Carillon-Toccata  on  the  English Hymn Tune  ~  St. Anne  

Organ   (10 pages)


Carillon-Toccata on St. Anne is written in the tradition of post-Romantic French organ toccatas. It abounds with the pealing sounds of change-ringing bells, moving in combination with a stately four-phrase hymn tune and its derivative three-phrase thematic units.
"St. Anne's Tune" was first published in London in 1708 as a musical setting for Psalm 42; its authorship was later ascribed to William Croft (b. 1678, d. 1727).  The melody was subsequently reapplied to a variant on the text of Psalm 90, adapted by Isaac Watts. The opening text originally read: "Our God, our help in ages past." Its
first phrase—eight notes in length―appears as thematic material in George Frederick Handel's sixth Chandos Anthem; it is motivically modified and present in one of Georg Philipp Telemann's Tafelmusik (Musique de table) suites; and of course, the notes of its first phrase are nobly featured in Johann Sebastian Bach's E-flat major organ fugue (Clavierübung, III, S. 552). The four complete phrases of the tune and its text have inspired many compositions, among them a Ralph Vaughan Williams motet, "Lord, Thou hast been ourrefuge," for choir, soloists, organ and trumpet.
The toccata opens with an accompanimental figuration, derived from pitches of the tune’s first phrase; it is paired with an emerging melodic unit — a period structure three phrases in length. The tripartite theme is sounded consecutively in tenor, soprano, and pedal voices. An ensuing developmental section features individual phrase statements that migrate between voices in imitation and stretto, then prepares the way for a return of the opening toccata statement, this time sounding over each of the hymn’s four distinct phrases, presented in a temporally augmented (cantus firmus) format in the pedal. The coda adds a resoundingly jubilant conclusion.

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