Wednesday, January 9, 2013



January 20, 2013

For organ details see the January 6 entry in this blog. 

The sermon is from the Epistle Reading 1 Corinthians 12:11-31a, which deals with the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. 

The Gospel reading is the story of the wedding at Cana.  

So how do we pick organ music that covers these diverse topics?  We could have done Buxtehude's chorale prelude on "Come Holy Spirit" or the alio modo one by Telemann.  But we decided to take a different tack this time.   I also considered "The Wedding at Cana" from Jaromir Weinberger's "Bible Poems" suite.  It was a little too short for the circumstances.  

We therefore look to the Trinity, which of course includes the Holy Spirit, and we look inside the music and outside the music in its surroundings for Trinitarian symbolism. 

Plus we include a piece that is associated with Royal Weddings, as the Church is the bride of the King of Kings. 

Sanctus from Mass for Parishes..... François Couperin "Le Grand." (1668-1733) Organist to Louis XIV in Paris

It is supposed that this organ mass was written for his own use at the church of Saint-Gervais, Paris.  The custom of the time was for the organ, on occasion,  to alternate verses with the choir on the propers of the mass.  The registrations, ornaments, and rubato are based on the 1950's  recording by Andre Marchal on the Cliquot/Gonzales instrument in a military school chapel in the Pyrenees, recorded by Erato and released on a monaural LP by Westminster.  

As was the custom in the Baroque period, there is Trinitarian symbolism throughout the piece.  There are three movements.  In the second and third sections there are three distinct layers of sound--- the melody, the accompaniment in the hands, and the bass line.  In the registration, the use of the three rank Cornet for the solo voice of the second movement is also symbolic. 

The cantus firmus of the movements comes from Cunctipotens genitor Deus (Mass IV) and appears in the first couplet with a Grand Jeu registration of reeds and mixtures with the tierce included.  The double pedal gives a grand exclamation of "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts."  

The second couplet sets the text "Heaven and Earth show forth Thy Majesty" in a reflective mood of wonder and awe.  The left hand accompanies on the Positif with an 8' Principal and 4' Flute, undergirded by Bourdons 16' and 8' in the pedal.  The soaring ornamented melody in the right hand is the Grand Orgue Cornet III (2 ⅔, 2, 1⅗) undergirded by the Flute Double 8, and the Praestant 4 with tremulant.  The Flute Double was retained by Casavant from the previous organ, which I think started in the previous building as a Roosevelt. 

The third movement, separately titled "Benedictus" sets the text "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord."   This text is often used to refer to John the Baptist or the Christ, but can just as easily refer to the Holy Spirit I suppose.   With melody in the tenor using Cromorne 8,  Bourdon 8, Principal 4, and Tierce 1⅗ with tremulant, the accompaniment is on the rather quinty Recit Flute Major 8' with tremulant, accompanied by Bourdons 16 and 8 in the pedal.  

The edition being used is the 1947 one from Liturgical Music Press. 

Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707) Organist of the Chapel Royal in London. 
The version included here is from the harpsichord "Suite in D Major."   It is mostly in two voices, contrasting a reed stop (actually the Trumpet Royal of the Positif and the Recit Trompette in echo, accompanied by foundations 8' and 2'.  The obvious reference here is to the wedding at Cana.  The setting is found in the "Wedding Music" volume of "The Parish Organist" from Concordia. 

Andante Expressivo op 28, no. 2………….Dudley Buck (1839-1909)
This is the second exercise in "Eighteen Studies in Pedal Phrasing for the Organ."  Published in 1885, 1917, and 1922, this is from the second edition.   The right hand and pedal play a melody in canon (Father and Son) while the left hand accompanies with sustained chords (Holy Spirit.)  The registration is intended to capture the sound of the Hook and Hastings organs throughout New England at the time of its publication.  The right hand uses the Recit Hautbois and Major Flute, coupled to the Grand Orgue with Montre, both with tremolo.  The left hand uses the Positif Flute Celeste and Bourdon, coupled 4' with tremolo.  The pedal uses the Subbas 16, Rohrflote 4, and Recit to pedal 8.  The composer specifies a reed in the right hand, coupled into the pedal so that the canon is heard on the same reed stop.  This reed is heavier in the bass, so we used the Montre 8 with it for the right hand.  The first edition is now public domain and the sheet music can be downloaded from 

