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April 19, 2020: “Et introibo” and “Variations sur un thème de Clément Jannequin”

(If you do not see the music link icon, you must click on the above Weekly Music Notes title for April 19, 2020.)

“Et introit” by Don Freund and “Variations sur un thème de Clément Jannequin” by Jehan Alain

Hi, everyone!  This week I had a few different ideas about what to post for my music message, but I ended up not being quite ready enough for any of them–so I thought I’d use the chance to post a couple of recordings I still have from back when I went to organ school.

“Et introit” from “Ordinary Pieces, A Concert Organ Mass” by Don Freund is a piece that I played at a studio recital in 2012 when I was a Performer Diploma student at Indiana University.  Don Freund is on the composition faculty at Indiana, and we gave this recital in honor of the anniversary of the pieces’ composition date.
Marked “jaunty,” Et introibo is a charming movement made up of short, bouncy gestures which get combined in different ways. Each hand has an independent voice (and a repeating bass line is in the feet) which take turns shifting back and forth from foreground and background. The piece is deceptively simple-sounding, and includes several difficult moments where one hand is crossing over the other. Here is what the composer had to say about his piece in his notes:
“Et introibo… ‘I will go in to the altar of God, to God who gives joy to my youth.’ This is not a movement in the sung Mass, but rather the first exchange between the celebrant and the altar boys. After memorizing all that Latin, I was told I had to choose between being an altar boy or a choir boy; I went with the choir. My organ intrada is a shuffling, syncopated 3-voice procession. The back-beat is in the pedal.”
In addition to the recital honoring the faculty member, another event in which I participated that year was a studio recital commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the French organist and brilliant composer Jehan Alain. Jehan Alain was the brother of the famous organist Marie-Claire Alain, and studied at the Paris Conservatoire in the 1930s with renowned organist Marcel Dupré. Jean Alain unfortunately lived a very short life because he was killed during World War II–to me this fact offers a little perspective for us as we go through another world event–perhaps things could be even worse?Alain was known to have been interested in early music and old instruments—such as the organ at Petit-Andelys, which inspired him to write the “Variations sur un thème de Clément Jannequin.” Despite this, Alain’s treatment of early music has a decidedly modern twist–his treatment of the tune “L’espoir que j’ai d’acquerir voter grace” (which was not in fact written by Janequin) is good example.  Hope you enjoy listening to it here:
Anyway, I hope you guys liked the selections for today!  Next week I’ll have some music for the Easter season played in my apartment again–I’ll keep working on these things.  Thanks for listening!
-Danny