Raymund Livesey

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Parish Playlist #3

Raymund Livesey (organist at St. Mary's, Brownedge - Father-in-law to Rhona Livesey)

 

 

1. Two pieces by Edwin MacDowell: To a wild rose and At an old trysting place from Woodland sketches Opus 51.

Edwin MacDowell (1860-1908) was an American pianist and composer in the romantic tradition known particularly for his charming and quaintly named “Woodland sketches”. He spent most of his life as a teacher, composer and concert pianist but later founded the music department at Columbia University. I find these pieces very relaxing and even amusing. Click here. And secondly, Click here. 

 

2. Pie Jesu by Gabriel Fauré from Requiem.

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was a French organist, composer and teacher whose “refined and gentle music” had considerable influence on 20th century French composers. Grove describes him as “the most advanced composer of his generation in France”. This delightful setting is well deserving of its popularity. Click here.

 

3. Lord for the years - a hymn with words by Timothy Dudley Smith, set to music by Michael Baughan.

This hymn, with its long, lilting lines, manages to enthuse the words with a little jollity without being crass like so many modern hymns. It isn’t, as yet, found in many hymnals but is deserving of attention. Click here.

 

4. Berceuse from Dolly suite by Gabriel Fauré Opus 56

Originally for violin and piano this later because a piano duet. Criticized for “weak” melodic ideas, it nevertheless became popular and helped Fauré, who had previously struggled, to find a music publisher. It was endeared to many mothers and children by its use as closing music for the long running BBC radio programme “Listen with mother”. Click here.

 

5. Peter Illyitch Tchaikovsky: Symphony no 4 in F minor, opus 36, Finale Allegro con fuoco.

This “vigorous and triumphant” movement, which takes us from the gentle in 4 above to the rumbustious is, in part, based on a Russian folk song. Acceptance of the symphony was originally slow but it later became very popular in concert programmes and has been much recorded. It is turbulent and emotional and reflects the marital crisis Tchaikovsky was experiencing at the time. Click here.

 

6. I put a spell on you: Jalacy Hawkins.

This 1956 song, counted amongst the 500 best rock songs, has seen several revivals by famous artists. I’m not generally a fan of “pop” music, especially those full of frenetic chaos. For this one I prefer the more recent version by Aberdeen born Annie Lennox with its clear and open texture and assertive piano rhythm. Click here.

 

7. Yesterday by Paul McCartney

This 1965 song, once used by The Open University as a perfect example of binary form, has been recorded by many artists and undergone multiple arrangements. The most charming of all is on an LP called “Val Doonican rocks but gently” record and released in 1967. His rendering of “Yesterday” is embellished with delightful obligatos from flute and oboe. The recording is worth hearing for those alone. Click here.

 

8. Symphony no 1 for organ by Felix-Alexandre Guilmant: 1st movement

Felix-Alexandre Guilmant, 1835-1911, was a French organist and composer, gifted and prolific, whose musical output was almost entirely for church organ. This movement, Introduction and Allegro, in its crashing opening chords, make use of “double touch” - a new invention in organ building. As a church organist I must include something for the instrument - but this piece is one I still have to master, despite much trying. A fine recital piece, it is to long and noisy for a concluding voluntary but the second movement, also long, is much more accessible and makes charming incidental music for a wedding.

Here is a recording of the Sonata no. 1 - The same piece of music but without orchestra. Click here.
And here's a different version <slower than I would choose to play it! Dan> for those who would like to see the score: Click here.

 

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