Opening Voluntary: Prelude on Jesu, nostra redemptio– Flor Peeters (1903-1986)
Closing Voluntary: Intrada in G major – Charles W. Ore (b. 1936)
Today’s opening voluntary is a chorale prelude on the Latin hymn, Jesu, nostra redemptio, “Jesus, our redemption.” Both the text and the melody are anonymous. Although the earliest manuscript versions of this Ascensiontide hymn are from the Eleventh century, hymnologists believe that it dates back to probably the 8th century.Jesu, our hope, our heart’s desire,
Thy work of grace we sing;
Redeemer of the world art Thou,
Its maker and its king. How vast the mercy and the love,
Which laid our sins on Thee,
And led Thee to a cruel death,
To set Thy people free! But now the bonds of death are burst;
The ransom has been paid;
And Thou art on Thy Father’s throne,
In glorious robes arrayed. O may Thy mighty love prevail
Our sinful souls to spare!
O may we stand around Thy throne,
And see Thy glory there! Jesu, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be;
In Thee be all our glory now
And through eternity. All praise to Thee who art gone up
Triumphantly to Heav’n;
All praise to God the Father’s name
And Holy Ghost be given.
The chorale prelude is the composition of Florent Peeters (1903-1986) who was born in the village of Telen, east of Antwerp, Belgium in 1903 as the youngest of 11 children, most of whom played musical instruments. By the age of only 8 years, he deputized for his eldest brother at the local church. He studied formally at the Lemmens Institute in Mechelen and was appointed assistant to his teacher, Oscar Depuydt , at the St. Rombouts Cathedral in Mechelen at the age of 20. Peeters later succeeded to his teacher’s position and remained as the principal organist there for 63 years. He taught at several musical institutions and also performed widely and internationally as a recitalist, including 10 separate tours through the United States. Peeters wrote extensively in many fields, but mostly for the organ, for which he composed over 550 works.
The setting played as our opening voluntary treats the melody in an “alternating” manner with the upper manual playing a gentle free variation of the tune interspersed with sections on the lower (great) manual which quote the tune literally but with a dense chromatic harmonization.
The closing voluntary is a short fanfare composed by American organist, Charles W. Ore. Ore was born 18th December 1936 in Winfield, Kansas. He studied at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and at the University of Nebraska. He was professor and chair of the Department of Music at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska from 1966 to 2001. He currently serves as organist of First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Today’s composition is one of 8 similar pieces published as a collection by Augsburg Publishing House in 1981.