The Summer is a popular time for conferences and special courses. Here’s a list of opportunities to study improvisation at the organ this summer. If you know of others, please email me or share them in the comments so that I can add them to the website.
This summer is also the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. It will take place in Houston July 19-23. Typically there is an improvisation competition and several workshop presentations on improvisation during the convention. I only spotted one improvisation workshop: Adagio Lost and Adagio Regained: A Study of the Lost Art of Improvising in the Adagio Genre, with Emphasis on Handel’s Organ Concertos presented by HyeHyun Sung. The NCOI competition was restructured for this year with the preliminary round taking place last summer. (See my critique here.) No information about the competition is currently on the Houston website…
I am still considering offering a couple of days of improvisation instruction here. If you would be interested in coming to study with me at the Cathedral July 28-30, 2016, please let me know. Space for active participants will be limited. If there is sufficient interest, I’ll share more details soon.
Hoping you take some time this summer to improvise better,
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
Salve Regina, also known as Hail Holy Queen, is one of four Marian chant antiphons sung at different seasons within the Christian liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. It is traditionally sung at compline in the time from the Saturday before Trinity Sunday until the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent. It is also the final prayer of the rosary. There are two typical chant versions referred to as the solemn tone (above) and the simple tone (below). The solemn chant is in the Dorian mode while the simple chant is in the Lydian mode.
The word scherzo means a joke or a jest. It often refers to a movement which replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or string quartet, though it may also refer to a fast-moving humorous composition which is not part of a larger work.
The scherzo itself is a rounded binary form, but, like the minuet, is usually played with the accompanying Trio followed by a repeat of the Scherzo, creating the ABA or ternary form.
Having served as the music of the Roman Catholic Church for hundreds of years, chant has been the subject of improvisations throughout many different stylistic periods and in many different forms.
Some popular chant themes include:
Preludes usually serve as introductory movements in multi-movement works, though they also may stand alone. The formal structure varies widely. The title may also refer simply to the piece of music played at the beginning of a worship service.
Porter studied organ at Oberlin College and Yale University where he received the DMA degree in 1980. He taught harpsichord and organ at Oberlin from 1974 to 1986 and taught organ, music history and music theory at the New England Conservatory in Boston from 1985 to 2002. He has also taught organ improvisation at the Eastman School of Music and McGill University.
A fugue is a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject (theme) that is introduced at the beginning in imitation (repetition at different pitches) and recurs frequently in the course of the composition.