A moderately difficult setting of "Brother James air," associated with Psalm 23, this piece was composed in 1989 as a contrapuntal exercise in theme and secondary theme development. This “exercise” was carried out on various Saturday mornings when I would play with my toddler son Robert. He would color, and I would write. I enjoy playing this for contrast, coupled with other composers’ settings of the same tune (e.g., Harold Darke’s).
I love jazz. I teach it, read about it, conduct a jazz ensemble, and, on occasion, I integrate jazz music with the liturgy. I am actually part Cherokee Indian. For this composition, I took the ii–V–I chord progression in the bridge phrase of the jazz standard, “Cherokee,” and I composed a series of phrase variations on that progression. It is at the end of the piece that the actual theme enters, bringing a conclusion to the variations. I wrote this piece for my son Curt, who is a trombone performance major at Cincinnati Conservatory and plays well in all styles, including jazz.
The hymn tune of this setting passes between the soprano and alto voice, the upper voice becoming a vocal descant when the tune dips below soprano. In the second section, the tune emerges in the tenor voice, allowing for a solo stop on the manual. The final phrase of the tune enters prematurely in the same manual against the penultimate phrase in the first manual. This may be the only moderately difficult passage in this easy setting.
This piece is based on Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” theme from Symphony Number Nine. A favorite for weddings and hymn postludes, it makes effective use of manuals, forte solo stops, and even includes the Beethoven phrase extension at the end of the theme to modulate. It is moderately difficult.
This setting of the lovely German hymn portrays the theme with a solo stop against a gently syncopated counter theme. The theme is transferred to the pedal at the conclusion, allowing for a soft solo pedal stop. Like many of the shorter chorale preludes posted on this Web site, this fairly easy piece works well as a prelude and is easily matched with a more difficult setting of the same hymn tune by another composer.
Like so many of my easier choral preludes, this piece was written in the late 1980s when I was part-time organist and choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Louisville, Ky., for a Sunday when we sang the hymn from which this composition was derived. The A sections are very linearand can feature different stops in the counterpoint by merely switching manuals on the repeat. The middle section has several lingering dissonances and closes with a phrase of the hymn tune in the pedal.
Sir John Stainer (1840-1901), English composer and organist, held important posts at Magdalen College, Oxford, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The two excerpts from his sacred cantata, Crucifixion, display his direct and expressive style of composition. The organ voluntary is a transcription of “Procession to Calvary”, an instrumental introduction to the chorus, “Fling Wide the Gates”. The choir sings the beloved chorus, “God so loved the world” introduced by a baritone solo. This music is enjoyed by both cathedral choirs and parish choirs because it is well crafted music, genuine in its expression. Jesus Portraits is a work in progress. I started writing these pieces as musical snapshots of Gospel passages that portray Jesus as both God and Man.
Annette took this delightful, uplifting Gospel hymn and captured its nature in this setting for handbells. A short introduction is followed by the first verse and refrain arrangement with bell effects in the lower voices and trills in the upper voices. Verse two and the refrain are plucked, and ringers may sing the verse and refrain, “Leaning, leaning, and leaning in the everlasting arms…” while playing. This piece will make both players and worshippers smile.
I wrote this choral prelude on one of my favorite hymns for one-time St. Paul’s* organ scholar, Tammy Dietz.Tammy was a wonderful assistant who, once during a processional hymn, had the distinct good fortune of surviving a near miss from a falling processional cross after an acolyte carelessly placed the cross in its holder. Tammy did not miss a beat and completed the hymn without mishap. This moderately easy piece may be played with rhythmic freedom as it builds to its full conclusion.
This easy setting of a lovely plainsong hymn is simply harmonized and clearly stated in a tenor solo stop and is later fragmented between pedal, alto, and tenor voices. It works well at quiet moments in a liturgy or groups with other settings of the same plainsong. I dedicated it to David Craighead when he were faculty colleagues.
On September 11, 2001, like most of our churches, St. Paul’s called a special evening liturgy of prayer and the Eucharist. Annette wrote this wonderful lament for handbells for that service. Based on an ostinato figure, the piece builds in texture to a midpoint and then begins an exact reverse progression, retuning to the point of its initial departure. It is a haunting piece for three octaves of handbells.
I have been told that this chorale prelude is a favorite among organists for its sense of humor and the hymn’s general appeal to the listener. The A section is rather fast-moving, and the middle section is chromatic. Charles Ives is one of my favorite composers and I suppose his spirit is present in this piece.
The title refers to George J. Webb (1803-1887), who composed the tune to which “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” is often (though not invariably) set.