Variations   on
Wondrous Love
for Organ
(6 pages of music)

Available as a complimentary PDF booklet download
in March 2022



            Variations on Wondrous Love presents an unusual modal hymn tune of anonymous origin that first appeared in William Walker’s Southern Harmony, published in 1843, and a year later in B. F. White’s The Sacred Harp. The metric format is similar to that of a recurring folk structure, the “Captain Kidd meter,” so named for a recurring ballad form dating from early 18th-century origins, and sharing even earlier roots in the British Isles.

            The first verse presents Wondrous Love’s enigmatically modal melody in the soprano register over a syncopated and gradually descending bass line. An etherial second verse follows in A-flat major, ceding to a return of the introduction and original tonic key, after which the third and final verse offers a brief toccata with the hymn tune sounding in the tenor. Following a dramatic pause, an expressive coda concludes the setting with a bold and exuberant flourish.

Each verse presents unique technical considerations: of note are repeating figurations in accompanimental voices that can become awkward and/or cramping for some hands. Yet another challenge lies in the art of enhanced contrapuntal clarity as achieved by contrasting touches and artful use of legato and detached articulations, as well as balanced registrational configurations.