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Variations On Wondrous Love

By Robert Lau

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Organ - Medium
Composed by Robert Lau. Hymn, Choral, Concert. Sheet music. Published by Paraclete Press (PL.0845).

Item Number: PL.0845

* set of variations that imaginatively capture the spirit of this hymn * very effective on any size instrument * useful for Lent, Communion or General

The composer has set the style and mood of each of the four verses of the hymn and quotes the text at the beginning of each fo the four variations. The variations are simple, straightforward settings of the verses as he listed them. Each of the first three is to be played softly. The tune, which is well known, is set out in its entirety with brief episodes between the phrases.
The first variation, based on the words "What Wondrous Love is this, O my soul..." and marked "In a lilting manner," puts the melody in the soprano as a solo on a second mannal. The second variation has the solo melody in the tenor and is based on the text "to God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM." It is marked "misterioso" and would be effective with any string chorus. The third variation has the melody in the soprano again, but more hymn-like, without the solo effect; it is based on the words "to bear the heavy cross for my soul..." The fourth variation, based on "And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on," is the only one marked "forte" and the only one that breaks the melody up into segments and uses short motives from it.
Robert Lau does not venture far harmonically from the hymn, and the writing is generally easy. I used it recently as an effective prelude on a communion Sunday and felt that it set the tone for the service very well. - "The Diapason" November 2010.

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