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Thread: Suitable 'modern' music for funerals

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    Captain of Water Music
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    Suitable 'modern' music for funerals

    Having been asked unexpectedly recently to play for a funeral, my first for some years, the minister's parting shot was, "No Bach"! Got me wondering as to what (or should I say 'whose') music others currently consider to be suitable, though undoubtedly that will be influenced by the intended tone of the service.

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    George Thalben Ball's Elegy in Bb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZJlGuNFi8g
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    usually can not go wrong with hymn transcriptions/arrangements for that particular religious group. " No Bach" sounds like a fundamentalist church or heavy Southern Baptist ( alot of those churches here in my area )..personally I would not play with statements like that being made: but I am an Episcopalian too.
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.

    Bill

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    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster FinnViking's Avatar
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    Marko Hakanpää, organist of St. Michael's Church, Turku, Finland.
    www.hakanpaa.net

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    Captain of Water Music
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    Marko, thank you for the list. Used the word 'modern' too ambiguously I guess, for what I meant was, 'current thinking' on, or 'popular choices' of, music played at church funerals, as opposed to modern composers. Just wanted to avoid Bach!

    Mike, the Thalben-Ball 'Elegy' is indeed beautiful: one of my favourite pieces of organ music.

    Bill, the said minister is white South African and the church referred to was Church of Scotland.

    Did put together a 30 minute programme, but with possible similar future requests in mind, it would be useful to know other peoples' current choices.
    Last edited by Nikam; Dec-04-2014 at 12:24.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    In my church we have a memorial (without the casket) service as opposed to a funeral. Most of those attending a memorial at my church are not regular church goers, so there is no real appreciation for the finer pieces of literature written for the organ. As people are entering the church, they are greeting one another, greeting the family of the deceased, and generally chatting with other attendees - the music then becomes musak - something to fill the space.

    With that in mind, I don't spend/waste the time preparing major pieces for my prelude ... the prattle coming from the pews is just too annoying, and it's something that we can't change. The "unchurched" have no idea of what to do when entering a holy worship space. To them it is just another public hall - a restaurant - a social gathering spot. Yes, that irks me to no end ... If I play louder, the "din" also becomes the same. But, the $$ is great, and that is how I make my living besides my government retirement pension.

    I do, however, play a postlude at the conclusion ... usually A Mighty Fortress Is Our God from a collection of the same name which contains compositions by several famous composers: Reger, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, Pretorius.

    There are the rare occasions when there is a specific request for music - we try to make that as part of the service, perhaps where the offertory would occur if it were a normal Sunday service. Same is true for vocal solos.

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    Captain of Water Music
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    Will look up that collection Lars. Thank you. Do you have the publisher's details?
    Last edited by Nikam; Dec-04-2014 at 17:13.

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, Nikam ... it's Advent/Christmas season on the organ bench and that means a plethora of extra rehearsals and church services. I've been busier than a two headed cat in the fish market.

    Hinrichsen Edition No. 1021 - 1963 - Bach House, 10-12 Baches Street, London

    Contents:
    Luther - Luther's Hymns - The Melody - The 4 Chorale Treatments with the Chorale Harmonisations by Mendelssohn and Bach, and compositions by: Praetorius, Hanff, Buxtehude, Bach, Pachelbel, Walther, Merkel, Max Reger and Richard Arnell.

    Sole Agents:
    C. F. Peters Corporation
    373 Park Avenue South
    New York, NY 10016

    I've had this book since about the mid 80's, so I am not certain as to its availability. Copies may be in some university music library collections, or elsewhere.

    There were (are) 12 volumes to this collection
    1. H-1021: Ein' Feste Burg
    2. H-1022: Aus tiefer Not
    3. H-1023: Wie schoen leuchtet der Morgenstern
    4. H-1024: Lobe den Herrn
    5. H-1025: Nun danket alle Gott
    6. H-1026: Passion Chorale
    7. H-1027: Valet will ich Dir geben
    8. H-1028: Vater unser
    9. H-1029: Veni Creator Spiritus
    10. H-1030: Vom Himmel Hoch
    11. H-1031: Sleepers Awake
    12. H-1032: O Lux beats Trinitas


    Each volume is dedicated entirely to each tune.

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