Holiday Brass Composition Premier

Returning this year to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen is the 13th Annual Holiday Brass Concert. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the International Women’s Brass Conference. Included on the concert will be the premier performance of Here This Christmas Night. Scored for soprano, trumpet, and organ, the music was composed by Wm. Glenn Osborne for text by John Dalles.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 410 337-7539: Adults $26.00, Seniors/Students $23.00.

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.

2016 Jazz Vespers

Come celebrate and pray as the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen concludes the Homecoming weekend of celebrations for the Anniversary of Dedication with Jazz Vespers. The Kevin Myers Quartet will accompany the Cathedral Music Ministry in a celebration of Evening Prayer beginning at 5pm on Sunday, November 13, 2016. Wm. Glenn Osborne will preside for the celebration which will feature several of his compositions newly composed for the occasion.
jazzvespers2016sm

Check out the samples from the first rehearsal:
Psalm 147 part 1
Psalm 147 part 2
Revelations 19 Canticle

Psalms for Jazz Vespers

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.

First Psalm: Psalm 147: 1-11

Second Psalm: Psalm 147: 12-20

Canticle: Revelation 19: 1-7

Psalm 17

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:

Vierne for Improvistion

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.

As transposition practice, I played it in C# major, D Major, Eb Major, and started it in several other keys.

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.

Psalm 40 Blues

The Old Testament reading for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C is the story of Jeremiah being thrown into a cistern where he is expected to sink into the mud and die. The Responsorial Psalm that follows is a set of verses from Psalm 40 with the refrain, “Lord, come to my aid.” When I first encountered this set of readings back in 1995, the most obvious musical idea was to make it a 12-bar blues. It was a little bit of a stretch to get the verses and refrain to line up consistently, but perhaps more of a stretch to do the premier on a little two-manual German baroque style organ!

As the setting only appears once every three years, I don’t really know how often or where I’ve been able to do it since then. Many times, this pushes the envelope of what is accepted or expected for music in the churches I have served. There is a contemporary group at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and I’ve heard some requests for some more modern music, so I put it on the schedule this year. Here’s the video from the 9:30 am Mass on 14 August 2016:

A child decided it was time to play with the kneelers during verse three. It would have been great to have some well-timed percussion, but sometimes you just take what you get.

Note: This is not included in the Audubon Park Psalter, though it could show up in a later volume of more contemporary/gospel/jazz psalm settings.

Monody

Organists always love to make lots of sound. Improvisers typically use both hands and feet to play almost all the time while improvising. This weekend, I thought I’d do something a little different and play only one note at a time during the offertory.

Saturday evening, I improvised a slow monody thinking perhaps of a solo cello piece:

Sunday, I decided to aim at something a little more sparkly and bright:

Do you have the courage to improvise only a single melodic line?

Vater unser im Himmelreich

Georg Böhm wrote three settings of the chorale Vater unser im Himmelreich. This past weekend at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, I played the first one as prelude. With a rhythmic repeated chord accompaniment and ornamented solo presentation of the melody, it has inspired many of my improvisations.

The other two settings could also be models for improvisations, though the last is much more complicated. The second setting is a duo while the last one presents each phrase of the chorale in quasi-fugal imitation.

Psalm 66 and an Improvisation

Here are two new videos from this Saturday’s 5pm Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

First up is the responsorial psalm for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C. While the chords are triadic in summary, both the right and left hands almost always play only fourths and fifths. The psalm is published in the Audubon Park Psalter.

Next is the offertory. This is a simple improvised piece using the strings and a solo flute. Nothing complicated here. Just a slow pleasant relaxed moment for meditation.