Vierne for Improvistion

My last lesson for 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.

Third Wednesday Noon Recital

Music in Mclean presents half-hour recitals on the third Wednesday of the month at Saint Luke Catholic Church. This will be a program of wedding themed music. The complete program is as follows:
Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel
Rondo à la Marche – Wm. Glenn Osborne
Prière à Notre-Dame (from Suite Gothique) – Léon Boëllmann
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – J.S. Bach
Rhosymedre – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Serenade for Organ, op. 22 – Derek Bourgeois

Information on the Steiner-Reck Pipe Organ Opus 104 can be found here.


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 47 – Ascension of the Lord

One of the refrains that has survived from my first set of psalms written in 1995 with psalm tone and verses from the new Revised Grail Psalter. The choir is in a new location for this Mass, just over my right shoulder in the front area of the upper sanctuary. We have previously been in the back area of the upper sanctuary much closer to the organ.

The music for this piece is found in Audubon Park Psalter – Solemnities, Feasts and Holidays.

Psalm 103 – the Lord Is Kind and Merciful

Recorded live 2 April 2016 (iPhone)
Cathedral of Mary Our Queen

Psalm 103 with the response “The Lord is kind and merciful,” appears several times in the lectionary cycle. This was recorded at a wedding, so the small congregation is hard to hear. Only two verses are included in this video because the lack of memory on my iPhone prevented me from capturing the entire psalm setting.

The music for this piece is found in Audubon Park Psalter – Weddings and Funerals.

Psalm 145 – Fifth Sunday of Easter Year C

Recorded 24 April 2016 (iPhone) at the 11am Mass
Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Baltimore MD

Psalm 145 – I Will Praise Your Name Forever
for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C

The music for this piece is found in Audubon Park Psalter – Year C.

Friday Noon Recital at NCCC

National City Christian Church’s Friday noon-time recital series makes the pipe organ come alive and opens your eyes to the amazing world of the King of Instruments! Come surround yourself by the instrument’s 7,000 pipes and hear the ROAR that Washington D.C.’s third-largest pipe organ makes in this reverberant space. Concerts take place on FRIDAYS from 12:15-1:00pm (August through December & February through June). Wm. Glenn Osborne will perform the program on October 16, 2015. Repertoire for the program is:
Cortège et Litanie – Marcel Dupré
In Paradisum – Henri Mulet
Resurrection – Larry King
Rondo à la marche – Wm. Glenn Osborne
Serenade – Derek Bourgeois

Annual French Organ Music Marathon

Come hear eight area organists play works of the French masters from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday afternoon. Each performer will present a 30 minute program of music and information about the pieces being performed. Wm. Glenn Osborne will play the following works from 2:30-3:00 pm:

  • Camille Saint-Saëns – Prelude & Fugue in B Major, op. 99, n. 2
  • Darius Mihaud – Petite Suite
  • Pierre Perdigon – Cinq versets sur Veni Creator
  • Alexandre Pierre François Boëly – Fantasie & Fugue in Bb Major