View Full Version : Nicolas De Grigny - how to play this piece?
02-19-2007, 01:59 PM
I'm really a pianist.. I've seriously started studying the organ but am definitely still a beginner in a performance sense.</P>
I've played congregationally for years and am fairly familiar with an organ similar to this one:</P>
I originally thought I'd play this G major prelude by Bach for a postlude but i've decided it's too pianistic (too many notes) but now I've chosen "Recit de Basses De Trompette ou de Cromorne.</P>
I just happen to have this music i bought at a sale years ago? I am going to add a pedal line to the last 4 lines... (i think i can do that). I have no idea how fast this music should be played and know nothing about De Grigny.. There are some fairly intricate ornamentations but the piece sounds compromised if i play it slowly. There are 8 measures of a left hand solo.. lots of scales and trills that i assume can be played with alot of rubato, but i don't know.. This piece seems to have been composed before 1700 so i guess it's open to interpretation.</P>
02-24-2007, 02:00 PM
changed the piece (and title of this thread soliciting more help)
02-24-2007, 03:49 PM
Let me be the first to say you have very good taste!</P>
Here is some background on your guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_de_Grigny</P>
The article states "Grigny's work stands at the pinacle [sic] of French baroque organ music" - I agree completely. </P>
I just went to look for my music (one of my De Grigny books has annotations from a masterclass with Marie-Claire Alain) and discovered that a good portion of my organ music is missing! I just moved, and am still quite inundated with unopened boxes.</P>
At least I could find a couple CDs (which are also not yet sorted - I hate that)!</P>
André Isoir comes in at a 3'10"; Jean-Jacques Grunenwald plays it more quickly at 2'17". So even amongst the pros, there is some latitude in tempo.</P>
Something you should be aware of: in French music of that erait is expected to play in a style called inégale. If you have a series of eighth notes you would not play them all equal value; you lengthen the first note, and alternate with shorter notes (1,3,5,7... are long, 2,4,6,8 are short). This has the effect of livening up the music but must be done very subtly.</P>
You might want to get some recordings, which may help to unlock the mysteries of this wonderful music. I also recommend you read the introduction to "L'art de toucher le clavecin" by Couperin - he explores many of the facets of playing this style, including a very complete guide to interpreting ornamentation.</P>
Hope this helps...</P>
02-24-2007, 03:59 PM
Here is another good resource (which I can't find, but I KNOW has to be around here somewhere)!</P>
02-24-2007, 04:59 PM
Great - those tempos tell me I'm playing it WAY too fast. Thanks for the resources too, Soubasse. </P>
Unfortunately (or fortunately) my pastor (boss) has a doctorate in organ performance so i kind of want to do this correctly.</P>
(i'm searching for a CD with this recording and as of yet have not found one - so if you can tell me the title when and if you come across the CD that would be great)</P>
02-25-2007, 08:08 PM
You're playing*a*basse*de*trompette,*so*your*basic*theme* is*in*the*bas*on*a*rather*powerfull*and*harsh*reed *(french*baroque).*
rubato*is*not*invented*for*a*few*hunderd*years!*Mo stly*those*pieces*are*played*in*60*for*adagio*to*8 0*for*andante*(the main count) anything*else*being*done*with*changing*the*way*of* writing*it*(using*whole*or*quarters).*So*you*will* have*to*keep*a*very*strict*beat*
and*work*around*it*with*your*articulation. Only place to slow down a bit are the last few bars, don't slow down at the end of themes or melodic lines.
Articulation is important in this music or it becomes mud. But when indicated, some binding is acceptable.
Something you should be aware of: in French music of that era it is expected to play in a style called inégale. If you have a series of eighth notes you would not play them all equal value; you lengthen the first note, and alternate with shorter notes (1,3,5,7... are long, 2,4,6,8 are short). This has the effect of livening up the music but must be done very subtly.
Ah yes, the "notes inégale". As*soubasse32 said this is done to a series of eights (at least 4). More specific, an up or down sequence, not if you are playing a motif or theme.*But*if*you*find*a*scale-like*line:*go*for*it. Two eights become almost -but not quite- a pointed eight and a sixteenth. You could even bind 2 eights that make up a pair a bit more than between*pairs (no legato, but a subtle more air between the pairs than inside the pairs).
Other way to spice it up is to "over-point" where you give a note a bit more than it's value and then cover this up in the next note in order to keep the beat going. Also if you have a line that ends in something like say a long chord, an eight chord followed by another long chord, then that eight belongs to the last chord and you can add some space between the first chord and the eight (that you take from the eight that becomes almost a sixteenth).
