Friday, June 28, 2013

June 23 and June 30, 2013

Bethany Presbyterian Church, Staunton VA  June 23 2013

2 Verses on "What E'er Our God Ordains is Good"................Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748)
"Andante Moderato" from Pedal Studies..................................Dudley Buck (1839-1909)

Simple Gifts....................................................................................Russell Shulz-Widmar (b. 1944)

Prelude and Fugue in F Major BWV 556...................................Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

The congregation also sang the hymn “What E’er Our God Ordains” and the pastor sang “It Is Enough” from Mendelssohn’s Elijah as part of his sermon.  

The first verse of the Walther contrasted Flute 8, Octave 4 on the Great with Flutes 8, 2, & 1 on the Swell.  The second verse was the Koppelflote 4 in the swell  and the Great English Horn 8 with tremolo coupled to the pedal and played an octave higher.  

The Buck used great strings (Dulciana, Dulciana Celeste, Flauto Dolce) in the left hand, and my favorite ersatz Cromorne of Hautbois 8, Koppelflote 4, and Tierce 1 with tremolo as the right hand.  The pedal had all 3 16’ stops with the swell coupled.  The right hand and pedal are in canon through much of the piece, and in other spots are in sort of a “question and answer” effect 

Simple Gifts used the Swell Gedeckt 8 and Nazard 2   against the great strings with a single 16’ in the pedal.  At the conclusion of this piece a modulation was done on the great strings, while a pedal piston was pushed to bring on the Bombarde, so that the “Old Hundredth” melody first phrase could be introduced, followed by the last phrase with a deceptive cadence to the III chord and then V-I.  

The Bach F Major was played at what could be called a Carlo Curley (or Virgil Fox his teacher) tempo.  

June 30, First Presbyterian Church, Harrisonburg VA.

The wonderful Gress-Miles organ will again be up to the task of filling the room with beautiful music. The organ has electromechanical (direct electric) action and is quite responsive.  

Prelude:   Prière.......................Léon Boëlmann  (1862-1897)

Offertory:  Prelude in C...........William Selby (1738-1798)

Postlude:  Give Thanks Unto God....... Emma Louise Ashford (1850-1930)

Yes this is the soft movement from Suite Gothique with a slightly shortened name.  The sermon is based on a text from I Kings, so the music was chosen accordingly.

The Boellmann is played with the left hand on the swell 8’ Gedeckt, Viole, and Viole Celeste.  The strings are broad, almost to the point of being a geigen.   The solo on the positif is Cromone 8, Gedeckt 8, Montre 8, Rohrflote 4, and tremolo.  

The Selby has the swell flutes 8, 4, and 1 in the right hand and the great Rohrflote 8 in the left hand.  Some chiff is evident in the 8’ stops on both manuals.  

Give Thanks Unto God was published in 1909.  Emma Louise Hindle was musically precocious and by the age of twelve was organist at the Episcopal Church in Kewanee, Illinois. Her family moved frequently and at one of their musical evenings in Connecticut, when she was seventeen, she met John Ashford, a young engineer and amateur singer from Bath, England. They married soon after and moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she became the solo alto at St. John's Episcopal Church as well as a church organist and teacher of harmony. In 1884, the couple moved to Nashville, where Mr. Ashford became the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at Vanderbilt University. Mrs. Ashford began to compose and to immerse herself in the musical life of the university and the community. Mrs. Ashford was a prolific composer, as well as a frequent conductor of her work. She composed over 600 pieces of music, including organ voluntaries, sacred cantatas, hymns, song cycles, anthems, and graded works for piano and organ instruction. She traveled throughout this country and abroad, performing or conducting her work. In addition to this recognition, she won numerous prizes in international song and anthem contests. She published her work under the name E. L. Ashford.

The registration for the Ashford will be full organ from highest mixtures (1') to lowest pedal (32) including manual reed at 16'.  It is fiery and brilliant.  

The “Anthem” for the service is the recit and aria “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel from Mendelssohn’s Elijah.  It will be sung by Shannon Kiser, director of music at the church.  It will be accompanied by swell strings and flute 8.  For the pedal I use the Great 16' Pommer which is derived from a positif flute and the pedal subbas.  I stay out of the lower pedal octave in quieter sections as it is a bit louder than the rest of the pedal.  

With this type of action, any rank can be made to play at any pitch.  Judicious borrowing and duplexing from several ranks can add to the usefulness of the instrument. Couplers on the instrument are only unison, except for an Octaves Graves on the Swell, which I use on the Postlude.  It couples through.  

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