I chose this week to do a piece a friend of mine from South Dakota sent me a couple years ago. Chuck has an interesting harmonic language that, I think, floats back and forth between an old language (lots of open fourths and fifths), traditional (triadic harmony with lots of suspensions), and modernist tendencies (especially Coplandesque space chords and counterpoint). This particular prelude I seem to remember him emailing to me. It wasn't until recently that I figured some of it out in a "Eureka" moment of "oh---the left hand is the melody at the beginning". I had spent so much time working on the right hand at the beginning that I didn't think about it. It is a setting of the the hymn tune DUNDEE. It is heard a total of three times in it's entirety. The first time in G major with the left hand playing the hymn tune, a faster moving countermelody above it, and the pedals maintaining a fairly traditional root position harmonization of the tune. This is followed by two "variations" on the tune, both in the key of C major. In the first variation, the tune moves into the upper part while the lower manual part is a bit more modernist harmonization. The pedal part connects the first setting of the tune to the second in that, about half way through, it proceeds to hold as a pedal point the dominant of C (G) for an extended period of time. A brief interlude leads the music to the second variation, again in C major. The tune is again heard in the upper voice over a traditional/modern harmonization in a slightly more agitated counterpoint underneath it. The piece closes with a coda that moves unexpectedly through a chromatic decent in the pedals before arriving at a definitive C major pedal point and conclusion to the piece.
In this particular recording, I used a clarinet 8', Flute 4', Nazard 2 2/3', and flute 2' in the positive (the melody in the opening, first variation, and the material at the end of the coda), Stopped Diapason 8', Flute 4' on the swell (accompaniment in the opening and first variation) and Principal 8' and Bourdon 8' on the Great (variation 2 and beginning of coda). The pedals were a Bourdon 16' and 8'.