Henry Morton Dunham (1853-1929) was a student of George Whiting and John Knowles Paine. He taught at the New England Conservatory of Music for nearly 50 years, numbering Wallace Goodrich and Everett Truette among his own students. Dunham was also a composer for solo organ and for organ and orchestra. He served several Boston area churches as organist and was respected as a concert performer. He performed at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 and Guilmant’s recitals there may have been Dunham’s inspiration to edit works by French composers. With musical forbears such as Whiting and Paine and their teachers W. T. Best and Rheinberger, Dunham’s compositions are influenced by classical formalism and German Romanticism, while still contributing an American viewpoint.
"Improvisation on the 'Italian Hymn'" is found in "New Church and Recital Pieces" published by Arthur P. Schmidt in 1913. It is the 7th work in the collection.
When I was cleaning up my desktop, I found that I had done this awhile ago, so, I listened, it sounds OK, so, here it is! Actually this could be a useful prelude or postlude, by to really play this, you'll need to manage an almost continuous crescendo and decrescendo, so, it's a good "study" for doing so.
The "Italian Hymn" was composed by Felice de Giardini (1716-1796). It's usually sung to the text, "Come, Thou Almighty King," but there are others as well.
It's sometimes called by the name "Moscow." That's because de Giardini was born in Turin, Italy, but died in Moscow, Russia. Did you know that? I didn't! :-)
Dunham was an important American composer for the organ. He is largely forgotten today, but his works are well worth looking at, especially for American organists.
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Dunham, one of his grave, and one of Ruggles St. Baptist Church, where Dunham served as organist for many years.
All blessing of the season, and peace and safety to everyone!.