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Wesley Andante in G - legato 6ths


martin_greenwood

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I'm currently working on SS Wesley's Andante in G (Novello English Organ Music Vol 2), and am interested in just how legato I should be making the various patterns of consecutive 6ths that occur in either hand throughout the piece.

 

The easier option is to do a "pseudo legato" with the upper notes always legato, but where expedient permitting the lower notes to detach e.g. to use a right hand thumb on consecutive notes.

 

Or what I presume is the "correct" option is to do shed-loads of finger substitution for a full legato series of 6th (5:2 to 4:1/5:2 to 4:1/5:2 etc.). The tempo suggested by Wesley is crotchet 63 and the 6th are in quavers. Given some of the chromatics involved, the hand angles are in places rather awkward and this is going to take me quite some practice to get sufficiently fluent for a concert performance.

 

What do you good people think? Is the full legato essential, or would a reverberant accoustic support some "cheating"?

 

Sq.

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I'm currently working on SS Wesley's Andante in G (Novello English Organ Music Vol 2), and am interested in just how legato I should be making the various patterns of consecutive 6ths that occur in either hand throughout the piece.

 

The easier option is to do a "pseudo legato" with the upper notes always legato, but where expedient permitting the lower notes to detach e.g. to use a right hand thumb on consecutive notes.

 

Or what I presume is the "correct" option is to do shed-loads of finger substitution for a full legato series of 6th (5:2 to 4:1/5:2 to 4:1/5:2 etc.). The tempo suggested by Wesley is crotchet 63 and the 6th are in quavers. Given some of the chromatics involved, the hand angles are in places rather awkward and this is going to take me quite some practice to get sufficiently fluent for a concert performance.

 

What do you good people think? Is the full legato essential, or would a reverberant accoustic support some "cheating"?

 

Sq.

 

Hi

 

More likely the parts shouldn't be legato at all. From what I've heard/read, constant legato is largely a Victorian invention, and doesn't need to applied in earlier music where the layout of parts, etc. makes it impossible/difficult.

 

Another example is the Wesley Choral song. In it's original version, much of the bass is in octaves - no realistic way to play them completely legato.

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Hi

 

More likely the parts shouldn't be legato at all. From what I've heard/read, constant legato is largely a Victorian invention, and doesn't need to applied in earlier music where the layout of parts, etc. makes it impossible/difficult.

 

Another example is the Wesley Choral song. In it's original version, much of the bass is in octaves - no realistic way to play them completely legato.

 

And also the fugue, Tony, which has semiquaver consecutive 3rds and 6ths!

 

Peter

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Hi

 

More likely the parts shouldn't be legato at all. From what I've heard/read, constant legato is largely a Victorian invention, and doesn't need to applied in earlier music where the layout of parts, etc. makes it impossible/difficult.

 

Another example is the Wesley Choral song. In it's original version, much of the bass is in octaves - no realistic way to play them completely legato.

Yet legato was by no means unknown. Earlier writers make much of the need to play the diapason movements of voluntaries legato. As John Marsh put it, "the style should be grave, and of the sostenuto kind, gliding from note to note, or chord to chord, with almost always a holding note [i.e. suspension], either in the Treble, Tenor or Bass of the Organ." The Dulciana was to be played similarly, in "a tender, soothing style, without the least degree of execution" [i.e. articulation]. Brighter combinations were played with more "execution".

 

SSW's pupil George Garrett reported that his master's Andante in F demanded "clear, crisp part-playing; the power of changing position of the hand instantaneously and with certainty; and a touch of the closest and smoothest character". (This cribbed from the latest OR.)

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And also the fugue, Tony, which has semiquaver consecutive 3rds and 6ths!

 

Peter

 

Hi

 

I've yet to look a the fugue in any detail! Please note (with ref. to the next post) that I din't say that legato was touch was wrong, merely pointed out, as the quote from OR implies, that legato i sometimes ruled out by the musical texture, and there's no need to try and force the passages into legato when presumably the composer and his contemporaries never expected any such thing.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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