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Organ Music - new bits + Epiphany and Candlemas

Martin Cooke

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I am very much enjoying 'new' descants this year. There is an excellent one by Daniel Hyde to While shepherds watched on the latest King's carols release, and the ones he has used by Christopher Robinson and David Hill for O come, all ye faithful, are also full of merit. But so is that by James Vivian on the YouTube film that I promulgated elsewhere on this forum recently. 

Some interesting new publications in the offing from OUP. 1. A long-awaited album of Organ Music by Gerre Hancock. Mind you, if the contents is anything like other compositions of his that I have obtained over the years, there won't be many items I can manage! 2. We are to expect a new organ piece by John Rutter - Celebration. These are both billed for publication in January.

Any thoughts about Epiphany organ music? I'm breaking out the Dubois for the first time. I shall also slip in a delicious little piece by June Nixon from one of her Hymns Amazing volumes - it's called Gentle Procession - or something like it. It's full of Eastern Promise and very mystical - ideal for Communion, actually. In the past I have played Maunder's Caravan of the Magi which makes an acceptable voluntary, I think. Otherwise, it's the Bach CP on How brightly, the Buxtehude extended piece on the same theme which is good fun, and some of the items from the OUP Epiphany album - there's a lovely piece there by Alan Bullard on Brightest and Best, but several others are worthy contenders too. Oh - and there is that delightful CP by Flor Peeters on Stuttgart in the Novello green 60s album. I keep meaning to polish it off but I really will this year! 

Candlemas - I always struggle a bit with this. The Orgelbüchlein has the two well-known preludes. I have learned both in recent years but find Herr Gott, nun schleuss not as rewarding at this time of year as Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam which I need to get ready for the following week! In fact, this is a CP that I play at every opportunity - not over difficult, it works well on my church instrument, and it's good for the brain, I can't help feeling! I hope it's also good for the soul. Beyond that, I have played the Buxtehude Mit fried und freud and the two appropriate pieces from the Neumeister volume but that's about it. Beyond that, I am not sure what there is. I feel we need something new! Is there a good organ piece based on the Nunc Dimittis, I wonder. We could do with one! Failing that, I noticed in lockdown last year that one or two enterprising organists played an arrangement of a choral Nunc as an organ piece. I might look at Stanford in G. Any other suggestions??

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4 hours ago, Martin Cooke said:

Candlemas - I always struggle a bit with this.

The first two pieces in Guilmant’s op.65 Organiste Liturgique are worth an outing, in particular the perky Offertoire. Both are based on the Nunc Dimittis antiphon proper to this feast, “Lumen ad revelationem”:


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