Recital Programming -
  • Quite a number of our Forum Members give recitals. We all know of the importance of a room's acoustic, and other practical matters.

    But, what of the program itself? There are many ways to create a program, and I thought that it would be nice for us to share what to look for in a program, the pieces juxtaposed, the key relationship of the successive pieces. a mental graph of dynamic Highs, lows, and texture, and other influences . (There are so many that one couldn't remember them all in so short a comment.

    For the last number of rears I have followed a definite architectural pattern: In opening major work, a central major work, and a closing major work (I do like architecture and symmetry). Between each of these poles I offer Catholic, and German,
    pr other sacred cantus firmus works along with smaller secular works.. All may be related by key, or by mood or motivic similarities/ This form I have refined for the last fifteen years. I have done recitals in which every piece complemented, key-wise the piece before it and after it; and if the first and last pieces happened to be in the same keys, so much better; even better if the central piece was the dominant of the first and last. Sometimes I have eschewed 'chronological order in favour of a certain contrast of texture. I like to program my recitals around a major feast and use that more or less as a theme

    Two things are standard to my recitals - they always include a British piece, either from, the renaissance or from the twentieth century; and I always offer at least one example of altermatim- - Spanish, English, Italian, or others. The chant should be sung very slowly, with the mensural featursa and with the ornamentation that was peculiar to the given period.

    I've also built recitals on cantus firmi illustrative of successive events in the life of our Lord.

    In lieu of an encore I always have the congregation sing a hymn - recent ones have been St Albinuis. St Magnus
    ..... next may be Wareham

    I'm t am open to some alternative -are there others paths to a fine recital represented nere?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I don't do recitals all that much any more, but when I did I incorporated some of this. I always tried to get at least one piece from the major schools of music. There were some good variations on chants by composers of different periods. Let's face it, everyone doesn't like hearing music from one time period only. I would generally do a Baroque piece, a Romantic piece, then something more contemporary. I could fill in around those with other works.

    Keep the buckle shoes dry, Jackson. I hear the hurricane/tropical storm may head toward Houston. Stay safe.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • MNadalin
    Posts: 13
    The last solo recital I did was a lunchtime concert at a UMC church with a really lovely Klais from 2007. I tried to get as much variety in approximately half an hour in terms of repertoire while showing off the instrument as much as I could.

    I try to vary the pieces by texture and dynamic as much as possible, and with their varied registration changes and crescendos/decrescendos, the pair of Howells pieces in the middle balanced the Buxtehude (played on the Positive 4' Flute) and the Cabanilles (played on the Great 8' Principal) really well.

    Trumpet Tune (Op. 116, No. 6)
    Flor Peeters (1903-1986)

    Canzonetta in G (BuxWV 171)
    Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

    Two Slow Airs
    I – Rather slow and with gentle feeling
    II – Lento, assai espressivo
    Herbert Howells (1892-1983)

    Tiento de falsas segundo tono (WSC 96)
    Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712)

    Cortège et Litanie (Op. 19, No. 2)
    Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,532
    Besides the well-balanced diet of short and long, old and new, I sometimes focus on a single composer. I already posted a Cabezon program, and here are a few other examples:

    First Friday Concert
    Sept. 6, 2013, 11:15 AM
    St. David of Wales Catholic Church, Richmond

    Music of John Stanley (1712-1786)

    Richard Mix, organ

    Voluntary in d Opus 5 (1748) #8 in the Italian manner

    Voluntary in F Op. 6 (1752) #4 cornets & flute

    Voluntary in C Op.7 (1754) #2 trumpet & vox humana

    Voluntary in a Op. 6 #2 cornet & echo

    Voluntary in G Op. 7 #9 full organ

    Voluntary in g Op. 5 #9 full organ & echo

    John Stanley (who lost his eyesight at the age of two) was a child prodigy who secured his first professional post at the age of eleven at Christopher Wren's church at All Hallows Bread Street. The outstanding English-born composer of his day, he has remained somewhat overshadowed by Georg Friedrich Handel, his older contemporary. While Handel could not resist a joke about the blind leading the blind, he highly valued Stanley's assistance in leading annual performances of Messiah and Stanley eventually succeeded him as a governor of the Foundling Hospital.

