Suggestions for first Sunday with new organ
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    Greetings all,
    Next Sunday is slated to be our first Sunday with our new organ. I've been trying to think of what would be fun hymn arrangements to do up rather grand, because, well, you only get to kick off a new organ every so often. I'm looking for suggestions of good hymn arrangements that might be compatible with congregational singing.

    So far, I've come up with opening the mass with RVW's Old 100th, (can't beat it!) and then possibly doing Ryan Herbert's recent arrangement of Coe Fen / How Shall I Sing That Majesty published by St. James Music Press during communion. (I'll have to tame the registrations it to make it appropriate, but the text is very good.) We are slated to end with Lauda Anima sung to the text "Holy Michæl, Great Archangel" with a big reharm for verse 2 and a buildup to the end, before launching into the Vierne Finale. The Lauda Anima & Coe Fen are up for grabs, however, and I have nothing for offertory.

  • DL
    Posts: 41
    What about “O praise ye the Lord”, to Parry’s Laudate Dominum? It mentions organs (loud organs His glory forth tell in deep tone) - and I see there are alternative texts which go on on to mention trumpets, too (I am used to “sweet harps” at that point), so a chance to whip out any en chamades you might have to hand. There is a last verse harmonisation in the New English Hymnal at no.427. It is a good offertory number, and admits of some improvising as needed between the end of v 3 and the launch into the final verse, if that sort of thing floats your boat.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007

    I hadn't thought of that, but ironically, we will have it at the end of confirmation in a few weeks, and perhaps it would be good to sing it with the congregation before the bishop comes, lol! I can bump the St. Michæl / Lauda Anima to Offertory.
  • Can't beat Proulx - O God beyond all praising, too.
    If you have a lot of time and a beefy choir then the anthem from which the Parry comes - Hear my words, ye people - is a really cool choice too. Awesome intro, just a totally awesome piece.

    Or, of course, Blest Pair of Sirens is awesome too.

    But alas, these aren't congregational...

    Do you have brass for this one too?
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • Who needs brass when you got a new organ?

    (Only half joking).
  • Also, what are your planned prelude(s) and postlude for the new organ?
  • I can't think of the names of the other tunes, but St. Patrick's Breastplate would be worth showing off the new organ for, and the texts that popped in my head were "Once to ev'ry man and nation" and "Turn back, O Man"
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    Prelude is still up for grabs. I figured I might just do an improvisation featuring lots of different sounds; we are limited on this front though because Rosaries are being led before mass for the month of October, so I only have a short time available to me compared to normal.

    Postlude is the Vierne Finale. I haven’t perfectly cemented it yet, I’m afraid, but it should fall squarely in the “good enough” category. (Most people won’t stick around to hear it anyway, alas.)
  • It's a good choice. What you say also reminds me of a joke I once heard:

    What do you call a musician whose audience leaves mid performance?

    An organist.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    Someone told me this joke just yesterday:

    How many music directors does it take to change a lightbulb?
    No one knows, because no one has ever looked at the directors to find out (and even if they did, no one can count anyway!)
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CharlesW
  • I think Thalben-Ball's Elegy is a great prelude to show off an organ.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 488
    I would say make sure to play a significant amount of sub-fortissimo music. After all, that is part of the beauty of a really good organ, that it can provide so many beautiful colors at any dynamic level for any occasion, all the way down to accompanying a child singing a solo, or the last phrase of Silent Night on Christmas Eve. For me, when a new organ is heard for the first time, I hope people leave overjoyed by the wealth of beauty of every kind they have heard, and with the idea that this organ will help them to pray when they are mourning, as well as when they are celebrating. I think that’s a much better first impression than 100% Shock and Awe, which quickly turns into “that new organ is too damn loud; let me talk to Father….”
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,000
    I had the score for this once, but somehow the three movements ended up in the tacet urn.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    Gamba, while the RVW old 100th will certainly kick us off to a joyous start, and the Parry will end us that way too, I was definitely going to keep it restrained in the middle. Use the organ more for text painting than bombarding.
    Thanked by 1Gamba
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,744
    I have said this before, but my organ professor said for the postlude, push on the sforzando and put your elbows on the Great. They will never know the difference as they rush out the door.
  • cesarfranck
    Posts: 140
    I am late to this discussion. My idea for a prelude would be to play several very short pieces which highlight as many different registrations and "sounds" as possible and yet nothing so bombastic or loud as to "shock" the ears of those in the pews. This will be their first time hearing the new organ and I imagine it is much different than what has been familiar to them. As an example, a short French Baroque suite, Rhosymedre by RWV, and "In Thee Is Gladness" from Bach's Orgelbuchlein. All of the hymn tunes you have listed are awesome. If you don't mind Germanic, JG Walther's Organ Concertos are relatively brief. joyous. and can be registered in many unique ways to display the colors of this new instrument.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    I love the idea of the Walther concertos.
    Thanked by 2francis cesarfranck
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    Well, the first Sunday with the new organ went well.

