Tag Archives: Organ

New Sheet Music

Christmas Organ Selections II

I have a new sheet music Organ Collection available. This contains selections of Advent and Christmas titles.

Available at: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20753754

Away In A Manger [MUELLER]
God Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen
He Is Born [IL EST NSTE]
In The Bleak Midwinter [CRANHAM]
Joy To The World [ANTIOCH]
O Little Town Of Bethlehem [ST LOUIS]
The Babe of Bethlehem
The First Nowell
The Snow Lay On The Ground
What Child Is This [GREENSLEEVES]

There are a variety of styles represented. This and volume 1 will provide you with plenty of selections to choose from during the hectic Advent and Christmas season.

In addition to the link above (which takes you to the SheetMusicPlus website, my main distributor), a listing of all my available music can always be found at my website, JamesGilbertMusic.com

All of the typesetting for this collection was done using Sibelius.

Organ concerts – behind the scenes

On May 3rd, 2015 I was one of two performers at a 2-organ concert. It is unusual these days to have a single organ concert, let alone one that features 2 organs. The location of the concert was a small church in the small town of Micanopy, FL (population 600). The building can hold a very uncomfortable 75, maybe 100. The following video was shot by an audience member and is not the greatest video, but it’s all I’ve got:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OSZLUGeWJE&w=420&h=315]

The 2nd organ was installed on Thursday and modifications were made to the existing organ as well. As of early Sunday morning there were serious doubts whether the existing organ would be working as it should for the concert.

To back up a bit, one should know something about the building itself. Due to the size of the building, a pipe organ of any size that would be practical for the needs of the church is out of the question, so there is an electronic organ in the building. It is a good sounding organ based on sampling technology. The organ also has 2 sound modules attached via MIDI.

The concert itself went very well, in spite of the problems you will read about below. We adjusted the pews (which are not attached to the floors) so that the front half of pews faced on another facing the center aisle. In the back, 3 pews on one side faced forward, the other 3 faced backwards and there was one pew against the wall allowing for a view of the console and feet of the installed organ. The temporary organ was placed across the center aisle as far forward as one could go without getting into the church’s altar area. The idea was that people could see both organists if seated up front and/or just one or the other organist when seated in the back seats.

Needless to say, a temporary organ will not be a pipe organ either.  In this case it was what I would call a modern theater organ. The available sounds were not sounds one would normally associate with church music. It was almost like having an orchestra at one’s fingertips. As you might imagine, setting it up and getting it to sound good would take some time.

The existing organ, only installed about 2 years ago, was working fine. However, the initial installation had been a bit of an experiment regarding the antiphonal speakers. The guest organist, the theater organist was also the person who installed the church’s existing organ. He decided, with my approval, to change what sounds go to which speakers.

The organ has 6-channel outputs and we also have two sound modules, one an organ sound module and the other a Korg orchestral sound module. All controlled by MIDI. The organ module had been modified from stereo out to a 3-channel (each stereo) output. We have two sets of speakers (separate channels) in the back near the organ and another set at the front of the church (opposite side from the organ, the antiphonal speakers). We changed the routing of the various outputs of the organ and the 2 modules to different speakers. All of the organ went to the speakers near the organ up on the wall. Some to the top speakers, some to the bottom speakers. (Prior to this, all of the swell went to the antiphonal speakers). The Korg module now comes out of the front (antiphonal) speakers as does the Division B of the organ module. Changing the outputs, which involved many changes to cables, mixers and software configurations ended up taking about 6 hours on Thursday. As we left that evening, everything sounded good, much better than before.

I came in on Friday to practice. I loaded up some presets/pistons and almost got blasted off the organ bench. The external organ module was not being heard from the correct channels and was much louder than it had been on Thursday. It was not useable as it was. On Saturday around 6pm the organ installer/technician is back. We discover that the modifications to the organ module were not working. (At least that’s our best guess right now). We had to re-do the output of it in order to get things the way we wanted. Then on Sunday morning nothing is coming out of the organ module. So, we determine the organ module’s modified outputs are bad and are affecting the original outputs. Fortunately we were able to get it to work for the concert. And it did. The last I’ve heard is he will take the module and repair it so at least the original outputs work. We set the different divisions to mono outputs and routed Division B to the right side that led to the antiphonal speakers. The rest of the outputs went to the left and the speakers by the organ.

