Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas.
Ausra: And Ausra.
V: Let’s start episode 346 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Danielle and she writes:
I purchased the Dauqin Noel score through PayPal but have not received a link to a pdf.
Can you please help? I would love to learn part of it for Christmas!
Thank you very much!
V: Of course I have sent the score to her because sometimes those attachments get into the spam folder, sometimes people don’t notice them. So it’s all solved.
I thought maybe we could talk a little bit about this wonderful piece and I have the score in front of me. Do you know this? Grand Jeu, et duo by Louis-Claude Daquin and I have prepared fingering and registration for three manual organ based on my performance in 2016 in our church. So let’s see how many variations does it have? A lot, five pages, right? And it starts, what do you think is happening in the first variation or the theme maybe Ausra?
A: I think the theme is provided. It's an exposition.
V: In how many voices?
A: In two voices.
V: Uh-huh. So the melody is then in soprano and bass is in the left hand but it’s in a high range. It’s like a duet of two solo treble instruments.
A: Yes, that’s right.
V: Umm-hmm. Interesting.
A: And I remember as we talked a few days ago that French music if you would omit ornaments it would be probably boring. So I am looking at this melody and I am thinking that ornaments gives a lot to this melody.
V: Exactly. And this Christmas feeling like birds, like chirping sound.
V: OK the theme is clear, then after the theme comes Cornet de Recit and the theme was played by cromorne or clarinet and in the Cornet de Recit we have to play either with trompette or cornet, right Ausra?
A: That’s right.
V: And how many voices do you see here?
A: Also two.
V: Also two, right and what’s happening? Is it different from the theme or not necessarily?
A: Well, it’s a little bit different but…
V: Adding maybe more eighth notes.
V: And those eighth notes are inegales. What is Notes Inegales?
A: Well it’s a French tradition when it’s written even notes that are written are played uneven.
V: A little bit…
A: Dotted. You need to dot them a little bit.
V: Maybe like triplets. Maybe like instead of two equal eighth notes sometimes you play as you say dotted notes but sometimes you make gentle swing like make the first note longer and the second note shorter.
A: Yes but of course you need to do it differently because in French tradition if they would want you to play those eighth notes equally they would note it.
A: Notate it, yes.
V: It’s like in jazz, sometimes you have to swing in order to provide stylistically appropriate performance even though it’s written equally you play unequally.
A: True. And if you would think about that famous Charpentier’s Te Deum that is used for Eurovision’s radio for example as a calling signal they play it so nicely with dotted rhythms but if you would take Lithuanian version of Charpentier interpretation they play it so equally it just sounds so boring.
A: I cannot listen to it.
V: And I also sometimes play with one famous saxophone player who likes to play this piece with the organ and he always plays equally and you cannot teach these things.
A: I just think you need to learn things to find how other cultures treats similar things and if you are playing French music then you need to play it accordingly.
V: Umm-hmm. So after that, after this Cornet de Recit comes Grand Jeu. Oh, what’s Grand Jeu Ausra?
A: The big sound of the organ because it would be played with the reeds.
V: Reeds, cornets, and flutes probably.
A: So it would be quite a big sound.
V: You could even add optional pedal sometimes.
A: That’s right.
V: But I didn’t. I didn’t use the pedal at all.
A: Well I think that most of these were not intended to be played on the pedalboard so you don’t have to add it if you don’t want.
V: So these are big chords, three notes in the right hand and one note in the left hand, it’s just like keyboard harmony exercise. Nice. What comes next Ausra in Cornet de Recit second double?
A: Oh this is what often happens in variation set, if we have like doublettes before, not we have triplets.
A: So this sort of variation adds more validity to set of variations because things seems faster now because you have three notes instead of two notes.
V: More energetic. And those two voices that we see are played on separate manuals. Cornet is in right hand and cromorne is in the left hand.
A: That is what is so fascinating about French music that you always have those dialogs between hands.
V: Does it seem difficult for you this variation?
A: Not so much yet.
V: But then…
A: But then yes, look at that long trill and then in the next variation the sixteenth notes comes. So we have now duplets, we went to triplets, and now we have sixteenth notes so the energy is building up.
V: So you have to choose a tempo wisely at the beginning.
A: Sure, this is the thing about that piece which is so made out of so many segments. You have to look at the most difficult spot where the smallest note values are and then you pick up the opening tempo according to the hardest variation.
V: Umm-hmm. And I’m looking at this disposition of voices and figuration and it’s just like Johann Pachelbel would write.
A: Yes, it’s similar.
V: He also would start his chorale variations with chords, then with eighth notes, then with triplets, then with sixteenth notes.
A: And I think it’s common not only for him only in this setting I think it’s in general how the things are made, even in Sweelinck’s music.
V: Right. You start slow and speed up. And what’s at the end, Grand Jeu, we already had Grand Jeu, right?
A: But here we have more voices than in that Grand Jeu I believe.
V: And what’s happening in the last page of the third line here?
A: The echoes?
V: Yes, and even towards the end even more echoes. Between Grand Jeu, Recit, and Echo. Three manuals I believe are involved or two manuals.
A: I think echoes is one of the nicest things in organ in general especially if it’s in a big church with large acoustics then it works extremely nice.
V: Maybe I was wrong, actually it’s three manuals. Grand Jeu, then Cornet, and Cornet de Echo. You have to close the box or play cornet on a distant manual. Grand Jeu, Cornet, Echo you see.
A: So if you have a three manual organ use all three of them in such a spot. If you have only two manuals but one has a swell box then for the softest manual you can play on the same swell manual with the box closed.
V: Umm-hmm. So this is a very nice piece.
A: Especially now when the season is getting close.
V: And there is still time to practice and learn it. At least some parts of it. You don’t have to play entire setting if you are not advanced with your technique.
A: And if you are willing to learn the whole set then start learning from the end probably because those three last variations are the hardest ones.
V: And obviously check out our score with fingering and registration provided because this will save you many, many hours I think.
V: Thank you guys, this was Vidas.
A: And Ausra.
V: Please send us more of your questions. We love helping you grow and remember when you practice…
A: Miracles happen.
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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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