Tag Archives: Organ

2d Sunday after Pentecost – Feast of Corpus Christi (Observed) – 2 Jun 13

Opening Voluntary: 4 Movements from a Partita on “Adoro Te Devote” – Flor Peeters (1903-1986)

 At the Offertory: Adagio on “Adoro Te Devote” – Flor Peeters

 Closing Voluntary: Andante Maestoso on “Adoro Te Devote” – Flor Peeters

A chorale partita composed by Belgian organist, Flor Peeters (1903-1986), on the Gregorian hymn, Adoro Te Devote, is the basis for all of the incidental organ music for this Sunday.  This composition, the first in his Opus 76, comes from one of three separate collections of Chorale Preludes on Gregorian Tunes, each consisting of 10 such works.  The Partita on Adoro Te Devote is from 1955 and was dedicated to his friend, Albert De Klerk, organist in Haarlem, Netherlands. Each of its six sections is an independent variation on the hymn tune.  For the Opening Voluntary we will hear four of the sections, nos. 1-3 and 5.  At the Offertory we will hear the brief, no. 4, and for the Closing Voluntary, no. 6. All prominently feature the hymntune melody which we sing as our first hymn during Benediction today as #314 from The Hymnal, 1982.

Florent Peeters (1903-1986) 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 as a recitalist, including 10 separate tours through the United States. Peeters wrote widely in many fields, but mostly for the organ, for which he composed over 550 works.

The Gregorian hymn, Adoro Te Devote, is a Eucharistic hymn attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1275).  Honored as one of the 33 Doctors of the Church, St. Thomas is known best for his Summa Theologica, an unfinished but still monumental work written as a compendium of the theology of the Western Church.  Although commonly attributed to St. Thomas, the hymn Adoro Te Devote is not conclusively known to be his work, although he is believed to have composed other Eucharistic hymns for the daily office on a commission from Pope Urban IV following the latter’s institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi in the year 1264.

The Latin Hymn, Adoro Te Devote, is in seven stanzas, although only four are included in the translation published in The Hymnal, 1982.  The sixth stanza is of particular interest, as it contains the metaphorical characterization of Jesus as the “Pie Pelicane” or merciful pelican based on the pious ancient belief that the mother pelican would feed her chicks with blood that she obtained by wounding her own breast, a legendary with obvious eucharistic overtones.

Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen,
Who Thy glory hidest ‘neath these shadows mean;
Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.
Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;
Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate’er the Son of God hath told;
What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.
On the Cross lay hidden but thy Deity,
Here is hidden also Thy Humanity:
But in both believing and confessing, Lord,
Ask I what the dying thief of Thee implored.
Thy dread wounds, like Thomas, though I cannot see,
His be my confession, Lord and God, of Thee,
Make my faith unfeigned ever-more increase,
Give me hope unfading, love that cannot cease.
O memorial wondrous of the Lord’s own death;
Living Bread, that giveth all Thy creatures breath,
Grant my spirit ever by Thy life may live,
To my taste Thy sweetness never-failing give.
Pelican of mercy, Jesu, Lord and God,
Cleanse me, wretched sinner, in Thy Precious Blood:
Blood where one drop for human-kind outpoured
Might from all transgression have the world restored.
Jesu, whom now veiled, I by faith descry,
What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny,
That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,
With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee. Amen

Trinity Sunday – 26 May 13

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: Memorial Day Tribute – Traditional

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.”

The piece At the Offertory is a brief chorale prelude on the German hymn, Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 672by 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.”

Memorial Day is a United States holiday observed every year on the final Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originally was intended to commemorate the the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service.  More recently still, the custom of the decoration of graves of the war dead on this day led naturally to the practice of decoration of graves of non-war dead as well.  As such, it has evolved into a day, similar to the traditional All Souls Day of the old world, in which the memories of all the departed are honored.


Whitsunday, The Feast of Pentecost – 19 May 2013

Opening Voluntary:  Prelude on Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott – Dietrich Buxtehude (1637/9 – 1707)

At the Offertory: Prelude on Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist – Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

Closing Voluntary: Prelude on Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist – J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

The Opening Voluntary  for today is based on the German Chorale Tune, Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott.  Both the tune for this chorale as well as the text for the first Stanza are by unknown persons.  This hymn, known in English translation as “Come Holy Ghost, God and Lord,” first appeared in 1524 in the Erfurt Gesangbuch, one of the first hymnals of the German reformation and which consisted, in major part, of hymns previously printed as “single sheet” publications known usually in English as “broadsheets.”  The first verse of the chorale is a versification of the antiphon Veni Sancte Spiritus, while the 2d and 3d are compositions of Martin Luther. Of the 26 hymn texts in the publication, 18 were the creation of Martin Luther, either in whole or in part.  This particular chorale was a popular subject for arrangement by German composers.  Today’s version is a chorale prelude in which the melody appears in the highest/treble line in an ornamented form, accompanied by lower imitative voices in manuals and pedals.  It is typical of many other compositions of this type by German composer Dietrich Buxtehude (1637/9 – 1707).   In translation, the first stanza of the hymn reads:

Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord, with all your graces now outpoured on each believer’s mind and heart; Your fervent love to them impart. Lord, by the brightness of your light, in holy faith your Church unite; from every land and every tongue, this to your praise, O Lord, our God, be sung: Alleluia! Alleluia!

