Opening Voluntary: Fantasy on the Hymn Tune NICAEA – Piet Post (1919-1979)
At the Communion: Prelude on Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 672 – J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Concluding Voluntary: “Allegro” from an 18th Century Voluntary – Anon. English, 18th Century
Our Opening Voluntary today is a modern composition based on the Hymn tune NICAEA, (sung today as our Offertory Hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God, Almighty!” #362, The Hymnal, 1982) by contemporary Dutch composer, Piet Post (1919-1979). Piet Post studied with A. van der Horst in Amsterdam and with Hendrik Andriessen and Jan Zwart. He was the organist from 1949 to 1979 of the Jacobijnerkerk in Leeuwarden. The piece is an extended one and consists of a declamatory “Introduction and Hymn” followed by four variations and then concludes with a “Finale and Hymn.” We will reprise a portion of the concluding section as an interlude between the third and fourth stanzas of our Offertory hymn, as well.
The piece At the Communion is a brief chorale prelude on the German hymn, Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 672, by J. S. Bach. The German hymn is derived from a 12th century Latin original based upon the Gregorian Kyrie fons bonitatis, and is by an unknown author and composer. In format, it mimics a “troped” Kyrie from the Mass with each stanza beginning with the word “Kyrie” followed by a short vernacular verse in German and then concluding with the word “Eleison.” The three stanzas together form a Trinitarian invocation addressed to “God, Father in heaven above,” “O Christ our King,” and “O God the Holy Ghost.”
The Concluding Voluntary is an Allegro movement excerpted from an anonymous 18th Century English organ voluntary which was published in London in the year 1765. The works appeared as a collection of “Voluntaries for Organ or Harpsichord composed by Dr. Green, Mr. Travers and several other eminent masters.” Unfortunately, it has not proven possible to identify the composers of the individual pieces. All of them are quite typical of English organ works of the period and consist of multiple movements in several tempos and registrations. Inasmuch as our Whalley 1907 organ shares much in common tonal tradition with early English organs, it is ideally presented on this instrument.