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.
"Prelude for Thanksgiving" was published by H. W. Gray in 1951 as #771 in it's "St. Cecilia Series." It is based on the well-known melody, "Kremser."
Eduard Kremser was born 10 October 1838 in Vienna and died 26 November 1914 in Vienna. He was a choir director, conductor, composer and musicologist. He was the arranger of the music for male voices in "Sechs altniederländische Volkslieder", a collection of six Dutch folk songs from "Nederlandtsche gedenck-clanck." From this collection comes the tune which is named after him and is sung with the English text "We Gather Together."
Like the prelude on "Germania" that I uploaded a few days ago, 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.
Steere doesn't seem "too concerned" with key-centers, as he just keeps modulating, NOT ending where he started! ;-)
As with "Germania", there is an interest to the piece and the unusual treatment of the tune, but the "awkwardness" is there as well. It was VERY hard to get it to flow, often because of registration, but it came out in the end.
As with "Germania" to my knowledge, it is the ONLY "prelude" I have come across based on this melody.
I have attached the score below, as well as two photos of Eduard Kremser.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to ALL!