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 sixth one, "Freu dich sehr" (Psalm 42) is based upon the old psalm-tune from "Trente quatre pseaumes de David" (1551), that many of us associate with the text, "Comfort, comfort ye, my people." It is dedicated to Clifford Hill.
Here again, we see Near's skill in "imitating Bach," as the opening passages will immediately remind you of the great F major toccata - although MUCH quieter! The threads of the chorale are effortlessly interwoven, and the effect is a delightful and sparkling result.
A photo of Gerald Near is attached below.
These little miniatures have what it takes to stand "on their own," so, this is how I've chosen to upload them.