The pieces At the Offertory and The Closing Voluntary are both based on another German chorale, Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heliger Geist, sung today as our Offertory Hymn (#501, The Hymnal 1982). Both the tune and the text of this metrical version derive from the 9th Century Latin plainsong hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, found in The Hymnal, 1982 as #504, attributed to the 9th century Benedictine monk and later Archbishop of Mainz, Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856).  In the Latin rite, this hymn has traditionally been appointed for the offices of Terce and Vespers on the feast of Pentecost.  In the post-reformation Anglican liturgy, it appears in the Ordering of Priests and the Consecration of Bishops in the Prayerbook of 1662.  Luther’s metrical version, which we sing today, dates again to 1524 and also was first published in the Erfurt Gesangbuch.  The organ  settings performed today were written as chorale preludes by Johann Pachelbel  (1653-1706) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  Although based on the very same hymn, they are vastly different treatments of this chorale melody.  The version by Pachelbel sets a mood of quite contemplation, while the version by Bach is one of jubilant celebration.


5th Sunday after Pentecost – 1 Jul 12

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).


3d Sunday after Pentecost – 17 Jun 12

Opening Voluntary: Andante Semplice – Ernest Tomlinson

 At the Communion: Pastorale – Seldon N. Heaps

 Closing Voluntary: Postlude in ‘F’ – Seldon N. Heaps

The Opening Voluntary, Andante Semplice, was composed by British organist, Ernest Tomlinson (b. 1924, Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England) and published in 1960 in a collection of “Manuals Only” organ music by Oxford University Press.  Tomlinson, a former chorister of Manchester Cathedral, studied at Manchester University and the Royal Manchester College of Music.  He was organist of the Third Church of Christ Scientist in London from 1948-1958 but became best known as a composer and conductor of light music, including many scores and  compositions for radio and television.  In 1984, after learning that the BBC was disposing of its light music archive, he established the The Library of Light Orchestral Music, which is housed in a barn at his farmhouse in Lancashire. The library contains around 10,000 pieces of music, including many pieces of music that might otherwise have been lost.

The pieces At the Communion and the Closing Voluntary were composed by American Organist, Seldon Noal Heaps (1896-1969). Mr. Heaps began organ lessons at an early age and became organist in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City at the age of 12 and later an LDS stake organist at 14.  He also performed in movie houses during the silent picture era and was a radio organist as well in the 1920s. He composed a number of songs, also in a “light” music style and also arranged a number of LDS hymns.  His Postlude in ‘F’ and the Pastorale were published in 1960 in a collection of “Organ Meditations for the Church and Home” that mixed brief sacred and secular songs for the organ.



For additional listening – A Flor Peeters Program on “Pipedreams”

If you are interested in hearing more organ music by Belgian composer and organist Flor Peeters, you might enjoy a program from the program “Pipedreams” available as a streaming online audio.  For those unfamiliar with the program, “Pipedreams” is a production of Minnesota Public Radio, available on many public radio stations as a weekly program, but easily accessed online at the main website: Pipedreams. It is hosted by organist and organ music historian, Michael Barone.

In 2003, in honor of the centenary of Flor Peeters’ birth, Pipedreams produced an entire program dedicated to his music.  Click the following link to take you to the program:  Flor Peeters Recital. By the way, if you find yourself listening to Pipedreams frequently, you may wish to consider making an appropriate donation.

Music played in the program

FLOR PEETERS: Entrata Festiva, Opus 93 –Missouri Brass QuintetJohn Obetz (1993 Casavant Frères/Community of Christ Temple, Independence, MO) RBWCD-008

FLOR PEETERS: Suite Modale, Opus 43, Scherzo, Adagio, Toccata –Peter Hurford (1978 Rieger/Ratzeburg Cathedral, Germany) London/Decca 421 296

FLOR PEETERS: O Maria die daar staat –Cristel de Meulder, soprano; Jan van Mol (1880 Cavaillé-Coll/Jesuit Church, Heverlee, Belgium) Pavane ADW 7431

FLOR PEETERS: Chorale-prelude, Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern, from Opus 68 –Jozef Sluys (1986 Loncke/Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, Bruges, Belgium) Prezioso CD-820.204