    Much of Stanley's music is for his own instrument, the 3-manual organ at St. Andrews, Holborn (another Wren building). In its bold unisons, octave leaps and orchestral effects the voluntary Opus 5 No. 8 shows the strong influence of Vivaldi, whose Four Seasons were published in Paris in 1740. Op. 6 No. 4 is more clearly in the English vein of (for example) William Boyce, whom he would later succeed as Master of the King's Band. The voluntaries for solo trumpet and cornet are also in the native tradition, while the prelude & fugue for full organ Opus 7 No. 9 shows Stanley in full command of the handelian manner.

    Richard Mix (bass) appears with over a dozen Bay Area opera companies singing a repertoire that embraces Wagner and Monteverdi as well as Scelsi and Stockhausen. A former cellist, he made his singing debut as Truelove in Berkeley Contemporary Opera's 1992 production of The Rake's Progress and went on to the Darmstädter Sommerferienkurse für neue Musik, where he was awarded a Patenring grant and re-invited in 1994 and 1996. West coast premieres range from Arthur in Maxwell Davis' The Lighthouse to C.P.E. Bach’s 1789 Matthaeuspassion, and most recently Vladimir in Butterfly Country, whose Nabokovian title role was written for him by his wife, Ann Callaway. This Fall he will appear in Fabrezio De Rossi Re's King Kong, Amore Mio (Oct.  3). Since 2012 he has been the artistic director of Bella Musica, whose Fall semester begins Sept.10 and will focus on Lassus' Sibyline Prophecies and short works by Barber, Tavener and Rautavaara.  He currently directs the choirs at St. David of Wales Church in Richmond.

    First Friday Organ Concerts at St. David's
    11:15 AM, September 5, 2014

    Looking forwards, glancing back:
    Music of Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)

    Sonata in g minor, Wq 70.6
    Allegro moderato-Adagio-Allegro

    Fugue in E-flat Major, Wq 119/6

    Prelude Ich ruf zu dir, BWV Anh. II 73

    Richard Mix, organ

    This year marks the tricentenial of Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, the second surviving son of Johann Sebastian (1685-1750). Like his brothers Wilhelm Friedemann and Johann Christian, he studied law but turned to composing as his profession and achieved considerable fame in his own right in Berlin before succeeding his godfather Georg Phillip Telemann as music director of Hamburg's churches. Startling as it seems, it is in fact this son of whom Mozart said "Bach is the father, we are all but children", Mozart's fruitful encounter with the elder Bach's work occuring later in his career after his move to Vienna.

    In their dramatic contrasts of dynamics, sudden silences and harmonic audacities C. P. E. Bach's works of the 1750's (including the sonata in g minor, 1755) seem particularly avant-garde and in tune with the Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) mood of the time's literature. The E-flat Fugue (1762) likewise exhibits a certain quirkiness in the construction of its first theme, but this is always held within bounds by a thorough mastery of the old contrapuntal technique.

    In what can only have been a sinere tribute, much of C. P. E. Bach's Hamburg church music contains lengthy quotes of his father's music, written in what was no longer a fashionable style. The prelude on Ich ruf zu dir (I cry to Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, a hymn by Johann Agricola, 1492-1566) is a reworking of a famous piece by Johann Sebastian, originally part of the Orgelbüchlein from which he taught his children and pupils. This version quotes the original piece in its entirety and frames it with pre-, inter- and postludes. It was originally catalogued as a variant by the elder Bach (the BWV number standing for Bach Werke Verzeichnis) and never assigned a Wq. number in the catalogue of C. P. E. Bach's works by Wotquenne.

