Global Music on the Organ (Part 3)
Note: This month Doug Brown, Director of Music/Organist at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, VA, presents the third and final installment in his series of articles focusing upon accompaniment of non-traditional sacred music at the organ. Many thanks to Doug for his collegiality in responding so generously to the question from World Music Wonderer! -- John Walker
Dear World Music Wonderer:
I realize that this doesn’t quite qualify as world music, but as a sort of postscript to my musings about non-Western music I’ll include an arrangement I’ve done of the exceptionally popular hymn in the American folk style, “Here I Am, Lord”. For hymns in this style, sometimes the answer is to make a very mild adaptation of the piano-based accompaniment we find in hymnals; for hymns like “Come, Live in the Light” and “Gather Us In”, I find this works just fine. But, for “Here I Am, Lord”, I wondered if there was a way to lighten the texture a bit and to have the organ support a clearer contrast between the verses and the refrain. I thought about how the trio texture of Calvin Hampton’s startlingly beautiful setting of “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy”. Was there a way to apply that same technique to “Here I Am, Lord”? This is what I came up with; I think the arrangement flatters the tune, and I will often play the verse melody on a sizeable solo reed suitable for being the voice of God. Best wishes as you try to find your own ways of adapting the organ to new strains of hymnody.