As to the program itself, I played the first half and the guest organist did the next half (and then some). It was decided that I would do more traditional organ music. I did a variety of classical music and hymn arrangements. The guest organist did mostly orchestral transcriptions and popular music with a few hymn tunes thrown in, but with orchestral sounds.

For a town of 600, we were quite happy to have the 40 or so people come out to view the program. The audience seems to have really enjoyed it. The church is anticipating a concert series for the 2015/2016 season (Sep through May).

If you are in Micanopy, FL, – a great place to visit to see ‘old’ Florida & where the movie Doc Hollywood was filmed – stop by the Church of the Mediator, across from the Herlong mansion some Sunday morning and hear the organ.

 

Organ installation audio

I’ve put together a video that shows pictures of the final install of the new organ at Church of the Mediator, Micanopy, Florida. The new organ is an Ahlborn-Galanti Chronicler I with an Ahlborn Classic sound module and Korg X5DR sound module. There is a six-speaker system with subwoofer. Two of the speakers are at the opposite end of the room from the organ console and serve as a quasi-antiphonal for the swell stops on the console.

The dedication recital for this organ is scheduled for Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm. If you are reading this after that date, there may be other articles here or videos on YouTube about that recital. John Lowe from Holy Trinity Episcopal in Gainesville, Florida will be the organist for that program.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfNX1miAMyo]

The audio was recorded using the direct line-out jacks located under the organ console. I recommend listening with headphones.

If you are ever in Micanopy, Florida (near Gainesville), stop by for services at 11:00am on Sundays and most Wednesdays at 6:00pm to hear the organ in services. I am also there on Tuesday (early) and Thursday (late) afternoons practicing. Feel free to stop by then as well.

 

Using pre-1611 music

The title page to the 1611 first edition of th...
Image via Wikipedia

Pre-1611 music service

On November 20, 2011 the Church of the Mediator Episcopal church in Micanopy, FL ( held a service that focused on the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. To try and keep the service as much musically like what people may have heard in 1611, we tried to select appropriate music.

The scripture was, of course, from the King James version. We used the original edition, complete with the different spellings used in 1611.

Hymns

In researching hymn tunes and lyrics that were written prior to 1611, we discovered that few English language hymns exist. It was about 100 years later that English language hymnody really took off with such authors as Isaac Watts. Although there are numerous foreign language pieces (eg. German) that were possibilities, but the translations, such as A Mighty Fortress, were written long after 1611 so we did not use those titles.

We could only find about 7 hymns that would work. Of those, the following were chosen. Even with these, some of the translations or harmonizations were done after 1611.

  • Jerusalem, My Happy Home (Tune: Diana)
  • Psalm 23 metrical version (Tune: St. Flavian)
  • The Lord Descended from above (Tune: Moravian)
  • All People That On Earth Do Dwell (Tune: Old 100th)
  • I Call On Thee, Lord Jesus (Tune: Ich Ruf Zu Dir)

The hymn I Call on Thee was written by Miles Coverdale (1487-1568) who is probably best known for his Coverdale Psalms, a translation of Psalms. The hymn tune dates to 1533 but was harmonized in 1928. It is found in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal as hymn 634.

All People That On Earth Do Dwell is set to the tune Old 100th, best known to many as the Doxology. The words by William Keth (d. ~1608) and is a paraphrase of Psalm 100. In this case, the lyrics and music are all written pre-1611. The music is from 1551 and harmonized prior to 1561. This is probably the oldest hymn with lyrics and music commonly used by congregations today.

Jerusalem, My Happy Home was written in the 16th century. The melody, tune: Diana, is a traditional English melody from the 16th century. The setting we used was harmonized in 1939.

The metrical Psalm setting of Psalm 23 we used was to the tune St. Flavian, sung often to the lyrics Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days. This tune dates from 1562.

The Lord Descended From Above is another Sternhold Psalm. The tune is Moravian from pre-1611. The edition we used was from an 1882 Church of Christ/Presbyterian hymnal.

Organ Music

Presbyterian Church, now Episcopal Church of t...
Image via Wikipedia

I do not have access to any original edition organ publications pre-1611. I did have several arrangements or adaptations of pre-1611 organ music.

