Richard J Hicks - Music

Selections for My Church Friends

While we are distancing ourselves socially, I realize how much I miss the social aspect of what I have done for over 50 years, having worked as a church organist, choir director, and musical Jack of all trades.  So, I am posting some music for the coming weeks.  

For previous postings 


  • Improvisation on the hymn tune WOODLANDS (The Risen Christ   ELW 390), Richard Hicks
  • Trio Sonata V in C Major, Johann Sebastion Bach, BWV 529, recorded by Richard
  • Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt (The Lord My Faithful Shepherd Is) A recording of JS Bach’s cantata BWV 112.   
  • The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune, arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, recorded by Richard.  Download the score to sing along!
  • Christe, Aller Welt Trost (Christ, comforter of the whole world), J. S. Bach - BWV 673, recorded by Richard .  This is a selection from Bach’s Clavier Übung, dritter teil (Keyboard Works, 3rd volume), sometimes referred to as the organ mass, since Bach sets movements of the mass with various chorale settings, not to mention the monumental prelude and fugue in E flat Major!
  • Praise to the Lord, Almighty (Lobe denn Herren), setting by David Cherwien, recorded by Richard.  Look Cherwien up in the index of composers in your copy of the ELW.  He has been quite a prolific composer.  Lutherans and many other denominations sing many of his hymns.  The chorale theme originates in a German hymn book from 1665.  Listen for it in the low pedal line.  The ELW matches the tune with the text “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”.  See hymn from ELW.
  • Awake, My Heart, with Gladness (Auf, Auf,mein Herz), Paul Manz, recorded by Richard.
  • If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments, Thomas Tallis   -  If you are a choral singer and miss singing in a choir, this might help satisfy that hunger just a little bit.  The text of this anthem is read in the gospel for Sunday May 17, the sixth Sunday of Easter, but it is appropriate anytime.  
  • Canon, Op. 27 No. 5, Marcel Dupré  My organ teacher Prof. Will Headlee was a student of Arthur Poister, who studied with Dupré in Paris in the 1920s.  A canon is work where one part is imitated by another part.  This work has the left hand (reed stop) playing one measure after the right hand melody part (flutes) at an interval of a minor second.
  • DAY OF PENTECOST 5-29-2020  Komm Heiliger Geist (Come, Holy Ghost), JS Bach, BWV 651, recorded by Richard using Organteq plugin in Logic Pro X.  This work is based on the Gregorian chant “Veni Creator Spirtitus”, probably written in the 9th c.   See more on the text and melody, as adapted by Martin Luther.  I have always felt an indescribable energy while listening to and playing this musical invocation of the Holy Spirit.
  • Sinfonia XII in A Major, JS Bach, recorded by Richard.  Bach wrote 15 two-part inventions and 15 three-part sinfonias as instruction pieces for his pupils.  This one is bright and cheery.
  • Voluntary on the Old Hundredth (All People that On Earth Do Dwell), Henry Purcell (1659-1695), recorded by Richard.  Recently posted was Ralph Vaughan Williams’ mid-20th c. version of the same hymn tune.  This is a version composed almost three centuries earlier by the brilliant composer Henry Purcell, who died at age 36!  What might he have created had he lived longer?

Availability as a Musician

I will be available as an organist or pianist in Maine after Easter 2020 

Original Music Compositions

Recordings of Other Works

Uncle Jack

John O'Brien (Jack, or Obie) was Liz's uncle, and he was a well known jazz pianist starting in the early days of the genre (early 1920s). Jack continued to play for several decades. He befriended the Harlam stride pianist Willie "the Lion" Smith, from whom he learned much about jazz piano style. I am indebted for Jack's love, and for all the music knowledge that he passed on to me, some of which I have passed on to my students in various ways.

A few recordings Jack made in Germany in the late 1920s:

Family recordings:

More information:

  • Booklet from the CD Americans in Europe (Jazz Oracle), including biographical material and some great photos from the 1920s!
  • Winter Nite composed by Jack O'Brien played by Richard 
  • You Just Can't Say composed by Jack O'Brien played by Richard

Machine Learning Comes to Bach

Google Doodle had a special tribute to Bach… see more…

See how a music box is “programmed”

Wash Your Hands to THAXTED

Great Great Grandfather George Hicks Barrel Piano

George Hicks made barrel pianos, an early form of player piano, first in England, and then in Brooklyn NY.  One of his pianos is on display at the Metropolitan Museum!  Here is what it sounds like!

Concordia Lutheran Church Windows

Several people have asked me about the windows at Concordia Lutheran Church, after remarking on them after services.  So, I am posting a copy of the document that describes them in detail.  

I always enjoyed seeing the light come in at different angles during the days and over the seasons.  I notice that the dedication to the windows starts with the text:

How lovely is thy dwelling place, 0 Lord of hosts! 

My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

We sang Johannes Brahms’ setting of that text from his German Requiem at the commerative vespers service in October 2017.