    Chants, Birds, Colors, Rhythms:
    the music of Olivier Messiaen

    Saint David of Wales Catholic Church
    First Friday Concert
    December 5 2008, 11:15 AM

    Richard Mix, organ

    O sacrum convivium (1937) Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)

    Le Dieu caché (Livre du Saint Sacrament, 1984) Messiaen
    Alleluia for Corpus Christi, [invocation of the Trinity], Tristram’s Grackle heard at Madi, adoration, Alleluia, [Trinity], Tristram’s Grackle, adoration, Olivacious Warbler heard at Lod, near Tel Aviv, adoration.

    Râga from Rrrrrr...(1982) Mauricio Kagel (1931-1908)

    Veni veni Emanuel Calvin Hampton (1938-1984)

    Les Desseins éternelles (La Nativité du Seigneur, 1935) Messiaen
    ��fGod, in his love, choose us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ, to the praise of the glory of his grace. (Eph.)

    Jésus accept la Soufrance (La Nativité du Seigneur) Messiaen
    For this reason, when he came into the world, he said:
    "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me. (Hebr.10:5)

    Capriccio fatto sopra il cucchù Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)

    “Dieu est simple” Messiaen
    (mvmt. VIII from Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité, 1973)
    Alleluia for All Saints; The Three are One (cretan rhythm); Father Son and Spirit; “O depth of the riches of God’s wisdom and science!” (Rom.11:33), Miçra varna; ” Jesus said:’come unto me, all you who are tired and heavy laden’” (Math.11:28); “And Jesus said:’My yoke is easy and my burden light.’” (Math.11:30); “Who will give me the wings of a dove? I would��e fly away and find rest.” (Ps.34:7); Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

    Upcoming events at St. David’s:
    December 21, 6:00 PM Sing-along Messiah (Part 1) with gregorian vespers
    January 2, 11:15 AM Next first Friday concert

  • Walter Piston did a delightful set of twelve or so 'Voluntaries' which I have always wanted to program but they never seemed to fit in. Perhaps I shall just have to build a recital around them. Piston also did a set called 'Vespers' which regretfully have likewise eluded making a show on my programs.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,532
    I used Vespers as a Cabanilles tricentenial theme as well as an excuse to include the perennial Girolamo:

    Juan Bautista José Cabanilles (1644-1712)
    and Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
    Music for Vespers

    Saint David of Wales Catholic Church
    First Friday Concerts
    Friday October 5, 2012 11:15 AM

    Richard Mix, organ

    2. Tiento de falsas Juan Bautista José Cabanilles (1644-1712)
    First set of verses for Vesper Psalms: Psalm CIX Dixit Dominus

    ��10 verses in the 1st mode: Psalm CX Confiteor



    From Il secondo libro di toccate, canzone, versi d'hinni, Magnificat, gagliarde, correnti et altre partite d'intavolatura di cembalo et organo (1627):

    Hymn: Iste confessor Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)

    Magnificat 6. toni Frescobaldi

    VIII. Toccata di durezze e ligature Frescobaldi

    Canzona VI. Frescobaldi

    Performers are most happy to be greeted following the noontime Exposition of the Holy Eucharist. This service lasts slightly less than a quarter-hour and anyone is welcome to participate or observe. The order of service and music (following the announced entrance hymn) may be found at Nos. 85-89 in the pew hymnal; the service always concludes with hymn 306.

    The next first Friday concert on November 2, All Souls Day, will feature Sermisy's Requiem.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 273
    Thanks, Richard. I enjoyed seeing your programs. I thought I would share one of my upcoming programs—an all-Bach program on November 7, the day Daylight Savings time ends this year, and therefore it is titled "Fall Bach". Har har. Thoughts welcome. I still think it needs something between the individually transmitted chorales and the Orgelbüchlein pieces, all of which are short, although I plan to play each group as a more-or-less uninterrupted set.