Dudley Buck was America's most prolific nineteenth century composer.  Born in Hartford CT, he took his first piano lessons at age sixteen and then attended Trinity College. In 1858 he moved to Germany and studied at the Leipzig Conservatory, with further studies in Dresden and Paris. In 1861 he returned to his native Hartford and assumed the organist position at the North Congregational Church and began touring as a concert organist, dedicated to elevating the taste of the American public through transcriptions of orchestral works and premieres of works by Bach and Mendelssohn. From 1869 to 1871 he was organist at St. James Episcopal in Chicago, where many of his manuscripts and his studio pipe organ perished in the "great fire."  He returned to Boston and accepted a position at the New England Conservatory and was organist for the Music Hall Association.  In 1875 he moved to New York to become assistant conductor of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra's Central Park Garden Concerts.   From 1877 to 1902 was organist at Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn and founded the Apollo Club Male Chorus,  as well as traveling to Boston regularly to teach organ at the New England Conservatory. He also worked in production of major festivals with orchestra for which he wrote the music.   He taught private music lessons throughout his career, and one of his students was Charles Ives.  He composed large scale works, 4 cantatas, 55 anthems, and 20 sacred songs.  He played a central role in the development of organ and choral music in the United States. Buck's large-scale works exhibit an attention to practicality.  His twelve secular cantatas received more reported performances than any other American choral works during the 1880s. Buck was able to strike a successful balance between popular taste and his high musical ideals. His most performed and recorded concert organ works are the Grand Sonata on The Star Spangled Banner, and the Grand Sonata on The Last Rose of Summer. 

The Open Diapason March…………Louis Meyer (d. 1897)

Louis Meyer came to St Louis, Missouri, in 1880, from New Orleans, Louisiana, to conduct their opera house orchestra. Prior to that, he wrote many songs and piano pieces and published them himself in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the same street as F A North, the publisher of this piece. He was accomplished on all the stringed instruments and conducted the St Louis Orchestra during the summers of 1886 and 1887. He was chosen as a member of Wagner’s orchestra in Zurich, Switzerland, and regarded as an excellent composer of orchestral pieces and as an arranger for string ensembles and military brass bands. He arranged The Open Diapason March for brass band in addition to the organ solo and duet versions.  It works as well on a "pump organ" as on a grand pipe organ. 

Why include this piece in a service about the Holy Spirit?  Again it is a reference to the Trinity, but an oblique and architectural one.  The OPEN DIAPASON is the set of organ pipes in the front of the organ at First Presbyterian.  On the First Presbyterian Casavant it is called Montre, which means mounted, as the pipes are mounted on the front.  The pipes of the Open Diapason are in 3 sections… a large center section symbolizing the Father, the section on its right symbolizing the Son, and the section on its left (or right as you look at it) symbolizing the "Holy Ghost" as would have been the reference in the time in which it was written.   The style is typical of the camp meeting hymns of the day.  Surely the Holy Spirit is as happy as this music sounds!

This edition is the recently-released republication from Michael's Music Service.  There are several recordings of the piece on their web site, played on period instruments including a reed "pump" organ.

First Hymn "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee"  tune  "Hymn to Joy" from the blue Presbyterian Hymnal.  Intro by Don Hustad from his chorale prelude. First verse from Hymnal.  2nd verse by Charles Callahan.  3rd verse by Mark Newlon, available from .

First Lesson Psalm 36 in verse, sung to O Waly Waly.   Intro canon by Charles Callahan.  First verse by choir with accompaniment from With One Voice.  Second Verse by choir and congregation with accompaniment, melody in tenor on 8' Diapasons accompanied by treble flutes, by Charles Callahan.  Third verse by choir and congregation with accompaniment by John Weaver from the hymnal.

Closing Hymn "Arise Your Light Has Come" to "Festal Hymn."  Final verse by John D. Herr

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