Music of the Month: Praise Mosaics

Jacob B. Weber continues his Mosaics series with six hymns of Praise and Adoration. Contents include a dance-like EARTH AND ALL STARS, a stately ENGELBERG, a majestic LAUDES DOMINI, two festive and versatile settings of LOBE DEN HERREN and SONG PRAISE, and a partita on UNSER HERRSCHER. 

The Mosaics Series

Weber’s Praise Mosaics—the ninth volume of his Mosaics series—features a series of organ preludes on topical and seasonal hymns that include Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Reformation, Thanksgiving, and Morning hymn tunes.

Praise Mosaics is especially appropriate throughout the Church Year, as it includes settings on familiar hymns such as “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (LSB 790); “Voices Raised to You We Offer” (LSB 795); and “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty” (LSB 901).

“I mainly chose hymns that I’d never written any settings for before,” Weber said. “I wrote the settings of LOBE DEN HERREN and SONG OF PRAISE for events some time before the collection was planned, so I had a head start when planning the contents for Praise Mosaics. I rarely begin any of the Mosaics collections from scratch. Over time, as I write new settings, I file them away. It’s the first place I go when I’m brainstorming a new set.”

Weber also said he’s received positive feedback about the continuing Mosaics series.

“Organists often like to recommend themes or seasons that I should consider doing next, and I love hearing from them,” Weber said. “I think organists are attracted to seasonal, single-themed collections because it’s nice to have everything under one cover.”

LOBE DEN HERREN: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”

Praise Mosaics contains two settings of LOBE DEN HERREN (LSB 790). The first is a triumphant fanfare with the melody in the pedal. The second is a light and articulate interpretation of stanza three of the hymn:

“Praise to the Lord, who has fearfully, wondrously, made you,

Health has bestowed and, when heedlessly falling, has stayed you.

What need or grief

Ever has failed of relief?

Wings of His mercy did shade you.”

“The settings of LOBE DEN HERREN were written for an organ anniversary hymn festival, and specifically for the organ I would be playing,” Weber said.

The occasion and instrument was the fortieth anniversary of the Dobson, Op. 10 pipe organ on November 2, 2019, on the campus of Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota.

SONG OF PRAISE: “Voices Raised to You We Offer” 

The volume also contains two settings of SONG OF PRAISE (LSB 795)—a bright and energetic introduction and a contrasting interpretation of stanza three of the hymn.

The two settings were also written for the seventy-fifth anniversary of Grace Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Michigan, in 2020.

UNSER HERRSCHER: “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty” 

Praise Mosaics concludes with a five-part partita on UNSER HERRSCHER (LSB 901)—an Intrada, hymn setting, Duo, Meditation, and Fugue. “I’ve always enjoyed the tune and was inspired to create some new settings on it,” Weber said.

The Intrada is a grand and punctuated setting that would work well as a festive hymn introduction. The hymn setting is written as a chorale harmonization that would be fitting as an alternate hymn accompaniment. The Duo is a two-part setting written for manuals, and the Meditation is a lush and expansive setting written with the melody in the pedal. The partita concludes with a fugue that features the melody in four different voices.

“As with many of my settings, they tend to start out as improvisations, usually at home, or from little ideas I’ve used during hymn playing, and over time they become finely-tuned, extended settings,” Weber said.

Quotations marked LSB are from Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.


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Picture of Nathan Grime
Written by

Nathan Grime

Nathan Grime is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a 2020 graduate of Hillsdale College, where he studied rhetoric, public address, and journalism. Currently, Nathan is the organist and Kantor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hillsdale, Michigan.

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