Prelude on 'Resignation'

Prelude on 'Resignation'


a hymn prelude for organ (4')

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An interesting little piece with a constant sense of motion.
— James M. Reed in "The Diapason," June 2013

Completed in April, 2012.

Dedicated to Jonathan Ryan.
World premiere on February 14, 2013 by Jonathan Ryan at Baylor University in Waco, TX.

Based on "Resignation" (Anon., Southern Harmony, 1835).


Growing up as a child in Richmond, Virginia, I always loved the hymn tune 'Resignation,' more commonly known by its associated text, "My Shepherd will supply my need." So when Jonathan Ryan approached me with the idea of writing a Prelude on this tune, I was thrilled. As I spent more time with it, however, I realized the challenge of layering music on this particular melody: of its four phrases, the first, second and fourth are identical! So, in order to avoid dull repetition, I decided to set each of the hymn tunes four phrases in a different key. While the melody is played slowly and confidently in C major throughout, the accompaniment, reminiscent of Brahms’s op. 122 Chorale Preludes, starts in G major, then modulates to F major, modified C Lydian, and finally A minor. To me, this ever-shifting landscape of unstable keys mimics the hymn's wandering spirit, which finally settles in the last cadence, like a "child at home."


A Cathedral's Voice

Jonathan Ryan, organist

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