Germanic Hymn Tunes   
  Settings for Organ      
(35 pages)      

Table of Contents

Chorale Prelude  on  Es ist ein Ros  [Rosa Mystica]   (4 pages)
Declamation  on  Grosser Gott   (3 pages)   
Chorale Prelude  on  Herr Gott,  dich loben alle wir   (2 pages)
Toccata  on  Lasst uns erfreuen
    (7 pages)

Chorale Fantasy  on  Lobe den Herren   (3 pages)
Two Chorale Preludes on  Nun danket alle Gott   (4 pages)
              Manualiter   (3 pages)
Organo Pleno
(6 pages)
Prelude  on  Schmuecke dich  (3 pages)
Five Variations and  a  Postlude  on  Stuttgart
 (4 pages)


       Chorale Prelude  on  Es ist ein Ros  (Rosa Mystica) draws on a beloved anonymous Christmas tune that first appeared in Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengesang (Cologne, 1599), with possible roots in the 14th or 15th century. It is better known in its harmonization by Michael Praetorius, as found in his Musae Sionae of 1609. This neo-Baroque setting presents a ten-measure soprano obligato, with echoed registrational contrasts, harmonized by the left hand. Upon repetition, development and extension, it becomes a counter-theme for phrase-by-phrase statements of the hymn tune cantus firmus by the organ pedal.
        Declamation  on  Grosser Gott  sets an anonymous tune first found in Katholisches Gesangbuch  (Vienna, 1744)  with a German verse text for the Te Deum laudamus. The tune's presentation here makes use of a conservatively contem-porary tonal language of parallel fourths, or quartal harmony. A characteristically motivic development  provides  the  accompaniment  for  bold  statements  of  the  hymn’s cantus  firmus  in  the  tenor  range,   also  sounded  in  harmonic intervals  of fourths. The composition is in a binary structure, with the first portion repeated to match the phrase structure of the hymn;  a brief coda is added at the conclusion.

        Chorale 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’ composition, or adaptation, of a melodic setting for Psalm 134 appeared in Trente Quatre Pseaumes de David (Genevan Psalter, 1551). It was subsequently published in the Anglo-Genevan Psalter and the English Psalter in 1561 with a text version of Psalm 100, hence its tune name. This chorale prelude offers a harmonic language and techniques associated with similar settings by Johann Sebastian Bach: the melody occurs lightly embellished in the soprano voice, with occasional free imitation in lower manual voices, and all grounded  by  a  strongly  motivic  pedal  line.

        Toccata on Lasst uns erfreuen  is a jubilant ‘free-for-all’ in which the familiar strains of the hymn tune, also known as Vigiles et Sancti, surface in various guises and forms. The source melody was published in Ausserlesene Catholische Geistliche  Kirchengesänge  (Cologne, 1623),  in conjuction with an Easter text,  but its roots go further back in time to a tune for Psalm 36 that appeared in Aulcuns Pseaumes et Cantiques mys en chant (Strasbourg, 1539). Its early 20th century reemergence in The English Hymnal (1906) combines a well known harmonization by Ralph Vaughan Williams with the English text, "Ye watchers and ye holy ones.  The toccata begins with the first phrase of the hymn heard in combination with rolling chords and fanfare interpolations, then settles into triplet quarter note figurations that accompany subsequent phrase statements of the tune,  all in quasi-quartal harmony.  The introduction of eighth notes adds gathering momentum, then triplet eighths.  Eventually a sixteenth-note toccata figuration emerges, with the hymn tune sounded out in boldly canonic imitation between pedal and soprano – the latter in augmented note values.  An abrupt return of broad hymn-textured writing, combined with the splashy rolled chords and fanfare interpolations from the opening measures precedes a brief codetta:  its pealing bell-like sounds add a rousing punctuation to the end of a venturesome setting.  

       Chorale Fantasy  on  Lobe den Herren   is  a  dramatic  setting  of  a  hymn tune that first appeared in altered form in Part II of the Straslund Ernewerten Gesangbuch (1665). It was adapted in 1680 for  publication with a text by Joachim  Neander, but not until the appearance of subsequent versions around the turn of the 18th century did it evolve into its contemporary format.  Chorale  Fantasy  opens with broodingly chromatic harmonies that build in waves to a heroically chordal statement  of  the  first  half  of  the  tune,  presented  in canon  between  soprano  and pedal voices. The chromatic writing of the beginning returns, building in intensity to a similarly canonic restatement of the second half of the melody, and then concluded  by  a  triumphal codetta.  
        The Two Chorale Preludes on  
Nun danket alle Gott  are modeled after large scale settings by Johann Sebastian Bach; the second of them adopts and develops a motivic ostinato from one of Bach’s Orgelbuechlein chorale preludes.  The first prelude is identified by the term manualiter, indicating that it is intended for perfomance on the keyboards only, without pedal. The chorale melody, a hymn tune by Johann Cruger, migrates between soprano and alto voices and is melodically ornamented.  In contrast,  the  setting indicated for organo pleno  (‘full organ’)  is tightly imitative in its use of Bach’s borrowed motiv, as well as in the application of traditonal augmented cantus firmus soundings of the hymn tune, repeated here between soprano and pedaled bass registers. A strong rhythmic vitality is present throughout, generated by energetically imitative contrapuntal textures.  
        Prelude  on  Schmuecke dich  is a neo-Romantic setting of a chorale by Johann Crueger that appeared with Johann Franck’s original German text, "Soul, adorn thyself with gladness," in Crueger’s own publication of Geistliche kirchen Melodien (Berlin, 1649).  A gently rocking motif permeates almost every measure of this setting, along with a characteristic echoed repetition of single measures. The melody sounds in the soprano voice, while the pedal part is simple and unobtrusive.

        Five Variations and a Postlude on
Stuttgart  treat the tune of a familiar Advent hymn. A historical form of the melody can be found in Psalmodia Sacra (Gotha, 1715), a collection edited by Christian Friedrich Witt, who is also thought to be its composer. Stuttgart was subsequently altered to its present state by William Henry Havergal (1793-1870). Following a brief introduction, the first variation presents the tune in F major in tenor register. The melody migrates to the alto and soprano voices for the second variation, remaining in the soprano for a chromatic duet.  After the fourth variation's  brief contrast of  key (D major),  the hymn  tune  reverts  to the  tenor  voice, and  then  back  to  the  soprano  for  a  return  of  tonic  (F major  in  the  fifth  variation. The  postlude  offers  bold  pedalpoints underpinning a series of building statements and echoes; it is culminated by a presentation of the entire  hymn  at  a  broader  tempo, followed  in  turn  by  a  briefly repeated  codetta  figure.   The variations  and  postlude  are  technically conservative.

Copyright © 2010  Ennis Fruhauf
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