Then the trills. What it written is the bare minimum! More is the way to go, but keep it in style. Also the trills aren't the Beethoven ones. It is good practise to start with the main note. Starting slowly and speeding up a bit. Varition in the way you trill is also advisable. But your next note has to be there on the beat.
You mention to add pedals...don't. French baroque organs often didn't have pedals and if they did it were box pedals. Small keys sticking out of a box. Toally unsuited to play anything but long held notes (certainly no trills!). You are also playing a "basse" and since the pedals would in fact be the bas that would not fit. However if your piece ends with some long chords it is fine to add to those chords with the pedals.
Lastly, a basse de trompette is fun, let your public be aware of that.
02-26-2007, 03:49 PM
I was reading your thread and was curious to hear what "Recit de Basses De Trompette ou de Cromorne" sounded like.</P>
I found an mp3 on the following site which I thought I might share with you: http://www.virtuallybaroque.com/track657.htm. I'm not sure how technically correct this performance is after reading the other posts, but take a listen. </P>
02-26-2007, 05:03 PM
Thank you all. You're so helpful.</P>
Actually it's this piece http://www.virtuallybaroque.com/trak1365.htm</P>
<P mce_keep="true">We don't have a French Baroque organ and have no stop that resembles that funky reed..However, i can combine a 16th prinicipal with a couple horn stops toimitate the sound (forgive my lack of organeze..) </P>
I've been playing this piece a bit more 'gloriously' as a joyful postlude to fit theCatholic space and time but i will see how i can conform to it's original.</P>
Maybe i'll be up on the vocabulary soon.</P>
02-26-2007, 06:17 PM
I think I gave you the timings based on the wrong "Basse de Trompette"- (oops). Oh well, the tempo taken in the link you provided sounds about right. I might take it a bit faster. The trick when playing a baroque French organ (hypothetically) is that you don't want to play so fast that the trumpet pipes don't speak when playing thelowest notes quickly. Actually, that's true on any pipe organ.</P>
French baroque organs have delightfully raucous reeds, very full and resonant in the bass. Sometimes they take a while to speak, especially if they are out of regulation.</P>
You could beef up the registration if you are playing this as a postlude - one typical registration would be to add a 4' octave or principal to the Trumpet 8'; you can also add the nasard+tierce or a cornet stop (if you have them). If you have super couplers you could couple the Trumpet up an octave to make 8' and 4'. Althoughthat last suggestionis completely beyond 'proper' registration, it would be effective!</P>
I would not advise adding a 16' stop to a Trumpet melody in French baroque music. We have to keep your organ-saavy boss happy. [:D]</P>
If you really want to do a loud piece appropriate for a postlude, you might want to consider learningone of the early French pieces called'Grand Jeu'. This uses all the loud reeds on the organ coupled together plus mutation stops.</P>
Maybe i'll be up on the vocabulary soon.</P>
Here is a great start for you - James H. Cook's organ website:</P>
Click on "organ history", then "17th century", then "France". He will take you through the common registrational practices and give you a wealth of info on stop names and historical references. There is muchin commonbetween 17th and 18th century French performance practice; however it is good to review each.</P>
02-26-2007, 08:40 PM
I would take the first example a bit slower and the second a bit faster. But this can very well depend on the organ and acoustics. (altough the recordings are midi playbacks on hauptwerk) I do prefer the trumpet in the first basse a bit. (I don't hear there any cornet as indicated...) Maybe a bit more articulated and a bit more variation in the inégales but that might be the midi cut-paste.
If you want to amuse yourself with loads of trills and so on, try a "flûtes". Sadly french baroque can be very inégales in quality. Some pieces are absolute marvels while others are of a boring platitude...
03-01-2007, 02:01 PM
finally had a chance to practice yesterday. it went well thanks particularly to pointing out the basse line is the main melody..</P>
i didn't sound authentic.. the Allen just won't deliver however, my interpretation and it must be called that sounded great.... lots of trompettes etc. generic in a way, but better than nothing. I like how the opening line almost seamlessly flows from the final allelulias of the closing Song (Jesus is Risen).</P>
i did pretty good on the pedals with the congregational accompaniments while practicing, however, when i practiced with the ensemble/choir (i know an ensemble with organ is kind of stupid but that's what i have) i couldn't hear my bass line.. the trombone blares directly behind me and the bass guitar obscures what i can hear so i proceeded on the manuals. </P>
i'll be able to do some solo organ work this summer... so i'll practice for then.</P>
this is a great, helpful forum.. thanks</P>
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