Members’ Roundtable

Members’ Roundtable

Member’s Roundtable:

This month’s question: What is a brief organ piece you play and love, that you think others may not know about?

Eugenia Sullivan – I like to use Woodworks for Organ by Dale Wood Sacred Music Press for “handy dandy” short service pieces based on hymn tunes. They are accessible, not requiring lots of prep time. There are several volumes. Book 3 has a nice “Simple Gifts” and a “St. Columba” arrangement I play often.

Alan MacMillan – Marcel Dupre transcribed, on commission, his 15 Antiphons for “Vespers of Our Lady” op. 18 from a set of improvisations he’d played at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris for the Feast of the Assumption in 1919. The third antiphon, “Nigra sum” is particularly beautiful but not difficult and suitable for a two manual instrument. The music is in public domain in the U.S. and available on IMSLP.org. You may need to search the site under the French “Vepres du commun des Fetes de la Vierge” to get it to come up. It is also included in Rollin Smith’s Adagios for Organ collection as well as a Masters Music Publication of the whole op. 18 set, if you prefer a bound copy. I like to play this antiphon both as a prelude and during Communion.

John Parsons – One of my favorites is a piece called “Andantino” by Henry F Dunham (who was a Hartford organist). It was published in Vox Organi, assembled and edited by Dudley Buck. It is available on IMSLP.org.

Sue Hertel – I like to use “Priere” found in Vingt-quatre Pieces pour Harmonium ou Orgueby Jean Langlais. My copy of many years was published in the U.S. by Elkan-Vogel in Philadelphia.

Natalia Ulyanovsky – 1) “Shenandoah” by Christopher Tambling from Celtic Organ Preludes, Copyright 1966 Kevin Mayhew Ltd.
2) “Blow your trumpet, Gabriel” from Preludes and Paraphrases, new organ music by Neely Bruce; part of CONVERGENCE: Some Parades for Charlie’s Dad
3) Suite für Eine Mechanical Orgel, Adagio by L.V.Beethoven, Hinrichsen Edition No. 1438
4) Toccata prima a guattro by Giovanni Maria Trabaci (1575-1647). Faber Early Organ Series, Faber Music

Vaughn Mauren – “Fidelis” from Four Extemporizations by Percy Whitlock
The Complete Shorter Organ Music – Oxford University Press

Michelle Horsley – I recently played Mary Beth Bennett’s “Partita on Veni Creator Spiritus.” It’s a wonderful set of short variations, ending with a toccata. During the season of Pentecost, I find that it’s a wonderful way of showcasing an organ’s tonal variety. It’s published by Augsburg Fortress and I don’t believe it’s very well known.

Nathan Lively – “Bible Poems” by Jaromir Weinberger
http://michaelsmusicservice.com/music/Weinberger.BiblePoems.html

June Deanery

June Deanery

June Deanery

By Peter Niedmann

“Summertime, an’ the livin’ is easy…”

There’s no denying the shift from school year to summer is happily welcomed by church musicians. The weekly schedule of rehearsals and meetings is gone; leaving time for all kinds of other endeavors. Vacation is the biggest gift of summer. Getting away completely from work tasks, or even thinking about work, is a restorative joy. [Sometimes, forgetting about work while on vacation isn’t easy: Last summer, my wife and I were vacationing on Block Island. One afternoon I did a double-take. While relaxing on the porch of our inn, Benjamin Straley (Washington National Cathedral organist) sauntered past us in shorts and flip-flops with a bucket of ice!]

Having good substitute organists helps make the vacation more relaxing. Unfortunately, it seems they’ve become more difficult to find. (Check our sub list on the chapter website for available musicians.) John Parsons, who subs for me, has a good line: “I’ll make sure they are happy to have you return!”

While at work in the summer, it’s the perfect time to learn new organ repertoire (see ‘Member’s Roundtable’ in this issue for fresh ideas). It’s also the time to plan choir music for the upcoming season. I always make a list of things we haven’t sung, but should, as well as things we’ve sung but not for some time. And, if you don’t have Liturgical Music for the Revised Common Lectionary by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Thomas Pavlechko (Church Publishing), get it. It’s an excellent resource for programming anthems and hymns.

