Five Preludes
For Organ solo (1976)
by Ron Hannah


Duration: about 13 minutes

    This work was commissioned by Bill Hutton at Robertson-Wesley United Church in Edmonton, Canada. He had asked for only one prelude, but I got excited about writing for the King of Instruments and sent him five! Finally, though, he decided they were too dissonant for his congregation, and never performed them, to my knowledge. This is a shame since the pieces are perfectly approachable in my opinion. They are built, to be sure, on the major/minor chord, that is, a triad (if I may use that term) with both major and minor thirds present. They range in mood from dark and introspective (#2) to playful (#3) to dramatic (#1, #5). I was living in England at the time of writing so the reference to "God Save the Queen" in #4 is understandable, though unconscious at first. While writing this section, sitting in a pub in Bristol with my beloved pint, a young man came over and sat nearby. I could tell he was curious about my scribbling, and after a while I spoke to him to break the tension. He was most interested and impressed that I could write in this manner. To be polite, I asked him what he did, and he said he was a judo instructor with the Welsh police. We sat in silence after that, deeply impressed with one another.

     I am very pleased to report that the last movement of this suite was chosen for performance during the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music in May of 2015!

     The Preludes are available on a CD entitled, Northern Arch / Arc du Nord, performed magnificently by Marnie Giesbrecht. Marnie's performance of #3 (my personal favourite), can be heard below, and to obtain a copy of the score, please contact the Canadian Music Centre or send me an email (below). Click here to see a list of performances and broadcasts.