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Suggestions For Voluntary For End Of 9 Lessons


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Hello All,

 

I've just discovered that our organist has had to take leave over Christmas for family reasons, so as assistant I will be stepping in and covering all the services. This will be my first 9 lessons as the main organist (I've accomanied specific choir items in previous years).

 

I'm going to have my work cut out, since I have to fit in preparation for the choir accompaniments etc. alongside my day job and trumpet playing commitments. Which brings me to the subject question...

 

Does anyone have suggestions for a suitable voluntary for the end of 9 lessons, which will not require hours of preparation. As a guideline, I'm of aspiring ARCO standard.

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

Sq

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Hello All,

 

I've just discovered that our organist has had to take leave over Christmas for family reasons, so as assistant I will be stepping in and covering all the services. This will be my first 9 lessons as the main organist (I've accomanied specific choir items in previous years).

 

I'm going to have my work cut out, since I have to fit in preparation for the choir accompaniments etc. alongside my day job and trumpet playing commitments. Which brings me to the subject question...

 

Does anyone have suggestions for a suitable voluntary for the end of 9 lessons, which will not require hours of preparation. As a guideline, I'm of aspiring ARCO standard.

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

Sq

 

At this stage I would be asking myself what I already play that might be suitable - (what do you have in the repertoire?) given the other commitments you outline. You mention that you are a trumpeter - would you be comfortable switching instruments and is there someone else who could accompany you if you were to play a trumpet piece at the end? I'm sure this would go down well.

 

On various instruments I have been known to play:

Bach: In dulci jubilo (various)

Bach: G major P+F (BWV 541)

Buxtehude: C major P+F+C

Mulet: Carillon-Sortie

Widor: 1st mvt, Sym 6

Widor: y'know, t'Toccata

Vierne: t'Final

Lefebure-Wely: Sortie in E flat

 

Hope this helps to spark some ideas.

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At this stage I would be asking myself what I already play that might be suitable - (what do you have in the repertoire?) given the other commitments you outline. You mention that you are a trumpeter - would you be comfortable switching instruments and is there someone else who could accompany you if you were to play a trumpet piece at the end? I'm sure this would go down well.

 

On various instruments I have been known to play:

Bach: In dulci jubilo (various)

Bach: G major P+F (BWV 541)

Buxtehude: C major P+F+C

Mulet: Carillon-Sortie

Widor: 1st mvt, Sym 6

Widor: y'know, t'Toccata

Vierne: t'Final

Lefebure-Wely: Sortie in E flat

 

Hope this helps to spark some ideas.

 

Some good suggestions, although I would not have said that the first movement of Widor's Sixth Symphony was quite the right piece (the Final may be more appropriate - at least it is in a major key), nor something one could learn quickly in a couple of weeks, particularly if there are several accompaniments to practise.

 

Incidentally, I presume you mean the Final to Vierne's First Symphony? The sixth is also stunning - but rather more difficult; again, pressure on time may preclude this as a choice.

 

Then there are other chorale preludes - for example, those on Vom Himmel hoch, by Pachelbel; these have the advantage that they are sightreadable.

 

Or, how about Dubois' Toccata (although the middle section is rather quiet) - or even Bach's Piece d'Orgue (BWV 572).

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How easily can this be learnt, though? I am not sure that I have ever seen the music.

 

It's not too bad. It's one of those pieces that has lots of consistent patterns, which I only noticed having got the score.

 

There isn't a reason why the piece played has to have a christmas theme though. This year i'm playing the Bach G Maj, which is certainly not seasonal. As long as it is loud and bright, most people will be happy. As someone else said, what do you already play that fits that characteristic?

 

If you only have two weeks to learn it, what about Viernes' Carillon du Longport?

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I usually do the Bach BWV 729 In dulci jubilo after carol services - its not too long, not difficult but is loud enough to sound over a congregation who will almost inevitably start talking. Its always the first voluntary after the Kings service on Christmas Eve.

