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Luxuriant Adagio


Martin Cooke
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Some luxuriant adagios 'fell off my shelf' yesterday in the form of 'The Fagus Collection of Edwardian Preludes.'  I think this is a new collection from earlier this year but a number of thirteen, two page, pieces within, by Alcock , Myles B Foster, John E West, Hollins and William Wolstenholme etc fit the description. I'm sure these and others like them are freely available in IMSLP, but I do feel that Fagus has drawn together a really good selection. I've come to realise that anything by John E West is worth a second glance and I played his Easter Morn on Easter Day this. David Hill has recently recorded one of his Passacaglias.  Anyway, I can see myself playing all 13 of these as useful service music. Coming out of the ether on a Sunday evening before, or even after, Evensong, any one of these would set the tone for a beautiful service or a gentle walk home. 

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4 hours ago, sjf1967 said:

From memory, some of the Benediction settings have fairly substantial accompaniments (I haven't programmed them yet as various circumstances have meant Evensong and Benediction has been off the table until quite recently).There's a little unison mass which is little more than harmonised quasi plainsong but very appealing. Yes, the Requiem is unaccompanied (good piece, we still use it sometimes, when there isn't a pandemic in progress). As you know he designed the ASMS organ - very cleverly. No slouch. If I get a moment  I might do a bit of digging in the archives one Sunday. Lord knows what's lying around the choir library. 

Thank you again. The unison mass sounds as if it would be a useful addition to the repertoire.

I’m sure board members would be interested to hear of anything else you unearth when you get a chance to go excavating.

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9 hours ago, Dafydd y Garreg Wen said:

Thank you again. The unison mass sounds as if it would be a useful addition to the repertoire.

I’m sure board members would be interested to hear of anything else you unearth when you get a chance to go excavating.

I’ll report back.....

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I had a quick ferret around in the library. Not much to report. Two short Benediction settings. The little unison mass. The Requiem. That's it. I suspect he composed as a matter of liturgical necessity, not from any great creative urges; most ASMS DoMs have contributed bits and pieces when circumstances required it, but none has been prolific (expect perhaps Harry Bramma, who wrote some excellent things for the choir). We've all written, or adapted, Benediction settings though.

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  • 1 month later...
4 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

And a new arrival from Banks today qualifies, certainly, as a beautiful Adagio if not, perhaps, a luxuriant one! It's Coleridge Taylor's 'Melody' - one of their reprints

Is it this one?

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50 minutes ago, SlowOrg said:

Is it this one?

Oh dear, yes! As it happens, I thought I had been quite careful trying to check interesting items against IMSLP but I slipped up here, obviously, and I also ordered an item by Ernest Tomlinson that is in an OUP album I have had for years. In fairness to Banks, though, they do say that they plan to include previews of items, and this will prevent this for the sharp-eyed. 

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On IMSLP it says this is one of three pieces - has anyone managed to find the other two? Incidentally my own choice of luxuriant Adagio has to be Virgil Fox's arrangement of Komm Susser Tod but it's probably not a useful service piece, and ideally needs a change of registration on nearly every note...

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3 minutes ago, DariusB said:

On IMSLP it says this is one of three pieces - has anyone managed to find the other two? 

Yes, the other two are Arietta and Elegy. All three are very attractive pieces. Melody is the easiest, but none of the three is difficult.  If I recall correctly I ordered my copy through Musicroom. It was a reprint, but was stapled and of excellent quality.

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10 minutes ago, Vox Humana said:

Yes, the other two are Arietta and Elegy. All three are very attractive pieces. Melody is the easiest, but none of the three is difficult.  If I recall correctly I ordered my copy through Musicroom. It was a reprint, but was stapled and of excellent quality.

Thank you!

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17 hours ago, Vox Humana said:

Yes, the other two are Arietta and Elegy. All three are very attractive pieces. Melody is the easiest, but none of the three is difficult.  If I recall correctly I ordered my copy through Musicroom. It was a reprint, but was stapled and of excellent quality.

Thanks, Vox - Musicroom still offer the three. 

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My latest addition to the luxuriant list is Reginald Hunt's Aria, attention to which is drawn by Kevin Bowyer in the latest Organists' Review, though I think I would play it slightly slower than Dr Bowyer (or Hunt intended). I bought my copy of the Six Pieces in 1978 but, rather shamefully, haven't touched them since so it's good to have been nudged into dusting them off.

Lots of interest in the latest OR - I was particularly interested in Paul Hale's account of the tonal work that has been undertaken recently at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. It sounds most worthwhile. 

A visit to Paul Hale's recently revised website, by the way, reveals two illustrated talks by him which some may not have seen, about some recent organ projects. See here. Most interesting.

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