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Looking For Some New Music To Work On


Philip
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I'm looking to expand my repertoire a little, with pieces which I can use after the main Sunday service, so I'm looking for something fairly grand-sounding, and at a fair volume most of the way through (as they do like to start chatting!). I'm not doing grades at all so I've no idea where I'd be at - based on what is said about other pieces I'd guess about Grade 6 but thats not set in stone. If it sounds more difficult than it really is - even better.

 

To give some idea of what I'm already doing, I regularly roll out things like the Lang Tuba Tune, Dubois Marche-Sortie, Mathias Processional and Rutter's Toccata in Seven. I also use a fair few transcriptions, so this Sunday they're getting the Verdi Grand March, with other such items including the Trumpet Voluntary, Te Deum Prelude and War March of the Priests, while I also throw in a few more amusing pieces from time to time - the Dambusters March went down well a couple of months ago! This isn't exhaustive - its just to give an indication of the sort of thing I play at the moment. I'd be looking for similar pieces or maybe things slightly beyond these. I've recently bought Durufle's Fugue sur la theme de... which is one of things I'm working on. I don't particularly want anything which will be a massive project though.

 

I've recently come across the Leighton Paean and listened to it - any advice on whether that might be suitable?

 

Any other suggestions for suitable additions of 'good' music which isn't tremendously difficult?

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I take it you have a decently sized organ.

 

The Leighton will require work to sort out, but isn't actually all that difficult. No worse than the Toccata in 7 anyway. People tend to play it too fast IMO.

 

The first of Gade's Tre Tonstykker is very approachable. The third is worth the effort too, though it's definitely more tricky than the first and requires some very nimble fingers - a grade 8 piece I would say.

 

I take it you already do the old warhorses like Karg-Elert's Nun danket and the Vierne Carillons (Longpont & Westminster), all of which are easier than some.

 

If you have a good, bright Gt diapason chorus, the first of Bedrich Janacek's Two Chorale Preludes (OUP) is quite easy and very effective. They are long out of print, I think, but secondhand copies appear occasionally.

 

I've got to hop off now to meet a lady friend for a drink, but I'll give this some more thought when I'm sober again.

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The JSB "Giant" is always a winner - arresting and sounds good on full organ; in the same (Novello) book, the D major Alla Breve is similarly effective. Neither is over-taxing but should fulfil your wish for something that sounds more difficult than it is :D! (I love such pieces!)

 

Good luck!

 

Peter

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A great many of the pre-Bach (Buxtehude, Bruhns, Lubeck) preludae are around the ABRSM VI/VII mark. They are mostly wonderful music, you can get away with using full organ quite a lot of the time (I know that I'll get shot down for saying that :D) and almost all contain that great impresser of congregations, the pedal solo.

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A great many of the pre-Bach (Buxtehude) .... and almost all contain that great impresser of congregations, the pedal solo.

 

The Buxtehude Prelude Fugue and Chaconne in C covers both those. Other impressive ones, the Buxtehude Gminor that starts with the little ground bass in the pedals, splendid fugue at the end.

 

Other current favs of mine, the first movement of Hindemith II, not too tricky at all; the Recessional at the end of the Francaix Messe de Marriage (I think its on the grade 7 list); last movement of Guilmant I, easier than end of Vierne I, sounds as impressive (though I was slightly reprimanded for playing at after evensong during Lent at a cathedral last year!).

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The JSB "Giant" is always a winner - arresting and sounds good on full organ

A frightening statement, goodness knows I'm no purist, but I cannot imagine wanting to use even a single 8' great chorus reed on the manuals for this piece, let alone, were they available, the 16' bombarde and the clarion.

 

I learnt this piece as one of the very first pieces where I changed teachers and began lessons on a (now defunct) cathedral organ which at that time had 6 pistons to each of great and swell. I remember carefully selecting stops for what, I hoped, would be an effective Bach registration, only to be told by my teacher (a former New College organ scholar, not averse to the less romantic instuments) that "on an english cathedral organ you just couple swell 5 to great 5", good advice, but note not "swell 6 to great 6".

