Church music, organs and churches outside of the United States
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    I thought I would share some of the organ/congregation music I've found over the last year cruising youtube,
    most are from Catholic churches.

    Here's just a few to start with;

    From a little church in Székelyszenterzsébet Romania (depicted in the attached screen shot,) the video description (and singing) are in Hungarian, but translated to English it says in part;

    The 250-member church members of the 25 congregations of the Reformed Diocese of Odorheiu Secuiesc sang the songs of our celebrations together in November 2019, in Székelyszenterzsébet.

    Everyone is so nicely dressed! the women and girls all wear traditional dresses and everyone of all ages sings with gusto, it looked like every seat available was occupied. The uploader has 6 videos up, I recognise one from the American hymnals.

    JKS 242 - Klaniame sa, tebe, Bože
    (English: "We bow down, you God")

    Filmed in;
    Kostol Preblahoslavenej Panny Márie

    (Parish church of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

    located in Vráble, Slovakia, a small town of 8,700 people

    Same organist, different church, one that was undergoing exterior renovations which is why walls had canvas covering the lower portion!

    This one is interesting because this organist's channel is devoted to preserving the music from this hymnal, and he asked the congregation for volunteers to stay after the service to sing so he could record some of the more obscure, not often played pieces from the book, and about HALF the pews were filled with volunteers who in their winter coats stayed and sang multiple hymns for his videos, and on multiple occasions!

    In the village of Veľké Chyndice, local parishioners gathered in the church to contribute their songs to my database of songs from JKS. Several of each age group came. The fact that they like to sing is evidenced not only by the commitment with which they took part in the singing, but also by the sacrifice that some of them made - one lady apologized for her hour-long celebration for recording for an hour. Others from the participating family came to record, despite dealing with the death of a loved one at night. These people are not blaspheming by the decline of traditions, faith and our culture. They themselves are really involved in maintaining this faith and culture. He will not be discouraged, even if they have to sacrifice something for themselves. On the contrary - they will be happy to do it!

    Same great organist on a fantastic organ in yet another church, located in Eliasovce Slovakia, here he is playing a hymn from the SzVU hymn book (Szent Vagy, Uram!) English: You are Holy! from Hungary.

    Many of these churches date back to the 1700s and earlier, and have all mechanical tracker pipe organs that seem to be well maintained and lovingly cared for and kept in tune- they don't heat entire church buildings up the way we do, I learned they had piping on the backs of the pews in many of the buildings that circulate hot water to warm the people behind it! So in the winter videos the organist is usually wearing a winter coat and more, but that's not the case in this video as it's from early fall;

    I enjoy his videos because every one of them is high quality in every way, and they also show some of the interiors.

  • Music is a very significant part of the Hungarian culture, especially amongst the Hungarian gypsies, which is where my Hungarian roots come from. This really doesn’t surprise me.
    Thanked by 1wolff
  • Wolff,

    Thank you for the images and links. I have a slightly related question, but I don't want to drag this off topic.

    The town name appears to be Shekel-center -something. Was it (at one point) a center of Jewish merchants?

    Many of these churches date back to the 1700s and earlier, and have all mechanical tracker pipe organs that seem to be well maintained and lovingly cared for and kept in tune- they don't heat entire church buildings up the way we do,

    Remember that 1700's really isn't so long ago anywhere other than the United States.
    I'm very pleased to hear that they're preserving and using their tracker instruments . Did they keep them operational during Soviet days, or take them out of mothballs in the 1990s?
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    True, the 1700s is not terribly long ago, but keep in mind that many of these church buildings are much older, dating back a few hundred years before, but many were "baroque-ified" with extensive alterations inside and out in the 1700s, so while they look like 1700s baroque churches, their actual structure actually dates back much further!
    Here in the states we have almost no intact buildings left from the 1700s in general daily use other than as museums or things like historic recreation villages where everyone dresses up in the costumes, but those are replicas or "restored" so extensively that maybe 80% is modern recreation added to 20% historic ruins.

    The organs are interesting, I couldn't say on their history, I've had difficult enough time trying to get any information at all on any of them, other that what "flashed" in a view of the console and builder's name plate that I could read in one of the videos, it doesnt seem there is a pipe organ database with all the info as there is in the states, and the UK.
    I was hoping to change that and contacted the database manager but he never responded...

    What I was able to find in part from the builders' plates on consoles that happened in view in videos;

    Parish Church of St. Bartholomew (Myslava)
    This church is of the Classicist style, it was built between 1778 and 1792. After a fire in 1808, it was rebuilt.

