Author Topic: Organ masses  (Read 3826 times)

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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Organ masses
« on: April 19, 2016, 09:41:52 PM »
After well over a quarter century of serious listening to classical music, I have recently discovered this genre thanks to my recently-acquired Marie-Claire Alain 22 CD set L'Orgue Francais. (Recently, almost all of my classical listening is devoted to pipe organ music)

Thus far, I have been absolutely entranced with the Grigny Messe Cunctipotens Genitor Deus, especially the version with plainchant. I have enjoyed this work before played by Michael Chapuis, and the earlier  (and far less interesting) recording by Alain, which is also on this set. But Alain's later recording with plainchant is one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful and entrancing recording I have heard in a long, long time.

I have also been greatly enjoying the F. Couperin Messe pour les Couvents.

Last night, I listened to the Dandrieu Messe St. Hubert, and thought it absolutely ghastly.

What are your favorite organ masses and recordings? I am thinking it will be a cold day in HELL A before I have the chance to hear any of these live.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 09:46:20 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 09:59:21 PM »

Last night, I listened to the Dandrieu Messe St. Hubert, and thought it absolutely ghastly.


Maybe someone could confirm that the Dandieu is actually an organ mass by Dandrieu. I just can't find any reference to it apart from the MCA recording. 
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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 10:01:01 PM »
I would not be surprised to learn that it was actually composed by someone else 
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 10:15:42 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2016, 12:08:56 PM »


This CD contains a liturgical reconstruction of a kyrie with organ alternatim taken from the Faenza Codex. Kimberly Marshall and Cappella Romana on a good American neo baroque organ (as far as I remember.) It is exceptional both musically and in terms of performance, and what's more it's the earliest organ mass fragment extant as far as I know - 15th century.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 12:13:04 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2016, 12:44:07 PM »
This CD contains a liturgical reconstruction of a kyrie with organ alternatim taken from the Faenza Codex. Kimberly Marshall and Cappella Romana on a good American neo baroque organ (as far as I remember.) It is exceptional both musically and in terms of performance, and what's more it's the earliest organ mass fragment extant as far as I know - 15th century.

Thanks for the tip. I was not aware of this recording,
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2016, 09:57:39 PM »
I want to explore Guillaume Gabriel Nivers's music. Can anyone point me to any special recordings?

My impression is that Nivers is both distinctive - avoiding the appearance of formula which mars so much French music - and profound. 
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 01:25:31 PM »
(Ali thought I'd use this space for comments about liturgical performances of organ masses)



This Grigny mass by Bernard Coudurier is a bit interesting because it is the least classical performance of the mass I've heard - in Coudurier's hands Grigny couldn't be further from the world of Louis Marchand. Not much by way of Louis XIV pomp, racing rhythms or kaleidoscopic colours.

Instead what we have is something quite imposing, calm and solemn, I like it like this myself, because I'm not crazy about French classicism. But like it or not it's an original vision of Grigny's mass, and a rather majestic and beautiful one.

The organ is Moucherelle/ Cintegabelle 1741, stunning, I'd go out of my way to see it given a good programme and organist. The sound really seems to support Coudurier's vision of the music, it is grand and harmonious.

Plainchant is ok, fits the performance style, minimal, not intrusive.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 01:30:16 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Cato

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2016, 01:42:04 PM »
For your consideration: 3 Masses designed for talented amateur choirs by Theodore Dubois:

"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 04:33:18 PM »
Interesting. I will look for those two. I am kind of surprised that my post on Grigny in the Composers forum garnered only one reply, while so many threads on much more obscure composers go on for pages and pages and pages. Listening to French organ music from that era, Grigny is something special to my ear anyway.

At first glance, the organ on the cover of the Bernard Coudurier recording looks like the Schnitger organ at Zwolle.
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2016, 09:35:33 PM »
Isn't it interesting how differently the French approached the moment of elevation compared with the Italians?  Just compare the elevation in the Grigny mass with any elevation Toccata by Frescobaldi or Cavazzoni. I wonder if there were theological reasons, and I wonder whether Italian masses were known in France, if so what Louis XIV and Lully thought of them.

Another thing I'm interested in is whether French provincial music - Grigny is an example - is less formulaic and more imaginative  than the music composed for the court.

Re the Grigny mass, listening to it again last night I was struck by how unbalanced it is - all the best music in the kyrie  and Gloria I think, the rest seems to be given short shrift by comparison. Did the French not do a credo?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 09:42:04 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Maciek

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 12:54:47 PM »
According to Grove the Credo was not set alternatim post 1600.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 09:59:30 PM »
According to Grove the Credo was not set alternatim post 1600.

Thanks, does it say who started to write organ music for it? Or indeed who incorporated alternatim in plainsong?

I note that Heinrich Isaac's masses which were performed with chant or organ alternatim omit the credo (lest anyone be mislead, that's a completely superficial impression - I'm certainly not a scholar!)
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Offline Maciek

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2016, 12:08:15 PM »
Thanks, does it say who started to write organ music for it? Or indeed who incorporated alternatim in plainsong?

No problem. Glad to learn something more on the subject myself. Before I happened upon this thread I had very limited knowledge about organ masses (well, I still do) - wasn't aware of many of the ones mentioned here.

The article on organ masses doesn't go into the details you're asking (btw, by alternatim I meant alternatim with organ). It does mention that the practice wasn't uncommon before 1600, giving two examples: Cavazzoni and a mass published by Attaingnant.

As far as organ alternatim in mass settings is concerned, then Faenza (which I think you've also written about in this thread) is the earliest source mentioned.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2016, 12:11:19 PM »
Sorry if this is coming across a bit chaotic - I'm writing on my phone and am having difficulty scrolling through my own text.  ;D

Offline San Antonio

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 12:40:12 PM »
By far my favorite organ mass, a requiem is a mass after all, is the Durufle Requiem

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2016, 11:33:36 AM »
What are your thoughts on Bernard Coudurier in general (i.e., aside from this one recording)? There are several interesting discs on Amazon, although they are all quite expensive. .
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline Maciek

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2016, 11:58:44 AM »
By far my favorite organ mass, a requiem is a mass after all, is the Durufle Requiem

Any specific recordings you would recommend? I'd be especially interested in a version with organ only.

Strictly speaking, the Durufle is not an organ mass in the sense of mass with organ alternatim, or is it?

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2016, 12:11:34 PM »
What are your thoughts on Bernard Coudurier in general (i.e., aside from this one recording)? There are several interesting discs on Amazon, although they are all quite expensive. .

Well one thing which is fresh in my mind because I listened to yesterday was his Froberger CD, and I thought it was too flamboyant, I didn't like it. I have positive memories of the Louis Marchand mass,  but it's years since I last heard it.

Oh and I almost forgot, his "Bach et la France" CD is unforgettable ( ;))because of the organ.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 12:25:27 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2016, 02:57:55 PM »
Bach on French organs--very interesting (just listened to samples on Amazon). I need to find some recordings of his music on the Freundt organ (Klosterneuberg) as well.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 03:00:01 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Organ masses
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2016, 01:31:29 AM »
Oh and I almost forgot, his "Bach et la France" CD is unforgettable ( ;))because of the organ.

Yes, but I also find his playing convincing and the sound quality overwhelming..

Two organs are used, the Isnard in St.Maxim and the Treutmann in Grauhof. Surprisingly I think the Isnard organ is the most appropiate.
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