 

I'll be saving the Widor Toccata for Midnight Mass (my first public performance of this piece). But all the things posted on this thread would work equally well I'm sure.

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All good suggestions - I'm playing BWV 729 - and then David Briggs "Sortie on In Dulci Jubilo" which looks like lots of fun, even if I've not learnt it yet! Last year, Final of Vierne 6... Mulet Carillon-Sortie goes down well too.

 

Best advent greetings

 

Simon

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Some good suggestions, although I would not have said that the first movement of Widor's Sixth Symphony was quite the right piece (the Final may be more appropriate - at least it is in a major key), nor something one could learn quickly in a couple of weeks, particularly if there are several accompaniments to practise.

 

Oops - yes, I meant the last mvt of Widor 6.

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It is quite difficult to get a copy of the Edmundson. Someone gave me my copy. It is quite short but it is actually much more difficult than it looks and it goes at quite a speed. Good idea to practice the fast manual passages on the piano but I wouldn't risk it if you haven't already at least partly learnt it.

 

Malcolm

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... Its always the first voluntary after the Kings service on Christmas Eve. ...

 

 

Do you mean the radio version? Because the TV broadcast always has the Bach chorale prelude on Vom Himmel hoch - which is occasionally faded out about half a second or so before the final note (and its attendant reverberation) has ended.

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Oops - yes, I meant the last mvt of Widor 6.

 

This is indeed a good piece. There is also the Final of Widor's Second Symphony - which is also good, since it is marked to be played on full organ throughout - albeit with changes of clavier for variety.

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All good suggestions - I'm playing BWV 729 - and then David Briggs "Sortie on In Dulci Jubilo" which looks like lots of fun, even if I've not learnt it yet! Last year, Final of Vierne 6... Mulet Carillon-Sortie goes down well too.

 

Best advent greetings

 

Simon

 

Indeed - the Final of Vierne's Sixth Symphony is a superb piece. I have also played the Fugue from the Fantasy on the Chorale 'Wachet auf', by Reger (Max, not Janet). If one had more time to learn it, Cochereau's Sortie sur Adeste Fidelis is a good (and still relatively unknown) piece - the last section being quite stirring. However, there are a number of errors which I have found in the transcription as published by Chantraine.

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Do you mean the radio version? Because the TV broadcast always has the Bach chorale prelude on Vom Himmel hoch - which is occasionally faded out about half a second or so before the final note (and its attendant reverberation) has ended.

 

Yes, I did mean the radio version. I have to confess I've never watched the TV version.

 

One further suggestion which occured to me while I was in church this afternoon - Eric Thiman's Postlude on Adeste Fideles. Slightly contrived, but pretty straightforward variations on the well-known hymn tune. It is in the Novello Festal Voluntaries Collection for Christmas and Epiphany. If you don't have it already, you probably won't be able to track it down in two weeks though.

 

I also like Andrew Gant's Toccata on Mendelssohn, which again is pretty straightforward and has doubtless appeared in numerous Mayhew Christmas compilations. Again, perhaps rather contrived, but a happy piece on a clear theme which at about 3 minutes long doesn't outstay its welcome. I'll be doing this for Christmas Day morning.

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Does anyone have suggestions for a suitable voluntary for the end of 9 lessons, which will not require hours of preparation.

Sq

 

David Willcocks "Postlude on Mendelssohn" in Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music - maybe starting at bar 9.

 

He's 90 on 30 December, so you'll be celebrating two birthdays at once!

 

Ian

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Do you mean the radio version? Because the TV broadcast always has the Bach chorale prelude on Vom Himmel hoch - which is occasionally faded out about half a second or so before the final note (and its attendant reverberation) has ended.

