The legacy of Everett Titcomb
Armstrong, Susan Ouellette
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Titcomb's compositions and writings are the products of a life lived in New England, mainly in Amesbury and Boston. Because the innovations that came about from the Oxford movement reached that part of this country first, Titcomb was one of the first church musicians to become involved with its innovations. Chapter 1 is devoted to a biographical account of his early life in Amesbury, and documents his work at the Church of the Messiah in Auburndale and Christ Church in Andover, where he took the two positions immediately after his high school graduation. Chapter 2 treats the fifty years that he worked at St. John the Evangelist, building up the choir and its repertoire to such an extent that other churches invited the group to give liturgical recitals. Chapter 3 discusses his teaching activities at the New England Conservatory, Boston University, the Wellesley Conference, and his work with the Schola Cantorum at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, all of which influenced many young musicians who brought their craft to churches throughout the United States. Chapters 4-6 are devoted to his choral, organ, and miscellaneous works: examples from unpublished manuscripts will be discussed; premiers are documented, and excerpts of correspondence from the composer are given concerning specific works. His compositional style will be discussed with assessments of individual works, and examples will be given from the different styles and genres to which he contributed. Chapter 7 discusses his writings, which deal specifically with the work of an organist and choirmaster in an Episcopal church. Titcomb's ideas concerning the musical life of a parish will be examined, including his thoughts on the performance of hymns, the choice of fitting music for the liturgy, and the accompaniment of Plainsong.
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