I always enjoy programs that have a theme or structure to unite the musical selections. Liturgical seasons like Lent, Easter, Advent or Christmas are easy ways to collect repertoire from diverse musical periods under the same
umbrella. After Out of the Depths: Music for Lent and Holy Week, I chose to turn to the more joyful seasons of Advent and Christmas for this, my second recording project. In addition to the eclectic set of reperoite, I have included several improvisations because that area of music-making continues to be my primary interest. Includes the premier presentation of the Advent Suite.
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645 – Johann Sebastian Bach
Advent Suite – Wm. Glenn Osborne
Nun komm der heiden Heiland, BWV 659 – J. S. Bach
Nun komm der heiden Heiland, BWV 660 – J. S. Bach
Nun komm der heiden Heiland, BWV 661 – J. S. Bach
Improvisation on “Lo, How a Rose” – Wm. Glenn Osborne
March upon a theme by Handel, Op. 15, No. 2 – Alexandre Guilmant
Prelude on “Divinum Mysterium” – T. Frederick H. Candlyn
Chorale Prelude on “Silent Night”, Op. 37 – Samuel Barber
Improvisation on “Away in a Manger” – Wm. Glenn Osborne
Variations on ‘Ons is gheboren een kindekijn’, SwWV 315 – Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Noël Suisse – Louis-Claude Daquin
Improvisation on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – Wm. Glenn Osborne
A Festive Voluntary: Variations on “Good King Wenceslas” – Petr Eben
The melodies included are as follows: 1) O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (VENI EMMANUEL); 2) Savior of the Nations Come (NUN KOMM DER HEIDEN HEILAND); 3) Creator of the Stars of Night (CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM); 4) The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came (GABRIEL’S MESSAGE); 5) O Come, Divine Messiah (VENEZ, DIVIN MESSIE), People, Look East (BESANÇON), and a return of O Come,
O Come, Emmanuel.
After starting the work in 2016, I finally completed the suite for the recording released in 2017, A Child Is Born.
After using the piece for several years at Chrism Mass in Orlando and Baltimore, I finally was able to capture a live performance recording to share. This was recorded (on my iPhone) at the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore on 10 April 2017. The Archdiocesan choir had one rehearsal with the piece, though some of the people have sung it previously. There is a brass quintet playing choir two.
When I began my duties as Director of Music at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in January 2015, there was an opening on the concert series in March. This CD is the program that I played to fill that slot. The program reflects the season of the church year from different musical styles and eras. I also wanted a program that would demonstrate the variety of colors available on the instrument. This was not just to please the audience, but also a way for me to become acquainted with the instrument. As the program came together, I thought of recording the program to share this instrument with a wider audience. I hope the music here reaches the deep longings of your soul, and inspires you to come visit the Cathedral and hear the instrument live.
Aus tiefer Not, BWV 686 Johann Sebastian Bach
Herzlich tut mich verlangen Johannes Brahms
Psalm Prelude, Set 2, no. 1 – De profundis Herbert Howells
IV. Longing for Death from Job
Dominica in Palmis Jean Langlais
Suite in French Classical Style on ‘Vexilla Regis’ Wm. Glenn Osborne
Da Jesus an dem Creutze stundt Samuel Scheidt
III. Crucifixion from Symphonie-Passion
Improvisation Wm. Glenn Osborne
One of the challenges in the Roman Catholic Church is trying to find ways to encourage and enable the congregation to sing. Unless you use a seasonal psalm refrain, this generally means the congregation has a new melody to learn every week with the responsorial psalm. Sure, you can build up a repertoire over time, but there’s not a lot of repetition in the three-year lectionary cycle. One of the easiest ways to learn a piece is through repetition, so I decided to use hymn tunes as melodies for the psalms. This reinforces the singing of the hymns and gives something familiar to the people for the psalm. I created numerous of these settings while at the Cathedral in Albany and now am in the process of revising them (and perhaps finishing the set) to go with the new Revised Grail Psalms. We used the first of these new revised hymn tune psalms at Mass this weekend for Advent 2.
Psalm 72 – Justice Shall Flourish
Refrain based on EIN FESTE BURG with Gelineau-style tone by Wm. Glenn Osborne
A brief recruitment message given over the weekend at Mass demonstrating that making music is dependent upon people. I would love to have more people participate in music at the Cathedral. Visit http://www.cathedralofmary.org/music-ministry/ for more information about music at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.
Jazz and Roman Catholic are two worlds that don’t meet up very often. Jazz has been used in other worship traditions, but the liturgical structure of Roman Catholic worship provides challenges for the free improvisatory nature of jazz. Yes, there are Jazz Masses that have been composed, but even most of those would be considered concert works and vary from the imposed structure of a liturgical celebration.
When we celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on Homecoming weekend, we are including Evening Prayer on Sunday afternoon. All of the music will be in the jazz idiom and accompanied by the Kevin Myers Quartet. In order to fit the liturgical requirements for the celebration, I composed two psalms, a canticle, and some other incidental responses. We had a first rehearsal with the singers and band leader Kevin Myers last Friday. Here are a few samples from the celebration. I hope to post videos from the celebration after it is over.
When I composed the Audubon Park Psalter, my intention was that most all of the settings would be flexible enough to work in a traditional setting with organ and choir as well as a more contemporary setting with piano and guitar. While I have attempted to make recordings of the Contemporary Group at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen before, because I have been the one at the piano, it has been difficult to capture anything remotely balanced. This week, I was able to be out in the congregation, so captured the psalm while standing next to a pillar. Here’s the resulting video:
What I really appreciate is being able to hear the people sing, even though this is a new piece for them.
I also captured the psalm at the 11:00 Mass with the choir and organ:
My last lesson for www.organimprovisation.com featured instructions on transposition and suggested using a piece by Louis Vierne as the transposition exercise and a model for improvising. The piece is a relatively simple piece from the 24 Pièces en style libre: 1. Préambule.
After that, I followed the score as a model and improvised some imitation Vierne in F Major and in G minor. There are some hesitations as I searched for similar interesting tonal gestures without following exactly what Vierne did, but that’s why we practice. I decided to make this exercise my prelude this weekend, so there are two more that follow the score less slavishly in A minor and D minor as well.