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. An Anglo-Catholic, he 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.
"Pentecost" was published by B. F. Wood in 1950. It appears to be an early one of these "Greogrian Imrovisations," perhaps the first one of the type composed by Ticomb.
Of all Titcomb's "Gregorian improvisations," I felt that this one really needed to "get on with it" a bit. It sounds better in playback then it did when I was playing it, which felt interminable! You can only modulate and crescendo a limited number of times before there are no more keys to modulate to, and no more stops to add. :-)
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 end is as "full" as it can go.
The work is based on three Gregorian melodies: 1) "Spiritus Domini," (the Introit for Pentecost), 2) "Veni Sancte Spiritus," the Sequence hymn, and 3) "Veni Creator Spirtus", the hymn, and most well-known of the three melodies. Titcomb states that: "The work is suitable for Confirmation and Ordination
The text of the Introit begins, "The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world, alleluia," and this is "filling" is certainly the effect created at the end of the piece.
The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Titcomb and the that organ he played.
If you enjoy these Titcomb "improvs," you're in luck, as there is still one yet to come for Corpus Christi.
If you don't like them, take heart, there's only one more to go. :-)
I wish everyone a peaceful and blessed Pentecost!