commentary to opus 85c

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Improvisation: "Komm, Schöpfer Geist" for Organ opus 85c (1983)


Duration: 2,5 Minutes

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If the Catholic Church, since the Council, regards Gregorian chant as the music linked most fundamentally with its identity, then we see this idea particularly at work in Hummel's organ music - here one of his replies quoted above is relevant: Gregorian chant is indispensable as a source of inspiration for any genuine kind of church music. The second source of inspiration after Gregorian chant is church hymnody. If Hummel does not take sections or particles of melody from these two sources as modi, then he invents modi as building blocks, sequences of notes taken from his memory or models and modified suitably for contrapuntal and harmonic treatment.
This method of working can be particularly clearly seen and heard in the short pieces he wrote for the "Augsburger Orgelbuch für den gottesdienstlichen Gebrauch" (Augsburg Organ Book for use in Church Services) (four volumes, Böhm & Sohn, Augsburg). The pieces are a Praeludium in D (vol. 2), an Improvisation: "Komm, Schöpfer Geist" ("Come, Creator Spirit", Gotteslob No. 245) (vol. 3) and a Postludium: "Laßt uns erfreuen herzlich sehr" ("Let us be glad from our hearts", Gotteslob No. 585) (vol. 4).
In the Improvisation, the whole piece is marked by the increasingly alien forms in which the beginning of the hymn reappears, becoming more and more modal; despite this, the hymn itself is clearly suggested to the listener.

(from Franz A. Stein, "Die Kirchenmusik Bertold Hummels", Tutzing, 1998)

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