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
• 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.
• 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
• Meditation on SLANE Slane is the title of the hymn tune upon which this work is based. Slane has been set to various hymnal texts, e.g., Be Thou My Vision and Lord of All Hopefulness. (composed by Richard c. 2012)
• In Dulci Jubilo ’Twas the season!! Here’s a transcription I have arranged, based on Robert Pearsall’s famous setting, followed by a “miscellaneous” version by J.S. Bach. Of course it will sound better with a real brass quartet!
• Jesu Meine Freude JS Bach BWV 610. I recorded pedal part to practice with. Here’s what it sounds like all together.
• Komm, Heiliger Geist, JS Bach BWV 651. (Come Holy Ghost) - I am practicing the first of the so-called Leipzig chorales. I re-made this recording so that I could practice the manual parts with the pedal (since I don't have a MIDI pedal keyboard). Pedal harpsichords were used in Bach's time, mainly as practice instruments, as an alternative to the organ. Busy churches often needed extra practice instruments, and I imagine the church organ in winter was really a cold space! This is a fantasia over one verse of the chorale tune, heard in the pedal part. Bach is reported to have remarked when asked about playing the organ, “There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” Easy for him to say!
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: