For our 2018 tutorial series we’re concentrating on the organ as a means of choral accompaniment. Accompanying a choir requires that the instrument supports boldly in a limited number of places, but recedes at many other times to allow the vocal parts to come through. It is also heard in solo role joining choral sections together or providing an introduction that sets the tone for what is to follow.
You can find out more about the singers, the series and the recording sessions involved in our earlier “Tutorial Videos 2018 – Behind the Scenes” post.
Maurice Greene: Thou Visitest the Earth
Our fifth release for 2018 is the delightful anthem “Thou visitest the earth” by Maurice Greene. It’s often used at harvest time, because of its text “Thou visitest the earth and blessest it: and crownest the year with thy goodness,” based on Psalm 65. It’s actually taken from a longer verse anthem “Thou O God art praised in Sion”, and it’s set for tenor solo followed by an SATB rendition.
Greene lived and worked mainly in London during the Georgian period, being roughly contemporary with Handel (Greene was born in 1696 and died in 1755). He became organist at Wren’s recently rebuilt St Paul’s Cathedral where he had originally been a choirboy, singing under Jeremiah Clarke. He subsequently held a number of prestigious posts, including organist at the Chapel Royal, professor at Cambridge, and Master of the King’s Musick.
The accompaniment to “Thou visitest the earth” will typically be in a rather simple continuo style, mainly with quiet 8 foot flute or stopped diapason, or possibly 8 and 4 foot at times depending on the voicing of the organ in question. The accompaniment largely doubles the vocal parts, although there are moments when a little more embellishment may be in order. As Jonathan Kingston suggests in his introduction, inventive phrasing and possibly stylistic ornamentation in keeping with the customs of the period are the order of the day here.
Watch the Video Tutorial
This is played on a custom built Envoy 23-S, which is one of our most popular church organs.
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.