Musical contribution - December 2016

Introduction et Variations sur un Anciën Noël Polonais (A. Guilmant) (1837-1911)

Dear people from all over the world,

This month marks our 100th meeting. It was in September 2008 that the first Musical Contribution appeared. We can be grateful to Johannus Orgelbouw for the opportunity every month to enjoy a lovely piece of organ music, alongside the beautiful instruments they make. That organists from literally every part of the globe make use of this contribution is evident from the very many responses we receive from you. It’s wonderful to be able to correspond this way with organists from various churches or concert halls all over the world. But above all, it’s the grateful and enthusiastic emails from people’s living rooms that warm our hearts. Keep responding! And in particular, let others know about the free sheet music available from the Johannus website.

This 100th edition is extra festive, coinciding as it does with Christmas 2016. This time we’ve chosen French composer Alexandre Guilmant. He is no stranger to us; we have already offered music from his hand on two previous occasions, in 2010 even a short Noël. You now have before you a more expanded version. Originally a Polish Christmas carol, it became internationally famous under the title “Infant holy, Infant lowly”.

A great introduction. If necessary, you can double the melody in the first 8 bars. Then we go to the Récit in bar 13. Note: in order to retain the French character, it is advisable to keep a reed stop in, an oboe if possible.

The actual chorale begins in bar 21. Although Guilmant himself doesn’t require this, I have scored it so that you can also play this with a leading stop.

Variation 1 has the melody in the tenor. An oboe (or another reed stop) makes the most beautiful leading stop. If the flute 8 and 4 accompaniment are soft enough, a principal 8 is also fine.

Variation 2 is a cheerful allegretto. There are many conceivable registration possibilities here. For example, on one keyboard with fl. 8 and 4 or fl. 8 and 2, or on two keyboards with different colours. Let your creativity run wild!

Variation 3 is marked “un poco più lento” (a little slower), and is intended as a moment of rest before the finale. Soft 8 foundation stops give it a tranquil character. You could also choose two string 8s with perhaps a flute 8 coming out from bar 61.

Variation 4 is a finale. It wasn’t written by Guilmant, but it’s fun to close these variations off with something big.

We would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of the management and staff of Johannus Orgelbouw to wish you a blessed Christmas.

Musical regards,

André van Vliet

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