Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Musical Musings 1

New Year's Resolution!  A report on Mondays of musical happenings... to satisfy  the "Ivories".
Let it be known that I am a Methodist church organist, and therefore will have something to muse about if I play each week.
Yesterday I touched no Ivories... only Ebonies and some other... brown wood.  Maybe the trim on the "black" keys is ivory.  (Some Sundays I play piano, too.)
The music:
Hymns (Oldies but goodies)
#1 Great is Thy Faithfulness.  Three verses and refrains with varying stops (sounds). Followed by a reading and one last Refrain repeated. (We don't always do the extra refrain.  It has tripped me up in the past: Once I closed the hymnal at the end of the regular singing only to hastily search for it again half way through the reading! Read: Panic!!) My usual variation of the printed music is to use passing tones in the bass/pedals. 
#2 And Can It Be that I Should Gain.  Again, three verses.  The last 8 measures are written with 4 part harmony that isn't what I consider in organ style.  I feel like the men singing are exposed if I play as written with only treble melody with no accompaniment.  Therefore, I add extra octaves in the lower range and chords to fill in the sound.
#3  I Need Thee Every Hour  Three verses.  Straight out of the hymnal.  Minor variations of stops for the verses and refrain.
NOTE:  I do not choose hymns.  Only incidental music and who plays what. I have a colleague who plays piano or organ opposite me.
Incidental Music:
Prelude:  At the early service I played a Telemann Choral Prelude. One Manual only.  It consisted of two voices which imitate the chorale tune and a third voice above the others using the chorale tune melody in longer notes.
Prelude: At the later service I accompanied my husband (piccolo trumpet) playing "Adagio" by Marcello.  The piece is originally for oboe and orchestra.  A very beautiful ornamented melody, full of twists and turns, played at mm=36.  (That's very slow, folks.)  He played beautifully; his sound is wonderful, and accompanying him is effortless.  Maybe it's because we have played together for 43 years...
Postlude:  Two variations of How Firm a Foundation, first in Eb minor, and second in D major arranged by Lau.
A vocal solo was sung by a little slip of a girl in 5th grade, who sang up a storm (Amazing Grace/My chains are gone) to a recorded accompaniment.  She had people wiping tears from their eyes and her tuning is impressive with only a few months of vocal instruction.
For past blog posts on this subject, use the search feature to the right by typing in "pipe organs" or "performance".

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