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I am playing hymn preludes instead of the Gradual, Offertory and Communion hymns at church at the moment. It takes a bit of hunting to find ones which are (a) of good quality and interest that (b) fit with the theme of the Sunday as per the RSCM Sunday by Sunday scheme.

Does anyone have favourite hymn preludes - I'm not thinking Bach, Buxtehude, Reger, Karg-Elert etc for this thread - perhaps someone might like to kick off a new thread for favourite chorale preludes???

I'm bound to say that I have found some gems both old and new in terms of publication date. In the Novello green seasonal volume for Harvest, there is a truly delicious little prelude by Lloyd Webber on a tune called 'Holyrood.' Trouble is... no-one will know the tune, but it's still a delightfully crafted piece. And some of the Kevin Mayhew volumes have done me proud. I played a super little piece on 'Melita' the other day by Richard Lloyd. In terms of older 'finds', I thoroughly recommend Charlton Palmer. Anyone else know his stuff? He was a master of his art.

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Hi

I have an older Kevin Mayhew book "64 Hymn Preludes".  There's quite a mixture from hymns associated with high Anglicanism, etc., via the Evangelical wing & even a couple of preludes on worship songs.  I've recorded a couple recently to go with the hymn/song recordings I've been doing for Wolston Baptist Church.  A couple of examples are:

 and 

Apologies that the recordings aren't the best.  I've not needed any of the more complex ones recently.

It might also be worth looking at https://www.martinmans.nl/bladmuziek.  I came across his livestreams a while back, & recently bought some of the music.  The couple of items I'm working on are I suppose moderate difficulty, in that they don't always go where you expect.  All being well, I'll be recording one of them tomorrow or Thursday for the service on Sunday (& playing it live - first Sunday back in church)

Every Blessing

Tony

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I often play one or two Hymn Miniatures by Rebecca Groom te Velde which  are very effective and not difficult. In Volume 1 I especially like Picardy and St Anne although all 28 pieces are worthwhile.

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Great minds ...

Like Martin I’ve been playing hymn-based music at points where the congregation would expect to sing, and likewise making life more difficult for myself by choosing tunes for hymns fit the readings. (Well, it’s a bit too easy otherwise, isn’t it?)

Thalben-Ball’s 113 Variations on Hymn Tunes is handy. The pieces are on the short side - too short to be much use normally, but ideal at the moment when I don’t want to outstay my welcome. (People seem very glad to hear the tunes they may not currently sing, but I’m conscious they have come to Mass, not an organ recital.)

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Having observed that in normal conditions I don’t use the Thalben-Ball volume much, I do commend it as an excellent source of ideas for improvisation.

And talking of improvisation, I noted that the theme of forgiveness is prominent in next week’s readings from the three-year lectionary. Two hymns that came to mind were “Dear Lord and Father”, and “Amazing Grace”. I couldn’t find anything based on either that appealed, so I was pleased to discover that if you adjust the metre you can play A. Grace over the top of Repton quite nicely, which gives me the basis for an appropriate interlude to cover the offertory.

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Parry - 2 sets of chorale preludes (a bit of a misnomer, as they are based on familiar hymn tunes);  Whitlock - 6 Hymn Preludes; Leighton - 6 Fantasies on Hymn Tunes.

And, if all else fails, try out a bit of improvisation with John Riley's excellent guidance! 

https://6b94b880-ccc9-4eb7-8829-698a57b1dd09.filesusr.com/ugd/46893a_0012398c277a45b0ac49e4fab43538e0.pdf

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I can heartily recommend:

https://www.carus-verlag.com/themen/programm-fruehjahr-2016/instrumentalmusik-zum-gotteslob/choralvorspiele-fuer-orgel-zum-gotteslob-bd-3-im-jahreskreis-i.html

These are more substantial and rewarding hymn preludes and far superior to the conveyor belt music that has been appearing of late.  There are four volumes and plenty of PDF previews to whet the appetite.  I have just ordered a couple of volumes (via Amazon) which will arrive Friday and I can't wait!!

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A collection I rate very highly is Carl Piutti's 200 Choral Preludes. The only downsides are that few of the tunes are used in Britain and the pieces are all a little bit on the short side (being intended as functional chorale preludes). Other than that, the pieces are professionally crafted, mostly very-to-quite easy and mostly very attractive in the classical Romantic vein - so Brahms is the style that springs most readily to mind (although a couple, such no. 45 Es ist das Heil, are almost Wagnerian). There are many real gems.

The score is on IMSLP.  Don't be put off by the dense look of the notation.  None of the music is really fast and much of it is slow and atmospheric. There is a modern edition published by Bärenreiter in several volumes, but avoid this like the plague. Many of the pieces have been transposed down to suit modern German usage, often with disastrous results in the Pedal part where Cs have to become Bs, and every volume is copiously infused with misprints - or at least the original printings were; I've no idea whether subsequent ones were corrected.

 

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Thanks for all these contributions and suggestions. Yes, length of the piece is quite important at the moment. The Thalben-Ball and Groom te Velde pieces are an ideal length for the Gradual as the clergy are not 'busy' whilst this is going on, but I find 4/5 minutes' worth is needed at the Offertory and even longer at Communion - though I don't stick to hymn based pieces then. Here, I played the Whitlock Duetto last Sunday followed by a piece of Bédard which I still had to extend. 

In a thread somewhere, someone mentioned Noel Rawsthorne's Londonderry Air piece. I could play that this coming Sunday as the hymn I cannot tell is one of those on the RSCM's suggested list. NR's compositions are always well worth perusing - two recent discoveries.... the piece based on 'Picardy' in the volume of Christmas carol preludes by him (Mayhew), and his piece based on Veni Creator Spiritus which is in a Mayhew volume of Pentecost music. The other piece worth having in this volume is Philip Moore's on the Howells tune 'Salisbury.'  I can be more specific about these volumes if anyone wants me to be. 

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3 hours ago, James Bradley said:

Snap! I also played the Duetto last Sunday. I find I've been making good use of the Whitlock Complete Shorter Organ Music book recently.

Ha! I also played Pastorale and Folk Tune. Yes, a wonderful treasure trove that volume. The only organ piece of his that I have failed to appreciate is Plaint. Do you know the Canzona from the Sonata, James? 

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