See also the collection of Christmas Carols for Piano Solo.
Hymn Preludes and Fantasies - audio recordings
Re-mastered with a Steinway concert grand piano, this a high resolution mp3 album available for download. $7.50
Hymn Fantasies for Piano Solo
Concert pieces for intermediate-advanced pianists
Hymn Fantasy No.1 - We Are Sowing
This dramatic piano solo is an homage to Schumann and Brahms, quoting Schumann’s Romance 28/2. The tune’s name is Westwood, composed by Henry Tucker. I find the text to this hymn especially profound: “Filled with fruit of life eternal, from the seed we sowed in tears.”
Hymn Fantasy No.2 - Thy Spirit, Lord, Has Stirred Our Souls
I wrote this piano solo as a gift for my daughter Jacqui. It is based on Alexander Schreiner’s great hymn tune Bavaria, an LDS hymn that I believe has few peers in technique or artistry.
Hymn Fantasy No.3 - Abide With Me, 'Tis Eventide
A worldwide Christian treasure, this hymn has been a favourite of mine since I was a child. Pianists will find echoes of Rachmaninoff in the style of this piece.
Nearer, My God, to Thee
This arrangement begins with an unusual minor setting of Lowel Mason’s famous hymn.
Jesus! What A Friend for Sinners
(aka, In Humility, Our Savior)
This tune is called Hyfrydol, meaning “pleasant, cheerful, melodious” in Welsh, and is used by Latter-day Saints for the sacrament hymn “In Humility Our Savior”. My arrangement reflects the more joyful, less pensive mood of one of the common texts used by other churches: “Alleluia, blessed Savior! Alleluia, Heavenly Friend!” I have paired this with the equally famous “Amazing Grace”.
Onward, Christian Soldiers
This famous Christian anthem by the great Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan fame, is paired with LDS composer William Clayson’s “Hope of Israel” in this rousing solo.
O My Father
Here is a romantic-style solo on a hymn that has been a favourite of mine as long as I can remember. An interesting connection in the story behind this hymn and More Holiness Give Me is told in my blog post here. Most of the Chrisitan world knows this hymn as “I Will Sing of My Redeemer” (hence the tune name).
A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief
Partly based on an extended setting I made for tenor and piano, this setting is a little more difficult than some of the other solos here, but reflects the dramatic nature of the text. I evoke verses 1, 6 and 7: the introduction of the Wayfaring Man, the defense of the condemned Man, and the revelation of his true identity, Jesus Christ.
We Ever Pray For Thee
Written by Evan Stephens for Primary children to sing at President Wilford Woodruff’s 90th birthday celebrations, this is one of my favourite hymns.
Love At Home
I still remember, as a child, playing this melody alone in the Primary room and being filled with a feeling of peace and fullness. The most profound messages are often the simplest ones, understandable even to a child.
More Holiness Give Me
Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in D was the inspiration for my choral arrangement of this hymn, adapted and expanded here for piano solo. The story of the original hymn is summarized in my blog.
If You Could Hie to Kolob
While one of the easier pieces in this set to play, this is also one of the more compositionally intricate. I interweave phrases from a folk-like song based on “Come Thou Fount” with phrases from the English folk song which was the source for the hymn tune “Kingsfold” in several different keys. (Ralph Vaughan Williams heard this song, “Dives and Lazarus”, sung in the town of Kingsfold. Most churches sing it to the words “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”.
I Need Thee Every Hour
This famous hymn is beloved in many Christian churches. The opening of this solo should evoke a beautiful 4-part men’s chorus.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
These are two beautiful hymn settings of the 23rd Psalm, (both with oddly sad tune names, “Forsaken” and “Resignation”). The latter is usually sung to the words, “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need”, and always in the back of my mind when working on this tune is Mack Wilberg’s exquisite, breathtaking arrangement.
More Hymn Preludes for Piano
It Is Well With My Soul
The unusual tune name “Ville du Havre” recalls the poignant story behind Horatio Spafford’s hymn. While sailing to Europe, the ship “Ville du Havre” collided with another ship and sank. Aboard were Spafford’s wife and four daughters. Only his wife survived. A few weeks later as he crossed the Atlantic to meet with his bereaved wife, his ship passed the location of the disaster. Standing on the deck, pondering his lost daughters, Spafford penned the words to his famous hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”. Philip Bliss commemorated that story when he named the tune he composed for the text. I have paired it with “Abide With Me”, another famous hymn from the same era.
Did You Think To Pray?
From the post Civil War era, these words were penned by Mary Kidder, a widow of the horrific battle of Antietam. I have based this prelude on my choral arrangment.