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Confessions from the organ bench

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Forgive me father, for I have sinned!

 

Well it was snowing a little this morning, and the congregation was a bit thin to say the least; the pavements covered in snow.

 

People were arriving and stamping their feet like cattle and although I couldn't hear individual conversations, I just knew that the low murmur was the unmistakable sound of English people complaining about the weather.

 

Well I hoped they noticed the "voluntary", which was a carefully crafted little improvisation over the chorale, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow", played wearing a nice warm storm-jacket, with thick socks and hiking-boots on my feet.

 

There are some Sundays when I don't want to be there!

 

Best,

 

MM

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I am looking in my Riemenschneider as this is a chorale I don't know!! Perhaps it is not one of the 371 - or by another composer!!!

 

'Carefully crafted' is an interesting phrase - it covers a multitude of sins - some of which you might be forgiven for and some you very definitely won't be! - but, at least you had people there to listen to you! Here in the Cathedral we were very down in congregational numbers although a full choir gave us a Palestrina 6-part Mass setting together with two motets by Gabrieli & Palestrina - but no improvisation on that particular chorale! Perhaps I will suggest it if it's still snowing next week!

 

Well I suppose the silly season follows Christmas!!

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I am looking in my Riemenschneider as this is a chorale I don't know!! Perhaps it is not one of the 371 - or by another composer!!!

 

'Carefully crafted' is an interesting phrase - it covers a multitude of sins - some of which you might be forgiven for and some you very definitely won't be! - but, at least you had people there! Here in the Cathedral we were very down in congregational numbers although a full choir gave us a Palestrina 6-part Mass setting together with two motets by Gabrieli & Palestrina - but no improvisation on that particular chorale! Perhaps I will suggest it if it's still snowing next week!

 

Well I suppose the silly season follows Christmas!!

 

 

=====================

 

 

I played it slowly in the style of Bach, wirth lots of ornamentation and passing notes.....you know the sort of thing. My(very) small fan club couldn't name the tune, and they pride themselves on recognising them normally.

 

If it's snowing next week, I'll have to try something from "The snowman" such as "I'm walking in the air", but that's altogether more modal....perhaps in the style of Kodaly?

 

Best,

 

MM

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I have Tom Trotter's transcription of Leroy Anderson's Sleighride. As the Cathedral Organist in the world's most snowy capital, I have been known to trot it out occasionally.

 

Healey Willan's Missa Brevis III was nicknamed by him the 'Snowstorm Mass' when he had to substitute it for a more complex setting at St. Mary Magdalen, Toronto one wintry day. (Willan's missae brevae are worth getting to know. About the same difficulty as Wood in the Fridge but more interesting and arguably better music).

 

A feature of cathedral worship here after a snowstorm is that the accumulated snow on the nave roof slides in large sections and lands with a wallop on the aisles, while that on the aisle lands with a thump in the parking lot (don't park near the building if there's snow on the roof!).

 

While we are confessing, I played bits of Rule Britannia, Sailor's Hornpipe and Arrac's Song ('Princess Ida') between the verses of 'Joy to the World' last Sunday, and bits of 'Gondoliers' elsewhere, the latter somewhat disquised. Infiltrating bits of G&S is something of a tradition, and the Choir expects it.....

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Healey Willan's Missa Brevis III was nicknamed by him the 'Snowstorm Mass' when he had to substitute it for a more complex setting at St. Mary Magdalen, Toronto one wintry day. (Willan's missae brevae are worth getting to know. About the same difficulty as Wood in the Fridge but more interesting and arguably better music).

 

 

Agree about HW's missae brevae. Have managed to track down scores of some (3 "Snowstorm", 7 "O Westron Wynde", 8 "Pip & Jim", 9 "St J the B", 13 "Holy Cross"). Any pointers as to where I can find more? Equally some of the glorious motets - virtually nothing available in the UK.

 

Thanks

MGP

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some of the glorious motets - virtually nothing available in the UK.

Thanks

MGP

A couple of Willan's pieces are available in UK in Weddings for Choir (OUP) 'Rise up, my love' and 'I beheld her, beautiful as a dove.'

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When Robert Quinney was on the Today programme recently, it was mentioned that a visiting preacher (at either Westminster Abbey or St Paul's) was accompanied to the pulpit by a barely disguised 'Blackadder' theme... consequently this has become a favourite, about 5 minutes before the clergy arrive, here in Staffs.

'The Muppet Show' featured last Sunday,in very ecclesiastical garb, I think that only Mrs CK noticed. Tim Minchin (c.f. Matilda - the T.V. song) was the stimulant for this, he seems to have borrowed the bass line.

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The end of the Blackadder theme fits quite effectively over the end of "Morning Light" (as sung to "Stand up, stand up for Jesus"). Since I dislike militaristic hymns, whenever this cropped up at my last church I always ended my last verse reharmonisation with this soloed via Great Reeds on Choir. As far as I am aware, no one ever noticed. Maybe if I'd had a Tuba...

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Purely coincidentally, we have 'Stand up!" on Sunday... must try to work it out.

 

Talking of coincidences, I vaguely remember a similar thread running on this Board a few years ago, and a what-a-surprise "story" appeared in a national newspaper a few weeks later. It'll be interesting to see whether the same happens this time. Maybe on a slow news day... ... ... ...

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I've forgotten how to do it in more recent years, but there is a way that if you change one note you can play 'Twinkle Twinkle little star' over the top of O little town of bethlehem, up a fourth or so..

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I was in Liverpool Cathedral yesterday - a friend was one of three priests who were being installed as Canons.

 

What a happy coincidence that the Mag and Nunc (Weelkes' Sixth Service) both contain a passage where the altos duet in canon!

 

Ian

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As the Rolling Stones played last Saturday night, and the riff to 'Satisfaction' is just open fifths... the transition from cod medieval "organum" plainsong style to the aforementioned riff is but a change of registration and rhythm...

The boss wasn't familiar with either, and had to have it explained.

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I once played at a wedding that was (mis)timed to clash with the FA cup final, and such was the football fervour that the service was peppered with football references. I couldn't resist playing hints of the "Match of the day" themetune inbetween verses of one of the hymns.

 

Needless to say, noone noticed.

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When His Nibs arrived at my last church I made it very clear at our first meeting that there was no way on earth that I was going to play "O Jesus, I have promised" to the tune of Match of the Day. I had been warned that he had actually done that at his previous church. Thankfully, he never asked me to.

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