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Just to endorse what other people have said, the Andriessen Thema met Variaties is a very effective piece and not too hard at all. And the chorale by Bedrich Janacek is also very good - especially if you have a devastating pedal reed! - and it's a piece that you really can't play too loud.

 

I would have thought the Leighton Paean was considerably more difficult than Grade 6; an FRCO of my acquiaintance took quite some time to get to grips with it! However, it is probably worth getting the Leighton organ works for some of the other pieces. There's a good Fanfare (I think that's what it's called - the first piece in the book) that is quite straightforward and would suite your purpose. Plus there is an utterly stunning prelude on Rockingham that leaves me gasping in awe every time I play it - though it is pp throughout and thus not what you were looking for on this occasion.

 

How about the Franck A minor chorale or the Allegro Marziale from Six Organ Pieces by Frank Bridge?

 

Rather more off the wall, there's the first movement of Rheinberger's Sonata No. 2 in A flat, Opus 65 (publisher Amadeus) -Forte most of the way through with the odd quieter section, and fortissimo for most of the last page, and an excellent excuse to draw the Trombas!

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A frightening statement, goodness knows I'm no purist, but I cannot imagine wanting to use even a single 8' great chorus reed on the manuals for this piece, let alone, were they available, the 16' bombarde and the clarion.

 

I learnt this piece as one of the very first pieces where I changed teachers and began lessons on a (now defunct) cathedral organ which at that time had 6 pistons to each of great and swell. I remember carefully selecting stops for what, I hoped, would be an effective Bach registration, only to be told by my teacher (a former New College organ scholar, not averse to the less romantic instuments) that "on an english cathedral organ you just couple swell 5 to great 5", good advice, but note not "swell 6 to great 6".

 

Hmmm - not sure he'll get away that lightly at Christ Church, Oxford.

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Many thanks for all the suggestions as ever - most helpful, and keep them coming!

 

I've heard of the Andriessen, but have never actually heard it played, but will definitely seek a copy. The Leighton Organ book seems reasonable for about a tenner, and if the Paean is beyond what I can manage then I might something else of use - if I find something quiet to suit a different purpose then so much the better!

 

Several of the other things I've heard of - the Bridge Allegro Marziale is something I've looked at. A couple of them might be slightly too big a project for now, but thanks to the wonders of the IMSLP I'll be able to have a look at a few of them.

 

As for the size of my organ... :D

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I'm looking to expand my repertoire a little, with pieces which I can use after the main Sunday service, so I'm looking for something fairly grand-sounding, and at a fair volume most of the way through (as they do like to start chatting!). I'm not doing grades at all so I've no idea where I'd be at - based on what is said about other pieces I'd guess about Grade 6 but thats not set in stone.

There may be some useful ideas in the exam syllabuses for the Associated Board and the RCO's CertRCO. Both are, of course, available on-line. Books 4 and 5 of Anne Marsden Thomas's series A Graded Anthology for Organ (Cramer 1997) also have a few pieces which may be suitable for your requirements. I would also support Nick Bennet's suggestion of Leighton's Fanfare rather than the Paean, and you may want to get stuck in to Langlais' Hymne d'Actione de Grâce - Te Deum. Also:-

Gigout: Toccata

Hollins A Trumpet Minuet

Johnson: Some of the Trumpet Tunes

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Sounds a bit harder than it looks, you say?

 

I have several for you to consider:

 

Armand Vivet's Toccata (you can get a copy HERE)

 

An interesting new contemporary Tpt Tune in 7 (get it HERE)

 

Leonardo Ciampa has written a luscious setting of Veni Emmanuel (available HERE) and a totally OTT Victorian March (here)

 

Charles Quef's "Pour Paques" (a setting of O Filii) makes either a festive prelude or Postlude for Easter (here)

 

I could go on... but those come immediately to mind.... I'll probably add more as I think of it!

