Matthias Weckmann (ca. 1616-1674), a student of Sweelinck and an organist and composer from the 17th century Hamburg left us an intriguing registration suggestion in his long and famous cycle "Es ist das Heyl uns kommen her".
I'm thinking specifically about the 3rd verse of this cycle in which he uses the so-called Sonaten Registration (more on this in Matthias Weckmann: The Interpretation of his Organ Music, Vol. 1 by Hans Davidsson, Gehrmans Musikforlag, Stockholm, 1991).
Weckmann's original registration combination looks like this (the language is also original):
Ruckpositiv Principal 8 fues Pedahl Trompet 8 fus u. Gedackt 8 fus oder trompet 8. und trompet 4 Fuss. In der orgel trompet 16 Fuss.
If we translate it into today's English, then we would get something like this:
RP: Principal 8'
HW: Trompet 16'
Ped. Trompet 8 and Gedackt 8' or Trompet 8' and 4'
The texture of this four-part chorale verse is such that the cantus firmus (choral melody) is played in the pedals in the tenor range, the left hand takes the bass on the Hauptwerk and the right hand plays alto and soprano on the Ruckpositiv (free voices).
I think you could also apply the same or similar Sonaten Registration in your hymn playing as well according to the above example. Of course, you would need a Trompet 16' in the manual to make it work (only really large instruments have this stop in the manual). However, in some cases you could get away with Basson 16' or Fagott 16'.
One thing is clear - your congregation will definitely be surprised in a good way how creatively you use colors of the organ.
By the way, this type of registration can easily be applicable to many other Baroque chorale preludes in four parts where the chorale melody is played in the tenor range with the pedals, for example Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, BWV 684 by Bach (in this video, the registration is different).
Would you like to say "Thank You" to us? Buy Us Coffee.
Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Do you have a unique skill or knowledge related to the organ art? Pitch us your story to become a guest on Secrets of Organ Playing Podcast.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.