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Trumpet Tunes for Christmas – Organ Solo



These extended organ arrangements featuring the sound of the trumpet are of great use for worship or recital. Familiar carols are given extended treatments with interesting interludes and introductions. This trilogy is an excellent choice for the Christmas season, with choices that serve the secular holiday concert, the joyful Christmas service, and a majestic Hanukkah piece that can ironically double as an Easter postlude. The festive “carols” arranged include “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Judas Maccabeus” (Thine is the Glory).

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is a traditional English Christmas carol made popular by Bristol-based composer, conductor, and organist Arthur Warrell (1883-1939). Macchia’s arrangement is aptly titled “Trumpet Toccata” and features many fast sixteenth note lines for hands as well as quick chord changes that play a large role in adding to the complexity and novelty of the arrangement. Things slow down in the second half of the work, which opts for accented quarter note block chords at double forte and even triple forte to be performed in a majestic manner.

“Angels We Have Heard on High” is a Christmas carol to the hymn tune “Gloria” from a traditional French song with paraphrased English lyrics by James Chadwick. Likewise, Macchia’s arrangement is titled “Trumpet Tune on Gloria’’’. The song’s subject is the birth of Jesus Christ as narrated in the Gospel of Luke. The first section is festive and bouncy, with numerous mordents added to the melody. The second section tones it down in both timbre and festivity, and is to be played with less motion. It switches to a minor key and features delicate, descending melodies. It returns to a repeat of the first section, following ABA form, with the same jubilant tempo and timbre. The arrangement ends with a cadenza, with quintuplets and sextuplets to be played more freely and resembling the sound a solo trumpet or reeds. A short majestic conclusion with tenuto block chords draws the piece to a close.

“Thine Is the Glory,” also known as “Thine Be the Glory,” is a Christian hymn for Easter, written by the Swiss Protestant minister, Edmond Budry (1854–1932), and sung to the hymn tune “Maccabaeus,” which is from the third section of Handel’s oratorio Judas Maccabeaus. Thus, Macchia’s arrangement is titled “Trumpet Prelude on ‘Maccabeus.’” The work opens with a lively intro at a quick tempo with harmonies in thirds. The melody then enters at the same quick tempo but with a brighter tone and uses some chromatic neighboring tones to make things a little more fun. It transitions to a section in a minor key before coming back around in ABCBA form. Similar to the previous arrangements, Macchia ends with a majestic section to played at double forte, then triple forte, and even quadruple forte (fortissississimo) for the last two measures. The section is full of thick chords and also a good amount of movement for pedalboard. A truly triumphant ending to this collection.

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