Prelude on Wondrous Love

Prelude on Wondrous Love


a hymn prelude for organ (5')

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Completed in October, 2017.

Composed in celebration of David Higgs’ 25 years of teaching at the Eastman School of Music.

Based on "Wondrous Love" (Anon., Southern Harmony, 1835).

Composed as part of a Festschrift in honor of organist David Higgs. This Festschrift also includes compositions by Byron Adams, Samuel Adler, William Bolcom, David Conte, Jürgen Essl, Martin Herchenroeder, Stephen Kennedy, Robert Kyr, Nico Muhly, Scott Perkins, and Craig Phillips.

Program Note

The hymn “Wondrous Love” ends with the words: “and through eternity, I’ll sing on.” To me, no text can better summarize the immeasurable impact David Higgs has had as a performer and as an educator of an entire generation of young organists. Always making music with “wondrous love,” David showed his students a technique built of exacting standards but shot through with joy and expressivity. My “Prelude on Wondrous Love” is dedicated to David, in celebration of his 25 years of teaching at the Eastman School of Music.

Like any dedicatory piece, this one is full of subtle winks and references to its dedicatee; its 125 measures refer to his 25 years of service at Eastman, and a recurring melody (B, G, G, E-flat) is a musical translation of David’s last name (H, G, G, S). But, more broadly, the piece is a quiet celebration of the joy and beauty that David brings to his work. In its bright harmonies, I hope to channel the memories I (and so many others) have of my time learning from him.