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Prelude on 'Victimae paschali'

By John Reese

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Composed by John Reese. Text: Victim! paschali. Setting of chant hymn in German Baroque style. Easter. Published by CanticaNOVA Publications (C5.6045).

Item Number: C5.6045

A German Baroque chorale fughetta is the format in which this engaging Easter prelude is cast. John Reese has taken the venerable sequence for Easter Sunday, "Victimae paschali laudes" ("Praise the Paschal Victim"), divided it into phrases, and placed it in augmented notes as a cantus firmus in the pedal. Prior to each statement of a melody phrase, the top three voices treat that phrase contrapuntally in a small fughetta. The northern Germans - Bach, Buxtehude, Pachelbel - left us settings of the Lutheran chorale "Christ lag in Todesbanden," which melodically paraphrases the Easter sequence. The masterful writing in this 60-measure work is an example of how a southern German composer from the turn of the 18th century might have handled this tune.

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