    (While I did get one gentle rebuke from someone with hearing aids who also has a special listening device that he slides onto the ambo… you can’t please everyone, and you can’t register the organ to please someone with hearing aids… and conversely, I was told that multiple people had tears in their eyes from joy.)

    We did Parry’s Sing Praise to the Lord to open (with two delightful reharms for verses 3&4). For the first time ever I could appropriately handle there text painting for “loud organs tell forth in deep tone…” etc.)

    Offertory was a setting of Lauda Anima with a delightful trope of the St. Michael the Archangel prayer for the text. Again, a lush reharm was a part of this.

    Communion was my own Laudate Dominum which is quite popular at the parish. I kept the organ quite restrained for this.

    And lastly we ended with Alleluia Sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol) since it is so well known and loved.

    Postlude was the Vierne Finale and I probably had 30 people stick around to listen until the end at the 11am mass, which was unusual and appreciated.

    We still have a lot more voicing work to do to really get it sounding it’s best, but all in all it was the best organ music making the parish has ever known.

    The icing on the cake, however, was Father’s extended homily on sacred music, reiterating the importance of the organ, and explaining just how important it is that we do so much chanting and how this is really one of the things that makes our parish stand out. I’ll repost it here once it glows like on the parish’s website.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    As promised, here is the lovely sermon offered by our priest where he addresses the importance of liturgical music and glorifying God, rather than ourselves:

    It was an excellent sermon for the first Sunday with our new organ, and a boon to our little choir that has worked so hard, especially on learning how to chant. They, too, have long suffered under our old instrument, so it was a pleasure for them to finally have the support of an instrument that is actually capable of supporting them in an august way.

    It is a real point of pride for me – and hopefully for you too – that our parish has been on the forefront of this important step forward for Catholic sacred music: singing the texts from Sacred Scripture appointed by the Church according to melodies that more closely approximate the approved melodies of Gregorian Chant.
    (Here is is speaking of Fr. Weber's collection of propers which we have been using every week for nearly four years now.)

  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,852
    You are truly blessed with your priest, Serviam.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    Yes; yes I am.
  • Jani
    Posts: 434
    Your parish is blessed with you- love that Laudate Dominum!
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,007
    I plan on making that publicly available soon. I get messages about it frequently.

    It is based on my alleluia for the feast of Christ the King, which is very popular at the parish, and includes a fun choral coda that my choir LOVES to sing. It’s now turned into our “Alleluia for special occasions”.

    Here’s a truncated recording that goes straight from the refrain into the coda to get a sense of it:
    Thanked by 1Jani
  • Serviam, I have an interesting question regarding the new organ. I remember in another thread (though I can't find which one) you had said you were getting the new Rodgers Infinity 367. I recently played an Infinity 361. It had a really weird pedal board: one of Rodgers velocity sensitive ones that had almost no resistance when I pressed a pedal. Does yours have this same setup and how was getting used to the weird pedal board?