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Alleluia, Pascha nostrum (Four Improvisations on Gregorian Themes, No. 2)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (04/20/19)
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.

"Alleluia, Pascha nostrum" was published by B. F. Wood in 1958, and is dedicated: "To Ernest White, Esq."

White (1901-1980) was a famous American organist, most commonly associated with the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in NYC.

Of all Titcomb's "Gregorian improvisations," this one is perhaps the grandest and most passionate, and that's the way I played it.
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 title literally means: "Our Passover," and the work features 3 melodies: the Gregorian "Pascha nostrum," the Easter Sequence, "Victimae Paschali," and the hymn, "O filii et filiæ". I'll let you find them "in the texture," which is in itself fun to do, as some of them "just appear..." ;-)

The score, which is hard to find, is attached below, as well as a photo of Titcomb, the organ he played, and a photo of Ernest White.

Happy Easter!
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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