Which composer's music sounds just like the style of the Frenchman Louis Vierne (1870-1937)?
How about Maurice Blazy (1873-1934)? He is mostly remembered for being Louis Vierne's teacher. He was an organist at the church of St Peter of Montrouge and the professor at National Institute for the Blind Youth in Paris. Blazy died in a tragic accident after being hit outside his house by a bus.
The selection of sight-reading for today is Blazy's Allegretto. This charming piece is dedicated to René Vierne (1878–1918) who was a younger brother of Louis Vierne, a talented organist and composer who was killed in WWI.
Allegretto (G major, 3/8 meter) is full of chromatic harmony (all kinds of seventh chords and ninth chords and their inversions) which was the signature style of Louis Vierne. This piece is composed in a ternary ABA form: A (page 1-system 1-measure 1), B (2-2-5), A (4-1-1).
Although the chords mostly are very chromatic, it's possible to notice this tonal plan with cadences in G major (1-2-3), D major (1-4-7), G major (2-1-4), C major (2-1-8), E minor (2-2-4), E minor (2-4-4), B minor (2-5-5), A major (3-1-4), C major (3-2-1), A major (3-3-2), E major (3-3-6), A major (3-4-5), G major (4-1-1), C major (4-2-4), F major (4-2-8), and G major (4-3-4).
From 4-3-4 there is a tonic pedal point with the syncopated G in the pedal part until the end of the piece, creating a feeling of tranquility and completion.
When I was sight-reading Allegretto this morning, I thought some of the more difficult places were:
1. (1-3-3) Chromaticisms in the left hand part
2. (1-3-5) Ornament in the right hand part (play it before the beat)
3. (1-4-1) Leap downward in the right hand part
4. (2-3-3) Increase in the number of voices and passing of the voice from the left hand to the right hand
5. (2-3-4) Sixteenth notes in the right hand
6. (2-3-5) Missing C# in the bottom voice
7. (2-3-6) Movement in all three voices
8. (2-4-4) Preparation for the pedal entry (staccato)
9. (2-4-4 to 2-5-2) Syncopations in the left hand part against the movement in pedals
10. (2-5-4) D in soprano should be finger 5
11. (3-2-1) Change in harmony on the downbeat
12. (3-2-7) Legato in the pedals against repeated note in the tenor
13. (3-3-6) A ninth chord on the downbeat
14. (3-4-2) A simultaneous downward movement in the hand part
15. (3-4-4) Movement in all the parts
16. (3-5-3) Chromatic movement in pedals
17. (4-3-7) A ninth chord on the third beat
18. (4-4-3 to 4-4-4) Change of harmony on the downbeat
If you want to play this sweet Allegretto, here is the score for printing. I recommend you take a very slow tempo at which you can comfortably play these chromatic chords and sixteenth note passages.
If you struggle with playing all parts together, simplify the texture and play hands separately. Employ lots of finger substitutions and aim for a smooth legato (except when it's written otherwise).
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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