Ernest Alfred Dicks (1865-1948) was an organist in Cheltenham, and also to the Royal Masonic Lodge. He published several collections, including these fine set of "Hymn Tune Voluntaries - Twelve Pieces for Organ in Various Styles founded on Favourite Psalm and Hymn Tunes," published by Bayley & Ferguson in 1923.
The style is indeed varied, and some of the pieces, actually, most of the pieces, are filled with charm and color. They are unpretentious, and quite "old fashioned," especially when you consider what was happening in the musical world of 1923!
All of them are brief, and while none of them are really hard, I can't say that many of them are actually easy. I suppose it depends on the degree of "detailing" that you want to do.
I'm doing the entire set of 12, but skipping over the Christmas ones for now, and holding off on the Easter ones, which I'll do at the appropriate time. I've also omitted the "Thanksgiving" one for the time being.
"Introduction and Variations on 'Martyrdom'" is the 10th in the collection. It is dedicated: "To J. Godfrey Luard, Esq.", and takes the melody composed by Hugh Wilson (c.1766-1824) as its theme. The "associated" text is: "As pants the hart for cooling streams, when heated in the chase."
This one is the largest one of the ones that I've done. It is indeed a set of variations, usually "pastorale" in nature, with some subtle painting of "death's dark vale," as shown by moving to the minor side. The last variation returns to the full theme in the Pedal with a fairly big crescendo, before a diminuendo brings us to the final cadence, the last chord settling down over the 32' in the Pedal.
A nice piece, that could work in a recital or service.
The scores are courtesy, once again, of Dr. John Henderson, Librarian for the Royal School of Church Music. They are attached below in 2 pdf's, as the "complete" set omits two pages from the first piece in the collection.
THANK YOU, John!
Peace and safety to All!