Composer Craig Phillips
Price $15 (U.S.) Released 6/96
Difficulty Moderately diff.
Catalog no. 160-815
Discography "Organa Americana" Tom Trenney (Toccata on ANTIOCH) Pro Organo 7196
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Phillips' three preludes are inventive and a lot of fun to play. He uses rhythm and harmony to create exciting and useful arrangements of DIVINUM MYSTERIUM, FOREST GREEN, and ANTIOCH. Phillips goes well beyond the ususal hymn prelude formulaic approach, and they're not at all predictable. Moderately difficult.
"Phillips is rapidly gaining recognition as a composer of high-quality church music. His style is an appealing fusion of melody with a harmonic palate based on tonality enriched with contemporary idioms. DIVINUM MYSTERIUM is a pastoral that gives the melody an interesting rhythmic twist. The second prelude sets FOREST GREEN in asymmetric meter, giving a unique lilt to the rhythm of the piece. There are a number of large leps in the hands, but all are manageable with careful fingering. This setting requires a three-manual organ, or at least a two-manual intstrument with divisional pistons. The final setting in this collection is a toccata on the tune ANTIOCH, which is as much fun to play as to hear. Changing meter and a creative tonal framework make for an appealing presentation of a Christmas tune that has become mundane through years of use and abuse. All three of these settings are sure-fire 'hits' and will add new life to your Christmas repertoire. Moderately difficult. Highly recommended." -Cross Accent, January 1997
"In the first of these volumes [Joy to the World], Craig brings his formidable talents to three Christmas hymns-Divinum mysterium, Forest Green, and Antioch. The second volume [Glad Praises We Sing] includes surprising and wonderful settings of Kremser, Hyfrydol, Nettleton, and Engelberg. In both volumes he stretches the bounds of hymn-based organ writing, creating and retaining interest by going beyond the usual and predictable four-square, literal (and very often boring) quotation of a tune by using mixed meter, partial quotation, slight changes in the tune, etc. These are highly sophisticated and imaginative settings, yet Craig never oversteps "the boundary" and makes a setting too complicated and fussy for the tune, or merely clever. These volumes are among the finest I have reviewed in this Journal." -AAM Journal, Feb. 1997
"Joy to the World has DIVINUM MYSTERIUM, FOREST GREEN (both quiet and quite easy) and Toccata on ANTIOCH needing a largish organ and nimble fingers." -HSGBI, April 1997