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Vexilla Regis

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (04/14/19)
Composer: Titcomb, Everett
Sample Producer: Audio Angelorum
Sample Set: Peterborough Cathedral Hill
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Mid-20th century
The music of Everett Titcomb (1884-1968) occupies a unique niche in the catalogue of sacred organ and choral works by 20th-century Anglican composers in the United States. His compositional voice was clearly influenced by the Bostonian giants of his youth (Eugene Thayer, Dudley Buck, George Chadwick, Horatio Parker--who's mother once had Titcomb as a border) as well as his affinity for French music; yet at the same time his work is informed by his vast knowledge and understanding of plainchant and the polyphonic style of the 15th and 16th century Italians. An Anglo-Catholic who spent fifty years nearly to the day (1910-1960) as organist and choirmaster at Boston's Church of St. John the Evangelist in Bowdoin Street, his best organ works are based on plainchant tunes making them of more value to the Roman Catholic organist of the time than to the majority of Episcopalian ones and some of his best polyphony is in the form of Latin motets which while used at St. John's and other Anglo-Catholic parishes were perfectly at home sung at a Roman Mass.

Titcomb tends to be known for a handful of works which are quite popular with volunteer church choirs while his better work goes largely unplayed, unsung, and unheard.

"Vexilla Regis" is the third of "Three Short Pieces on Familiar Gregorian Melodies". It is certainly the grandest of the three. It is dedicated "To Francis W. Snow, Mus. Doc", well-known Boston organist.

Based upon the grand and tragic plainsong hymn, the work alternates between fanfares and solemn sections which Titcomb says should be played "In the style of a religious processional."

Once again the "Titcomb style" is evident, and the work rises and falls several times before coming to a massive climax at the end.

The sounds in the concluding measures are ABSOLUTE FULL ORGAN. :-)

This work is intended to be sung as the Office Hymn at Evensong on Palm Sunday.

The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Titcomb and one of the organ he played.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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