Max Gulbins (born July 18, 1862 in Kummetschen , East Prussia , † February 19, 1932 in Breslau ) was a German organist , cantor and composer .
He studied at the Berlin Conservatory (from 1882) with Heinrich von Herzogenberg and Friedrich Kiel . This was followed by positions as music director in Stallupönen (1888), Insterburg (1896), then as cantor in Elbing (1900), and finally the appointment as cantor and senior organist at St. Elisabeth in Wroclaw (1908). In 1917 he was appointed professor there.
I could find very little information about Gulbins, and no photographs of him, but I was very struck by the quality of his music, and the rather unique way that he sets his material.
"Passion I" is found in his Biblishce Bilder (Biblical Images), Book 1. It was published by H. Oppenheimer in 1911, and is dedicated to the concert organist, Otto Burkert-Brunn.
It makes use of the chorale, "O Haupt voll Blut", setting it in an "uncomfortable manner," with restless harmonies and "echo" phrases. There is one section that has a fairly swift and steady crescendo to almost full organ, but the tonality and colors remain dark.
The work uses the verses, John 19, 1-30, which deal with the trial of Jesus before Pilate, his being condemned to death, his death march to Calvary, his Crucifixion, and his death on the Cross.
The heaviness, drooping, and dying are apparent in the music.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of the Church of St. Elisabeth in Wroclaw.
In addition to these two Passiontide settings, I have an unusual Easter work that I will be uploading in the coming days.