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Vox Humana

Nautical Organ Pieces

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Can anyone recommend any original organ compositions (not arrangements) with a nautical theme? The only one I can think of offhand is Parry's "The Wanderer" Toccata and Fugue. Ideally I'm looking for something less "heavy" and about 5-10 minutes in length.

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I've always regarded Whitlock's Plymouth Suite as having a nautical feel.

 

Most especially the 'Chanty', of course, although on its own its a bit short. The Toccata is justifiably popular, of course.

 

There is always the 'Hornpipe Humoresque' by Noel Rawsthorne, which uses the Hornpipe theme but weaves in other tunes (JS Bach, Vivaldi, Arne, Widor). From his 'Dance Suite', 'Line Dance' does a similar thing (with Lord of the Dance and Old MacDonald had a Farm!) although I don't think its currently in print. The former is about 3 minutes long, the latter about 5 minutes. Whether this is the kind of music you are after, I'm not sure!

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Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I think Chanty would be too short, but the Rawsthorne might fit quite nicely (and, unless I'm very much mistaken, is dead easy - which is useful). I really must get a copy. I've been meaning to for years.

 

Any further ideas would still be very welcome.

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The piece that immediately comes to my mind is Bonnet's 'In Memoriam Titanic'. Probably not 'nautical' in the sense of the pieces previously mentioned, but nonetheless there's a connection.

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Thanks. I had forgotten about the Bonnet. That could well be a possibility. It's for a concert in which the main works will be Stanford's "Songs of the Fleet" and Carter's "Horizons", so anything to do with the sea could fit really.

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This is not a suggestion as it would require an arrangement but I'm sure that there is an organ somewhere (perhaps in a town with a glass blowing connection?) that would suit Malcolm Arnold's "The Padstow Lifeboat".

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I made a transcription of Henry Woods' 'Fantasia on British Sea Songs' some years ago. I can send you a copy if you're interested.

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Many thanks to all those, both posters and lurkers, for your suggestions and help - and not least to David for his offer of the Wood Fantasia. Sadly, though, the Wood would be too long for the slot available to me (I believe there are also some singers' solos to accommodate).

Since I was asked for something not too serious, I think it will boil down to either Rawthorne's Humoresque or George Malcolm's "Bach before the Mast" (which, in true Bachian fashion, works on the organ as well as on anything). Although I specified no arrangements, I have to admit I'm sorely tempted to sell my soul to the devil and adapt Sousa's "Jack Tar". (Dear me, I'd never live it down!) http://imslp.org/wiki/Jack_Tar_(Sousa,_John_Philip)

Edward MacDowell's "A Sea Song" also seems to have been arranged quite effectively: http://imslp.org/wik...Dowell,_Edward)

It's strange that there isn't more in the way of original organ music though. I really would have expected IMSLP to throw up something from the early twentieth century.

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Vox, There are a couple of sea-related movements in the Eugene Reuchsel Huit Images de Provence. Assauts de vagues aux rochers de l’Ile de Port-Cros, and Balancements des barcasses colorées au Vieux Port de Saint-Tropez.

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I once improvised some variations on the theme from Captain Pugwash after a service with a vaguely nautical theme. One lady said 'That was nice - was it French?'

 

A

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How about Percy Whitlock's 'To Phoebe' (arr. Malcolm Riley)? I believe that 'Phoebe' was in fact the HMS Phoebe which was torpedoed in 1942. Maybe someone could shed more light on this as I don't have my books to hand right now.

 

 

 

 

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Thank you all so much for these further suggestions. After tonight's practice I was asked to do two solo slots! Both the Rawsthorne and the Malcolm pieces are based on the well-worn sailors' hornpipe and I think one outing of that will be enough, so I'm definitely looking for something to else that will provide a foil.

 

The Whitlock piece sounds delicious and it would certainly suit.

 

I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Eugène Reuchsel before. This is very clearly my loss, since a quick search on YouTube shows me that his Nuages ensolleillés sur le cap Nègre is rather impressive, to put it mildly!

 

 

How have I missed this?! Is it one of the Huit images? From what I can see of the record sleeve it would seem to be.

