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Organ, "Benedictus"


father-willis
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Happy New Year!
Does anyone have any insight as to why, especially it seems, British composers for organ used the title, "Benedictus" for movements? A. Rowley wrote two such entitled, Stanford in his Third Organ Sonata ("Britannica") subtitles the second movement, "Benedictus" and there must be many more: why?
 
[Reger used the title but these, I suppose, are linked to other pieces in a series, "Kyrie", "Gloria in excelsis" etc. Is there any Gregorian chant link in these, in particular? And in these instances I am assuming the Benedictus to be that of the Mass.]
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An interesting point. And for some reason, I have always associated the Rowley and the Stanford with the Canticle 'Benedictus' rather than the part of the Mass which, as you say, must be what, for example, Reger had in mind. Co-incidentally, I have just ordered a new copy of Stanford 3 (from Bardon), my old second hand copy having become a but awkward and tatty. The Stanford is different stylistically from the first Rowley which is really just a typical 'Bridge Adagio in E' type of typical organ adagio that grows slowly up to a climax and then diminishes back to nothing. The Stanford has that long sinuous opening them that it develops with interjections and then moves into a new faster moving idea in B flat minor which starts out with an air of foreboding which resolves into the fanfare motif in A flat. To what words in the 'Benedictus' does this section refer, one wonders. Does that refer to raising up 'a mighty foundation for us', perhaps? Moving on... It's easy to imagine that Stanford's long closing section starting in G flat major and corresponds with the closing verse: ' To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; and to guide our feet into the way of peace.' But who knows,? I think Stanford has really just painted a picture of the whole canticle which to my mind is one of reassurance - indeed, of Blessedness. 

Apart from the two Rowleys, the Lloyd Webber and the Stanford, are there other Benedictus movements that are obviously not part of a 'Mass' like the Reger? Note to self: There probably are one or two in the Kevin Mayhew archive by folk like Stanley Vann, Richard Lloyd et al which are worth looking out. I'll see what I've got. 

Postscript: I see that Rowley sub-titles his first Benedictus with words from Christina Rosetti's Processional of Creation - (which to my mind is more of a Benedicite!) and his  Second Benedictus with the words 'in quiet contemplation shall peace guide your way' which certain refers to the closing verse of the canticle.

Postscript 2: Yes, there are Mayhew Benedicti (?) by Stanley Vann and by John Marsh. The Vann is in a large album of Communion Interludes. There are almost certainly others.

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Possibly being pedantic, Reger’s Benedictus follows pieces titled ”Kyrie Eleison” and “Gloria in Excelsis”; they are collectively numbers 7 to 9 of the ‘Twelve Pieces’ and whilst they are clearly based on those three sections of the Mass, they are not parts of a Mass composed as a whole (if  you see what I mean).  All of these are, I suggest, purely descriptive works. Numbers 10 and 11, immediately following Benedictus, are “Capriccio” and “Melodia” before reverting finally to a religious subject in number 12, a Fantasia on the “Te Deum” which isn’t part of the Mass, but is sometimes sung at Mass on special feast days or great occasions.

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