Kansas Here I Come!

Hello 2017!

I was planning a column for the Christmas season when they announced the appointment of two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Their ordination was scheduled for January 19, so the crazy Advent-Christmas scheduled for a couple of weeks longer. The ordination even provided an improvisation challenge: how can you stretch an entrance procession to cover 500 people walking into the building?

Maybe it was only 450, but everyone in the upper and lower sanctuary as well as all the people in white on the right entered in procession. We did two hymns with interludes after every verse. What’s the longest procession you’ve played for? What did you do to keep the music interesting?

Kansas

As I was catching up on my reading after the holidays, I discovered that the American Guild of Organists has scheduled their next pedagogy conference, and its focus is improvisation! Organ and Improvisation Study in the French Conservatoire System will be held October 18 – 21, 2017 at The University of Kansas. I promptly signed up to attend. The lineup includes Olivier Latry, Michel Bouvard, Vincent DuBois and Philippe Lefebvre. More information is available at:
http://agopedagogyconference.music.ku.edu/
Please let me know if you plan to be there.

Simple Christmas Music

So the idea I wanted to get out for Christmas was based on one of the Orgelbüchlein chorales: Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich, BWV 605. The score (with a little alto clef for fun) starts like this:

At least in the US, virtually no one will recognize this as a Christmas tune, but the structure of the piece is simple enough that I thought it could be easily applied to Christmas tunes that people do know. The soprano is a straightforward presentation of the tune on a solo stop. The bass is a very simple harmonic bass with occasional passing tones. The interest of the piece comes from the treatment of the alto and tenor. The tenor has a dotted eighth and sixteenth note pattern while the alto fills in between the two tenor notes with either two thirty-second notes or a sixteenth note before finishing the beat with an eighth note.

The rhythmic pattern simplifies into or can be derived from a standard 4-part chorale harmonization very easily. I opened the hymnal at random and applied it to a few Christmas tunes: While Shepherds Watched (WINCHESTER OLD), How Brightly Shines (WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET), and Good Christian Friends, Rejoice (IN DULCI JUBILO). While Christmas is over, you could certainly do the same with tunes from other seasons.

NPM

In other news, I have been asked to lead an organ masterclass at the National Pastoral Musicians Conference this summer in Cincinnati. The masterclass will cover repertoire or improvisation according to what the student wishes to work on. If you’d like to participate, please check out the convention brochure.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that 2017 is off to a fabulous beginning for you.

Glenn


Newsletter Issue 62 – 2017 01 30

See the complete list of past newsletter issues here.

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Jean-Baptiste Dupont

JBDpress05Website:
http://www.jeanbaptistedupont.com/Page%20Home.htm

Born in 1979, Jean-Baptiste Dupont began his musical studies at the piano. He discovered the organ later, at the age of 12 and began organ studies at the Institute of Sacred Music of Toulouse. He graduated with distinction from the organ departement at the Conservatoire in Toulouse. His teachers have included Michel Bouvard, Louis Robilliard, Philippe Lefebvre, Jan Willem Jansen and Thérèse Dussaut. He received the 1st prize (improvisation) in St-Albans international competition in July 2009.

In April 2012, Jean-Baptiste Dupont became the organist of the Bordeaux Cathedral.


YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/organeux

Videos:
Jean-Baptiste Dupont – improvisation on the paintings of M.K.Churlionis
Jean-Baptiste Dupont – Symphonie improvisée playlist- St-Joseph, Bonn Beuel (Germany)
Jean-Baptiste Dupont – Improvisation at St-John the Divine, New York, NY

László Fassang

Fassang_368x800Official website:
fassang.hu

YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEfvVAaafNKJGav583-Pxnw


A native of Budapest, László Fassang was born into a musical family and began to study the organ at age thirteen under the tutelage of István Baróti. He graduated from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 1998, having studied piano under Ilona Prunyi and organ with Ferenc Gergely and István Ruppert. Fassang then entered the Paris Conservatory, where he studied organ with Olivier Latry and Michel Bouvard, as well as improvisation under Loïc Mallié, Philippe Lefebvre, Thierry Escaich, and Jean-François Zygel. In 2002 he won the Improvisation Gold Medal at the Royal Bank Calgary International Organ Festival and Competition. He is represented in the US by Karen McFarlane.

Recordings:

László Fassang au grand orgue de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres
Includes repertoire by Alain, Bach, Liszt, Vierne and an improvisation.

The Art of Organ Improvisation – The Four Seasons (Vol. 5) was recorded at the Palace of Arts in 2008 and released by the German company Organ Promotion.


Course Of The Moon: Live Improvisations
László Fassang, piano, and Lé Quang, saxophone

Video:
László Fassang – Improvisation on ‘Dies Irae’ – Biserica Reformată de pe Ulița Lupilor
Olivier Latry, László Fassang and János Pálúr – Sortie Improvisation – Notre Dame de Paris