We continue the 2018 tutorial series where we’re concentrating on the organ as a means of choral accompaniment. In this series church choral music was chosen to illustrate the accompaniment of various parts of the liturgy and to highlight some well-known anthems. Jonathan Kingston plays the organ and is accompanied by four professional singers — Emily Armour, Elspeth Marrow, Joseph Thompson and Jack Lawrence-Jones. You can find out more about the singers, the series and the recording sessions involved in our earlier “Behind the Scenes” blog post.
Joseph Haydn: Kyrie and Gloria from “Little Organ Mass”
Our third release for 2018 is this delightful pair of movements from Haydn’s Mass Sancti Joannis de Deo, often known as his “Little Organ Mass” (Kleine Orgelsolomesse), written somewhere between 1775 and 1778. Saint John of God (Sancti Joannis de Deo), to whom the mass is dedicated, was not the St. John of the gospels, but rather a prominent Catholic saint who lived in the early 1500s, based in Portugal and Spain, whose followers founded an organisation dedicated to the care of the sick and mentally ill. In Spain he is known as San Juan de Dios.
The nickname of the mass mainly stems from an organ solo in the Benedictus, and Haydn himself is said to have played the organ for the first performance. These short masses of Haydn’s would normally have involved a few instrumentalists too, but here Jonathan plays an arrangement solely for organ.
The Kyrie of the Little Organ Mass is a beautiful lyrical movement with exquisite suspensions and accented passing notes. Haydn rattles through the subsequent Gloria in record time as a result of the clever device of setting different texts in each of the four vocal parts. This really is music to lift the spirits and set you dancing on a Sunday morning! There is in fact a longer version of the Gloria available, written by his brother Michael, so perhaps some must have felt that Haydn had been just a little too efficient in his composition for this movement.
Notes on playing the tune and watch the video
In Jonathan’s introduction to this video he points out that as the original scoring indeed included an organ it is a nice touch to solo any ‘organ only’ moments on some suitably clear and transparent uncoupled flute tone in order to replicate a small chamber organ. Brighter harmonics and some upperwork may be used in the cheerful and sprightly Gloria. Try to ensure, he says, that phrasing and articulation from both singers and organist are as one as this will add to the sense of exuberance and excitement.
This is played on a custom built Envoy 23-S, which is a very popular church organ.
About Jonathan Kingston’s Musical Background
Jonathan was an organ student while studying with Ian Tracey and Ian Wells at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral before being appointed Sub Organist at Bradford Cathedral, aged 18. Assistant Director and Director of Music appointments followed at Stowe and Bromsgrove Schools before an appointment to The King’s School in Ely where he served Ely Cathedral as a deputy organist.
Jonathan is a recording artist for Naxos, Priory and EMI Records and is an ABRSM examiner and coordinator touring the UK and internationally. As an organist, he has appeared with many leading orchestras and choirs including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Halle, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and English Symphony Orchestra as well as featuring in many live broadcasts on BBC radio and television.
He is the newly appointed Director of Music at Stony Stratford Parish Church where he presides over the magnificent Willis pipe organ.
Jonathan’s Work With Viscount
Jonathan’s work with Viscount Classical Organs encompasses performing and presenting promotional and tutorial material for the company and his freelance portfolio covers educational outreach, teaching, performing, examining and musical direction. He covers several areas for Viscount from sales, demonstrations, voicing of instruments and performing. His playing features on the current promotional DVD material for Viscount, and he would be very pleased to hear from any churches or individuals requiring an engaging and lively recitalist. If you would like to connect with Jonathan directly, please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@jonkingston) or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Digital Organ Being Played
Jonathan plays this piece on an instrument based on our Envoy 23-S. A ‘Physical Modelling’ based instrument with 23 stops in a real wood veneer cabinet. It has a huge internal library allowing the user to create 4 totally individual voice pallets from classic English through Baroque and Romantic. It benefits from a full complement of divisional thumb pistons and additional toe pistons. The standard 23-S organ has a 30 note pedal board while the instrument in the film has a 32 note board. For more information have a look at the specifications here.