Sheet music

Musical contribution - September 2012

Festprälude “Heil Dir im Siegerkranz” (William Valentin Volckmar, 1812-1887) – As one of his father’s students (who, in turn, was one of the well known organist’s Johann Gottfried Vierling’s students), the young William became a music teacher in Homberg. He stayed true and faithful to this town for the remainder of his life. He made a number of concert tours as an organ virtuoso. People praised him for his masterful pedal play and improvisations. He was befriended with people like Franz Liszt and Johann Töpfer.

As a composer, he wrote 20 organ sonata and 2 symphonies. He also published books including “Harmonieleer” (Harmonics) and “Handleiding van de muziek” (Guide of the Music). He focussed on both old and new masters as a publisher. He felt it was very important for organ students to be served up with good music. He tried to realise this objective with his own compositions and existing works.

So this month we would like to present you with a Festprälude over a well known chorale. The piece opens with a grand dialogue between 2 keyboards. A fugue in the middle section which slowly but surely takes us up to beat 87. And this is where the opening character makes a return. One striking aspect is that the melody isn’t in a tripartite state until the 99th beat. And before we can think the entire chorale has been written, we are faced with the 4/4 beat and we arrive at the final chord via a few major chords.

We can stick to the dynamic characters where the registration is concerned. Irrespective of the organ type. The outer parts may be played with some bravado, whilst most justice is done to the tension of the fugue (beats 29 to 78) if we create a slightly subdued setting.

A beautiful piece by a rather unknown composer. Whose goal we therefore wholeheartedly endorse.

With Kind Regards,

André van Vliet