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Prelude on the Hymn Tune "Germania" ("Gardiner")

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (11/16/17)
Composer: Steere, William C.
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Genre: Mid-20th century
Description:
While trying to find some new things to play for Thanksgiving, I came across this piece yesterday, and I thought I would give it a try.

I can tell you very little about the composer, William C. Steere.

The little "note" on IMSLP says that he was born in 1879 or 1880, and that he died on July 20, 1960 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Other than this, I have found nothing about him.

The "Prelude on the Hymn Tune 'Germania'" was published by Harold Flammer in 1959, so, this may be Steere's final composition.

It is dedicated "To Clifton Hosmer." I also could not find any information about him, but I did find an Elmer Samuel Hosmer (1862-1945), another Massachusetts organist and composer, so, I'm sure they are related. I'm thinking that Clifton may have been Elmer's son.

The prelude is based on the tune named "Germania". The melody is also known as "Germany". In the United States, I believe that the tune is most often known as "Gardiner," which makes sense since the source of the melody is "William Gardiner's Sacred Melodies", and dating from 1815. Gardiner was born and died in Leicester, England (1770-1853).

It turns out that today, November 16th, is the 164th anniversary of Gardiner's death, so, it's especially appropriate to hear this melody today!

I found the piece to be quite "unusual" in the harmonic palette, and in the "way" Steere sets the tune. If I were asked to identify the nationality of the composer, I would immediately say American, as there is a distinct "feel" to it.

The piece progresses through a number of tonal centers, expanding in movement and dynamics before coming to rest softly at the end. There is a definite appeal to the piece, but there is also something "awkward" about it.

I hope that some Americans will find this piece a good and useful one. To my knowledge, it is the ONLY piece I have come across based on this melody.

I have attached the score below, as well as a painting photo of William Gardiner.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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