Fantasy   on
Down  Ampney
for Organ
(8 pages of music)



    Fantasy on Down Ampney is a multi-sectional hymn tune setting based on an original melody composed and prepared by Ralph Vaughan Williams for publication in the 1906 English Hymnal, where it is paired with the text, "Come down, O Love divine." The tune name is derived from the composer's birthplace in Gloustershire. The text is drawn from the poetry of one Bianco da Siena, published in 1851 at Lucca, Italy, and subsequently translated into English by Richard Littledale for the People’s Hymnal, 1867.

The melody per se consists of two phrase groups, each one three phrases in length, forming antecendent and consequent elements of a bipartite period structure. In the fantasy, the tune is divided at midpoint to create an overall compound bipartite structure: the first half offers the first phrase group in three consecutive and contrasting variations, followed by a similar presentation of the consequent phrase group, although presented in a different order.

The fantasy is launched by a brief contrapuntally imitative section based on the first phrase group, followed by a gentle hymn-like variation on the same phrase. The third variation presents the first phrase group in bold canon between soprano and bass (pedal) voices and builds up to a dramatic pause. The second half of the hymn tune appears in a gently harmonized guise, and after a short recitative reappears in extended contrapuntal imitation reminiscent of the opening variation; the canonic treatment between pedal and soprano reemerges as the third variation and builds in intensity to a dramatic hiatus. The movement concludes with a brief but boldly hymn-like organo pleno codetta.

As a brief justification for the proliferation of individual accent marks of one kind or another, this edition is intended to encourage and facilitate awareness of the rhythmic vitality and overall clarity of performances in varied acoustical environments. The sequencing of each note, pulse and accent can be felt and applied by keyboard touch in varying degrees and proportions, as needed to deliver a balanced overall texture and blend to the listeners’ ears.
N.B.  Fantasy on Down Ampney is a new edition of Fantasy on "Come Down, O Love Divine." It was originally published by Concordia Publishing House, © 1991, No. 97-6112, OOP in 2008, with rights reassigned to the composer and duly copyrighted, listed on USGov Register of Copyrights under the composer's name.