Hyperion Records

Variations on an Easter Theme 'O filii et filiae'
first performed on 31 July 1983

'Organ Fireworks, Vol. 10' (CDA67458)
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 10
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Movement 1: Majestic
Movement 2: A little slower
Movement 3: Slow
Movement 4: Fast and rhythmic
Movement 5: Slow and expressive
Movement 6: Fast – Broad and majestic – Fast

Variations on an Easter Theme 'O filii et filiae'
John Rutter (born 1945) is a former Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge. His fame as a composer and arranger of Christmas carols has tended to obscure his other works, and it is perhaps not generally known that he has written several works for the organ, including Toccata in Seven, God rest you merry, gentlemen, and the present piece, a relatively rare example of an organ duet, Variations on an Easter theme. The theme, ‘O Filii et Filiae’, is a traditional melody and was probably written at the same time as the text, which is by Jean Tisserau, a Franciscan friar who died in 1494. The first verse conveys the spirit of the whole text:

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
O sons and daughters, let us sing!
The King of Heaven, the glorious king,
O’er death today rose triumphing.

The variations are as follows:

4: Majestic theme on solo trumpet
5: A little slower theme on pedal reeds
6: Slow theme in high register, on solo stop; quasi-ostinato pedal
7: Fast and rhythmic theme in diminution
8: Slow and expressive B flat minor; theme varied, on solo stops
9: Fast — theme on trumpet, below toccata-like figuration
Broad and majestic — reeds
Fast theme on solo tuba

The work was given its first performance, by Ray and Beth Chenault (to whom it is dedicated), on 31 July 1983, at Washington National Cathedral, USA. Rutter’s title suggests something a little ‘churchy’, yet the music has much in common with the other works in this programme, especially the toccata-like figuration of the faster variations and the ‘bluesy’ harmony of the slow ones.

from notes by Relf Clark © 2004

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67458 track 6
Recording date
9 June 2003
Recording venue
Concert Hall of the Francis Winspear Centre, Edmonton, Canada
Recording producer
Paul Spicer
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon & Ron Yachimec
Hyperion usage
  1. Organ Fireworks, Vol. 10 (CDA67458)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: January 2004
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