Yes, isn't it tedious that they very nearly always do that! 729 is always used in the radio transmission - in the old days, I recall that the Final from Vierne 1 followed it. I have often used the Mushel Toccata after 729. What about the Willcocks piece based on Hark! The Herald? It's in OUP Christmas Organ Music - the opening is quite arresting on a large organ, though I have to say that the rest of it is not great music. Bach G major and the 9/8 C major are also good choices, I feel - indeed, any of the Bach P&Fs in major keys would be good though the E flat has other connotations, of course. What about the D major? There's masses of stuff in various Mayhew albums - again, a great In dulci jubilo piece in the form of a Toccata by Chris Tambling comes to mind but I've forgotten which album. The Fletcher Festival Toccata is pretty easy but effective - certainly learnable in a fortnight, I would say. Could you bear to play something by Eric Thiman? Gosh - perhaps I should have started a new topic at this point? Does anyone play any Thiman? (I was thinking of the Postlude on Adeste Fidelis.)

Martin

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Does anyone have suggestions for a suitable voluntary for the end of 9 lessons, which will not require hours of preparation. [.....]

Ones that I think I would consider using were I in your situation:

 

- JS Bach: Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland, BWV 661

- JS Bach: Wachet auf! Ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645

 

If you want something basic then I would recommend Jane Watts' prelude on the carol "Past Three O' Clock" which I have somewhere and did, at one point, learn. If you want something quite grand then the improvisation on Adeste Fideles that we had in Bristol Cathedral after the 9 Lessons and Carols in, I think, 2007 (it may have been 2008) was spectacular - earned raptuous aplause to the organist playing (Paul Walton, IIRC) - buit may be too much preparation to get it ready now.

 

BTW, Squinius: where do you play?

 

Cheers,

 

Dave

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What about the Vierne Carillon de Westminster? or any of the Vierne Carillons for that matter.

 

 

EC

 

Expanding on my last post, I would also suggest any of the Orgelbuchlein Advent/Christmas Chorale Preludes BWV 599-612.

 

Failing that, how about something by Daquin, the Noel Grande Jeu et Duo perhaps? It's quite simple, but lively and rousing nonetheless. You'll find this in the Oxford Book of Christmas Organ music.

 

 

EC

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Could you bear to play something by Eric Thiman? Gosh - perhaps I should have started a new topic at this point? Does anyone play any Thiman? (I was thinking of the Postlude on Adeste Fidelis.)

 

I do play bits of Thiman - I mentioned the Adeste Fideles further up. I find his Trumpet Tune on Moscow to be a jolly little number that seems to go quite nicely if you've used the hymn tune. I have looked at the 'Regent Square' piece in the same album and it doesn't seem too bad. I'd venture to say its not the greatest music but perfectly serviceable and no worse than most (if not all) of what fills the albums Mayhew's composers produce.

 

Of course it depends where you are. I don't think you'd find Thiman's stuff as voluntaries in Cathedrals, but in a Parish Church setting it may well fit in OK.

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Yes, isn't it tedious that they very nearly always do that! 729 is always used in the radio transmission - in the old days, I recall that the Final from Vierne 1 followed it. I have often used the Mushel Toccata after 729. What about the Willcocks piece based on Hark! The Herald? It's in OUP Christmas Organ Music - the opening is quite arresting on a large organ, though I have to say that the rest of it is not great music. Bach G major and the 9/8 C major are also good choices, I feel - indeed, any of the Bach P&Fs in major keys would be good though the E flat has other connotations, of course. What about the D major? There's masses of stuff in various Mayhew albums - again, a great In dulci jubilo piece in the form of a Toccata by Chris Tambling comes to mind but I've forgotten which album. The Fletcher Festival Toccata is pretty easy but effective - certainly learnable in a fortnight, I would say. Could you bear to play something by Eric Thiman? Gosh - perhaps I should have started a new topic at this point? Does anyone play any Thiman? (I was thinking of the Postlude on Adeste Fidelis.)

Martin

I have back to back carol services to do on Sunday, the last one not finishing until about 21:30. They're having Mathias Invocations after the first one, and the Percy Fletcher after the second, as it's pretty easy and a good crowd pleaser.

 

Not sure if you knock them up in 2 weeks, but I've also used the Howells Paean and Langlais Hymne d'action de graces 'Te Deum', neither of which is particularly difficult.

 

AJS

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