Tag Archives: Jan Bender

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost – 22 Jun 13

Johann Jakob Froberger

Johann Jakob Froberger

Opening Voluntary: Canzona – Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667)

At the Offertory: Prelude on HANOVER – Jan Bender (1909-1994)

Closing Voluntary: Prelude on Mit Freuden zart – David Schack (b.1947)

Today’s opening voluntary was composed by early, German, Baroque composer, John Jakob Froberger, who was born most probably in Stuttgart in 1616.  In 1637, he was appointed organist to the Austrian emperor in Vienna. Froberger studied with Frescobaldi for a time in Rome and travelled widely in his career.  He is one of the few great masters who wrote almost exclusively for the keyboard and was the first, in Germany, to give equal attention to the organ and the harpsichord.  Perhaps due to his education and wide travels, his musical style blends features of German, French and Italian keyboard music.  The canzona is a distinctive musical form of the 16th and 17th centuries, of which this is a fairly typical example.  Canzonas are sectional (this one in three sections) and markedly rhythmical, often varying meter between sections. The instrumental canzonas were forerunners of the fugues of the later baroque era.

The short piece at the offertory was composed by Holland-born, Jan Bender (1909-1994).  Bender was a student of Hugo Distler and was drafted into the German military in WW II. He spent a year in a French prison camp before he was released in 1945.  Bender came to the U.S. in 1960 where he lived and taught until his retirement in 1975 when he returned to Germany, remaining there until his death in 1994.  This piece is a brief hymn prelude on the tune HANOVER, sung as our entrance hymn (#388, The Hymnal 1982).

The closing voluntary is based on tune, Mit Freuden zart, sung as our final hymn (#408, The Hymnal 1982). One of the great tunes of the Reformation, Mit Freuden zart was first published in Kirchengesänge, an early hymnal of the Bohemian Brethren, in 1566. David Schack, composer of this setting, was born in 1947 and currently holds the position of organist at First Lutheran Church of Omaha, NE.  He holds a degree in church music from Valparaiso University in Indiana and was later an assistant professor at Concordia University where he taught organ and other musical courses.


4th Sunday in Advent – 23 Dec 12

Nu kom der Heyden heyland in the Erfurt Enchiridion (1524)

Nu kom der Heyden heyland in the Erfurt Enchiridion (1524)

Opening Voluntary: Variations on  on Nun komm der Heiden Heiland – F. W. Zachow (1663-1712)

 At Communion: Veni Emmanuel – Jan Bender (1909-1994)

 Closing Voluntary: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland – Martha Sobaje (1948-)

The opening and closing voluntaries today are both based on the Advent hymn, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, which we sing in translation as our final hymn today, “Savior of the nations, come!” (#54, The Hymnal 1982). The commentary on the 1982 hymnal writes of this hymn, “This Advent text and tune are probably among the most important and valuable additions to the Hymnal. For years organ choral preludes based on it have been played by musicians in parishes across the country, but the text and tune were not available to congregations of the Episcopal Church until 1982.” (The Hymnal 1982 Companion, p. 54) This is one of Martin Luther’s earliest hymns written just before Advent of the year 1523. In German, the text is a close translation of St. Ambose’s 4th century advent hymn, Veni redemptor gentium.  In addition to translating the Latin text, Luther creatively restructures the plain chant melody into a distinctive German chorale. Together, the text and tune are one of the masterworks of the German chorale tradition.

The opening voluntary is a series of four variations on this tune composed by Baroque German organist, Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663-1712).Zachow was cantor and organist of the Market Church in Halle and was particularly known for his cantata compositions. He was criticized, however, by the community’s pietists for his “excessively long and elaborate” musc that could be appreciated only by “other organists and cantors.” He is chiefly remembered today s the first teacher of music to Georg Frideric Händel (1685-1759).  The closing voluntary selection was composed by Dr. Martha Helen Sobaje, who was born in 1948 in Alameda, California.  She studied at the University of the Pacific and the Eastman School in New York. She currently serves as organist at Phillips Memorial Baptist Church in Cranston, RI and is a teacher at the Community College of Rhode Island.

The short piece at the communion is based on the Advent hymn tune, Veni, veni Emmanuel, which we sing as our communion hymn today (#56, O come, O come Emmanuel). The text of the stanzas is based loosely on the “Great O” antiphons sung with the Magnificat at Vespers from 17-24 December. The melody was for many years of unknown source, but in the 1960s, it was discovered in a 15th century French Processional formerly belonging to Franciscan nuns where it was a troped verse of a funeral responsory.  The setting played as the organ incidental piece was composed by Jan Bender (1909-1994).  Bender was a student of Hugo Distler (1908-1942) and came to the United States in 1960.  He spent most of this time at Wittenberg University until his retirement in 1975 when he returned to Germany where he remained until his death in 1994.


24th Sunday after Pentecost – 11 Nov 12

Jan Bender

Opening Voluntary: Prelude on Gottes Sohn ist kommen – Jan Bender (1909-1994)

At Communion: Prelude on Gottes Sohn ist kommen – Johannes Petzold (1912-1985)

Closing Voluntary: Allegretto – Georg Böhm (1661-1733)

Today’s opening voluntary and voluntary at communion are both based on the Moravian hymn, Gottes Sohn ist kommen, which we sing today as our offertory hymn (#53, Hymnal 1982). Written by Moravian bishop, Johann Roh (1487-1547), it was first published in 1544.  The tune with which the text has been paired since its first publication, however, is at least a century older and is first found in a Czech manuscript from 1410 and was used in Unitas Fratram (Moravian) congregations from their very earliest days.  Both text and tune represent a welcome expansion of Episcopal hymnody to include texts and tunes from non-English musical traditions. Originally a hymn of 9 stanzas, the Hymnal 1982 selects four and uses the translation of English hymnologist and translator, Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878).  The setting for the opening voluntary was composed by Jan Bender (1909-1994) and published in 1980 in a fourth volume of hymn preludes during the time in which he lived in the US.  A native of Holland, Bender moved, after the death of his father, to Lübeck at the age of 13, when he began his organ studies.  He became a student of Hugo Distler (1908-1942) and was later drafted into the German military in World War II. He was made a prisoner of war in 1944 and interred in a prison camp in France before his release home a year later, when he returned to his work in church music.  Bender came to the United States in 1960, working first at Concordia Teacher’s College in Nebraska and later at Wittenberg University in Ohio, where he remained until his retirement in 1975. He returned afterwards to Germany where he lived until his death in 1994.  The short setting of the tune played at the communion is by another German composer, Johannes Petzold (1912-1985).  Petzold was Kantor and organist in Bad Berka, Thuringia and a teacher in the church music school at Eisenach.

The closing voluntary for today was composed by Baroque period German organist, Georg Böhm (1661-1773). Böhm became the organist of the principal church of Lüneburg, the Johanneskirche, in 1698 and held this position until his death. Although evidence is somewhat circumstantial, it is believed that he knew and probably tutored the young Johann Sebastian Bach (1687-1750) from 1700-1702. C.P.E Bach (1714-1788) wrote that his father loved and studied Böhm’s work. The piece at the closing voluntary is of uncertain origin and may have originally been intended as a sacred solo, although no vocal part is now known to exist.


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