Hymn Tune Psalter

On my way to creating a complete cycle of psalms with refrains based on hymn tunes, I’ve decided to start a list of currently available settings with video recordings. This post will be updated as I have more material to include.

Here’s the current list:

  • Psalm 24 – Let the Lord Enter (BESANÇON)
  • Psalm 40 – Here am I Lord (JESUS IN THE MORNING)
  • Psalm 67 – May God Bless Us (PUER NOBIS)
  • Psalm 72 – Justice Shall Flourish (EIN FESTE BURG)
  • Psalm 95 – If Today You Hear God’s Voice (ADORO TE DEVOTE)
  • Psalm 96 – Today Is Born Our Savior
  • Psalm 146 – Blessed are the poor in spirit (BEACH SPRING)
  • Psalm 147 – Praise the Lord Jerusalem (EASTER HYMN)

Pomp and Circumstance

The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen hosts 10 high school graduations every year in addition to having our own Cathedral School 8th grade ceremony. While not all of the schools use the popular piece by Elgar, enough of them do that I’ve had to find ways to amuse myself while playing these short 32 measures over and over again. The longest procession for 270+ graduates takes 23-25 minutes! After my first rehearsal, I knew I would need to work out some pistons for different registrations, and I also thought about how to create other variations to keep my mind occupied.

The piece basically has a melody, chords, and a bass line. I have a right hand, left hand, and feet. Through the rehearsals and graduations, I have managed to become skilled enough to play any of the parts of the piece with any of my appendages. Thus you get the following video presenting the options:
Not a perfect rendition, but an exploration of the variety of ways I keep myself entertained when I have 10 graduations to play for each spring. First six presentations in order are:
1)RH tune; LH chords; Ped bass
2)LH tune; RH chords; Ped bass
3) Ped tune; LH Bass; RH chords
4) Ped tune; RH bass; LH chords
5) LH tune; RH bass; Ped chords
6) RH tune; LH bass; Ped chords

It’s not perfect and the solo trumpet is at the other end of the building, but I thought it might be entertaining for you to see how I entertain myself during this season of graduations.

Wedding Chorale Video

After a few years of sitting figuratively “in the closet collecting dust,” I finally had an opportunity to brush up and record this composition for organ and brass quintet which I composed in 2014 for the wedding of my brother-in-law. This was written as the entrance procession for the attendants and bride to enter. There is a second movement for the recessional that I hope to get recorded as well.

Dilexisti justitiam from Chrism Mass

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.

Scores are available for purchase here.

Passion Chorale

Written for a colleague who was searching for a Dupré-style setting of the Passion Chorale for use as a postlude on Palm Sunday, this piece was written in 2015 and will likely grow into either a larger set of variations on the tune or a collection of short pieces for Lent and/or Holy Week. Here’s the video from when I played it as the postlude for Mass this weekend.

Here This Christmas Night

A solo piece for soprano, organ, and trumpet written for and premiered at the Holiday Brass concert at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, MD on 29 November 2016. Video of the premier performance is below:

Downloadable score packet includes part for Trumpet in Bb and in C.

Advent Suite

As part of a series of articles on Charles Tournemire at www.organimprovisation.com, I set about to actually compose a suite modeled on L’orgue mystique. Tournemire did not write much music for Advent, so I decided to use familiar melodies from that season as themes for each movement. Three of the five movements are written now, and I played the one based upon Nun komm der Heiden Heiland as prelude today at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. I hope to have the other movements finished soon.

Hymn Tune Psalms

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

Music Requires Participation

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.