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Am Charfreitag (On Good Friday)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (05/19/17)
Composer: Vretblad, Patrik
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Notre Dame de Metz Mutin/Cavaillé-Coll
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Late Romantic
I know little about Viktor Patrik Vretblad except for his dates: (5 April 1876 — 15 January 1953), and a bit more information, contributed by our member, Dabchurch:

"He worked for the Swedish Post Office and eventually became its Controller. He was also a music critic; a writer about early Swedish music and an organist in Stockholm. He mainly published piano pieces but also composed a number of organ works including a Prelude and Fugue in D Minor."


I generally try to keep my uploads seasonally/liturgical correct, but I thought that I would share this other piece by Vretblad. Perhaps some will find it useful for next year's Good Friday.

"Am Charfreitag" is quite short, but it is intense and highly chromatic from start to finish. Marked "Andante mesto" the piece has phrases and "strings" that will pull at, if not break your heart. It certainly did mine, as I learned and recorded it.

From what I understand, Swedish organs are something of a cross between French and German romanticism. Whether that is a fair statement or not, this certainly works on the Metz Cavaillé-Coll.

Vretblad gives almost no indications for registration, but he gives LOTS of info on couplers! If you play this, you'll probably need to rework/rewrite one of the final phrases, where he calls for the 16' coupler, as this won't have the effect that he wants on many organs, largely because of "pitch limits."

I think that the "trick" in "getting" this piece, is to keep it moving - in time, but not strict. The phrasing is essentially, particularly in mastering what I'd call the "fall away phrases." Here again, you have to count - but it should probably sound like you're not! ;-)

I dedicate this upload to Dabchurch - not only for the helpful information, but for his ongoing friendship and kindnesses.

Thank you (a 2nd time), David.

The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Patrik Vretblad.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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