I hope you have a relaxing, fun-filled summer. Savor every minute!

2018 Annual Chapter Dinner and Meeting

2018 Annual Chapter Dinner and Meeting

2018 Annual Chapter Dinner and Meeting

By Meg Smith

The Greater Hartford Chapter of the AGO met at the Pond House Café at Elizabeth Park on Tuesday, May 22nd, for its annual dinner and meeting. A bar offered drinks starting at 6:30. The food was delicious. (This reviewer heard an observation that no dish was entirely vegetarian; a consideration for another time.)

Once the meeting portion started, Dean Peter Niedmann kept the agenda moving. His own remarks involved honoring various members’ contributions. Mark Child is stepping down as Registrar, and Joan Pritchard is retiring after multiple years as Ed Clark’s helpmate on our Newsletter. The new slate of officers was approved: Dean: Peter Niedmann; Sub-Dean: Vaughn Mauren; Treasurer: John Coghill; Secretary: Noah Smith; Registrar: John Parsons. Members-at-Large: Alan MacMillan (ending 2019) Susan Carroll (ending 2020), and Scott Lamlein (ending 2021). Ed Clark continues as Newsletter editor; Ally Barone serves as our webmaster, and Kari Miller Magg keeps the job postings current. I believe Ms. Barone also maintains our substitute list.

Last year’s annual meeting minutes were presented by secretary Noah Smith and approved without changes.

John Coghill’s report as Treasurer reminded us of the Jolidon Fund bequest and the many projects and contributions we have been able to undertake through that gift. His proposed budget was accepted and passed. He will step down at the end of 2019, so we will need to find a member willing to volunteer as Treasurer starting next year. Fortunately, the Chapter’s CPA, Anne Harney, has been knowledgeable and enormously helpful in keeping track of Chapter income and expenses. Also present at the dinner were David and Adam Mangs, who manage our investment of the Jolidon fund principal and can advise how much of the interest can be offered in grants. David Mangs reassured us later in the meeting of how the oversight of the Jolidon fund is being managed, and its potential for growth. We have Natasha Ulyanovsky to thank for discovering the Mangs.

The program for 2018-2019 was presented by Vaughn Mauren, whose invitation to next season’s events was interesting and inspiring. That program also appeared on the back cover of a directory listing for our chapter that is offered in print (with a list of our Officers inside the front cover and our Deans inside the back cover). General approval suggests to me that I am not the only one glad to have a “hard copy” of this information. Peter also made sure to invite anyone who has trouble opening our Newsletter from our web-site to ask him or another member of the Executive Committee for assistance; we want every member to be able to access news and upcoming events announcements.

Cheryl Duerr, our regional representative from AGO national, spoke to larger AGO events such as this year’s annual convention in Kansas City, next year’s regional convention in Buffalo, and upcoming POEs, including one at Cape Cod. (Christopher Houlihan alerted us that one of our POE students from 2017’s program has enrolled at Trinity with an interest in the music program there!) Ms. Duerr praised our Chapter for our liveliness, the activity we maintain, and our willingness to support and share with Chapters throughout our area.

Peter led us in applause thanking the staff of the Pond House Café, and the meeting concluded shortly before 9:00.

Not only did this dinner and meeting offer us significant information on the good health of our Chapter and our plans for the upcoming year, there were great opportunities for connecting with friends and colleagues. Consider coming next year (Tuesday, May 21, 2019)!

Zelek Recital Review

Zelek Recital Review

Zelek Recital Review

By Alan MacMillan

Inviting young artists who are still pursuing advanced studies but already establishing concert careers to give recitals here in Hartford was an idea put into action in 2017. Last month’s recital by Greg Zelek at St. James’s, West Hartford has hopefully made that idea into a tradition; one that provides a window into the future of virtuoso organ playing in the United States. A wonderful view it is, if this recital and the young artists’ recital of last year are anything to go by.

Zelek is an artist’s diploma candidate at Julliard and his concert, punctuated with his own breezy commentary, offered a program of standard repertoire along with lighter transcriptions. The recital also gave the substantial audience a first listen to the re-built Austin organ at St. James’s (minus a few stops still awaiting installation.) The missing stops were no problem for the recitalist who explored the organ’s tonal changes and possibilities with a deft and masterful technique in a concert played entirely by memory.

