The second prelude, "2. Festal Song" is on the well-known melody by William H. Walter, and is dedicated to Walter Blodgett. It is probaby the most substantial of the first 6 preludes.
It begins with a declamatory fanfare-introduction (NO Tuber!), with the them heard alone in the Pedal, and then answered on the manuals. This leads to a very quirky "little fugue" marked to be played "Fairly fast". It has LOTS of meter changes, moving form cut time to 3/2 in alternating measures, before passing through a few 3/4 and 5/4 measures. A dimunendo moves to the Choir with the tune appearing in half notes in the pedal, with "ticking" staccato passage work above. A steady crescendo moves the work back to the tonic B-flat, but not before passing through a lot of "keys". A short "fanfare-march" moves the piece to a bold conclustion, and this time, the Solo Tuber DOES get a quick chance to be heard! ;-)
While my console does have 4 manuals and pistons, I don't have foot pistons, and the lack of these made this piece very hard to get just right, in terms of the specific registrations that Bingham calls for. I think the result is good, but it took more than a few trys to get it right! This piece is hard... ;-)
It's odd to say that, since on the introduction page Bingham wrote: "These Hymn-Preludes, most of them fairly easy to play and registrate, are based on very well-known tunes, as to be found in practically every Protestant hymnal. They may serve either as preludes, postludes, or offertories, and are particularly effective when used in the same service with the corresponding hymn, to that end the keys are kept in which they are commonly sung."
Yes, yes, I see all of that, but what did he mean when he said they were "easy"?!? Hmm...
The text of this hymn is as follows:
Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things;
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of Kings.