Prelude to Dunedin

rhinebeck_messiah.jpg
rhinebeck_messiah.jpg

Prelude to Dunedin

6.00

for solo piano

DOWNLOAD sheet music
  • Premiere: TBD
  • Instrumentation: solo piano
  • Duration: 5'

The Episcopalian Hymn "O Love of God, how strong and true" (No. 455) consists of words penned by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) and the melody "Dunedin," composed by English-born New Zealand music teacher, lecturer, and composer Thomas Vernon Griffiths (1894-1985). In 1933 he settled in Dunedin, New Zealand and initiated what is now known as "the Dunedin Scheme." Percy Grainger described the Dunedin educational plan's success in engaging the talent and imagination of teenage students as "astonishing."

This prelude consists of ten quick variations on the Dunedin theme. The penultimate variation overlays the tune of Cailín Óg a Stór, a traditional 16th century Irish air that figures prominently in James Joyce's writings and is (as "The Croppy Boy") one of the very saddest songs about the Irish rising of 1798. The final variation underpins Dunedin with a tune associated with another metropolis, New York City, composed by American composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) for his musical On the Town.