The Mendelssohn f minor Sonata opened the program and was balanced in gravitasby the final work, Guilmant’s Sonata No. 1 in d minor. Sandwiched in between were two transcriptions, one by Zelek himself, Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” and another by organist Nigel Potts, Liszt’s “Liebestraum No. 3.” Between the transcriptions we heard a brilliant rendition of the Bach a minor Prelude and Fugue, BWV 543, a work well represented of late in programs in the area, but always a welcome inclusion. Following the Liszt, John Weaver’s substantial and colorful Fantasia revealed another facet of Zelek’s virtuosity while representing music of our own time.

The Mendelssohn provided the perfect vehicle for registral contrasts: the opening hybrid sonata cum chorale prelude a case in point. I particularly enjoyed the Adagio, a kind of “Song without Words” where melody had the preeminence and was the more effective with Zelek’s ever changing solo registration.

The Guilmant sonata provided a bracing close to the recital. From its thundering French overture opening, to the spare fugue disguised as a piping shepherds’ pastorale, to the racing figuration of the finale, this powerful work brought an appreciative audience to its feet. The ovation was rewarded by an encore: the artist’s own transcription of Ernesto Lacuona’s “Malagueña” played with all the requisite feeling for the style.

May Deanery

May Deanery

Deanery

By Peter Niedmann

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is fast approaching- May 19th at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. The groom is a member of the British royal family. The bride is an American actress. As a result, coverage of the couple in the US media has been extensive.

While most people watching the wedding on television will be studying her dress, the women’s hats, the subtle body language of the bride and groom–we church musicians have other concerns…

What pieces are being played while people arrive in the chapel? What is the processional voluntary? What are the hymns? Whose descant is that? Which chant is sung for the psalm? Do we like the commissioned anthem? Who are the organists and directors? Which choirs are combining for the service? Are there any American musical references in recognition of the bride’s native country? [Wouldn’t Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man sound fantastic right before she walks down the aisle?]

It’s widely agreed that nobody does ceremony and church music better than the English. So, the chance to virtually “be there” at this festive occasion while it happens should be a great treat for us all.

Rule, Britannia!

Sign Up for the annual Meeting!

Sign Up for the annual Meeting!

The GHC-AGO Annual Meeting will be held at
The Pond House at Elizabeth Park
1555 Asylum Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06117
beginning at 6:30PM on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

The event will begin with passed Hors D’Oeuvres and a Cheese and Cracker/Veggie Tray and Cash Bar at 6:30PM. The Bar will only remain open from 6:30 to 8:30.

The Buffet Dinner will be served at 7:15PM to include a Thai Salad, Penne a la Pond House, and three entree choices including:

  • Moroccan Pork with dates, apricots, dried plums and almond served over herbed couscous,
  • Stuffed Sole with crab over citrus rice topped with buttery herbed bread crumbs and a saffron tomato bisque and
  • A Beef entree.

The Business Meeting will commence at 8PM with a dessert of Meyer Lemon Tart served with Coffee/Tea.

The cost per person is $20. Reservations MUST be made by Wednesday, May 16 at 5PM.

To make your reservation click here.

April Deanery

April Deanery

Deanery

By Peter Niedmann

Remember how we used to buy sheet music?

Drive to a music store that stocked church music (if there even was one). Stand at the bins, flipping through anthems and organ music. If you were lucky, there was a piano in the store so you could try things out. Then, if you found something interesting, you brought it to the counter and placed your order with the clerk. Then you left and waited. Weeks later, you’d get a phone call alerting you that your music had arrived at the store. You’d go pick it up and return to church–finally ready to start work on the music.

Today, you click on an internet distributor to browse and listen to audio samples. You search by keyword, season, composer, voicing, etc. When you find something worthy, you click “place order.” Your music arrives a couple days later at the church.

What a difference!

And, there is another way. If the music is in the public domain, you search imslp.org or cpdl.org. When you find something you like, download it–at no cost–and it’s in now in your hands.

