Sheet music

Musical contribution - January 2017

Panis Angelicus - C. Franck (1822-1890)

From here, I would like to wish you a very beautiful, musical, healthy and blessed New Year. And I’m able to do that - for the 9th time - on behalf of the management and staff at Johannus. I very much look forward to our monthly meetings via the Musical Contribution.

We start this year with a composition by composer, organist, pianist and music teacher César Franck (nickname: Serafijn). Three countries lay claim to his nationality: Belgium (because he was born in Liège), the Netherlands (because Liège was part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time) and France (because he spent his working life in Paris and because he was made French by naturalisation in 1837).

Franck was one of the key figures of his time in French musical life. In 1858, he was appointed as organist at St. Clothilde in Paris, and taught a whole generation of organists. His approach was innovative in that he emphasised improvisation.

“Panis Angelicus” is perhaps his most well-known composition. This work is part of the 6-part Messe Solennelle, written in 1860. Since then, it has been arranged for all kinds of ensembles, and now for solo organ.

Bars 1 to 12 are an introduction, and the melody begins in bar 13. (I have included the text). This is accompanied by a movement in eighths. After an interlude (33-36), the melody repeats itself, this time in a canon. It is advisable to adjust the registration at bar 37 in order to allow the melody of the accompaniment to come out better. The melody stops in bar 57, and we end with a postlude.

You might like to consider a soft reed for the leading stop. A beautiful principal is also always suitable, of course. Or ... you could sing it too (vox humana).

With musical regards,

André van Vliet