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J. S Bach Vol. 1

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J. S Bach Vol. 2

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The Fabulous French Vol. 1

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The Fabulous French Vol. 2

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Louis, Louis!

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Fanfares and Noels

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The 20th Century

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Major Works in Minor Keys

Musique Heorique
Musique Heroique

Organ Music of the Twentieth Century contains music that is varied, diverse, controversial and tumultuous. These properties were the nature and legacy of the 20th Century. Great technological, political and sociological changes took place, as well as great upheaval and devastating wars. Great inventions abounded, from air and space travel, cures for diseases, atomic weapons and energy, computers and the internet. The technology that enables these Virtual Pipes recordings was invented in the 20th Century. 
      The music in this volume reflects all of these great and tumultuous times. 

Toccata, Villancico, y Fuga - Alberto Ginastera (Brazil - 1947)  
The Toccata is loosely structured like the famous Bach Toccata in D minor, although the key is C Major. Many of the harmonic structures contain intervals of stacked fourths, that resolve to major chords. 
      The Villancico is a delightful and tuneful movement,  reminiscent of a folk tune melody. Many solo voices are used throughout, including Hautbois, Cromorne and Clarinet. 
       The Fuga uses the notes B-A-C-H as its subject. ( In ancient German transcription, B is b flat, and H is b natural). The subject is introduced using the Great division Montre 8' and 4' Octav, and builds to using the entire resources of the instrument. The final measures contains massive chords over a low C pedal point with dissonant intervals played on the pedals, creating an ominous and awesome effect. 
Arabesque sur les Flûtes - Jean Langlais (France - 1948) Movement VI from Suite Français
These piece uses individual flute stops starting with the Rückpositiv Gedackt, Great Bourdon, Great Harmonique flute, Rückpositiv Quintade and Positif Concert Flute. The accompanying chords are played on cool sounding Bourdons.
Pavane - Robert Elmore (United States - 1954) Movement II from Rhythmic Suite
Much of 20th century organ music is comprised of stark, dissonant harmonies and non-standard rhythms. But Pavanne is a stark contrast to that, with flowing, beautiful melodies and a steady, pulsing meter. 
      The sensuous and haunting melody is played by two different virtual flutes. Other solos stops are Flûte Ouverte, Cor Anglais and French Horn. 
2nd Fantasie - Jehan Alain (France - 1939)
Born in 1911 to a musical family, Alain wrote some now standard repertory works for organ, including "Litanies".  Alain disliked loud sounds and would play full organ combinations with the swell box closed. Alain employed odd time signatures and rhythmic patterns in his music, as well as exotic melodic patterns, evocative of middle eastern harmonies.
      Alain fell victim to the fate of some 100 million people in the 20th century. He was killed in combat June 20, 1940 when a bullet struck cavalryman Alain in the heart.
Pastel - Robert Hebble (United States - 1982)
Robert Hebble arranged for the late Organists Virgil Fox and Ted Alan Worth and is a talented composer in his own right. 
      Pastel is a bluesy, soulful tune, employing lush ensembles and a sensual alto Sax solo. A Scherzo center section is very suggestive of Louis Viernes' Scherzo from the 2nd symphony. 
     Pastel is dedicated to Ted Alan Worth.
Prelude and Fugue in B Major  - Marcel Dupre (France - 1920) Opus 7, no. 1
Marcel Dupre was a gifted organist and composer. Dupre's compositions were often rated as unplayable because they were so technically demanding. This piece progresses with a great deal of fire and brilliance to its' blazing finale. 
Ave Maria, Ave Maris Stellis - Jean Langlais (France - 1933-34) from Trois Paraphrases Grégoriennes 
Based on two Gregorian chants, this piece possesses a mystical beauty. 
     The first chant is introduced two octaves apart using the Flûte Celeste Stop. A middle section uses the organ foundations stops, all at 8' pitch. 
     The last episode has a particularly dreamy characteristic, with the lushest sounds (string celestes and Vox Humana) used to create the effect. 
Dialogue sur les Mixtures - Jean Langlais (France - 1947) From Suite Brève
Movement IV of this suite is a dialogue between various divisions of the virtual organ, with the Grande Orgue on the left, Positif in the center, and the RückPositiv on the left.  The highly ornamented "Plus Lent" section in the center of the piece uses the Cornet and the Septieme stops alternatively.
      The piece features numerous time signature changes, which gives it a jazz feel.
Les Banquet Celeste - Olivier Messiaen (France - 1934)
Depicting the Last Supper, this piece has a stark beauty to it. The pedal plays high pitched, pulsing notes depicting the tears of Christ in his last hours. The tempo is very slow and deliberate, fading to a D flat seventh chord at the end.    
Dieu Parmi Nous - Olivier Messiaen (France - 1936) Movement IX from La Nativité du Seigneur
Translated as "God in our Midst", this piece has one very unique attribute. It has no time signature! Each "measure" is a sequence of melodic and rhythmic figures.  As this work has such unusual timing, it is very difficult to play. However, the original timing as written is preserved here, and reveals the true nature of this opus.
       Messiaen specifies ffff at the end of the piece, and this uses the entire resources of the virtual organ. 

     Born in 1908, Messiaen became organist of La Sainte Trinité in Paris when he was 22 and remained there until his death in April, 1992. It was written that while playing there, he either transported or distracted the faithful with his progressive and uniquely 20th century music.  

 

 

 

   

 

 

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Last modified: May 14, 2006