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Chorale Prelude on a Melody by Melchior Vulpius ("Gelobet set Gott"

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Organ Information Files

Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (11/24/19)
Composer: Willan, Healey
Sample Producer: Audio Angelorum
Sample Set: Peterborough Cathedral Hill
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Mid-20th Century
The Canadian Encyclopedia says this about the "early" organ works of Healey Willan (1880-1968): With the music for organ one enters a different world. Here Willan was thoroughly at home and made a significant and lasting contribution. One work stands out: the monumental "Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue" of 1916. The Preludes and Fugues in C minor and B minor and the "Epilogue" are the other major works from this period. While not exploring the possibilities of the instrument as searchingly as his masterpiece, they are idiomatic and very typical of their time. They combine an innate Englishness (with a Stanfordian flavor) and a European chromaticism that can be found in Reger and Karg-Elert.

Born in England, Willan became organist-choirmaster of Toronto's largest church, St. Paul's, Bloor Street, but it was his royalties as a composer which allowed him to leave "low church" St. Paul's in 1921 and to become Precentor of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto).

I had not prepared anything for today, Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent, so, this is a VERY late entry. It's not really for Christ the King, but still appropriate.

The prelude on "Gelobet set Gott" comes from "Six Chorale Preludes" published by Concordia Publishing House in 1950. This is the fourth piece of the first set, of which there are two.

Willan's treatment is grand and ceremonial, with a "processional fanfare treatment" with the tune appearing in the left hand, played upon the Solo tuba.

The fine and famous tune is by Melchior Vulpius (1570-1615). The translated text of the first verse is given in the First Comment.

The harmonies show Willan's skill in his commanding use of a "traditional" harmonic vocabulary. His writing is always satisfying, although some pieces seem too "predictable" to the tastes of some.

The score is attached below, as well as two photos of Healey Willan.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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