Gerald Near (b. 1942) was born in Chicago studied composition at the American Conservatory of Music Leo Sowerby . He studied at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor at Leslie Bassett (composition), Robert Glasgow (organ) and Elizabeth AH Green (conducting) and continued his composition studies at the University of Minnesota at Dominick Argento continued.
After working as a choirmaster at the Calvary Church in Rochester / Minnesota Near from 1983 was musical director and organist at the St. Matthew's Cathedral in Dallas / Texas and composer in residence at the Cathedral of St. John in Denver / Colorado. Eventually he became choir director and cantor at Holy Faith Episcopal Church in Santa Fe / New Mexico. He composes mostly sacred music, including masses, motets and hymns and organ works.
The "Ten Chorale Preludes, Set II" were published by Aureole Editions in 1995. They comprise a collection of mostly small (but not all easy!), well-crafted and appealing preludes based upon well-known hymn melodies.
The fifth one, "St. Denio" is based upon famous Welsh melody and is dedicated to Michael Burkhardt.
This is an absolutely unique piece, and is a truly clever and inspired setting of this wonderful tune. You'll marvel at the way Near "transforms" it and moves easily (and quickly) through keys and "segments."
I don't think I know of ANY other settings of this hymn, and certainly none as satisfying as this "little" gem!
A photo of Gerald Near is attached below.
Although most of these works appear to be quite short (I can't really say, as I record them as soon as I learn them), I chose not to combine these in groups. Instead, I'll upload 2 or 3 at a time, until I get the ten done.
These little miniatures have what it takes to stand "on their own," so, this is how I've chosen to upload them.