Communion Solo Organ Music
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    Hello all,
    I'm looking for music suitable for during Holy Communion at RC Mass. Something along the lines of Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus but perhaps not too melodic/romantic and famous. There are some nice eucharistic hymns but they are all short and repeating them 8 times gets boring. So please can you share some of your secret gems.
    thanks
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 379
    Here are a couple thst are not Latin

    Hail! Thou living bread - Mozart
    In this Sacrament Sweet Jesus - Mozart

    Thanked by 1Lars
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,152
    I highly recommend the works of Dom Gregory Murray, which are found in 148 Interludes for Organ, available from Kevin Mayhew.
    Thanked by 2Lars CharlesW
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,147
    Can't beat Frescobaldi.
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 565
    I like trios. Rheinberger wrote a collection of 10, and another of 12. They are exceptional.

    Played one for Prelude this morning. Starts at 3:10 --

    YT mirror of our FB Live video
  • redsox1
    Posts: 198
    Dom Paul Benoit elevations
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    Thanks all, I should mention that I really can’t afford spending money on new music as I don’t get payed for playing(music situation where I am is pretty dire). Plus there is an issue of copyright and royalties with new stuff. I want to avoid that. I’ll take a look at Rheinberger and Frescobaldi as I can see there are scores on imslp.

    Im really just looking for 5 minute space fillers, nothing fancy or obtrusive or famous, If I could improvise I would do that, till then I need something to read. I found some french church music books, I tried playing a Communion by Montbert but it is way too melodic, like something from a romantic movie set.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,950
    Liber Organi - 10 volumes - imslp
  • Another collection: les Maitres Contemporains de L'orgue, also on IMSLP.

    Loads of wonderful music by J.G. Herzog, Rheinberger, Bach (his adagios are an overlooked source of looooovely music if the faster/more technical stuff doesn't come as easily to you), Krebs...

    Also search IMSLP for harmonium music. There was a ton of manuals only music written for "Orgue ou Harmonium" in france at the turn of the last century. Lots of "offertoires" and communions. Perfectly lovely works; all free on IMSLP.
  • NihilNominis, that is an amazing sounding organ you have. And very well played too.
    Thanked by 2Lars NihilNominis
  • NihilNominis, that is an amazing sounding organ you have. And very well played too.


    Looks like pretty much everything about that church is amazing. I'd just about lop off an arm for a church like that. Especially one that has TLM along with the NO.
  • davido
    Posts: 313
    Check out this guy’s videos for ideas. He posts tons of stuff that he plays for daily mass: https://www.youtube.com/user/wurlic300

    He posts a lot of his videos with links to IMSLP scores on the Facebook group “The Roman Catholic Organist’s Page” I highly suggest joining that group. Mostly romantic rep, but less theatrical than the Montbert
  • Ted
    Posts: 163
    Another huge collection of wonderful organ music, mostly anonymous short pieces and meant for liturgical use, is the Livre d'Orgue de Montréal from the time of Louis XIV of France and brought to Montreal in 1724 for Notre-Dame church there. A modern transcription is available at IMSLP in 3 volumes.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW Lars CHGiffen
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    Im playing through the "Livre d'Orgue de Montréal" and its beautiful, thanks Ted. I really like this type of organ music. It would be perfect for me alas they are too short, most pieces are 1 page, some are 2. So they are about 1-2 min pieces. Having said that It's a very useful addition to my collection. Lovely stuff.
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 565
    You're very kind, Nathan!

    It is a wonderful church with an absolutely gorgeous Romantic instrument. I'd lop off an arm too, Serviam, but I'm already here!
    Thanked by 2Lars ServiamScores
  • I played one of the Murray interludes tonight for Offertory:

    It's in 5/4, which is a treat, and very "British".

    (One of my high school cantors is singing with me, if you watch more of the Mass: I think she comported herself wonderfully)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Lars
  • The recits of French baroque organ masses would make very good 'communion music'. For instance, Lebegue, de Grigny, Couperin, Raison, Corette etc.
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • The Livre d'Orgue de Montreal is new to me. And as usual, Les Editions Outremontaises has done more fantastic work. Whoever he is, he's absolutely prodigious. Volume 1 is printing now... :)
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • NihilNominis, you are welcome.

