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Richard Fairhurst

Christmas 2019 - what did everyone play?

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We've often had a "What are you playing for Christmas?" thread, and don't seem to have started one this year. So let's do it retrospectively - what did you play for Christmas this year?

All fairly cheerful fare here: Cochereau's 'Gigue' from Suite de Danses for the main Christmas Eve Carols by Candelight, which is our busiest service of the year by a long chalk - a congregation of 570 this year in a town of 3000 people. Then Denis Bédard's variations on In Dulci Jubilo for midnight, and Marko Hakanpaa's very cheerful Adeste Fideles again for Christmas morning (as people liked it so much last year).

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I played the new Rutter Festive Peal after the Crib Service, the 9/8 Bach C major at midnight and the Vierne Carillon de Longport on Christmas morning. I think some of the more interesting fare was before the services and during communion. Bach Pastorella, and Biery Mendelssohn were the two principal communion pieces and there all the other usual suspects before the services - Bach, Corelli, Lloyd Webber, Archer, Nixon. I was sorry not to be able to include the Reger Weihnachten this year. 

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Good idea!

Sunday evening - joint carol service at the Methodist Church with joint choirs. Bedard, Bullard, Mulet and Gordon Young beforehand and Andrew Gant's Toccata on 'Mendelssohn' after. This is a heavy tracker action organ so I rule out some of the French repertoire for the benefit of my wrists! Although said organ is likely to be significantly altered before I'm next there in two years if current plans come to fruition, so maybe things will be different then.

Christmas Eve

Service 1 - crib service at Beeston - the Hakanpaa Richard mentions, having used it on Christmas Day last year courtesy this forum. Very effective for that sort of occasion! An unplanned assortment beforehand.

Service 2 - carol service at St Mary's, Nottingham - I was sharing duties, and played Desseins Eternels as the last pre-service item and the Lanquetuit Toccata at the end.

Service 3 - Midnight Mass at Beeston - Desseins Eternels before again, and Martin Setchell's Toccata on 'Joy to the world' to finish in an attempt at brevity at that hour of the morning.

Christmas morning at Beeston. In the brief choir rehearsal I discovered that the Swell on our digital organ was virtually inaudible. I had detected a hum coming from a speaker since Sunday previous and the two mixtures had been offering a muffled garble rather than the sparkling brightness I'd expect. As our speakers are mounted high up on the west wall diagnosis from there was not easy although I did climb a ladder on Christmas Eve morning to have a look. All manner of playing about with divisional volumes and individual stop settings proved fruitless. Who says it's only pipe organs that give problems? This meant the service was effectively accompanied on Great and Pedal - fortunately with a decent chorus from 16' to Mixture plus Trumpet and Clarinet. The voluntary was going to be the Lanquetuit as per St Mary's, but given the problems I abandoned this for BWV 729 for which I knew I had the organo pleno chorus necessary!

Sunday coming should be OK - Wilbur Held's God rest ye merry, which only demands one manual. Let's see when I get the repair company out...or maybe it will have righted itself by then!

Season's greetings all!

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At the start of the carol service ‘Variations on Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ by Robert Edward Smith and afterwards, ‘Processional March’ by John Hosking, newly commissioned and delivered just before Christmas. It sounded brilliant on my little 1 manual but designed also to be ‘upvamped’ for a larger instrument. Soon to be published by Chichester Music.

A

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The very informal carol service at church A - the first 3 phrases of that Toccata in D minor which then morphed into "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas". It went down a treat!

The more traditional carol service at church B - "Nowell! Nowell! Christus Natus Est", by Andrew Fletcher.

Christmas Morning at church B - "A Roundelay for Christmas Day", Stanley Vann.

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Nothing spectacular I'm afraid but nothing spectacular to play on and I rarely play!

Before Mass we observe silence and the Midnight began with the Nuns singing the introit Dominus dixit ad me accompanied by a very light organ!! The Mass setting was Mass IV, again lightly accompanied, Cunctipotens Genitor Deus with Credo III. During the offertory I played Bach Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ BWV697 (In Bach's time, in Leipzig, it was the hymn for the day) Afterwards I played the Daquin Noel X.

The Mass of the day began with the Nuns singing the introit Puer Natus est nobis, again accompanied. The Mass setting was in French, written by one of the sisters and unaccompanied. The Creed was sung, again in French, to a setting by Naji Hakim and, during the offertory, the Nuns sang a French version of In Dulci Jubilo. After Mass, I played the Bach version BWV 608.

As I said - I rarely play!! It was an interesting experience - for me and the good sisters!!!

 

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Over Christmas (so far!) I've played the same as I always seem to do as I never look out anything new in time.

Before services: J.M. Bach's "In dulci jubilo", a selection of Rathgeber's Christmas Pastorales, Dandrieu Noels, Brahms "Es ist ein Ros'", Bach "Gelobet seist"du (Orgelbuchlein.

After: Bach "In dulci" , Held "God rest you", Bedard "Toccata on Il est ne" (was to be a Fugue on We wish you a merry - mine - but I left it at home!)

Tomorrow Guilmant's "Inroduction et Variations sur un ancien Noel Polonais". Before the service (depending on when the bells stop!) probably part of Bijster's Variations on "Komt, wilt u spoeden naar Bethlehem"

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I only played for one Christmas service this year, a Lessons and Carols service at a church where I’ve played just a handful of times over the last 10 years.

Bach Pastorella BWV 590 before the service and Bach Pièce d’Orgue BWV 572 afterwards.

