Kyrie from Air on the G string?
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 48
    Has anyone given it a shot?

    Or would any of you like to? :)

    I'm listening to this version
    and it seems like the 3 sections would map nicely to an SATB Kyrie.

    I might get around to doing this someday, but it might be years before that happens. :\ Meanwhile if a bushy-tailed musician is willing to try, he/she should let me know.

    Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks!
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 48
    And by 3 sections I guess it's AABC (?) so I should say the 4 sections.

    So A section = Kyrie eleison (and probably do the repeat as written?)
    B section = Christe Eleison
    C sections = Kyrie Eleison
  • It's already been done. See pages 12-19 of the "sample pages" here:
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • >> Any thoughts are welcome.

    well, OK, here goes. the Air on a G String was used as sign-off for the local TV station in Chattanooga when I lived there. Seven years. So hearing this "Kyrie" would immediately start the track in my head of a sonorous voice saying, "and now..... WXYZ comes to the end of another broadcast day...."

    huge distraction for me, the last thing I need at Mass. :-(
    my thought: If a man wants to write a Kyrie, let him do so on his own talents.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,776
    Contrafactum has to be done carefully, and in particular when dealing with liturgical music Tra le sollicitudine comes into play. Taking something so well-known as the Bach 'Air' and putting the Kyrie to it is just as immediately suspect as the 19th century Contrafacta that took things like the famous 'Sextet' from Lucia and set the Mass or devotional texts to it. A Kyrie such as this is not something that I would recommend, either from a musical or liturgical standpoint.

    [Incidentally when I was much younger (in High School), I took Sarastro's aira 'O Isis und Osiris' from Die Zauberfloete and set the hymn "Hail Jesus, Hail, who for our sake" to it--it was fun, and it scanned quite nicely, but I never performed it at Mass, and never will.]
    Thanked by 2Elmar rich_enough
  • There's a long history of taking melodies from secular contexts and making them bear the weight of the august ceremonies of the worship of God. (Missa L'homme arme comes to mind). In itself, this isn't an evil idea, even to be used at Mass.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, sacred music which merely adopts a secular melody or style (an example is the Hymn for the year of Mercy; another is what is called some places the My Little Pony Gloria) is wholly unsuited to the Mass.

    ( As an aside, I wrote a piece based on "When I'm 64", but unless you knew what you were listening to, it wouldn't immediately jump out at you. The Latin text I chose was Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum.)
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,776
    The thing, though, about the L'Homme Arme Masses (and many others) is that either the tune is used as a tenor/cantus firmus embedded within a dense polyphonic structure; or is the basis of a Chanson, which is then used as the basis for the setting.
  • Salieri,

    Yes, exactly.
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 48
    Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you guys.

    Another question (esp. to Chris and salieri): would you say the same of the 8-part “lux aeterna” thats ripped off Elgar’s “Nimrod”?

    Thanks again!
  • Prince Hal,

    I shall have to look at the YouTube when I have a moment - which isn't now - but the premise is the important thing. PDQ Bach (Peter Schikele) made great parodies, but I doubt he would mistake them for something other than parodies.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,606
    It would make a nice bit of film music.
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 48
    Excellent :) Thanks!
  • princehalprincehal
    Posts: 48
    This thread has taken me a long way on some of my long-standing questions about where the intersection is between sacred and secular music… So, nice work.
  • Prince Hal,

    Consider a peal of bells. When change ringing takes place, this is a worthy use of the bells. Consider those same bells used to announce either a great joy or a great calamity. These are also proper, fitting uses of bells. In both the peal and the messenger mode, these bells serve a good purpose. A special case of the "great joy" example is, of course, ringing the tower bells for the Consecration at Mass.

    Consider an alternative situation. The Princess of Wales has just died, and some well-meaning friend of Sir Elton John decides to use the bells at Westminster to play "Candle in the Wind".

    Or, if you prefer, a bride decides she wants to have "I don't know how to love him", from Superstar, rung on the bells after her wedding has concluded.

    Why are the latter two examples unfitting? ( I posit that they are, but I'm hoping to provoke thought).
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 334
    The idea of “bonitatis formae”, or goodness of form, as cited in the encyclical Musica Sacrae, may have something to offer here. Nimrod and the Air were composed by brilliant masters skilled in both choral and instrumental writing. But Elgar and Bach chose to give the musical ideas they heard to an orchestra, not a choir. The original pieces are perfect – no one would change a note, or think they lacked anything. Bach wrote numerous Kyries and Elgar comprehended the Requiem Mass. But neither of them decided that their melodies were well-suited to these texts, so they left them as pieces of orchestral music.

    For us to wedge in new words to instrumental music, or, in the case of the Kyrie above, paste in a whole new choral part, we must destroy the goodness of form the original works have, turning them into something like the various silly proposals for greenhouses or sculpted flames atop the remains of Notre Dame.

  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,776
    The Nimrod-Lux Aeterna might, perhaps, be appropriate at a commemorative concert in Great Britain on Remembrance Day (equivalent to Veterans Day in the USA, but with more of the flavor of our Memorial Day in the USA) where Elgar's Nimrod has become a traditional piece to be played at the Cenotaph, but I would, again, never us it liturgically. Especially considering the plethora of wonderful Lux Aeterna settings that were composed as parts of the Requiem Mass.
    Thanked by 2chonak princehal