Incidental Music for Mass

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JW
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Incidental Music for Mass

Post by JW » Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:20 pm

Many Sunday organists are looking for incidental music repertoire that is not too demanding to play. Here is a list of what I shall be playing - before Mass, during Communion and Recessional. About half these pieces are Manuals only. Most are easy (some very easy). There is a sprinkling of pieces that are a little more challenging - but only about Grade V standard (e.g. the Bach Watchet Auf Chorale).

The resources are worth exploring - they contain lot's of good stuff. I use a lot of music from the Mayhew stable in Advent and Lent but the rest of the time it will be mostly music from the 18th and 19th centuries. I try not to repeat a piece for a year. I would be very interested to know what other people are playing. So, here goes, starting with Advent:

Advent 1:

Start: Chorale: Watchet Auf, ruft uns die Stimme, JS Bach (my source: p86 Bahrenreiter Edition, Vol 1) Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHhuyhlSSiA Bach sheet music for organ can be found on the Icking website. The music for this piece is here. http://icking-music-archive.org/scores/bach/bwv645/Bach_Choral_BWV645.pdf

Communion: From Chaconne in F Minor, Pachalbel (my source: "Easy Graded Organ Music, ed. CH Trevor, OUP).
Sheet music here: http://icking-music-archive.org/scores/pachelbel/pachelbel-chaconne-in-f-minor.pdf
Listen here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=APPMsTpHhaY&feature=related
Obviously not the whole piece - unless you are playing in a cathedral! Just play the first few variations and repeat the first to end (and use soft stops).


End: Fughetta in G Minor, J Rembt, (p.10 "Progressive Organist" ed. CH Trevor, Elkin)


Advent 2

Start: Arioso, N Rawsthorne (p.100 "Short and Easy Manuals Collection", Mayhew)

Communion: Cradle Song, R Lloyd (p.86 Source as above)

End: Short Recessional, A Moore (p. 16, Source as above)


Advent 3:

Start: Prayer Song, A Moore (p. 58 of "Short and Easy Manuals Collection or p.114 of "Short and Easy Organ Collection", Mayhew)

Communion: Adagio, C Tambling (p.44 "Short and Easy Manuals Collection", Mayhew)

End: Country Minuet, Graham Knott (p. 104, Source as above)

Advent 4:

Start: The Angel Gabriel, P Bryan (p. 24 of "40 Christmas Preludes", Mayhew)

Communion: Es ist ein' Ros' Entsprungen, J Brahms (p.24, " Brahms Eleven Chorale Preludes" Novello).
Listen here:
http://npor.emma.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=N06410
Sheet music here: http://icking-music-archive.org/scores/brahms/Op122/Brahms_Choral_8.pdf

End: Our Lady's Morning Song, S Vann (p.52 "Short and Easy Manuals Collection", Mayhew)
Last edited by JW on Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:22 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Post by VML » Sat Nov 03, 2007 3:43 pm

Some music for other seasons may be more useful as I believe we are discouraged from playing incidental instrumental/ organ music during Lent and Advent. 'Music should only be played to support the singing, to mark the penitential nature of the season,' or some such instruction.

Does anyone actually observe such details?

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Post by docmattc » Sat Nov 03, 2007 4:32 pm

VML wrote:Some music for other seasons may be more useful as I believe we are discouraged from playing incidental instrumental/ organ music during Lent and Advent. 'Music should only be played to support the singing, to mark the penitential nature of the season,' or some such instruction.


This is true of Lent, but not Advent, which isn't a penitential season like Lent, It should have a very different feel:
GIRM wrote:In Advent the organ and other musical instruments should be used with a moderation that is consistent with the season’s character and does not anticipate the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord.


So I do play music in Advent, but restrained: The trumpet stops stay firmly in and I accompany the congregation on flute chorus rather than diapason chorus.

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Post by asb » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:58 am

docmattc wrote:
VML wrote:Some music for other seasons may be more useful as I believe we are discouraged from playing incidental instrumental/ organ music during Lent and Advent. 'Music should only be played to support the singing, to mark the penitential nature of the season,' or some such instruction.


