Vidas: Hi guys, this is Vidas!
Ausra: And Ausra!
V: Let’s start episode 580 of Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast. This question was sent by Maureen, and she asks:
Please could you suggest suitable music for this particular week in the Catholic Church?
I love the harmonies for ‘O Sacred head sore wounded’. Is there an organ rendition for this one? Your suggestions would be appreciated as always.
V: I think, Ausra, she refers to “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” Right?
A: Yes, I guess. This is a famous chorale.
V: Passion Chorale.
V: For the Passion Week, or Passion Sunday, or for the week before Easter, probably. And actually, I took the initiative and created a Chorale Prelude based on this hymn, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” and it became my composition, too. Let me check which opus number. I think it's Op. 71. So anyway, I hope Maureen will find it useful, and other people. But of course, it’s not about me, there are other composers that created similar Chorale Preludes based on this tune, right?
A: For example, what? Could you suggest any?
V: Dieterich Buxtehude, definitely. Johann Sebastian Bach. These two are very famous settings. And, obviously any Baroque composer from Germany has created their own rendition of this Chorale tune.
A: Well, because I guess this is a Lutheran Chorale, so all the Lutheran composers have composed compositions based on this hymn tune. Although actually, I have heard this hymn with other words, not the Passion words, because this Chorale melody is very famous.
V: It’s of course used many times in “St. Matthew’s Passion!”
A: Yes, I think it goes throughout the piece.
V: By Bach.
A: It’s repeated many times, of course with a different text.
V: Nice. So obviously, if Maureen takes the collection which is called “371 Chorales by Bach,” this collection was collected or gathered after his death by his students, and published from Chorale harmonizations of his four-part Chorales for famous Cantatas, and also, of course, Passion. So, I remember seeing this particular Chorale setting many times appearing in this collection, so you could get many different harmonizations and well as different keys!
A: That’s a nice suggestion, I guess.
V: Yeah, you could play different settings soloing out the melody with your right hand, playing all parts on one manual, and maybe even the soprano line one octave lower as a tenor line, but then the tenor line playing one octave higher, exchanging soprano and tenor, basically, and then this would be a perfect way to add the variety of your setting, and the congregation would love it, probably, because it’s very unusual. You could add your own harmonizations if you know how to do it, but you first have to learn how to harmonize. Right Ausra?
A: Yes, true.
V: So lots of ideas! Pick and choose a few and practice, and 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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