Fantasia on "Lauda anima"
in memory of E. Robert Kursinski
hymn tune, Lauda anima, was composed by John Goss, circa 1869, and is
sometimes also named "Praise Him." Lisa Kursinksi, the daughter of an
organist and choirmaster with whom I worked decades ago, was kind enough to
write me about his passing. I suggested a small musical memorial, and she
suggested this hymn was among his favorites.
well-known hymn is notated in 2/4 time, and for this reinterpretation of it,
I chose to fit each consecutive four beats of two 2/4 measures into 3/4
meter, by rhythmically diminishing the first measure of every two. After the
introduction in 2/4 therefore, the 3/4 meter is set up with a carillon-like
gesture, the theme then entering at measure 12. Each phrase or set of
phrases of the hymn tune then is separated with intervening filigree and an
extended gesture for the manuals which prepares again the entry of the pedal
line in its repeat. In various texts to this tune, the repeated phrase is
"Praise Him," or the rousing "Alleluia." The final gestures of the fantasia
restate this in the pedal.
Sir John Goss
John Goss (1800-1880) was the son of a church organist. He
became a chorister at the Chapel Royal in 1811, and later studied music with
composer and organist Thomas Attwood. He succeeded Attwood as the organist
at St. Paul's Cathedral in 1838 and remained in that position for more than
thirty years. He was Professor of Harmony at the Royal Academy of Music, and
knighted by Queen Victoria in 1872. During these years he composed mostly
church music, though he also produced incidental music for a play and some
E. Robert Kursinski
nearly thirty-five years, E. Robert Kursinski (1921-2011) taught music in
the Los Angeles Unified School District at Woodrow Wilson Middle and Senior
High School in addition to William Howard Taft Senior High School.
Afterward, he would become president of the Neighborhood Music School in Los
Angeles. He was the organist and choir director at St. James Episcopal, Los
Angeles, St. Edmund's Episcopal, San Marino, Angelica Lutheran, Los Angeles,
Trinity Lutheran, Pasadena and Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, South
Pasadena. He served as Dean of the Los Angeles Chapter, American Guild of
Organists from 1954-56. He studied at the University of Southern California,
and the Royal School of Church Music in London. Among the repertoire I
recall performing with him were the Bach Passions, much of Vaughan
Williams, Stanford and other 20th century English composers, and a concert
of Hugo Distler's works.
pages, circa 3' 20" - an MP3 demo is here:
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this organ score.
Fantasia on "Lauda anima"