 

Stephen, the two titles you mentioned sound wonderfully impressionistic and I suspect they might be just my cup of tea. How difficult are they? I might get the Huit images in any case, but if they are as tricky as Nuages sounds I fear I might never get around to learning them in the time available (if at all!)

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I once improvised some variations on the theme from Captain Pugwash after a service with a vaguely nautical theme. One lady said 'That was nice - was it French?'

 

A

 

Ha! But at least someone listened! :)

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I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Eugène Reuchsel before. This is very clearly my loss, since a quick search on YouTube shows me that his Nuages ensolleillés sur le cap Nègre is rather impressive, to put it mildly!

 

How have I missed this?! Is it one of the Huit images? From what I can see of the record sleeve it would seem to be.

 

Stephen, the two titles you mentioned sound wonderfully impressionistic and I suspect they might be just my cup of tea. How difficult are they? I might get the Huit images in any case, but if they are as tricky as Nuages sounds I fear I might never get around to learning them in the time available (if at all!)

 

These are the Promenades en Provence

 

1. Vieux Noëls Provençaux (Nuit de Noël à Saint-Tropez)

2. Les Grandes Orgues de la Basilique de Saint-Maximin

3. Tambourinaires sur la place des Vieux Salins

4. Nuages ensoleillés sur le Cap Nègre

5. Le Cloître de Saint-Trophime à Arles

6. Petit Cimetière et Cyprès autour de la vieille église de Bormes-les-Mimosas

7. Voiles multicolores au port de Toulon

8. Les Cloches de Notre-Dame des Doms en Avignon

9. Jour de fête aux Saintes-Maries de la Mer

10. Profil de la Porte d'Orange à Carpentras

11. Le Moulin d'Alphonse Daudet à Fontvieille

12. La Chartreuse de Montrieux au crépuscule

13. Visions à l'Abbaye de Sénanque: La Foi en Dieu – La Joie en Dieu

 

and these are the Images

 

1. Assauts de vagues aux rochers de l'lle de Port-Cros

2. Balancements des barcasses colorées au Vieux Port de Saint-Tropez

3. Hallucinante évocation des Moines aux ruines de la Chartreuse de la Verne

4. L'Etoile Radieuse de Moustiers Sainte-Marie

5. Humble petit oratoire à l'ombre d'oliviers séculaires

6. Coucher de Soleil sur les majestueuses Tours du Château de Lourmann

7. Douceur des Champs de Lavande fleurie

8. Coup de Mistral en Garrigue Provencale

 

These is also a set called Bouquet de France

 

There is an excellent recording of the Promenades and a selection of other pieces from various suites by Simon Nieminski - the nautical ones do sound very nautical!

 

A

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I've got some Reuchsel amongst my collection - one set of the Promenades en Provence and also the Bouquet de France - I've played a few of the pieces from the latter, but quite some time ago! It's very impressionistic stuff, but certainly quite tricky in places. There is another piece from one of the Bonnet collections called Ariel - I'm not sure if the piece has as much to do with the sea as the title would suggest, but I've played it once or twice before and it's not as difficult as it might first seem.

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I once improvised some variations on the theme from Captain Pugwash after a service with a vaguely nautical theme. ...

 

A

 

... Were they in C?

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... Were they in C?

 

Very good!.......actually - 'can't remember,

 

A

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'Labric' is french for stunning B)

 

Appropriate then!

 

A

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http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/en/cds/item/340-35-jaar-van-den-heuvel-orgelbouw-bv.html

 

This recording is bl**dy amazing. I have family in Stockholm and have heard this beast in full flow a few times now and she makes a amazing sound! The CD was offered free with (I think) OR some time ago, and the Nuages ensoleillés sur le Cap Nègre is simply stunning, especially at the close with the big wooden pedal reed! If you need a 'listen' (mp3) let me know!

Oliver.

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Renzi (1857-1938) wrote a suite of three nautical pieces that are available on imslp:

 

http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Renzi,_Remigio

 

Fulgens stella maris (Shining star of the sea)

Amica stella naufragis (Shipwrecked star friend??? my Latin isn't what it used to be)

Jubilans stella in portu Jubilant star in the harbour)

 

He also wrote a rather spectacular toccata that I can't find sheet music to anywhere - if anyone can help on that score please pm me!

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