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Oxford Hymn Settings for Organists


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Table of Contents

A new commandment ; Aberystwyth ; Abridge ; Aus der Tiefe/Heinlein ; Breslau ; Caithness ; Caswall/Wem in Leidenstagen ; Ellacombe ; Erhalt uns, Herr ; Gerontius ; Grafton ; Hamburg ; Herongate ; Herzliebster Jesu ; Horsley ; Love unknown ; Olivet ; Pange lingua ; Passion Chorale/Herzlich tut mich verlangen (Lament) ; Passion Chorale/Herzlich tut mich verlangen (Meditation) ; Petra/Redhead No. 76 ; Rathbun ; Rockingham ; St Flavian ; St Theodulph/Valet will ich dir geben ; Song 13 ; Song 46 ; Southwell ; The King's Majesty ; The Servant King ; Ubi caritas ; Wer nur den lieben Gott lasst walten ; Were you there? ; Winchester New ; Wondrous Love

About the Author

Rebecca Groom te Velde earned degrees in organ performance from Seattle Pacific University and the University of Western Ontario, also studying composition and church music. She continued her studies in Germany on a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service. An active performer and clinician on service-playing, she holds the Associate Certificate from the American Guild of Organists. She has published organ music with Oxford University Press and Darcey Press and choral compositions with Santa Barbara Music Publishing. She is organist of First Presbyterian Church, Stillwater, and adjunct instructor of organ at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. David Blackwell read music and studied the organ at Edinburgh University, where he gained his FRCO, and for many years worked in music publishing, becoming Head of Music Publishing at Oxford University Press. He has published anthems and carols with OUP, is co-editor of Carols for Choirs 5 (2011), and has published organ pieces in Oxford Service Music for Organ (OUP, 2010), compiled and edited by Anne Marsden Thomas. He is also co-writer of OUP's award-winning String Time books.


To have all of the [Oxford Hymns Settings] volumes in your hands would be to possess the entire church year . . . I was also very impressed with the music itself; and while I liked some pieces better than others, virtually all had something new to say . . . Several pieces were short and straightforward enough that I thought they would make wonderful hymn introductions . . . the publication is a valuable resource for church organists. The difficulty level is mostly between easy and medium, but well within the reach of most organists with a little work. * The American Organist, December 2015 *
These are all well-structured compositions rather than 'hymn-fillers'. Keys are chosen to match those frequently found in hymn books, but it would be a pity just to use these pieces (and inevitably adapt their length) to extend a hymn and fill a gap. I particularly enjoyed the pieces that confound expectations such as David Blackwell's 'Pastorale on Gerontius' with a gentle 9/8 canon that at the end slips from Dykes into Elgar, and Michael Bedford's 'Meditation on Easter Hymn' that is quiet throughout. 'Easter Hymn' and 'Passion Chorale' are the only two of the 62 hymns that have two settings, the second Easter Hymn being a wildly rhythmic treatment by Philip Moore. 'A New Commandment', 'The Servant King', 'Alleluia no. 1, Jesus is Lord' and a 'Jubilant Dance on Our God Reigns' provide coverage of hymns and songs that have more recently become established, alongside the hymns traditionally associated with these seasons. * Duncan Watkins, Sunday by Sunday (RSCM), June 15 *
Most of the settings contained therein are eminently approachable, and rarely peak past a Grade 8 standard of difficulty . . . The stylistic nature for many of the works included appears to vary greatly, switching between pastoral invocations, fanfare marches and glittering toccatas; the thematic glue that binds these pieces together is very much that of the late-romantic British style, where carefully prepared dissonances co-exist with frequent use of pleasant, consonant harmonies . . . In this useful and varied collection of pieces, we are given much music that is of use to the liturgical organist, providing reasonable interest and without exacting too hefty a technical challenge. * George Chittenden, New Zealand Organ News, August 15 *

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