I won’t identify the church. I’m told that half the organ was destroyed by wartime bombing. What is left is: Great: 16 8 8 8 4 4 2 III Clarinet, Choir: 8 8 4 4 2 II Tromba, Pedal 16, 16, 8. There is no swell box, the Great couples to the Choir, in addition to Great to Pedal and Choir to Pedal there’s a Choir 8va to Pedal.

A above Middle C and E a tenth above Middle C don’t sound on the Choir but do work on the Gt when coupled through. D two octaves above Middle C doesn’t work on the Great.

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King Jesus Hath a Garden

Quittez Pasteurs

(No, I didn't play them.  I'm not an organist.  I enjoyed listening to them.  I'm very good at listening!)

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On 26/12/2019 at 22:44, Philip said:

In the brief choir rehearsal I discovered that the Swell on our digital organ was virtually inaudible. I had detected a hum coming from a speaker since Sunday previous and the two mixtures had been offering a muffled garble rather than the sparkling brightness I'd expect. As our speakers are mounted high up on the west wall diagnosis from there was not easy although I did climb a ladder on Christmas Eve morning to have a look. All manner of playing about with divisional volumes and individual stop settings proved fruitless. Who says it's only pipe organs that give problems? This meant the service was effectively accompanied on Great and Pedal - fortunately with a decent chorus from 16' to Mixture plus Trumpet and Clarinet. The voluntary was going to be the Lanquetuit as per St Mary's, but given the problems I abandoned this for BWV 729 for which I knew I had the organo pleno chorus necessary!

Sunday coming should be OK - Wilbur Held's God rest ye merry, which only demands one manual. Let's see when I get the repair company out...or maybe it will have righted itself by then!

Would you believe it? Having grumpily played this morning on Gt and Pedal only, one of our basses who had been absent on Christmas Eve/Day after the service located the box which connects organ and speakers. Turns out the cable had become dislodged; plug it in, and suddenly everything works. A mixture of relief and frustration.

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Midnight service - as I was finishing the final chords of Bach In dulci jubilo I kid you not but Santa Claus walked into the church from off the street to bring mince pies to everyone! I couldn't resist a few bars of "Rudolph". I caught him as he left the church and wandered up the road to his reindeer - cars were swerving as they drove past!

On Christmas Day I played Charles Quef's lovely Noel Parisian.

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I was roped into playing for the Whitchurch and Hardwick carol service for the first time this year so played the 'Short Eight' g minor prelude - something fairly bomb proof that worked on the Hardwick one manual.  With the luxury of two manuals, Buxtehude 'Puer Natus in Bethlehem' after Midnight Mass (thunder out the last verse of 'O Come', then rock the baby to sleep) and Buxtehude 'In Dulci Jubilo' on Christmas morning.

.

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On 28/12/2019 at 22:16, John Robinson said:

King Jesus Hath a Garden

Quittez Pasteurs

(No, I didn't play them.  I'm not an organist.  I enjoyed listening to them.  I'm very good at listening!)

Like you, John, I’m not an organist but an avid listener who also leaned towards construction. So far this Christmas I’ve not played a single carol CD, simply relying on the radio broadcast from King’s. What CD listening I’ve done has been much needed dust-offs of Tournemire, Duruffle, Dupre, Langlais, Whitlock and, of course, Bach, etc.

 

Happy New Year everyone.

 

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Nothing.  I ended up in hospital on Christmas Eve with complications due to gastroenteritis, and only got hom yesterday evening.

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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13 hours ago, Barry Oakley said:

Like you, John, I’m not an organist but an avid listener who also leaned towards construction. So far this Christmas I’ve not played a single carol CD, simply relying on the radio broadcast from King’s. What CD listening I’ve done has been much needed dust-offs of Tournemire, Duruffle, Dupre, Langlais, Whitlock and, of course, Bach, etc.

 

Yes, unfortunately I have never been able to develop the necessary skills to play.  If a genie should ever offer me three wishes, one of them would be that I was able to play the organ well.  I have not yet considered the other two!

My Christmas music consisted, this year, of only two sources: the King's Nine Lessons and Carols and a CD of their Christmas music.
I was pleased to find that their standard of music has remained, under their new musical director, as excellent as it was under the distinguished Stephen Cleobury.

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21 hours ago, Tony Newnham said:

Nothing.  I ended up in hospital on Christmas Eve with complications due to gastroenteritis, and only got hom yesterday evening.

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Rotten luck, Tony. I'm sure you're glad to be home and I hope you're feeling much better.

Martin.

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9 hours ago, John Robinson said:

Yes, unfortunately I have never been able to develop the necessary skills to play.  If a genie should ever offer me three wishes, one of them would be that I was able to play the organ well.  I have not yet considered the other two!

My Christmas music consisted, this year, of only two sources: the King's Nine Lessons and Carols and a CD of their Christmas music.
I was pleased to find that their standard of music has remained, under their new musical director, as excellent as it was under the distinguished Stephen Cleobury.

I much echo what you say in your first paragraph. I was taught the rudiments of piano playing (a skill I've since lost), by the mother of one of my friends and on a Bechstein baby grand. I was then confronted with having to practise on an old upright with a wooden frame that barely stayed in tune for a day. Having something of a critical ear for pitch I could not stand the situation and so reluctantly lost interest.

Your second para I also agree with. King's will not lose any of its well established reputation under Daniel Hyde.

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