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Richard Fairhurst

Christmas music 2018

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With Martin Cooke's imprecation to post more topics in mind...

We usually have a thread to discuss what voluntaries everyone is playing for Christmas. Any novelties or old warhorses to share?

Personally: I haven't decided on Christmas Eve Carols by Candelight or midnight yet. For Christmas morning I'm planning Marko Hakanpaa's delightfully frothy Adeste Fideles: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7tchnZd3D4

And with the 23rd being a Sunday, I was thinking of Adolphus Hailstork's Veni Emmanuel for one last Advent blast:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuI2vLoADus

 

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Thanks for your response, Richard - and for introducing two very interesting pieces I had never heard of before. Just the sort of thing of which we need more! (Would hate to think, though, that my original post was imprecatious!)

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AsI mentioned in a previous post, when my wife's church holds their 9 Lessons and Carols in the village church in Voorschoten, near The Hague, I play just British music.

The Oxford book of Christmas Organ Music has a lot of nice music which I've used and which is suitable for a 300 year old Dutch actual baroque organ, for example This Endris Night, and Sumsion's The Holly and the Ivy seem to come across nicely, and don't really miss the dynamic changes when played gently. I recently bought Francis Jackson's Partita on a Somerset Carol, but that's going to need a lot of work on my part to do it justice. William Lloyd-Webber's Songs Without Words are lovely, the Nouvel Nouvelet being a cheerful arrangement,  and his Coventry Carol managing to make that most beautiful carol even lovelier. In the nicest way, I use it as the "2 minute warning" before we start. Amazing how a beautiful tune on an 8' flute can calm a whole congregation.

And for the final flourish, last year (I think) I played O Come all ye faithful, around Noel Rawsthorne's fun arrangement, as it also presents a nice playover of the style that Dutch churchgoers like, and the continuation after the last verse seemed to finish the whole service in the nice atmosphere I had hoped. Nice when things go according to plan. This year, I'm planning to play WLW's God rest ye merry gentlemen, if I can nail it down in time - and I've just remembered it's next weekend. Better get practising! 

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Hi

The only thing I've decided on definitely is Guillmant's Introduction and Variations on a Polish Carol to end the 2 carol services (in different churches) that I'm playing for.  My recent illness means that I'm rather rusty and trying to get playing techniques sorted out.  I've no service on Christmas Eve this year, and Christmas Day tends to be a short, informal affair, which should be easy enough to find suitable music for.

Every Blessing

Tony

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I have two carol services at different churches within the Benefice; for the first, a very cheerful and quite light-hearted affair I shall end with a simple arrangement of "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" - short so that it can finish before the kettles boil and catchy enough to make the audience listen. The second service is more traditional and they shall have "In Dulci Jubilo" by Wilbur Held.

On Christmas  morning I'll play "God Rest Ye Merry" also by Wilbur Held.

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Church Carol Service number one: Daquin, Balbastre etc. before and my own Carillon on ‘Noel Nouvelet’ after. Church Carol Service number two: Noel Anglais by James Woodman before and ‘Vivo’ by David Llywellyn Green after - only one manual to deal with here! School Carol service, who knows. Nobody has told me what I am playing yet! Ho hum!

A

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Don’t have any services over Christmas, but yesterday took part in an informal concert at a friend’s church. My contributions were Buxtehude’s Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland, a jazzy setting of Angels we have heard on high by Gunther Martin Göttsche (which the audience loved), and Brahms’ Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen. 

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Thanks for your post Richard. Solely on that basis, I've downloaded the Adeste Fideles, thankfully it looks fairly straightforward on the pdf. I might copy you with doing it for Christmas morning. You must claim your commission for it!

I've got carol services at Beeston on 23rd December and at St Mary's, Nottingham on Christmas Eve, and both will get the same set of voluntaries. Half an hour beforehand - Daquin Noël Suisse, Guilmant Pastorale from No 1, Mulet Noël (from Esquisses Byzantines), Bédard Noël Huron (a personal favourite, which means I use it too often), Langlais La Nativité (from Trois Poèmes Évangéliques) and finally Messiaen’s Desseins Éternels from La Nativité, which I think is just right for the final piece before the service. Guilmant Final from No 1 to finish. All French (if you can include Bédard, who is French Canadian!).

At the Beeston Crib/Christingle service on Christmas Eve I think I'll do the Sortie from Petite Suite in Blue by Michel, from the Barenreiter Jazz Inspirations books. I seem to have got into the habit of alternating this with Lefebure-Wely E flat. Beforehand I usually play BWV 729 first and then an assortment including O Holy Night (transcription by W.J. Westbrook) and Walking in the Air from the OUP book.

Midnight Mass is always Desseins Éternels beforehand, it feels just right with dimmed lights and a looming waft of incense. Not sure about afterwards, I'd thought about Lanquetuit but on checking I did that last year. It's also hard work for half past midnight!

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At the end of the Midnight, I've scheduled what my predecessor at Kirkwall used to refer to as "Dew parmi bleedin' noo", so I suppose I had better get some practice in.

A neighbouring church has an Advent carol bash, which happened last Wednesday, involving about a dozen local choirs.  I was asked to play the postlude and gave them Edmundson's "Vom Himmel hoch".  To my surprise, it got a standing ovation.

I finished the Advent Procession a couple of Sundays ago with Karg-Elert's "Wachet auf", which is good piece although perhaps a tad more tricky to play than one would expect.

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5 hours ago, David Drinkell said:

At the end of the Midnight, I've scheduled what my predecessor at Kirkwall used to refer to as "Dew parmi bleedin' noo", so I suppose I had better get some practice in.

I played Dieu Parmi Nous at the end of Midnight Mass in the Tower of London c. 1984. A Yeoman Warder switched off the power to the organ half-way through!

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I'm leading a service of nine lessons and carols next Sunday afternoon in my church. So far so good you say....but almost all the musicians are children from the church ranging from 5 to 18 years old, some singing, some playing instruments. All the readings and even the bidding prayer are to be read by our younger members. I'm sure someone once said about never doing anything with children or animals on live television, I'm beginning to understand why! But it's going to be fantastic regardless.

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Does anyone else play the Rathgeber Christmas Pastorales? I find them very useful for playing before carol services. Jolly and lively.

http://shop.trinitycollege.com/shop/prod/Rathgeber-Johann-Valentin-10-Christmas-Pastorales-Organ/684858

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I've been exploring Jean Bouvard's book of 'Noels Traditionnels' - an interesting take on the old tradition of French organ noels with variations, not too challenging but with occasionally unpredictable harmonies. £20ish from here: https://www.prestomusic.com/sheet-music/products/7088440--noels-traditionnels-organ

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