Opening Voluntary: Verset and Prelude on HYMN TO JOY – Gerhard Krapf (1924-2008)
At the Communion: Larghetto – Johann W. Franck (1641-1688)
Closing Voluntary: Hymn and Variation on MATERNA – S. A. Ward (1848-1903) / T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953)
The Opening Voluntary, a Verset and a Prelude on the hymntune, HYMN TO JOY, is the composition of Gerhard W. Krapf (1924-2008). Krapf was born in the German town of Meissenheim, and after serving in the German army in World War II, he studied music in Karlsruhe. He came later to the United States, and in 1951, he became the student of Paul Piskf (1893-1990) at the Universtity of Redlands in California. Paul Pisk was himself a student of the famous Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951). Krapf was allowed to settle in the United States in 1953 and taught subsequently at several educational institutions in this country including at the University of Iowa from 1961 to 1977. He subsequently moved to the University of Alberta in Edmonton in Canada where he remained until his retirement. He died in Edmonton, Alberta in 2008 at the age of 83. The hymntune, HYMN TO JOY, is the melody for our entrance hymn today, #376 in The Hymnal, 1982, set to the popular text of Henry J. Van Dyke (1852-1933) of “Joyful, joyful, we adore thee.” This familiar tune was composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) and appears as the concluding chorus in his famous Ninth Symphony as the tune for a portion of the German Poem “An die Freude” by the Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805).
The music, At the Communion, is a short piece by German, Baroque composer, Johann Wolfgang Franck (1641-ca 1710). The composition was probably originally a vocal solo (now lost) with a figured bass accompaniment. It was edited for organ by David Johnson (1922-1987), the former organist of Trinity Cathedral Phoenix and professor of music at ASU.
The Closing Voluntary presents the hymntune MATERNA, composed by S. A. Ward (1848-1903), and is known most popularly as the tune for the national song “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies.” The short alternative harmonization is by the well-known Episcopal organist and composer, T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953). It is offered here in honor of the observance of Independence Day this week. This day is an official observance of the Episcopal Church, and the collect for which is found on page 242 of The Book of Common Prayer (1979).