 

Best,

 

- G

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Things my (run of the mill) congregations like that won't keep you busy for ever:

 

Prelude in Classic Style - Gordon Young

Fanfare - Lemmens

Gavotte (from Symphony in F) - Boyce

Alla Marcia - Ireland

Variations on 'Veni Creator' - Flor Peeters

 

You've had some excellent suggestions on earlier posts. The only work that surprised me on the list was the Leighton Paean. Not only is this quite seriously tricky, but I think this is a piece for organists not a piece for listeners. I'm not saying that nobody will like it, but they won't like it as much as you do! You could say the same about a barrow-load of 20th century stuff, of course.

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A frightening statement, goodness knows I'm no purist, but I cannot imagine wanting to use even a single 8' great chorus reed on the manuals for this piece, let alone, were they available, the 16' bombarde and the clarion.

 

I learnt this piece as one of the very first pieces where I changed teachers and began lessons on a (now defunct) cathedral organ which at that time had 6 pistons to each of great and swell. I remember carefully selecting stops for what, I hoped, would be an effective Bach registration, only to be told by my teacher (a former New College organ scholar, not averse to the less romantic instuments) that "on an english cathedral organ you just couple swell 5 to great 5", good advice, but note not "swell 6 to great 6".

 

I suppose I meant organo pleno ie an organ with "full resources". I agree that reeds (manual atl east) would damage the effect.

 

Peter

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I suppose I meant organo pleno ie an organ with "full resources".

I'm trying so hard not to put on my teacher's hat, but I'm sure you know that (say) Bach's use of the term organo pleno bears no relation to that of Reger. :D

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Plus there is an utterly stunning prelude on Rockingham that leaves me gasping in awe every time I play it - though it is pp throughout and thus not what you were looking for on this occasion.

 

Absolutely, glad someone else feels the same way about it. I like the whole set, Helmslsey and Jesus bids us shine also stand out. If anyone is looking for something slightly off the beaten track with Leighton, can I recommend the Dublin Organ Mass, and in particular the Gloria and Its Missa Est.

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I'm trying so hard not to put on my teacher's hat, but I'm sure you know that (say) Bach's use of the term organo pleno bears no relation to that of Reger. :D

 

Peter Williams in New Grove Online:

 

"It is unlikely that J. S. Bach had a specific combination in mind when he asked for organum plenum, whether in 1715 or 1745; however, a contemporary organ builder, Gottfried Silbermann, directed organists to use the manual coupler but no manual reeds or Tierces in the plenum (Fraureuth, 1739)."

 

Which is sort of what I said, I think.

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I am sure others will agree that even the simpler pieces by Whitlock are not as easy as they first appear and they need a lot of care working out the fingering and phrasing. (See also the current thread about shape and architecture in pieces and the excellent comments there by Cynic.) I wonder how many people actually get the cross-phrasing in, for example, the opening bars of the Folk Tune in accordance with Whitlock's own meticulous phrasing marks. A lot of Whitlock's music is very difficult to bring off really convincingly and well, but in most instances it is well worth the effort.

 

Malcolm

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Hello everyone, new member here - pleased to meet you all!

 

I recently bought The Complete Shorter Organ Music by Whitlock, published by Oxford University Press. There are lots of great pieces in there, which sound great and are not too taxing to play.

 

There is also a book of nice and simple Whitlock published by Animus - manuals only too!

 

A

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I am sure others will agree that even the simpler pieces by Whitlock are not as easy as they first appear and they need a lot of care working out the fingering and phrasing. (See also the current thread about shape and architecture in pieces and the excellent comments there by Cynic.) I wonder how many people actually get the cross-phrasing in, for example, the opening bars of the Folk Tune in accordance with Whitlock's own meticulous phrasing marks. A lot of Whitlock's music is very difficult to bring off really convincingly and well, but in most instances it is well worth the effort.

 

Malcolm

 

Very true. Certainly rewarding music to learn.

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A lot of Whitlock's music is very difficult to bring off really convincingly and well, but in most instances it is well worth the effort.

Indeed. Some of his more awkward pieces certainly demand that the player is (literally) all thumbs in technique... :)

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