This stately processional hymn suits the organ—known as the king of instruments—extremely well. Watch this video to hear the tune with a choir processing with organ…
After a little investigating, I learned that the tune, Crucifer, was composed by Sydney Nicholson for the text written by George Kitchen. Both men hailed from England. Having just visited London, I enjoyed a Rick Steve’s audio tour that passed by the majestic facade of Westminster Abbey. Now I want to cross the pond again so I can hear the organ as Nicholson held the organist position there from 1919-1928!
It’s fascinating how ideas and history and creativity and activities intersect. Soon after my return from London, I was thinking ahead to Holy Week and planning what to play for services.
Because I like to turn things upside and because “Lift High the Cross” is not typically played on the piano, I ventured over to the keys not knowing of the tune’s connections to my recent trip. I had a ball exploring rhythmic and harmonic possibilities on the piano. My explorations led to this setting.
Your congregation may enjoy hearing this as a prelude or postlude on Palm Sunday or Easter or any festive service. It’s brief on purpose as the service music I usually prepare needs to be around 2-4 minutes. Feel free to add repeats if necessary! It’s fairly accessible with some syncopation and just a few hand shifts and leaps to master.
Watch a performance of the piano setting here:
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