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Mander Organs
Martin Cooke

Luxuriant Adagio

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Trois Pieces Breve pour orgue,  Maurice Lenormand  pub. Leduc.  Probably 5-6 mins of music but certainly lush and romantic.  Lenormand was organist of the Cathedrale of St Vincent de Macon, from 1906 for over 60 years.  

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A luxuriant ‘larghetto’ - published by Animus in a volume entitled ‘The Reflective Elgar’ arr. Adrian Self. A lovely and not too tricky arrangement of the Larghetto from the Serenade for Strings.

A

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I thought it might be worth 'revving' this post up again. I followed up on almost all the suggestions (of pieces I didn't know) and found them invaluable.

It's interesting how 'what goes around, comes around' because I had forgotten Colin's suggestion of Vision from Rheinberger's Twelve Characteristic pieces, but I think it came up in another thread recently - well worth downloading, and I am wondering if a nice Christmas present from my eldest sister would be a reprint of the four Novello volumes of these. 

Does anyone have any new offerings to suggest?

I have come across a couple of Rowley items that, to my mind at least, seem at least as worthy as the Benedictus 1 - Solemn Adagio and Contemplation - both on IMSLP. There are a couple of good new transcriptions in the new OUP album of Ceremonial music, and I think I would include the two pieces by Darke and Harris referenced elsewhere in the Novello album Retrospection... especially the HarrisThe B flat minor piece in the Bridge Six Pieces, and a couple of others of the six would also qualify as luxuriant adagios in my book. And the Canzona from the Whitlock Sonata is very beautiful - not luxuriant perhaps, except in one very special place. I always enjoy the Liszt Consolation in D flat. Oh, and then there is the Bush Carillon that I also raised in another thread - especially if anyone needs a luxuriant adagio at Christmastime. 

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I simply love the Rowley items.  Are there other composers that have such an extraordinary command of harmony? He takes remarkable chances and always makes it back home.  I've placed an order for some archive copies of of Ernest Bryson's organ music which is also rather nice, although less luxuriant.    Many thanks for pointing the direction to the Rowley pieces, and please keep them coming, especially more stuff like this!!

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14 hours ago, Paul Isom said:

I simply love the Rowley items.  Are there other composers that have such an extraordinary command of harmony? He takes remarkable chances and always makes it back home.  I've placed an order for some archive copies of of Ernest Bryson's organ music which is also rather nice, although less luxuriant.    Many thanks for pointing the direction to the Rowley pieces, and please keep them coming, especially more stuff like this!!

Oh! I'm so pleased you like them! Rowley always seems so ignored - a bit like Thiman, who also composed some corkers and had - to my mind - such a wonderful grasp of harmony as well.

Other Rowley favourites/discoveries include:

Plainsong Preludes No 1 - Resurgam - not as rich as my last two suggestions but well worth a look - IMSLP

A Fantasy of Happiness - yes, I know, ghastly title - but really very good - a bit Elgarian - slightly dull main theme, but a jolly good romp - (and therefore, not, in any sense, a luxuriant adagio!) I'm afraid that it doesn't appear to be on IMSLP. Irritatingly, the previous owner of my copy seemed to find it necessary to write in fingering for almost every note - aaaaarrrrrrgh!

Heroic Suite - you will probably already have discovered this on IMSLP. Great stuff (almost) all of this. IMSLP.

The Contemplation on 'Hawkhurst' is very beautiful. It's on IMSLP but I have it on one of those green seasonal albums published by Novello in the 60s. It's in Trinity, Ascension and Whitsun.

And then... there is his sumptuous Chorale Prelude on 'Crimond.'  Not on IMSLP but it's in one of those Ashdown cream coloured volumes of Rowley's chorale preludes. I shall play it today at a funeral, but it will be fighting off the new CP on Crimond by Rebecca Groom te Velde in OUP's Funeral and Memorial Music for Organ, published last year  - and, eek... one of the only reasons to buy this particular volume, unfortunately.

Two others, I am sure you have, Paul - in the IAO Millennium Organ Book - the Paul Edwards Contemplation - (a fabulous luxuriant adagio) - and also the Andrew Fletcher Dithyramb.

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George Oldroyd is a composer whose organ works might repay a re-visit an re-evaluation.

We probably all know Three Liturgical Preludes and Three Liturgical Improvisations - if you don't know No 2 of the latter, do have a look. It involves use of the Advent plainsong, Conditur alme siderum, so is very topical just now! Very lush in places and the best of the bunch.

BUT... you can find other Oldroyd pieces on IMSLP including the rather stunning Hymn Tune Meditation on Abide with me, which definitely qualifies (along with LitImp 2) as a luxuriant adagio. Check it out!

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On 14/11/2019 at 10:09, Martin Cooke said:

Two others, I am sure you have, Paul - in the IAO Millennium Organ Book - the Paul Edwards Contemplation - (a fabulous luxuriant adagio)

Another favourite Paul Edwards piece of mine is his short Lullaby (from Two Miniatures) - published originally by Oecumuse, but now republished by Fagus-Music. Very Delius-influenced and certainly with luuriant harmonies.