    1. Tattinger Ferene organ and harmonium epito vallalate Ersekujvar
    2. Rieger Testeverek
    3. Rieger, Budapest

    Rieger Budapest dates to before 1900 when, now known as Rieger-Kloss Orgelbau had a shop in Budapest.

    It is not clear what their history is during the Soviet days, but they were obviously not destroyed or damaged and may have simply been unused.

    It was: Székelyszenterzsébet Romania that you were referencing, do NOT ask me to try and pronounce that!!!

    I could not tell you the history, but your thoughts on it may be correct in some way as it seems to imply by this document, which in part says;

    Religious Context of Transylvania in the Sixteenth Century
    Until the beginning of the sixteenth century, Transylvania was part of the
    Hungarian Kingdom. It became a separate political entity only after the victory of
    Suleiman I over the Hungarian army at Mohács, in 1526. Ottoman forces occupied
    Buda in 1541 and the kingdom was divided into three parts. This left Transylvania
    under Ottoman suzerainty, yet it existed as a separate country and an independent
    principality until 1687, when it was incorporated into the Habsburg Empire.
    Transylvania was populated by three nationalities: Hungarians (including Szeklers—
    living in the Eastern parts), Germans (Saxons), and Romanians.

    see what you think;

    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    Here's a church from the 1700s, I dont remember if it is older and "baroque-ified", it's in
    a little town called Gyomore in Hungary, pop 1,300 this videos shows quite a bit of the interior during a service with it's organ.
    The amazing thing is the organist in the video is 11 years old, and an article on him I found said the previous organist left and they had no one to play the organ, but this kid- Gabor had been taking piano lessons, and one day during a service he went up in the choir loft and started playing the organ! so with encouragement by the pastor and so forth he apparently is now their regular organist and does the service music!

    The organ's console is the smallest little one manual thing I've ever seen, it's all beat up to heck but the organ sounds good, maintained and in tune, the video shows him near the end, most of his videos just show him, note the space heater in front of his legs and that he has a winter jacket on!

    An older video of his, looks like maybe his father is on the bench with him, very cute, the kid is going places in the organ world;
    Since this is Hungary, he is playing out of the previously mentioned SzVU book (Szent Vagy Uram!)

    951 x 676 - 98K
  • What a fine job he is doing, both on organ and with his voice!
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    Yes he certainly is!
    There is an article on him, in Hungarian of course, but this link goes thru Google translation to translate it into English for us :)

    There are two photos but they are not clickable it seems in the translated page, you'd have to view the original to make them work.
    Pretty impressive kid!

    The previously posted url
    Is a Christmas carol from 1882 "Fel nagy örömre" Google kind of chokes on some of this but it translates to;

    To his great joy, he was born, after whom the earth barked.
    Light is in heaven on Mary's arm, in the lap of a divine little virgin.
    Simple shepherd, come closer,
    look at your sweet God.

    It is song #45 in the book Éneklő egyház: Római Katolikus Népénektár. (Singing Church: Roman Catholic Folk Nectar) which I have a copy of from a Hungarian antiquarian book store, now I want to work on the piece after hearing it in the video again! That's been a problem- I never heard any of these songs before so I don't have that to guide me with.

  • It's a touching carol.
    I have but one problem with it -
    the 'little virgin', though 'blessed amongst women', immaculate, prepared and chosen by God, was/is not 'divine'.
    Perhaps this is an inaccurate or very imaginative translation?

    I think that 'barked' is a colourful and imaginative usage.
    Is it an accurate translation?.
    Thanked by 2wolff CCooze
  • It's a Google Translate edition so I very much doubt it's capturing the sense of things...
    Thanked by 1wolff
  • Oh, so it's Google again!
    I still like 'barked'.
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    The translation is pretty crude, as I mentioned- Google chokes on a lot of these translations LOL, I could not repeat here the really insane translation it came up with one for a title! Oddly enough just capping a letter or not, or removing words in a sentence completely changes the translation.
    One has to read the translation and interpret what Google messed up on, but while pretty crude- the translations it gives at least offers the reader a sense of what the text is about.
    The "earth barked" is a good example of this LOL! it probably should have been "spoke" but "barked" is what Google came up with laughably enough!

