Hymns  for  All  Seasons  
A Collection of Varied Hymn Tune Settings for Organ
(40  pages)

Table of Contents

Partita on Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott    [Available 03/2023]
Four Baroque Variations    (18 pages)
1. Andante        [Motet, c.f. in pedal] 
                        2. Largo   [Ornamented c.f. in soprano]
                            3. Poco adagio      [Motet, c.f.  in pedal]
                                4. Adagio   [Choral Fantasia with interludes]

Processional on Kremser [en Rondeau]  (3 pages)

Epilogue on Picardy  (5 pages) 

Intermezzo on Mariners Hymn (6 pages)

Seven Variations on a Noel   [A la venue de Noel   (10 pages)
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         The collection title,  Hymns for all Seasons,  hints of  hymn tunes  new  and old.  Some of the melodies celebrate varied seasons of the year  –  whether holidays, feasts  and  festivals or  occasions  sacred  and secular.  Three  of them,  A la venue de Noel, Picardy, and Sicilian Mariners, are drawn from folk and popular airs of an earlier era. Martin Luther's tune for Ein feste Burg in its original isorhythmic setting is imbued with jaunty dance-like rhythms that display unique cultural traits. The collection is a  pot-pourri  in terms of the numerous origins, nationalities,  and adaptations  of  source tunes; it  also offers a wide variety of stylistic traits, formal structures, and crafted settings into which five familiar tunes have been woven.

         A Baroque Partita
on  Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott   is a set of  four variations on a hymn tune written by Martin Luther (circa 1530). The original isorhythmic form of the melody is known to have appeared in Kirchegesang, Nurnberg, in 1531; the more familiar measured version was first published in Johann Konig’s 1738 Harmonischer Lieder-Schatz. The opening variation is written in the manner of a motet, with subsequent phrases of the chorale presented in points of imitation and developed contrapuntally, then sounded as an augmented cantus firmus in the pedal.  The second variation, in  triple meter, presents  the  chorale melody in the soprano voice, highly ornamented and accompanied by the left hand, underpinned by an active pedal bass line.  The third variation, in a dancing dotted-note triple meter, offers points of imitation similar to the first movement,  each one based  on subsequent  phrases  of the  chorale,  underlaid by  an active  bass  line played in the left hand. The augmented values of a cantus firmus hymn tune are in the tenor register, although actually played by the pedal at unison pitch; midway the cantus firmus moves up an octave, then returns to its original range for the final phrase.  In the fourth variation, the chorale is presented in duple meter in the soprano, harmonized boldly and freely by lower voices. Between each phrase of the chorale, improvisatory passaggio interpolations emerge in marked contrast to the dramatically harmonized hymn tune.  In keeping with traditions of late Baroque performance practice, few interpretive instructions are provided. Dynamic markings delineate solo lines and accompanimental voices, and tempo markings are of a general nature only. Registrational concerns will be determined by specific instruments and performer preferences.

         Processional on Kremser,  a  hymn  tune  from  The  Netherlands,  converts  the original  triple  meter  to  quadruple,  creating  shifted  beats,  accents,  and  syncopations  that  generate  a  new  musical  personality.  The processional  appears as the  refrain  of  a   Baroque  rondeau  that  is  repeated  accumulatively:  with each restatement a  new voice  is  added.  A  contrasting couplet – or  verse – intervenes,  then a restatement of  the  refrain creates  a simple  rondo  structure.

on Picardy is  a  brief  but  stirring  organ  postlude on  a  familiar  French hymn tune.  In marked contrast with its often associated text, "Let  all  mortal  flesh  keep  silence … ,"  Epilogue's opening declamations and ensuing toccata offer great contrasts of  rhythms and textures, combined with melodic statements that migrate between voices. Set in neo-contemporary harmonies, Epilogue seeks to portray the elements of lightness and illumination traditionally associated with the Epiphany season.

 on  Sicilian  Mariners  is  a breezy diversion for organ, displaying  gentle airs and a flowing vitality often found in the classical tradition of an intermezzo,  or  ‘interlude.’  The  hymn  tune,  of  nonspecific  European  origin,  dates  from  the latter  18th century.   It  is  heard  in  the  soprano  after  a brief   introduction, accompanied by  flowing  triplet  figurations,  then followed  by  a soulful  mid-section reemergence,  again  in  the soprano  but  this  time  against  a  slowly  rocking  synco-pated accompaniment. For  its recapitulatory  statement,  a  counter-melody  is gently  woven around  the  hymn  tune  in  duet.   A brief codetta  recalls  Sicilian Mariner's mid-section  appearance.

         Seven Variations
on a  Noel  [A la venue de Noel ]  is modeled after some of the less familiar repertoire of Cesar Franck's two volumes of L’Organiste. This set of variations offers a restrained display of chromatic harmonies and countrapuntal devices; it  was  conceived originally as  a  set  of  'miniatures'  in  the 19th Century French Romantic tradition of  period  pieces written for harmonium or choir organ (l'orgue du choeur). Franck's Prelude, Fugue,  et Variation  also figured  inevitably in  its overall design, as becomes apparent in the fugato and seventh variation. The source melody, “A la venue de Noel,” has been restructured into repeated phrases [ab ab cc], an element that holds constant in all but the fourth and sixth variations. Following a gentle and introspective first appearance of the theme, the second variation makes use of bold and animated imitation between contrapuntal voices.  In the third variation, the carol migrates between the bass (pedal) and soprano lines.  The fourth movement presents the tune in canon (at the interval of a fifth) between tenor and bass voices, with an ornamentally filigreed accompaniment shared between soprano and alto lines.  The fifth variation is strongly reminiscent of the third but without pedal, and a repeat of the final phrase migrates to the alto. The Fugato alternates rhythmically displaced statements of its subject with ones that adhere to the original form. A motivically arpeggiated counter-subject accompanies the fugue subject as it moves from one voice to another, weaving its way toward a final appearance in the pedal.  The seventh movement loosely parallels Franck's above mentioned Variation with its flowing current of sixteenth notes as accompaniment to the carol.  Following intensified development and a dramatic pause, an extended coda reprises the opening variation's introspective mood, waxes grandly and eloquently, then settles into a  gently pastoral conclusion.