Fantasia, based on the hymn tune DARWALL I composed this piano work dedicated to Rev. Douglas Barclay, at the liturgy with The Rite of Farewell at the End of Call at Concordia Lutheran Church, Manchester. Connecticut, as he accepts a new call to Trinity Lutheran Church, Manhattan Beach, California, July 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. (originally composed by Richard c. 2012). Recorded using OrganTeq plugin with Logic Pro X. Print the score. See hymn Lord of All Hopefulness upon which it is based.
Nervous Canonic Sketchwritten during the last days of the 2020 campaign, using a variety of imitative devices in a harmonic style similar to what what was practiced under my college composition teacher, Howard Boatwright, who was a student of Paul Hindemith. I substituted an English Horn for the more common French Horn in a woodwind quintet.
A Ground in Gamut, composed by Henry Purcell for virginal (harpsichord), this public domain arrangement was posted on the IMSLP. Richard recorded it from Sibelius using the Noteperformer 3 plug-in for playback.
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.
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!
Fanfare, William Mathias, recorded by Richard, this piece has been used for festivals and other special services by many organists.
Festive Voluntary, Flor Peeters, recorded by Richard for Easter 2020 at Concordia Lutheran Church. Peeters was a famous composer, organist, and teacher. My first organ methos book was written by Peeters.
Hail Hamden High This is the “fight song” for Hamden High School, Hamden CT, where I taught for many years. I had a copy of the song transcribed for piano, and so I expanded it into a marching band arrangement, using it as a vehicle to learn more things about Sibelius, a music notation application, and Logic Pro, a digital audio workstation (DAW) and MIDI sequencer software application for the macOS platform.
Hearken to the Solemn Voice, music by Thomas Clark (The Harmonist 1837) text by Charles Wesley, recorded by Richard. This energetic hymn is a welcome call, a warm up for Alleluia! Follow or sing along!
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.
I’m Afraid, Duke Ellington. Just a solo improve on this jazz ballad, one of my favorite Ellington tunes.
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!
Komm, Heiliger Geist, JS Bach BWV 651. (Come Holy Ghost) - I was 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!
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.
Poor Man Lazurus - I had the privelege to work with Janet Brown Clayton at Hamden Middle School several years ago where we co-directed the choir for a few years. I learned so much from Janet about the Gospel choir tradition. This arrangement is based on a trditional African American Spiritual, which Janet taught by rote. I later transcribed it into a SATB choir arrangement, and more recently as a string quartet. See the choir score here and the string quartet score here.
Processional based on Old 100th, Ralph Vaughan Williams, recorded by Richard, composed for the coronation of HRM Elizabeth II. See below Henry Purcell’s version from three centuries earlier.
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.
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.
Sun Dance, Bob Chilcot, recorded by Richard for Easter 2020 at Concordia Lutheran Church. The lively rhythms and somewhat dissonant harmonies combine to make for an exciting organ work.
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? Download the score to sing along!
Valet will ich dir geben, Johann Sebastion Bach BWV 736. First you will hear the chorale itself, played slowly. You may recognize the familiar hymn tune ST. THEODULPH. Many Christian denominations sing it on Palm/Passion Sunday - “All Gory, Laud, and Honor”. Let the tune sink in. The recording continues with a beautiful organ fantasia based on this hymn tune. As a musical meditation, try and follow the hymn tune heard in the low pedal part. Bach’s musical genius is on full display in this work, which might have begun as an improvisation. Notice the folksy and almost humerous nature of the high flutes, written as a gigue based in style on the Irish jig - almost rustic and shepherdlike.
Availability as a Musician
Richard will be available as an organist or pianist in Maine when conditions allow.
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:
Great Great Grandfather 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.