I stumbled across this piece accidentally while reading a Facebook Organists page. Someone asked for recommendations of lesser known Lenten pieces, and another member recommended this one. I turned to Youtube and listened to it and decided this would be something worth learning. I had already begun to work on Johannes Brahms Prelude and Fugue on O Traurigkeit, O Herzleid, but put it away in favor of Smythe's setting.
I recorded the prelude a couple of weeks ago, and have finally felt comfortable enough with the fugue (there is a terrible page turn right near the beginning) to get a recording of it. The fugue uses a series of contrapuntal devices that leads us through the grieving process of losing someone—from sorrow to the deep, mournful weeping for the lost to the final rest with a peaceful resignation. Mostly this is done through increased dynamics through the middle of the piece and decrease in the dynamics afterwards. At the end, a hymn-like setting of a couple of phrases of the original chorale tune brings us to a conclusion on a major triad.