I’d mentioned earlier about my version of All Things Bright and Beautiful (actually the tune Royal Oak) which I had intended to play in worship. At that time I was filling in at First Congregational Church in Berkeley CA. I ended up doing my organ variations rather than the piano piece I spent time on. I played my organ variations (totally separate from the piano piece) again this morning, as part of my swan song at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church–partly because the registration I used calls for the zimbelstern (high-pitched bells) near the end–it gives the music a bit of a music-box effect.
The first variation features a canon at the octave in the manuals over a simple 2-voice pedal part. I don’t yet have any soundclips to accompany my score excerpts, but I’ll add them later (it’s hard to get a good recording while everyone is talking while I’m playing).
I had an 8′ Principal in mind for the left-hand melody of variation 3. It works beautifully in Vaughan Williams’ Rhosymedre. I wanted the same effect here.The right-hand material reappears in the following variation, as the hands switch material.
Variation 4 is the loudest, following directly on the heels of the previous variation, almost as thought it’s the second half of a variation rather than a variation in its own right. Unlike previous variations, this one doesn’t return to the refrain, but heads right into variation 5 (this is part of my feeling it as a second half rather than a separate variation).
This final variation is softer: sustain notes or slow-moving lines in the left hand; repeated 16ths in the right hand; melody in the pedal on a 4′ stop. I also added the zimbelstern, since I had one on the instrument for which I wrote the piece (I may work out a handbell choir part at my new position). The piece returns to a quiet, reflective mood and prepares the congregation (those who are listening!) for worship.