Two Settings of Old 100th

Henry Purcell:

on the 100th Psalm Tune
Fruhauf Music Publications
Chorale Prelude on "Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir" 
both settings for Organ Solo

Complimentary Score available August 2021


     Henry Purcell was born in London circa 1659. He began his musical career as a chorister in the Chapel Royal, then as organ tuner at Westminster Abbey. In 1677 he was appointed as ‘composer-in-ordinary for the violins’, and subsequently organist of Westminster Abbey in 1679. In 1682 he began service as an organist at the Chapel Royal, and eventually keeper of the king’s instruments. He passed away in London in 1695. Purcell's Voluntary on the 100th Psalm Tune – or more familiarly, the Doxology – offers a lesser-known Baroque double setting of a traditional hymn melody: the first verse presents the cantus firmus in the bass (or pedal) register, and in the second it is heard as a treble solo.

Prelude on “Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir” appears here in the triple meter of its German source chorale, but its twin in quadruple meter can more readily be identified as the tune of Old 100th. Louis Bourgeois’ adaptation of a melodic setting for Psalm 134 appeared in Trente Quatre Pseaumes de David (Genevan Psalter, 1551). It was subsequently included in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter, also in the English Psalter in 1561 with a text version of Psalm 100, hence its tune name. This chorale prelude offers harmonic language and techniques associated with similar late Baroque compositions on hymn tunes: the melody occurs embellished in the soprano voice, with occasional free imitation in lower manual voices, underpinned by an occasional but distinctive pedal line.