Toccata  on
igiles et Sancti

A Plainchant Melody

An 8 1/2 x 11 PDF booklet will be posted for

complimentary download beginning November 2022




Toccata on Vigiles et Sancti is a jubilantly expressive ‘free-for-all’ in which a familiar hymn tune, also known by its alternate German title, Lasst Uns Erfreuen, surfaces in various guises and forms. The source melody was first published in a collection of hymns, Ausserlesene Catholische Geistliche Kirchengesänge (Cologne, 1623), in conjuction with an Easter text, but its roots go further back in time to a tune for Psalm 36 that appeared in Aulcuns Pseaumes et Cantiques mys en chant (Strasbourg, 1539). An early 20th century reemergence in The English Hymnal (1906) combines the familiar melody and harmonization prepared by Ralph Vaughan Williams, with the English text, "Ye watchers and ye holy ones.” 
The toccata begins with the first phrase of the hymn heard in combination with rolling chords and fanfare interpolations, then settles into triplet quarter-note figurations that accompany subsequent phrase statements of the tune, all in a quasi-quartal harmonic language. The introduction of eighth-note motion adds gathering momentum, then gently rolling triplet eighths. Eventually a sixteenth-note toccata figuration emerges, with the hymn tune sounded out boldly in canonic imitation between pedal and soprano ― the latter in augmented note values. A closing transition is marked by broad hymn-textured writing, combined with the splashy rolled chords and fanfare interpolations from the opening measures. A brief codetta offers up pealing bell-like sonorities to add  a rousing punctuation to the end of a venturesome toccata