FMPNmBnr14

Hymn Tunes  from  the British Isles

Settings for Organ

Volume II
(34 pages)

Invention  on  Aberystwyth  (4 pages)
Postlude  on  Bunessan   (4 pages)
Three Canons  and   a  Lilt  on  Danby  ( 5 pages)
Fantasy  on  Down Ampney  (7 pages)
Paraphrase  on  God Rest You Merry  (5 pages)
Chorale Prelude  on  Llangloffan  [c.f.  in Ped.]  (5 pages)
Prelude  on  Slane  (4 pages)

Notes

Invention  on  Aberystwyth  continues the use of  a  Baroque  keyboard  idiom  for  the  settings  of Welsh  hymn  tunes  represented  here. Written  by  Joseph Parry,  Aberystwyth  was  first  published  in  a collection  that  appeared  in  1879,   Ail Llyfr Tonau ac Emynau;  it takes its  name  from  a Welsh  seaside resort.  In Invention’s  contrapuntal  textures,  the  lower  of  two  voices  offers  an  extended  thematic ostinato,  returning   at   varied   key  levels  and  weaving   its   way   around  the longer  notes  of  the hymn’s  treble  cantus  firmus. The Invention  is  for  two  manuals  and  requires  no  use  of   pedals.      
  
Postlude  on 
Bunessan  is  a  neo-contemporary  setting  of  a  familiar Scottish hymn tune. The  original Gaelic  melody  was  transcribed by Alexander  Fraser  from  the  singing  of  a  wandering  Highlands  musician and  first  published  in  Songs and Hymns of the Gael  in 1888. The  tune  takes  its  name  from  Bunessan, on  the  Isle  of  Mull  in  the  Inner  Hebrides;  it  first  appeared  in  Songs of Praise  (London, 1931)  with the  text, "Morning  has  broken".  Following  an  introduction  and  transition,  the  first  half  of  the  melody weaves  its  way through  tenor  and  then  soprano  voices,  then  cedes  to  the  returning  transitional measures.  The  second  half  of  the  melody  is  similarly presented,  followed  by  transitional  measures  and a  cadential  restatement  of  the  introduction.   Postlude  is  punctuated  by  a  bold codetta.  
                
Three  Canons  and  a  Lilt  on 
Danby  offers  contrasting  verses  of  a  lesser-known  hymn  tune adapted by  Ralph  Vaughan  Williams from  an  old  English ballad  melody.  In the course of  his  travels  through  the English  countryside, Vaughan Williams first heard this distinctive air sung by a Mr. Broomfield at the Cricketer’s Inn of Herongate, Essex on February 22, 1904. The derivative tune first appeared in 1906 with a text by Charles P. Price, "Tis winter now," and with its present tune name in The English Hymnal, then subsequently in Songs of Praise. Its contemporary North American reemergence in The Hymnal 1982 pairs it with another Price text, "The golden sun lights up the sky." The multi-verse setting provided here opens with a simple statement of the melody, followed by three canonic presentations,  each at contrasting temporal and tonal intervals and separated by varied interludes. The concluding Lilt presents the hymn tune in an ornamented version,  then gives way to a returning interlude and brief codetta. Subtle contrasts of tempo, timbre and registration from one variation to the next will enhance  this  gentle setting  of  Danby
     
Fantasy on 
Down Ampney  is a multi-sectional hymn setting based on an original tune composed and prepared by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the 1906 English Hymnal, where it is paired with the text, "Come down, O Love divine."  The tune name is derived from the composer's birthplace near Cirencester in Gloustershire. Vaughan Williams' melody consists of two phrase groups, each group three phrases in length.  The two phrase groups have been divided at midpoint to create a bipartite structure for Fantasy: the first half offers the first phrase group in three variations, followed by the second half of the tune treated in three similar variations, although presented in a different order. Fantasy is launched by a brief contrapuntally imitative section based on the first phrase group, followed by a gentle hymn-like variation on the same phrases.  In a third variation, the first phrase group is sounded boldly in canon between soprano and bass (pedal) voices and spun out to a dramatic pause.  The second half of the hymn tune appears in a gently harmonized guise; after a short recitative, the phrases reappear in extended contrapuntal imitation reminiscent of the opening variation. The canonic treatment between pedal and soprano reemerges and builds in intensity to a dramatic hiatus.  The movement is  concluded  with a  brief  but  boldly hymn-like organo pleno  codetta.   
 
Paraphrase  on 
God Rest You Merry is a neo-romantic toccata for organ set in a latter Romantic classical harmonic language. It begins with brief declamatory fragments evocative of the familiar 19th century English Christmas carol. A toccata figuration ensues as accompaniment to reordered phrases of the melody, rhythmically altered to sound as consecutive notes of chant. At midpoint a developmental interlude reintroduces the toccata figuration with a shift from compound duple meter to grouped triplets, sounded above expansively phrased statements  of  the tune.  An  evocative  return of  the  declamatory introduction  is heard,  then  cedes to  the  pealing  chords  of  Paraphrase's coda.

Chorale  Prelude 
on  Llangloffan  is  a  somber  setting  of  a  traditional Welsh  hymn  tune.  Strongly imitative  and  modeled  after  German  Baroque  organ chorale  preludes,  it  presents  the  original  melody  as a  cantus firmus  in  the  tenor voice, actually played in the pedal. Ornamentations are notated in the manner of Baroque  performance  practices.

Prelude 
on  Slane sets an Irish folk melody,  so named for Slane Hill, located  about  ten  miles  from  Tara Hill  in  County  Meath,  where  it is  said  St. Patrick  defied  the  pagan  King  Loigaire  by  lighting  a  ritual Paschal  fire  on  Easter  eve,   prior  to  the  king’s  own celebratory spring  festival  fire-lighting  on  Tara Hill.  An  altered  version  of  the  tune  first  appeared  in  Old  Irish  Folk  Music and  Songs  in 1909, with the  text,  "Lord  of  all  hopefulness,"  and  sub-sequently in the Irish Church Hymnal  (Dublin, 1919) with the text, "Be thou my vision." The  present  setting  frames  two  verses  with  a  freely  imitative  opening  and closing  prelude.  The  first  of  the  two  central  variations resets  the  tune  from its  original  triple  meter into quadruple,  while  the  second  offers  a  gentle  verse  with  the  melody  appearing  as  a solo  in  tenor register.


Copyright © 2010  Ennis Fruhauf
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