John Collins - Organist, Harpsichordist Iberian Musicologist, Translator

G.F.Handel arranged by John Marsh The Grand Hallelujah in the Messiah & Grand Coronation Anthem Zadok the priest and Two New Fugues.

Title: G.F.Handel arranged by John Marsh The Grand Hallelujah in the Messiah & Grand Coronation Anthem Zadok the priest and Two New Fugues.

Editor: . Edited by David Patrick.

Publisher: Fitzjohn Music Publications £7.50 + p&p per volume.

Reviewed by John Collins

The pieces which David Patrick has published in these slim volume are taken from “ Handel's Hallelujah in the Messiah, and Grand Coronation Anthem ; to which are prefix'd Two New Fugues ; the whole adapted & composed for 2 Performers on one Organ or Harpsichord by J. Marsh ”, originally published by Robert Bremner in 1783 and then republished by Preston from the same plates in ca 1795.

The two Fugues, both in C major, are each introduced by short preludes both marked largo and cadencing on the dominant. In the first prelude, progressing mainly in crotchets, the second player’s rh is an octave lower than the 1st player’s whereas in the second prelude the first player has several fast upbeat tirades. This piece was recycled as the 1st movement of Voluntary XVI from “ 20 Voluntaries for Organ second sett ( sic ) ” which Marsh published ca1795. The subject of the first fugue covers an octave, with much of the second player’s part in octaves ( one note per hand ). There are a few semiquaver runs for both hands but most of the writing is in quavers at a lively tempo. The second fugue subject covers a sixth and includes three short sequential passages. It also proceeds mainly in quavers, with semiquavers entering in bar 60 for 15 bars, the second player also having many passages in octaves; bar 88 sees the subject given out in unison over four octaves ! Both fugues conclude with cadences on the dominant followed by Adagio codas that include thick textured chords – quite a strain on the contemporary wind supply !

The Hallelujah setting follows the original closely, but The Grand Coronation Anthem is in two parts, a Preludio being followed by the section based on “ God save the King ”. The introduction ( Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet ) and the triple-time vivace ( and all the people rejoiced. ) which feature in Marsh’s later adaptation for organ or piano forte ( Volume two of the six volumes of adaptations published ca 1809-28 ) are absent here. The long semiquaver runs on the Amen appear in each hand simultaneously, and are also punctuated by quaver chords. The only registration indications included are Choir Organ in bar 22 and Great Organ in bar 37 of the Hallelujah, and the tempo indications are limited to Adagio at the end of each piece and Largo e staccato to the Preludio to the Grand Coronation Anthem. The writing in these pieces, clearly aimed at the increasing amateur market shows a good awareness of the economy of means.

The introduction includes Marsh’s own comments from his journal on when, where and with whom he played these pieces. As we have come to expect from David Patrick the music is clearly printed, although pageturns may prove difficult in a few places. These generally not over-demanding pieces will be great fun to play and should prove excellent experience in co-ordinating articulation and ornamentation for the two players; they would make excellent additions to the recital repertoire as well as being something different for a closing voluntary, and offer excellent teaching material for either two students or for teacher and student.

Back to Reviews

© John Collins 2015