Dale Wood was a renowned composer, organist, and choral director best known for his church music compositions. He was born on February 13, 1934 in Glendale, California and died April 13, 2003. Wood began writing compositions at a young age. When he was 13 years old, he won a national hymn-writing contest for the American Lutheran Church.
He was a contributing editor to the "Journal of Church Music," headed the publication committee of the Choristers Guild from 1970 to 1974, was music director at the Grace Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco from 1973-1974, editor for The Sacred Music Press from 1975-1996, and editor emeritus of The Sacred Music Press from 1996-2001. He was awarded the Exemplar Medallion from California Lutheran University in 1993.
He wrote in many forms and for different musical resources, but he is most well-known for his organ music, much of which is written in a "direct and attractive" style.
"Wondrous Love" was published in 1970. It is dedicated "for Wilma Jensen," American concert organist and teacher.
The famous melody comes from the collection, "Southern Harmony", S. Mead's A General Selection, 1811; American folk hymn, ca. 1835, and is now well-loved across denominational lines.
This prelude is an attractive setting, quite typical of Wood's "easy going" style. The harmony is quite modal, as befits the tune, but there is just enough "spice" mixed in here and there - although the spice is always very mild! ;-)
The registration is conceived for an "American sound." I say that specifically because of calling for the Flute Celeste and octave coupler.
Salisbury can't "replicate" that sound, and I'm not sure using the Swell strings, which are quite colorful, was entirely successful.
The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Dale Wood.