This is true of Lent, but not Advent, which isn't a penitential season like Lent, It should have a very different feel:
GIRM wrote:In Advent the organ and other musical instruments should be used with a moderation that is consistent with the season’s character and does not anticipate the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord.


So I do play music in Advent, but restrained: The trumpet stops stay firmly in and I accompany the congregation on flute chorus rather than diapason chorus.


And does this "support the singing" satisfactorily? If i were in the congregation, I would feel very short-changed singing "Helmsley" to a flute chorus!

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Post by Gwyn » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:32 am

And does this "support the singing" satisfactorily? If i were in the congregation, I would feel very short-changed singing "Helmsley" to a flute chorus!

Indeedy. Aren't we waiting in joyful hope during Advent and always? That doesn't suggest restraint to me, musically or otherwise.
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Post by musicus » Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:42 pm

Agreed. I reckon you can be pretty unrestrained without encroaching on 'the full joy of the Nativity'. To Helmsley I would add Picardy ('Let all mortal flesh'), which (I would argue) demands a steady crescendo, culminating in the full organ. There is a solemnity and grandeur about this melody which is still very far from being joyful.
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Post by docmattc » Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:03 pm

My flute chorus runs 8 8 8 4 22/3 2 1. If I couple the swell I can find another 8 4 2. That's without touching the diapasons or the mixtures!

Of course, as those hymns mentioned, as far as I know, don't appear in the Graduale for Advent, naturally I won't be using them at Mass! :D

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Incidental Music for Mass

Post by dmu3tem » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:37 am

Here are some of the things I do, almost invariably at Communion (before the Communion hymn) and at the end of Mass after the final hymn. I must say I find the demands of producing two new pieces every week insatiable. The key factors for me are threefold:

(1) We have a powerful digital two manual organ with pedal board. However, I am not very skilled as organist, since I am a 'conversion job' from being a 'second study' pianist at university. This means I cannot manage 'proper' organ music of the JS Bach/Widor variety.
(2) I have access to instrumentalists of about Grade VI standard.
(3) I am used to composing/arranging.

The music we do therefore falls into three strands:

(1) Organ solo (a) For this I use Murray's 100 Liturgical Interludes, an ancient copy of John Rimbault's 50 voluntaries for harmonium (mid C19th edition I picked up in Lichfield for £2!), easy items from Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues, French and English Suites and Two Part Inventions, selected items from Langlais's works for harmonium and other miscellaneous odds and ends of this nature.
(b) I have made about 12 sets of variations on hymn tunes.
(c) I have made arrangements of Corelli Trio Sonatas
and items from Handel's Water Music (This is a very good
technical and compositional exercise, as you really
get 'inside' the work).
(d) About two-dozen compositions of my own, many of a
rather contrapuntal nature (result of playing too much Bach!)

(2) Works for a solo instrument and organ
(a) Vaughan Williams: Six English Folk Songs (Violin and Organ - adapted from the piano part)
(b) Albinoni: Violin Sonata in A (Opus 6). The title page says the continuo part could have been played on an organ in Albinoni's day.
(c) Corelli: Final movement of the Christmas Concerto.
(d) Some compositions of my own: Flute and Organ, Violin and Organ.
(e) We now have a Bassoon player. His mother has given me strict instructions to the effect that he needs 'stretching', so I have started arranging one or two pieces for this instrument and organ, starting with a Sarabande by Corelli. This is a very challenging exercise, but good fun.

(3) Compositions/arrangements for Flute and Clarinet (my first study at university), mainly arrangements of popular English folk tunes (Jamaica, Grimstock), but also one or two original works by myself. In other places I have occasionally played items for solo Clarinet - original works by myself, but also arrangements of plainchant (This can work really well if you think things through properly and transpose the material up or down as appropriate).

I hope you will see from this that one's limitations can be turned to advantage. Precisely because I am not a true organist, I have been impelled to break out of the 'traditional' organ repertoire; although, as you can see, I like the discipline of Baroque contrapuntal writing.

Occasionally I substitute a vocal work for cantor/unison choir and organ at communion - usually a communion antiphon. However, in such circumstances I find I need another purely instrumental work while the singers go to receive communion.

