commentary to opus 85d

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Postludium: "Laßt uns erfreuen herzlich sehr" for Organ opus 85d (1987)


Duration: 2 Minuten

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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 Postludium: "Laßt uns erfreuen herzlich sehr" (Gotteslob No. 585), two melody sections use material from the hymn and presented verbatim on different steps of the scale and, in the normal style of an Easter postlude, are given a hymn-like treatment with expanded rhythms. An invigoration of the whole piece results from the use of a five note figure suggesting an "alleluia" as an ostinato in the top part and bass. A simple and perfect example of liturgical organ playing which could also be useful teaching material.

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

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