Sheet music

Musical contribution - February 2013

Cantilène Nuptiale (Th. Dubois, 1837-1924) – This may well have happened to you too. You were asked if you could play the organ during a wedding service and the bride and groom had given their choice of music a great deal of thought. We would like ..... when we enter, we thought of this or that song as the final organ piece and we would like a beautiful organ arrangement during the collection (or another quiet moment). No virtuoso, but something very melodic. We don’t have any specific titles in mind.

I would imagine the French organist Dubois will undoubtedly also be familiar with the above story. He may even have specifically written this beautiful Cantilène for this very purpose. This arrangement was later published with the addition of “Nuptiale”. Oddly enough, this composition (together with eleven others) has been published in America. One of the other eleven is the well known “Toccata in G”.

Dubois was mainly a teacher and organist. He is certainly not regarded as a composer who exercised a great deal of influence, despite the many beautiful pieces written by him. Yet this month we’ll be enjoying one of his pieces. Written for a 3-manual organ. Dubois was organist in “La Madeleine” in Paris at the time of writing the Cantilène and even had a 4-manual instrument at his disposal.

He recommends an Oboe for the Récit. A separate soft 8’ register, each with its own intonation, for the Grand Orgue and the Positif. This will ensure the keyboard changes can be clearly distinguished between. If you don’t have a 3-manual organ, then you can certainly also play the Grand Orgue and Positif on the same keyboard. He asks for the melody to be played on the Positif from bar 32, coupled to the Récit. The purpose of this is to liven up the melody even more. You can also solve this by adding an extra stop to the leading voice.

The use of a swell box is incredibly valuable. Playing the melody with a large rubato will result in a highly romantic version, which will leave many brides and grooms wiping away the tears. And I don’t think this will purely be restricted to the brides and grooms.

Until next time,

André van Vliet