    Prelude and fugue in A BWV 536

    Chorale preludes from the Leipzig Chorales:
    Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend BWV 655
    Von Gott will ich nicht lassen BWV 658
    Schmücke dich BWV 654

    Fugue in g minor ('Little") BWV 578

    Four settings of Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr from the individually transmitted chorales BWV 711, 715-717

    Chorale preludes from the Orgelbüchlein:
    Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend BWV 632
    Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein BWV 641
    Ver nur den lieben Gott läßt walten BWV 642
    Allen menschen müssen sterben BWV 643

    Fugue in E flat ('St. Anne") BWV 552B
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,532
    Looks like a great program, Mark; being a bit of an imposter as an organist, I'm rather jealous of all your pedaliter literature!
    Chorale programming somewhat resembles Lied programming, it that one relies on groups, from preexisting cycles/partite to single poets/single tunes to thematic bouquets. My much lamented mentor Anna Carol Dudley did a song recital grouped by morning, noon, evening & night, and I followed suit in gathering my stray favorites by season, which turned out to be immensely pleasurable in spite of the flimsy premise:

    Chant d'automne Op. 5 No. 1 (1879) Gabriel Fauré
    Herbsttag (3 Rilke Lieder, 1958) Elizabeth Austin
    Walking (1902) Charles Ives
    The Choirmaster's Burial (Winter Words, Op. 52, 1953) Benjamin Britten

    На холмах Грузии (The Hills of Georgia) Op. 3 No. 4 (1866) Rimsky-Korsakov
    Lonesome Man (Blue Mountain Ballads, 1946) Paul Bowles
    The Snowman (5 Poems of Wallace Stevens, 1984) Allen Shearer
    Ich bin der Welt abhanden bekommen (1901) Gustav Mahler


    Sestina (from Vladimir in Butterfly Country, 2011) Ann Callaway
    Märzveilchen, Op. 40 No. 1 (1840) Robert Schumann
    Erwartung, Op. 2 No. 1 (1899) Arnold Schönberg
    Der Jäger (Mörike Liederbuch, 1888) Hugo Wolf

    Feldeinsamkeit, Op. 86 No. 2 (1878) Johannes Brahms
    Der Einsame, Op. 41 (c.1825) Franz Schubert
    Grantchester (1920) Ives
    A Green Lowland of Pianos, Op. 45 No. 2 (1974) Samuel Barber
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen CharlesW MarkS
  • In the past, I think I've spent more time trying to cover certain "repertoire requirements" (making sure every major genre is covered—and typically in a relatively chronological fashion), but I tend to go by two main things now: 1) does it fit the organ/room? and 2) do I enjoy playing it? (and will those attending enjoy receiving it to a certain degree also)

    In my last recital, I was told the pastor didn't want especially academic works, he wanted hymn singing, and that his favorite hymn was How can I Keep From Singing. From that base, and then taking into account the organ (2-man, tracker, no combination action) and room (2-3 sec reverb if empty), and knowing they included intermissions in their series, I came up with this program. Starts upbeat, pastor's favorite hymn, quieter pieces that explore the colors of the organ, than a modern, but generally palatable suite to close first half. Second half is basically the St. Anne, but I included a couple of other Baroque bits for contrast, and included O God, Our Help in Ages Past because of the fugue theme. It was a well received lineup.


    Ceremonial March - Herbert Sumsion

    Congregation - How Can I Keep From Singing?

    Wer nur den lieben Gott - Craig Phillips

    Vespers of the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Op. 18 - Marcel Dupré
    III - I Am Black but Comely, O Ye Daughters of Jerusalem
    V - How Fair and How Pleasant Art Thou

    Kleine Suite in 5 Sätzen - Jan Janca
    I - Entrée
    II - Cantilène
    III - Danse Lente
    IV - Choral
    V - Final

    - Intermission -

    Passacaglia, BuxWV 161 - Dietrich Buxtehude

    Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605 - Johann Sebastian Bach

    Congregation - O God, Our Help in Ages Past

    Prelude and Fugue in E-flat major, BWV 552 - Johann Sebastian Bach
    Thanked by 3MarkS CharlesW CHGiffen
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    Another vote for NOT doing chronological. From an aesthetics point of view, I also think it tends to reinforce this modernist idea that newer things have somehow transcended the old.