all of the congregation stayed in their seats and listened as well.

 

I had no idea this was going to happen until the sermon, when she hatched the idea upon us and drew the voluntary into one of the points of her (as ever, excellent) sermon. She had checked with me before the service I actually was going to play the voluntary as advertised in the music list. But this was one of those moments my heart skipped a small beat as I hadn't played the piece since last advent...

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We also had the congregation, at a special Advent service of readings and music last evening, stay seated to listen to the first voluntary (Krebs Wachet auf nr 3, tpt+organ) - the choir processed to the west end, then also sat to listen - making the point that the service was not yet over.

 

Many complimentary comments afterwards about both this, and the whole of the service - which was all music from the NEH (congregational) or plainsong/western art music (choir), and readings from the King James version. It drew the biggest congregation I have yet seen in the place.

 

Incidentally, the congregational items also drew fine, strong, committed singing from them - even in the flowing, straight-through version of Veni Emmanuel from NEH - and we did sing all eight verses, with trumpet in the last verse refrain, and with the major third at the end of that final verse after a choral show of hands at the rehearsal.

 

Unfortunately, for my choir rehearsal just prior to the service, the bells were rung - but we coped.

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Does anyone else feel that another abomination of a tierce de picardie is in the final chord of the Baerenreiter edition of the Fantasia in G minor BWV542? This MUST be a minor chord - and is in practically every other edition of this piece. So why is the Baerenreiter edition different?

 

And speaking of that, my copy of the accompanying fugue has numerous re-writings in it as I don't agree with what's written - it's quite dramatically different to every other edition I have of it - it strikes me the Baerenreiter editors assumed a rather inaccurate copy must have been the definitive original... What do other people think?

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Yes, I don't like the Bärenreiter edition of the BWV 542 fugue either, but I know nothing of Bach scholarship so can't comment on the reasons for it. This is where I miss Stephen Farr's contributions - he was good on this sort of thing.

 

Do the NBA editors claim this version to be Bach's original? I would assume that their reading is no more than the nearest they could get to what a critique of the sources suggested is closest to what Bach must have written. Not at all the same thing! I am only guessing though. I know nothing.

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We'll be doing the Willcocks arrangement of the refrain this evening at Advent Carols for two of the verses, ending on a major in the last one (the altos just need to sing a G# instead of G natural).

 

As well as the wonderful Willcocks arrangement of Lo, he comes, surely the only way to end an Advent Carol service.

 

I've used that Willcocks many times and find it surpasses even the best efforts in the various hymnals. However, I often play a bare fifth to end each refrain except the last, when I'll succumb to "TdP" weakness.

 

Haven't touched the Willcocks "Lo he comes" in years ... at Bath, we always used a last verse arrangement by Dudley Holroyd (Peter King's immediate predecessor) which required transposing the tune into A major so that the trebles could thrill with a long top A near the end. (And thrill they did - small wonder they looked forward to it every year, Boys and Girls alike!) Since hearing and playing that descant, I've used no other.

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Ending a minor-key hymn with a tierce de Picardie is almost guaranteed to make me cringe. Organists have thought it so cool for so long that the effect has long since become totally hackneyed and passé. They are hardly ever really necessary. I am tempted to suggest that all of you who played one this morning should atone for your grievous sin by buying me a bottle of single malt for Christmas. The trouble is, though, that Veni Emmanuel is my one exception - I do play a Picardie third on the last chord!

 

As for pausing, if you want to stick to the earliest known plainsong version, you shouldn't pause anywhere, not even in the refrain (especially in the refrain) - or at least only slightly. Personally I ignore its plainsong roots altogether (or, rather I used to when I had a regular church job). I treat it entirely four-squarely, with a dotted-crotchet at the end of each line (assuming the tune is notated in quavers) and with an accompaniment consisting of a regular pulse of crotchet chords (cf. Willcocks's approach in C4C, but my harmony is different and I maintain the pulse throughout the refrain too). This effectively turns the piece into a relentless march. Congregations seemed to like it. I used to get comments about how it gave power to a tune that had previously seemed rather dreary.

 

The thing which worries me more, is that I have never found a really satisfactory harmonisation of this plainsong tune, which follows the flow of the tune (i.e. does not change chords every beat or so). Every year, I try to remember to write my own, but I always forget - it is always so busy at this time. Do any board members have a preferred version which they could recommend ?

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I've used that Willcocks many times and find it surpasses even the best efforts in the various hymnals. However, I often play a bare fifth to end each refrain except the last, when I'll succumb to "TdP" weakness.

 

Haven't touched the Willcocks "Lo he comes" in years ... at Bath, we always used a last verse arrangement by Dudley Holroyd (Peter King's immediate predecessor) which required transposing the tune into A major so that the trebles could thrill with a long top A near the end. (And thrill they did - small wonder they looked forward to it every year, Boys and Girls alike!) Since hearing and playing that descant, I've used no other.

 

The best version of the last verse of Lo, he comes which I have found, is contained in a publication issued by the RSCM. I think that it was written by Martin How; there is no descant, but the organ harmonisation is very exciting.

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The best version of the last verse of Lo, he comes which I have found, is contained in a publication issued by the RSCM. I think that it was written by Martin How; there is no descant, but the organ harmonisation is very exciting.

I'd pay good money for a collected edition of the works of Martin How, particularly the chants and hymn arrangements. I have a few bits of How stuff from RSCM courses 35 years ago but he must have done loads.

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I've got a resistance to reharmonisations or different accompaniments to "Helmsley", feelign that it is such a strong tune 'as it comes'. However, this year, as we had a very fine, professional trumpeter available I did succumb to writing a (challenging) trumpet descant for him.

 

The challenge did mean that there was a little time needed between that hymn and the organ+trumpet first voluntary for him to reset his embouchure!

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