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Post by Reginald » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:49 pm

Plainchant usually goes down well too. If I'm 'filling' at Communion I play the Communion Antiphon from the Graduale. I'm not a trained musician in any form but I can usually work out which handful of chords will work. If you play the melody on its own on, for example, 8' and 2 2/3 Flute it can be quite atmospheric, then add a little harmony before going off on a flight of fancy. The simplicity of the melodies and lack of written harmony plays into my lack of talent, and there's a year's worth of variety for minimal rehearsal.

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Post by JW » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:29 pm

I was very interested in the comments posted:

1) Thanks for the reminders about the GIRM requirements at Advent and Lent. Although my Flute Chorus is 8,4,22/3,2,11/3 the congregation lacks confidence and it won't support it. Mixtures and Crumhorn will stay firmly in for Advent

2) Musicus: Helmsley and Picardy - Great for improvising (though I have doubts about the quality of improvising and tend not to do it apart from short fillers)

3) Thomas, thanks 148 Interludes for Organ is going on my Christmas list. In return, if you like to study counterpoint, the organ works of John Stanley are well worth a look (mostly 2 or 3 part) - and the C 18 English Voluntary is an art form in itself.

4) Reginald, as you know there's a huge plainsong repertoire ripe for playing. Put whatever you like underneath it - or nothing.

Incidental music for the Christmas period to follow in a couple of weeks. Enjoy the weekend!
JW

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Post by alan29 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:51 pm

Here's a spanner in the works.
Shouldn't all music at Mass be integral to the celebration? Is there in fact a place for "incidental" music? And how does it get balanced with the need for silence? Does a nice glow brought on by a nice tune actually move peoples' holiness along at all?
We organists are notorious "noodlers." And I for one am rubbish at assessing my own playing.
Shall I duck now, or just ask the waiter for the bill?
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Post by Gwyn » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:33 pm

Knowing when to shut up is often the one lesson from which many organists were absent.

It's always worth noting that if you have a choir/singing group then the occasional unaccompanied hymn verse does much to encourage congregational singing.

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Post by nazard » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:45 pm

Well said, Gwyn, silence is under-rated.

There are a few times I play organ music, before most masses to quieten the congregation down a bit, otherwise you won't hear the bell, at communion at Easter and Christmas when there are so many people singing would get a bit tedious, and after the recessional on feast days.

The books I use are:

A graded anthology for organ ( 5 volumes) Anne Marsden Thomas - an excellent resource.

The Church Year - Anne Marsden Thomas

Old English Organ Music for Manuals - C H Trevor - very good for when the pedals are playing up or for playing away from home on a small organ.

The Liber Cantualis Comitante Organo - the Solesmes book of simple plainsong accompaniments - some make delightful little interludes.

The Essential Organist - Mayhew - a collection of all the lollipops you are likely to get asked for. All in the best possible taste, naturally!

The Orgelbuchlein - always a good standby.

The harmonised chorales of J S Bach - played moderato with a light registration many of these are delightful little interludes. Hard going if you can't pedal though.

Thirty Short Preludes on well known hymns - Flor Peeters. A good introduction to this composers work. It gets you started with that dreadful question "name three famous Belgians."

80 Chorale Preludes by German Masters of the 17th and 18th centuries, Edition Peters 4448. Enough german baroque for a lifetime...

30 Kleine Choralvorspiele op135a Max Reger ( pub Schott) for a different view of chorale preludes.

Its always worth googling for sheetmusic by composers such as J G Walther. Someone has posted the entire Buxtehude preludes with the left hand written in the alto clef, which defeats me.

I'm trying to get the hang of Cesar Franck at the moment, but I haven't dared to try it in public.

Would any of the guitarists or contemporary style musicians of the board like to post what instrumental music they play?

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Post by VML » Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:12 pm

Very little bits of Telemann for recorder and guitar, ditto Bach and Mozart,
did once or twice adapt tunes from Playford.

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Post by presbyter » Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:53 pm

nazard wrote: - Flor Peeters. A good introduction to this composers work. It gets you started with that dreadful question "name three famous Belgians."


LOL!!!!

Lassus was Belgian (Well, born in Mons, which is in Belgium now)

Who's the other famous Belgian then?

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