For pre-service music, I played the following:

  • Pavane, by William Byrd
  • Salmodia para el Magnificant by Antonio de Cabezon, arranged by E. Power Biggs
  • Dialogo per Organo by Adriano Banchieri, arranged by E. Power Biggs
  • St. Flavian (tune)

During communion I played the following titles. In the E. Power Biggs edition I had, they were grouped together as one piece, in two sections:

  • 1. Pavana – The Earle of Salisbury from Parthenia or The Maydenhead (1611) by William Byrd
  • 2. Galiardo also from Parthenia or The Maydenhead (1611) by William Byrd
The Pavana in this piece is the same as the pre-service piece, but arranged quite differently. I suspect, but have no way to know, that this edition is more accurate to the original.
For the postlude I played Ayre of Four Parts by John Dowland.
(Added 11/21)
If you’d like to see the sermon that focuses on the KJV, visit:

Making a music arrangement using Sibelius 7

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B49i8EtmS-w?hl=en&fs=1]

Ever wonder what goes on in an arranger’s mind when they go to arrange a piece of music? Well, here’s a video showing some of that process. It also shows off some of the new Sibelius 7 music notation software.

See how I take a hymn tune based on a German folk melody and turn it into a fugue like arrangement for solo organ.

Not mentioned in the video is that the piece was used a few weeks ago (end of July 2011) as a postlude for a church service. Postludes are the music heard at the end as everyone is leaving so you don’t want it to be too long. The piece served its function well and will probably be used again.

I did find one issue with the arrangement when playing it. As the 3rd voice of the ‘fugue’ comes in, the hand spread required to play the piece requires part of the right hand part to be played with the left hand. That’s not too bad, but it was a bit awkward switching.

Questions about Sibelius or making the arrangement are welcome.

New sheet-music

Four new titles are now available in the music catalog at the website.

These titles are for solo organ, solo piano, instrumental solo with piano accompaniment and an organ hymn accompaniment/alternate harmonization.

O Day Of Radiant Gladness
jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php?sid=OR22
This arrangement is based on a German folk tune, also known under the hymn tune name ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVOGELEIN. This is for solo organ. It was written with a postlude in a church service in mind. It is a contrapuntal arrangement, almost like a fugue. The pedal part is not difficult. This piece makes for a great postlude. An organ teacher might also find it useful as a supplemental piece to regular lessons.

Episode
jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php?sid=PN15
An original piano composition. It is a slow, thoughtful piece. An episode is similar to an interlude.  It is designed to be played between other (perhaps non-musical) activities. It would be a great piece for an intermediate piano student to learn for a recital. It could be used as part of a concert program where you need a slower piece between faster pieces. For church use, it would work quite well as an offertory or communion (Lord’s supper) piece.

Jesus Loves Me
jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php?sid=IS10
An arrangement of the well-loved hymn for solo instrument with piano accompaniment. This setting is an adaptation of the solo organ title already a part of the music catalog. Rather than the typical 4/4 or 2/4 meter found in the hymnal, this setting is in a slow 6/4 time. This slows the piece down from its typical sung speed and allows for more expression from the soloist. I didn’t have any particular solo instrument in mind when writing this, but violin or oboe would work well with this. Parts are provided for C, Bb, Eb and F treble clef instruments making it playable by a wide range of instruments including: Flute, oboe, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, French Horn, Trumpet, Violin, Guitar, Recorder and a solo keyboard (eg. a synthesizer lead). If you play bassoon, cello, trombone or viola and can read treble clef, you could easily adapt this for your use. French horn players may find this a challenge due to its high range, but feel free to transpose down an octave.

GROSSER GOTT
jamesgilbertmusic.com/catalog.php?sid=ORA37
This is an organ alternate harmony to this hymn tune. I use capital letters whenever mentioning tune names. Since so many hymn tunes have multiple titles, if I list the most common title, in this case “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name,” I end up leaving out other titles, so that’s why the tune name. This accompaniment is best used on the last verse of the tune. This accompaniment has a number of harmony changes that will require the congregation to sing in unison (as they would typically do to begin with). The piece does not always play the melody as the highest note and does a bit of a descant. But, it is not so different that the congregation will lose its place. When first used in a service it received good comments from those singing and a few were surprised at one or two of the harmonies.