    Through all this I learned that Slovak is essentially unreadable to those who speak Romanian, despite all 3 countries being right there bordering each other, and Hungarian seems to be harder than all 3.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    So, this translator, which seems more for Hungarian usage than for English, which is probably better than Google which is set up the other way around, fixes what MJO (rightly) has qualms with:

    isteni kisded szűznek ölén:
    divine infant on the lap of Virgo

    Mária karján égi a lény: isteni kisded szűznek ölén:
    On Mária['s] arm celestial the being: divine infant on the lap of Virgo

    What's interesting is that it doesn't translate "epedett," which Google apparently chooses to translate as "barked."
    Thanked by 2wolff Elmar
  • I still like barked.
    It sounds quite excited and joyful.
    Dogs very often dance about and bark when they are deliriously happy.

    (Though it must be admitted that when people 'bark' they are generally being unpleasant.)
    Thanked by 3CCooze wolff Elmar
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    Interesting CCooze! it's funny though, it still doesn't quite make 100% sense "lap of Virgo" ???
    Ive long suspected that part of the problem with Google translations is that it's essentially translating word by word as though they are individual words instead of part of a sentence or phrase, so what I've noticed are three things- one is the translated sentences often read like the words are jumbled a bit, another is it chokes on certain words and simply has no translation at all for them, and the third thing is and Ive experimented with it- you take a sentence or title and remove one word, or change a cap to lower case or vice-versa and it completely changes the entire translation!

    One hymn, nr217 I translated the title of in Google;

    "Pane, kupil si mna sebe"
    Laughably translated to "sir, you bought yourself"

    Yet, JKS hymn nr18

    "Pan Boh vsemozuci"

    Apparently translated a few months ago perfectly to;

    "Lord God Almighty"

    But I just tried it now and it comes out as "Mr God Almighty" what happened to "Lord"??

    More curious yet, if I delete "Pan" making it "Boh vsemozuci" which I would THINK would be "God Almighty" as "Pan" (Lord) is omitted, it becomes;

    "God bless you"

    So what happened to "Almighty" and where did "bless you" suddenly come from ??

  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    I found a Ukranian Christmas Carol, but almost nothing about it at all, I printed it out and tried it out for the first time, a cute little piece Ive never heard before.
    There are about 160 pieces in the book I found.

    Christos na materinskom loni
  • The link to 217 doesn't work.
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    Sorry Chris, it was not actually meant to BE a link, but apparently in this forum software using the pounds sign for "number" generates a link, this is however the link to the song nr.217 which was found in the SKS book (Slovensky Kalvinsky Spevnik‎)
    There is no organ version or any other version I could find on youtube, guess I'll have to record it and be the first!

    And nr.18 which I had also mentioned;


    Organ alone:

  • For the benefit of those of us who don't read Romanian, Hungarian and other languages from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, what should the title have been, if it hadn't been mangled by Google Translate?
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    Wish I was fluent in the language Chris but I'm certainly not! the only words I know are what I've used Google translate to figure out, and when the translation doesn't seem logical as-is, usually it's close enough to figure out what it's supposed to be. It seems to be more accurate with paragraphs of text than "titles"

    "Pane, kupil si mna sebe" which translated to "sir, you bought yourself" I haven't found any translation that makes any sense, but then that piece nr217 is out of the book;

    Slovensky Kalvinsky Spevnik

    Which google translates to "Slovak Kalvinsky Songbook", it choked on "Kalvinsky" and didnt translate it, however, the book's publishing details tells us what the word is;

    Publisher: P. Jamriska, Pittsburgh, 1918
    Denomination: Slovak Calvinistic Presbyterian Union

    Obviously it would be "Calvinistic" as in Slovak Calvinistic Songbook, but "songbook" is probably more accurately "hymnbook" since it's for the church.

    The JKS book I was kindly given an index of sorts denoting which hymns are in which sections of the church year;

    Frantisek Beer kindly provided this "index" in English;

    JKS 1-33: Advent
    JKS 34-113: Christmas, including songs at the end of the year (JKS 102-108) and songs about Biblical Magi and the baptism of Christ (JKS 109-113).
    JKS 114-120: Songs about Jesus.
    JKS 121-191: Lent
    JKS 192-226: Easter, including songs for Ascension of Jesus Christ (JKS 213-215), songs about Holy Spirit (216-219), songs about Trinity (JKS 220-222) and songs for Feast of Corpus Christi (JKS 223-226).
    JKS 227-235: Songs about Sacred Heart of Jesus.
    JKS 236-259: General mass songs during the year.
    JKS 260-327: Eucharistic songs and Litany.
    JKS 328-416: Songs about the Virgin Mary.
    JKS 417-459: Songs about various saints.
    JKS 460-478: Songs for Mass of the dead.
    JKS 479-526: Songs for different occasions.