FLOR PEETERS: Toccata, Fugue & Hymn on Ave maris stella, Opus 28 –Katharine Pardee (1907 Hutchings-Votey; 1999 Rosales/Cathedral of St. James, Seattle, WA) Pro Organo CD 7140

FLOR PEETERS: Introduction & Allegro, 1st movement, from Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, Opus 52 –Cologne Youth Symphony, Volker Hempfling, conductor; Paul Wisskirchen (1980 Klais/Altenberger Dom, Germany) Motette CD MOT 40161

FLOR PEETERS: Variations & Finale on an Old Flemish Song, Opus 20 –Graham Barber (1986 Walker/Town Hall, Bolton, England, UK) Priory PRCD221

FLOR PEETERS: Abdijvrede, Paix Monastique Opus 16a –Jan van Moll (1880 Cavaillé-Coll/Jesuit Church, Heverlee, Belgium) Pavane ADW 7431

Flor Peeters [1903-1986] held important positions in Mechelen, Ghent and Antwerp. The Belgian government sponsored his annual international master classes at Mechelen Cathedral from 1968 until his death.


2d Sunday after Pentecost – Feast of Corpus Christi (Observed) – 10 Jun 12

Opening Voluntary: 4 Movements from a Partita on “Adoro Te Devote” – Flor Peeters (1903-1986)

 At the Communion: Adagio on “Adoro Te Devote” – Flor Peeters

 Closing Voluntary: Andante Maestoso on “Adoro Te Devote” – Flor Peeters

A chorale partita composed by Belgian organist, Flor Peeters (1903-1986), on the Gregorian hymn, Adoro Te Devote, is the basis for all of the incidental organ music for this Sunday.  This composition, the first in his Opus 76, comes from one of three separate collections of Chorale Preludes on Gregorian Tunes, each consisting of 10 such works.  The Partita on Adoro Te Devote is from 1955 and was dedicated to his friend, Albert De Klerk, organist in Haarlem, Netherlands. Each of its six sections is an independent variation on the hymn tune.  For the Opening Voluntary we will hear four of the sections, nos. 1-3 and 5.  At the Communion we will hear the brief, no. 4, and for the Closing Voluntary, no. 6. All prominently feature the hymntune melody which we sing as our first hymn during Benediction today as #314 from The Hymnal, 1982.

Florent Peeters (1903-1986) 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 as a recitalist, including 10 separate tours through the United States. Peeters wrote widely in many fields, but mostly for the organ, for which he composed over 550 works.

The Gregorian hymn, Adoro Te Devote, is a Eucharistic hymn attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1275).  Honored as one of the 33 Doctors of the Church, St. Thomas is known best for his Summa Theologica, an unfinished but still monumental work written as a compendium of the theology of the Western Church.  Although commonly attributed to St. Thomas, the hymn Adoro Te Devote is not conclusively known to be his work, although he is believed to compose other Eucharistic hymns for the daily office on a commission from Pope Urban IV following the latter’s institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi in the year 1264.

The Latin Hymn, Adoro Te Devote, is in seven stanzas, although only four are included in the translation published in The Hymnal, 1982.  The sixth stanza is of particular interest, as it contains the metaphorical characterization of Jesus as the “Pie Pelicane” or merciful pelican based on the pious ancient belief that the mother pelican would feed her chicks with blood that she obtained by wounding her own breast, a legendary with obvious eucharistic overtones.

Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen,
Who Thy glory hidest ‘neath these shadows mean;
Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed,
Tranced as it beholds Thee, shrined within the cloud.
Taste, and touch, and vision, to discern Thee fail;
Faith, that comes by hearing, pierces through the veil.
I believe whate’er the Son of God hath told;
What the Truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.
On the Cross lay hidden but thy Deity,
Here is hidden also Thy Humanity:
But in both believing and confessing, Lord,
Ask I what the dying thief of Thee implored.
Thy dread wounds, like Thomas, though I cannot see,
His be my confession, Lord and God, of Thee,
Make my faith unfeigned ever-more increase,
Give me hope unfading, love that cannot cease.
O memorial wondrous of the Lord’s own death;
Living Bread, that giveth all Thy creatures breath,
Grant my spirit ever by Thy life may live,
To my taste Thy sweetness never-failing give.
Pelican of mercy, Jesu, Lord and God,
Cleanse me, wretched sinner, in Thy Precious Blood:
Blood where one drop for human-kind outpoured
Might from all transgression have the world restored.
Jesu, whom now veiled, I by faith descry,
What my soul doth thirst for, do not, Lord, deny,
That thy face unveiled, I at last may see,
With the blissful vision blest, my God, of Thee. Amen

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