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Organ Improvisation

Organ Improvisation
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Improvisation - Recorded in concert 26. October, 2008

An improvisation recorded during my 26. October, 2008 recital at First Prebyterian Church in Orange, NJ. This is the last movement of a three movement improvisation based on two hymn tunes chosen by members of the audience: "A Mighty Fortress" and "All Who Would Valiant Be"

Thy Stong Word

The most common name for this tune is ‘Ebenezer’ although the same melody is also sometimes referred to by the Welsh name ‘Ton-y-Botel’. The tune is of Welsh origin and was composed by Thomas J. Williams (1869-1944) The text generally associated with this sturdy, even rollicking tune is “Thy Strong Word did cleave the Darkness” by Martin Franzmann (1907-1976). In this improvisation I make use of solo and chorus reeds and take thorough advantage of the echo division, although the effect of the latter is sadly difficult to capture in a two channel recording!

Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor

Another example of Welsh hymnody, the tune Bryn Calfaria is attributed to William Owen (1813-1893). The text, ‘Lord Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor’ describes the glories of the ascended Christ, though veiled to those of us in the mortal realm. Here the cantus firmus is played, for part of this improvisation in the pedal, making use of several solo pedal registrations.

Spanish Easter Hymn/Crown Him with Many Crowns

Two hymn tunes are incorporated in this improvisation – the Spanish melody known as ‘Madrid’ and generally mated to the text “Come, Christians Join to Sing” and the well known Protestant hymn tune ‘Diademata,’ attributed to George Elvey (1816-1893), most often associated with Matthew Bridges’ (1800-1894) text ‘Crown Him With Many Crowns.’

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