Organ music for Traditional Latin Mass
  • Aga
    Posts: 38
    Have you got any idea about the most suitable pieces of organ music for TLM?
    I think about something to play during Offertory, after Consecration and during Communion.
    Do you know where I can find scores (maybe somewhere in the Internet)?
  • Frescobaldi's Fiori musicali are always good, with several elevations, offertories, etc. C.F. Peters has the standard edition, available, e.g., at
  • American composer Gerald Near has composed several sets of organ settings of (mostly) well-known chant melodies. They are relatively easy but far from simplistic. The first set is entitled 'The Saint Augustine Organbook', while the later sets are called 'Chantworks'. He has more recently begun yet another similar series. They're all very readily available from the Organ Historical Society, which is always a great way to order organ music.

    There's a fairly large number of chant-based organ works in free online collections such as Werner Icking Music Archive.

    Many French organ works were originally intended for precisely these parts of the Mass. Among the best-known are Franck's L'Organiste pieces.
  • The Interludes by Dom Gregory Murray are perfect. So are the "Manuale" Preludes by Flor Peeters.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    What constitutes "best practice" in the organ music of nuptial Masses in the EF?
  • Lawrence
    Posts: 123
    Improvise. If you don't know how, learn. It's an indispensable skill for the Traditional Mass.
  • If you are fairly strong on you "hymnody" (i.e. NOT "songnody"!) and use both the Murray and Peeters a lot, improvising becomes second nature very quickly. It's quite handy for me (AKA "indispensable skill for the Traditional Mass") because I can concentrate on the actions of the priest, even from the choir loft a block away, and know when to find a comfortable cadence without even looking at the keyboard!
  • We used to use the books of Elevations by Dom Paul Benoit. Looks like some of his music is still out there.
  • If you need a quick Organ Processional for Christmas Masses, this one is nice (#4130)

    I found it on:
  • Improvisation, as Lawrence says, is necessary. For longer bits of time -- at the offertory after the vocal music or at the communion, between motets and antiphons, I like to use items from the French Classical School. Of course, I'm in South Louisiana, so the French repertoire is always welcomed. The Couperin Masses are staples of literature, as well as are the Dandrieu Magnificats. The movements are not too long and can be shortened or lengthened as you need, or you can play several in a row. You can also transform the Dandrieu Mag's into motets of sorts, having a chanter intone the verses between the organ verses.

  • Just a word of caution about using anything from the French Classical School: The registrations must be correct, otherwise the music will simply sound unmusical! There is no point trying to play French Classical pieces on an ultra-Romantic organ that has no mutations etc. The interpretation must also be correct, and this is something that I feel one must actually be taught. I learnt my first French Classical pieces this year (Du Mage), and am now aware of just how much the music relies on sensitive interpretation.
  • You are SO correct, Palestrina!!!! A historical performance is necessary when it comes to these works. It provides them the proper context. Ornaments must be exact, registration accurate and articulation precise (as precise as the unequal notes allow). Otherwise, the repertoire is boring and lifeless. Couperin said it best when he mentioned "We can play music composed by other Europeans, but they can not play ours." Of course, he was speaking of the practice of unequal notes and the nuances of the music that are so typically French.

  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Palestrina and enchamade,

    Spot on!

    I attended a week-long, hands-on seminar on the interpretation of ornamentation led by Jean-Pierre Lecaudey, titular organist of the collegiate church of St. Martin in St. Remy-de-Provence. I focused primarily on the set of pieces based on the "Veni Creator" by Grigny. It was quite a workout, let me tell you! We studied the music, and played it on the instruments designed for it in France.

    What's most interesting, and frustrating, is that the interpretation of ornaments, etc., in the performance of "Old French" (that's the preferred term now, over "French Classic") organ music is a moving target. So much depends on the period of the composer, who he studied with, and where his primary musical influences came from. In other words, one doesn't play the ornaments, etc. of Grigny the same as DuMage or Couperin.

    What's almost more important, and I realize this is off-topic, is one really must not just study, play and hear the music of France IN France ON the instruments of the period, but also listen to the language, breathe the air, walk the streets, eat the food and drink the wine in order to really get the spirit of Old French music into one's bones!