Toccata on
Lasst Uns Erfreuen
for Organ
(7 pages of music)


          Toccata on  Lasst uns erfreuen   is a jubilant free-for-all in which a familiar hymn tune, sometimes known as Vigiles et Sancti, surfaces 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.      

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