Organ Noëls & Christmas Mass at St. Mary’s

An album of pipe organ music recorded “live” on Christmas Day, 1997, while I was the organist at St. Mary R.C. Church in Massillon, OH (USA).

Organ Noels Cover
1 Jean-François Dandrieu Savez vous mon cher voisin
2 Jean-François Dandrieu Mais on san es allé Nau
3 Louis Claude D’Aquin Noël X: “Grand jeu et duo”
4 Jean Langlais Noël, avec variations *
5 Louis Claude D’Aquin Noël VIII: Noël Étranger
“sur les jeux d’anches, sans tremblant et en duo”
6 Louis Claude D’Aquin Noël IX: “sur les flutes”
7 Opening Hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
8 Charles Callahan Of the Father’s Love Begotten *
Silent Night *
9 Communion Hymn: Silent Night
10 Closing Hymn: Joy to the World **
11 Jean-François Dandrieu Carillon ou Cloches
* unavailable because still under copyright
** introduction omitted because still under copyright

Included are a number of French organ compositions from the 18th and 20th centuries called “Noëls”. The French organ Noël grew out of the tradition of several famous organists in the 17th and 18th centuries who during the Christmas season, after the Latin high Mass was over, would improvise a set of variations upon the organ based on popular French Christmas carols. The tune might be heard clearly in the first variation, but each successive variation would be progressively more ornamented and elaborate. Some organists also wrote down their Noël variations or composed pieces in the same style as their improvisations.

On these recordings, I play variations by two of the most well-known of the Baroque Noël writers – Louis Claude D’Aquin and Jean-François Dandrieu. In addition, I played a piece in this tradition by Jean Langlais and two other Christmas-themed organ works by Charles Callahan. Since these 20th-century compositions are still under copyright, the recordings are not available to the general public. I also recorded three of the hymns from mass that day and I can be heard leading the singing (with a bad cold …).

Unfortunately, these recordings are marred by an ill-considered recording setup. The microphones were placed directly to the sides of the organ bench, reproducing the sounds as the organist hears them. But, unsteady microphone stands resulted in “mic shocks” whenever a note was struck on the organ pedalboard. I suggest turning down the bass control on your stereo to reduce the thumps that this caused in the recordings. You will also hear the occasional page turn. ^_^

These recordings are Copyright © 1997 Anthony M. Kozar. Jr. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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