    I forgot to add this earlier but I agree with irishtenor that Dom Gregory Murray's works make great pieces to insert. I have played several as preludes and they work very well if you need to be flexible with time. You can find a pdf of some of them on Fr Weber's website https://sacredmusicus.wordpress.com/. It is the 24th PDF he has listed under the accompaniments for Propers of the Mass.
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • Ted
    Posts: 163
    I should have mentioned that on occasion I also use some of Marcel Dupré's Short Organ Preludes on Gregorian Themes during communion. The harmony may be somewhat modern, but quite enchanting. Once the communicants have finished processing, by the way, I always make sure there is a period of organ silence for a few minutes (this is for the EF Mass).
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    I've been playing through Frescobaldi's Fiori Musicali. Some beautiful stuff there. Like this canzona here. I’d like to play this during Communion this coming Sunday. The problem is my priest likes churchy sounding names like hymn titles for example, instead of Toccata, Canzona, Ricercare, Prelude, Voluntary etc.. How do I explain that this is suitable church music too?
    1460 x 776 - 419K
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,095
    The description is 'song after the epistle', which is pretty churchy sounding, and obviously can't be used there under current rubrics.
  • I'm sorry, but to call toccatas, canzonas, ricercares, preludes, and voluntaries "non-churchy" names is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. These works were expressly composed for the liturgy - they're as "churchy" as you can get.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,655
    Well, it doesn’t specify IMMEDIATELY after the Epistle, does it? So, just use it at some rubrically appropriate time, as long as it doesn’t anticipate the Epistle.

    Jesuitical Solutions to Fortescuvian Problems. You’re welcome. ;)
  • Lars -

    Whilst Schonbergian's outrage and Stimson's casuistry are both spot on, we can perhaps give your priest a little credit for having the right concerns. He just needs to be educated on what 'churchy' really is. After all, the dominant aesthetic (if one can dignify it by that name) nowadays is to avoid like the plague anything that sounds remotely 'churchy' - hence the sort of secularly inspired entertainment music that currently predominates in our churches; so, be glad that your priest actually wants something 'churchy'. That is a starting point.

    Sit down with your priest and have a conversation with him about how all the inspired toccatas, ricercars, recits de cromorne, and so on, really are 'churchy' because they were written specifcally to glorify God and 'make his praise to be glorious'. One might contend that they are hieratic organ music - sacred, i.e., set apart for God. Write an educative column in your weekly bulletin about the music that was written specifically for no purpose other than to grace Christian worship.

    Hymn tune and cf-based works are certainly essential - and no repertory begins to be complete without them - but they definitely should be but a part of one's repertory of 'churchy' organ music.

    Good luck with your Frescobaldi! I've played nearly all of the Fiori Musicali for prelude, offertory, or communion voluntaries throughout the years. These fiori are supremely worshipful and superbly 'churchy' - and have been exemplars of ritual organ music for nearly four hundred years (they were published in 1635). Even Bach owned a prized copy!
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,635
    The full title is already 'churchy', but you can 'churchify' it even more by including where it comes from in Fiori:

    "Missa della Domenica: Canzon dopo l'Epistola" = "The Mass for Sunday: Canzona after the Epistle"
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Lars
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    I was playing through Zipoli's organ book few days ago. Some really wonderful stuff there. Today I picked up Peyer's "Pièces d'Orgue" and again, really superb music for church use. There was one piece that was identical by both composers so I assume there was some kind of error by the publisher. Coincidently this was the piece I wanted to play during communion last Sunday but I found it was not working for me, not sure how to describe it, too sparse maybe? Would need a big cathedral space to make it sound fulfilling.
  • A very nice fugue (or canzona), whoever wrote it.
    I hear it on or a full principal chorus with or without mixtures.
    It seems to me more appropriate as a voluntary before mass or at the offertory (unless there is a hymn or anthem there) - it could also be a closing voluntary - but I don't hear it as communion music
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Lars
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    thanks M. Jackson Osborn for your reply, especially the previous long write-up you did. I appreciate that. I was playing this fugue(canzon) at home on a soft flute sound fairly slowly, it sounded to me quite meditative but I see your point in regards to playing this particular piece more livelier with a fuller sound before or after the Mass. This is why I started this thread specifically to do with communion organ music because preludes, postludes or processionals are easy to find. I will be playing Pachelbel's toccata in C-major as a recessional for the All Saints Sunday Mass(hope its appropriate).

    I ended up playing Loret’s Communion nr.2 from his “Le Service Divin” last Sunday- it's a wee bit too romantic for my tastes but the piece had a very clear structure where I could mark repeat points depending how much time I have left, I like to be precise with my timing and the priest appreciates that too. The search continues..

    thanks everyone
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ...fairly slowly...
    I think that this fugue should be rather vigourous, at least at about 92 or more on the metronome and with a strong registration. Definitely not slow with only one flute.
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    I used the Montreal Organ Book heavily. Does anyone use any selections from the Tournemire L'Orgue Mystique?
    Thanked by 2Lars ServiamScores
  • Does anyone...
    I have used L'Orgue Mystique many times - as voluntaries at mass and on liturgically or chant themed recitals.

