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.