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Sometimes it can assist the projection and impact of a piece if one plays what people already know.  If transcriptions are acceptable here, three of Grieg's pieces might be considered.  'Death of Ase' is marked andante doloroso, which at a pinch could therefore be read as adagio, although personally I feel it never really gets anywhere and it slightly bores me so I tend to play it faster - indeed, at a walking pace.  However that's just my opinion, and it seems to go down well in my experience on the right occasions.  Of his Two Elegiac Melodies, 'The Last Spring' (marked andante but often played slower) moves me beyond words.  I find the other one,  'Wounded Heart', less intense somehow.  It's marked allegretto espressivo but is also often played more slowly than that.

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On 15/11/2019 at 08:57, Martin Cooke said:

George Oldroyd is a composer whose organ works might repay a re-visit an re-evaluation.

We probably all know Three Liturgical Preludes and Three Liturgical Improvisations - if you don't know No 2 of the latter, do have a look. It involves use of the Advent plainsong, Conditur alme siderum, so is very topical just now! Very lush in places and the best of the bunch.

BUT... you can find other Oldroyd pieces on IMSLP including the rather stunning Hymn Tune Meditation on Abide with me, which definitely qualifies (along with LitImp 2) as a luxuriant adagio. Check it out!

Thanks for this.  A search and a fun bit of downloading  has thrown up a few pieces of Oldroyd that I didn't know:

A Canticle (Deus Misereatur)

Prelude in F#minor

Contemplation

Neither of the pieces are very long, but all rather lovely in their own right.  I really should have known these pieces as I served as  temporary organist at St Michael and all Angles, Croydon for about a year following the departure of the DOM and before the late Michael Fleming's arrival.   I was a great honour to preside over the rather fine organ, although the staircase often left me with stars in front of my eyes after running up there after communion!  

While it's not a 'luxuriant adagio' Oldroyd's Fantasy-Prelude is also worth a look, although it's mainly quite robust in nature.

On the high church tack, I believe there is some organ music by Walter Vale (All Saints, Margaret Street) floating around as well.

Please keep the suggestions coming, I'm having a great time searching, printing and playing!!!

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I am certainly interested in getting the Edwards Contemplation piece - can the IAO journal be ordered from anywhere online?

Paul - if you can point me in the direction of where I can purchase the Fantasy-Prelude and the Walter Vale pieces from that would be great.

Kind regards

Tim

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40 minutes ago, timothyguntrip said:

I am certainly interested in getting the Edwards Contemplation piece - can the IAO journal be ordered from anywhere online?

Hello Tim - you can get the Paul Edwards Contemplation from Geoffrey Atkinson at Fagus Music.

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25 minutes ago, Martin Cooke said:

Hello Tim - you can get the Paul Edwards Contemplation from Geoffrey Atkinson at Fagus Music.

Many thanks!

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On 14/03/2017 at 12:38, Martin Cooke said:

Does anyone have any other favourite slow movements from Widor, Rheinberger et al?? Guilmant??? [by the way - are any of the Guilmant Sonatas other than No 1 any good??! Pardon my ignorance but none of them seems as worthy as No 1.]

Many thanks again.

Martin.

The slow movement of Guilmant's 3rd Sonata is a lovely piece in my view. And what about the wonderful Adagio from Vierne's 3rd Symphony? 

(Both out of copyright and can be legally downloaded from IMSLP)

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As we have allowed liturgical music (the lovely Oldroyd improvisations) and chorale preludes, would it be considered too radical to include Max Reger’s ‘Benedictus’ and, from his Seven Pieces, ‘Pfingsten’.  I heard a performance by Catherine Ennis of Pfingsten earlier this year which was simply ravishing!

I agree that the Adagio from Vierne 3 is among his loveliest, and wonderfully evocative, music.  Without checking, I’m sure we must have already covered ‘Berceuse’ for which the same can be said.

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On 14/03/2017 at 13:38, Martin Cooke said:

. Does anyone have any other favourite slow movements from Widor, Rheinberger et al?? Guilmant??? [by the way - are any of the Guilmant Sonatas other than No 1 any good??! Pardon my ignorance but none of them seems as worthy as No 1.]

I rather like Guilmant's sonatas. 1, 5, and 8 are good all the way through, the rest perhaps less so, but only a little. I have a full set of Ben van Oosten playing the whole lot at St Ouen - just great. In fact, I'm rather fond of Guilmant's music in general. He has a lovely way with melodies, and his organ music in general is very accessible, by which I mean that it is not too demanding to play, although it takes me beyond my limits (playing in public at least), and it's good to listen to. Other works such as L'Orgue Pratique contain many shorter, and attractive pieces.

Rheinberger I'm not so familiar with, though the 2nd movement of Sonata 3 is a beautiful, gentle piece. Some of Vierne's Pieces de Fantaisie are very lush, but they also tend to contain half a dozen sharps or flats.

It's well known that Guilmant's stock as a composer rises and falls, and of course it's a matter of taste. For what it's worth, I cannot stand lieder, and to me Barber's Adagio played on any instrument(s) is just a teeth-grindingly screeching caterwaul. Chacun a son gout.

But the most luxuriant, majestic, enveloping adagio I have ever heard was an improvisation by Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin during a concert in Lisse here in the Netherlands a few weeks ago. I know this doesn't help, you had to be there, but it was just fantastic.

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