    In my mind L'Orgue Mystique is a twentieth century Catholic answer to Bach's entire corpus of chorale based works.
    Has anyone else given us anything like unto it in scope?
    I know of none.
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    hope everyones doing alright
    Not sure if anyone is interested but i've played Communion in Ab by Montber this Sunday. It's a very nice piece, a wee bit too romantic, ie its pulling your heartstrings too much, but a few people said they liked it so I'm pleased.
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    the Montreal book has been mentioned here several times. There are some beautiful pieces there, but most are literally like 8/10 bars long, fuga, duo, trio, plein jeu and whatever else. Can somebody help me understand how this type of music fits into.... modern N.O. Catholic Mass?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    Much of the older music doesn't fit into the N.O. You have to stretch it a bit, add interludes, splice pieces together and repeat. Then one minute or less after the dismissal, you will be playing to an empty church.
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    Marcello/Bach BWV 974 adagio? Is it really appropriate for the Mass?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    Nah, just play variations on "We Are Called," for 20 minutes.
    Thanked by 2irishtenor Lars
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    Interestingly enough, I had never heard that "Bach" piece and had to look it up. Maybe it isn't that well known, or it could be because I am not much of a Bach fan.
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    well, I found it in this book "A Catholic Organist's Book of Offertory & Communion Music" posted by @SacredMusicLibrary

    to me, personally its a bit too melodic and I think the original was composed as an oboe concerto, would that not be considered profane? Or am I overthinking this?
    I do enjoy a bit of sarcasm @CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    Noel recycles some of the older music for those collections. Much of it has a romantic slant to it, and I am fine with that. It is all better stuff than probably 90% of what most Catholics hear on Sunday mornings. Now, many of us are not hearing anything except a wailing cantor and an organist, if we are lucky. Of course the incessant pleas for money haven't slowed a bit because of the virus. Got to send Father to the Holy Land for vacation, you know.
    Thanked by 2Lars marymezzo
  • Marcello/Bach BWV 974 adagio? Is it really appropriate for the Mass?

    If played as originally written for young orphan girls to play unseen behind a screen "Yes" but if the organist is seated in full view of a congregation, a definite "NO!"

    All but about .001% of the Organ music for the Mass in music in our collections, which are very heavily weighted towards Manual Only, is engraved from original scores of the composers. It may be surprising to discover organ music by famous composers in Manuals Only form, but then there were more people playing reed organs than pipe organs and back then, like now, you need to diversify for people to get an opportunity to hear your music..

    Thanked by 1Lars

  • If played as originally written for young orphan girls to play unseen behind a screen "Yes" but if the organist is seated in full view of a congregation, a definite "NO!"


    I'm curious how this changes matters at all.
    Thanked by 2WGS Lars
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    Noel does a good job with these collections.

    French organ music is something I play heavily and most of it is for manuals with an occasional use of pedals. Of course, it is difficult to find organs these days that have 16' and 32' stops on the manuals. As I noted above, this older music is better than what you will hear in many Catholic churches today.

    Anyone up for some rousing variations on 'Gather us in on the Edmund Fitzgerald?'
  • Charles, thanks for that comparison. It made my day, and it's not even noon yet! With that said, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is a fantastic song, but not for church.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW Lars mattebery
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    Gather us in on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
    Gather us in on the floor of the sea.
    Slosh us around in Davey Jones locker.
    Plenty good fishes for you and for me.

    Insert interlude here.
  • LarsLars
    Posts: 21
    I'm not sure I understand the reference to orphan girls, Noel. Im just trying to figure out the appropriateness of various pieces of music in a church setting. I am obviously not singing just playing background music basically. I generally try not to play anything too melodic and too famous, like Handel's "Ombra Mai Fu" or Bach's "Air of G string". Yesterday I played Gounod's "Ave Verum" and while not my personal favourite it worked really well.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,601
    Although now retired, I played pieces I liked as background during mass. I finally realized it was all like elevator music and no one was really listening.
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • davido
    Posts: 313
    True Charles, it is elevator music. So I say, play what you like and, what is more important, what Jesus might like as elevator music in his temple!

    The orphan girls reference is probably referring to Vivaldi, who wrote hundreds of concerti for performances by kids at the girls orphanage where he worked.
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,950
    Does Jesus have elevators?!
    Thanked by 1Lars
  • I would never think of communion music as elevator music. Every musical detail of the mass is of existential importance. True, the people (or at least some of them - don't sell them short!) may or may not be aware of the music as anything more than background music, but God is aware of it, and I am very aware of it and give it as much consideration as I would a voluntary before mass or at the offertory. If one doesn't improvise very well, the French baroque recits for tierce, nazard, or cromorne make very good communion music for those who need something not overly challenging yet impeccable. And if one's improvisatory skills are admirable they should be used to their fullest to create music based on an appropriate hymn tune or chant CF. Never play anything on the assumption that no human being is paying attention to it. I have received some of my finest compliments on my communion music. People do notice.