The Concert Fantasia on 'Hanover'
by Edwin Lemare is based on the famous hymn tune to which the firmament-spanning words of a metrical version of Psalm 104 ('O worship the King') are normally sung. One remarkable quality of Lemare's Fantasia is that even such words as 'O measureless might' do not goad him into an unrelenting diet of full organ. The introduction begins and ends quietly, though the hymn tune enters at its climax in an extended section of double pedalling. The theme and variations are an excuse to explore the quieter stops of the organ. The six variations do not seem to correspond to the six verses of the hymn, except that the fifth variation is in the minor key and the relevant verse begins 'Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail'. The second and sixth variations use Lemare's favourite 'thumbing' technique to bring out the melody, requiring the two hands to play on three manuals at once. After that last variation there is a joyful fugue based on a countersubject to the hymn melody whose familiar lines eventually emerge victorious.
from notes by Ian Carson © 1991