    So from this, the above JKS nr18 "Pán Boh všemohúci" I linked to would be in the Advent chapter
    and the title reasonably translates to; "The Lord God Almighty " Mr Beer always starts with an improvised introduction, the actual hymn comes afterwards.
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    I did 4 videos today during practice from the Eneklo Egyhaz Romain Katolikus Nepenektar book- The Eneklo Church Roman Catholic Songbook from Hungary, I have run thru the book before front to back and never heard any of these pieces before, and most of them have not been uploaded by anyone to youtube which would be handy for me to listen to in order to get a better idea of how they should be played, so for the most part I have to free wing it.

    Here's a couple of them;

    Ó, szentséges, ó kegyelmes
    (Oh, holy, oh gracious)

    Ó szép Jézus
    (Oh beautiful Jesus)
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,690
    "sir, you bought yourself" … translation that makes any sense

    Even relying on Google translate, the 2nd line makes things pretty clear:

    Lord, you yourself redeemed [me];
    With what shall I repay you?
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    You are correct Richard, and there's an example of how one has to probe deeper in the text to be translated than just the title or first line, with several more lines added the errors become less of a percentage and the whole makes more sense. Two errors in two lines is easier to figure out than two errors in a four word title!

    I haven't been able to figure out why sometimes it seems to do very good translations and other times it's totally laughable, it may have something to do with local dialects and spelling too. I noticed several variations for "God" that includes Boh, Bozi, Boze, Boha, I am guessing there may be masculine and feminine and other factors we English speakers may not be aware of.
    In a similar way, the word "USE" in English has two different meaning depending on how you pronounce it- as in "I am going to use the mower today" v/s'
    "Here are the use instructions for your medication" "yuze" v/s "yoose" but the word is spelled identically for both.

  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    I really like this Christmas hymn a lot, I have heard it played slow and fast with a
    very different "feel": between them.
    Both videos have improvised "introductions" before the actual pieces, the 2nd video the men are fumbling thru the book to find the page haha.

    Slow version
    Filmed in Myslava, city of Košice, Slovakia pop 2,200

    The first verse is;

    Dnešný deň sa radujme a veselo spievajme:
    Ježiškovi malému, v jasliach uloženému.
    Spi, spi, Ježišku, milý synáčku.

    Which google does a fairly decent job translating well enough it can be corrected for better English by changing "Santa" and maybe "son";

    Let us rejoice today and sing merrily:
    To the little Jesus, laid in a manger.
    Sleep, sleep, Santa, dear son.

    The fast version for comparison is;

    The Church of St. John the Baptist (Slovakia) was built in 1770

    The organ, 1 manual + Pedal, with 10 stops was built in 1911 by Vincze Mozsny Pozsony and like it says, it's in need of repairs and tuning which since this video was filmed- had already been done.
    The video shows some of the church interior and organ facade.

    I think I prefer the fast version

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,690
    other factors
    Case, one would expect; anglophones are at least aware of examples like he, him, his.
    Dvorak's Moravian Songs Op. 32 (in Janacek's SATB arr.) gave me a lot of trouble; I might have been lost if not for a Slovak-born chorister's help. But my favorite story is about the soprano (I forget whether it was Freni or someone else) who was thrilled to engaged to sing Rusalka in Bratislava in then-Czechoslovakia. After a year studying the language and preparing she was stopped at the first rehearsal: "But why are you singing in Czech?"
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    Oh yes, things can get tricky at times like you discovered and mentioned there!
    You are right, there is "he, him, his" which we spell differently, yet Boh, Bozi, Boze, Boha, are spelled differently but all four come up exactly the same as "God" while "Lord" in English is a different word which is "Pán" in Slovak, so a lot of the hymns have "Pán" in their text
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,690
    You can see the declensions by clicking the box at Wiktionary.
    Thanked by 1wolff
  • wolffwolff
    Posts: 23
    That explains it Richard, interesting!
  • Here is beautiful music and liturgy from the ICKSP mission in Mouila, Gabon (where my dear daughter is now serving as a volunteer and even joins in the choir!):

  • Very beautiful -
    Also, beautiful organ playing (which must surely have been dubbed in?)
  • Yes, I believe the organ music was a "voice over" :-)
    Thanked by 1wolff
  • Well - at least they have very good taste!
    Better than most here.