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Variations on 'Jesu dulcis memoria'

By Dennis R. Johnson

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Composed by Dennis R. Johnson. Easy-to-learn variations on a familiar chant melody. General. Published by CanticaNOVA Publications (C5.6068).

Item Number: C5.6068

The text for the chant hymn Jesu dulcis memoria was written in the 12th century by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, noted Doctor of the Church and author of beautiful hymns from this period. It is the Vespers hymn for the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (currently celebrated on January 3). The corresponding well-known chant melody is found in the Koln Gesangbuch of 1619. Dennis Johnson has taken this melody and constructed four diverse and interesting variations for organ. They are structured as follows: I. Quasi organum - A homophonic setting for manuals only making good use of fourths and fifths / II. Ornamentation - Uses two manuals, French Baroque style, highly ornamented melody / III. Elevation - This longest variation explores rich celeste chords under a harmonically-altered melody, with simple pedal / IV. Plein jeu - Over cascading quarter note scales in the pedal, we hear hints of the first variation, as sturdy chords on the Great manual tell out the theme, arriving ultimately at a firm A Major conclusion. These easy-to-learn variations are perfect for any organist who is looking to grow his or her chant-based repertoire!

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