Edward Guo, the founder and creator of IMSLP will be the speaker at our April 28thchapter event. Mr. Guo will give a presentation on IMSLP and other online music resources as well as the legalities of copyright, out-of-print, public domain, and any other questions you may have.

This is a special opportunity to learn from a highly qualified person how this new world of digital music works. I hope to see you there! Click here to find out more!

Can I Copy This?

Can I Copy This?

Can I Copy This?

Saturday, April 28, 2018 – 3:00 – 4:30 pm
St. James Episcopal Church,  2584 Main St., Glastonbury 

The legalities of printed music are more confusing than ever. What is public domain? When does a copyright end? What is ‘out-of-print’? IMSLP? CPDL? Blanket licenses?

Edward Guo, the founder and President of IMSLP (the groundbreaking online music-sharing website) will give an informative presentation on all these issues. Following the presentation, there will be a wine and cheese reception.

WHAT IS IMSLP.ORG?

One internet music resource that has made its mark: IMSLP.org. The International Music Score Library Project, also known as the Petrucci Music Library after publisher Ottaviano Petrucci, is a subscription-based project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores, based on the wiki principle. Since its launch in 2006, over 370,000 scores and 42,000 recordings for over 110,000 works by over 14,000 composers have been uploaded. The project uses MediaWiki software to provide contributors with a familiar interface. Since June 6, 2010, IMSLP has also included public domain and licensed recordings in its scope, to allow for study by ear.

 

March Deanery

March Deanery

Deanery

By Peter Niedmann

Once a year, I teach our church confirmation class. For one hour, a dozen or so 8th-graders get a quick overview of church music. I walk them through a worship service, using a bulletin as reference. We look at a few hymns and explore how the composer and poet often aren’t from the same era. We notice how the hymns and anthems are chosen based on the scripture readings. We see how the organ music is based on the hymn tunes. We check out the inside of the piano, play the handbells, the synth keyboard, and the organ. They blow into a pipe so they can feel the organ’s need for wind. I demonstrate a variety of stops, play some excerpts, and improvise on something fun. I then let them play it a bit. Their fascination with the instrument is always a joy to witness. Most of them never knew there was a pedalboard. Some thought the pipes are just decorative.

I believe that these brief sessions (which I also occasionally give to any interested church members) create an awareness and respect for the music of the church. And, the better educated our congregation is, the more supportive and appreciative they become.

Review of Stopford Choral Workshop

Review of Stopford Choral Workshop

Review of Stopford Choral Workshop

By Darlene James

Despite a very cold winter morning, there was a good turnout for Philip Stopford’s choral workshop on Saturday, February 3, at St. James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford. Vaughn Mauren accompanied an excellent group of singers from Yale, as Philip conducted 13 anthems and gave us insights into his commissions, orchestrations, phrasing, composing and publishing.

Philip is a very lively, personable 40 year old who is Director of Music at Christ Church in Bronxville, NY. (He says his mother is relieved he has a full time job.) The program began with In My Father’s House, which is also the title of his newest CD. For this commission, he was given the text and a request that there be a refrain. Although knowing something about the organ, the choristers and the church he is composing for is a plus, he cautions that if there are too many specifics, making a piece very personal, it is probable that it will not have universal appeal and will be difficult to market. He began this piece by composing the refrain and then filled in the verses. He also demonstrated how he sets a text. He advises to keep it simple; “less is more.” He wants his compositions to be accessible to most choirs.

He was first published by Hal Leonard in the US. His works are now available from Morningstar, Hal Leonard, and www.philipstopford.com. He spoke briefly about financial arrangements with publishers.

The program was over all too soon, as the two hours sped by; beautiful music with great voices, lots of laughs and honest insight into the world of composing and Philip Stopford.

Anthems sung at Philip Stopford workshop:
Morning Star Music
Teach Me, O Lord
O Thou Who Camest From Above
Do Not Be Afraid
Christ the Lord is Risen Again
The Spirit of the Lord
In My Father’s House
Christ is Our Cornerstone
PhilipStopford.com
Ubi Caritas
The Chorister Prayer
Psalm 150
There Is No RoseHal Leonard
A Christmas Blessing