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As everyone had used the best tunes, I felt my favourite Advent hymn might work well. I had just returned from France having heard Jean Guillou playing the mighty organ at Saint Eustache in Paris and had the notion of a Grand French Toccata in my mind. So I chose the tune ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ which I had also set as an Advent anthem. I thought I would use the same key and adopt the Toccata idiom and allow the tune to weigh in played by the pedals. After a short development section in an imitative style, the theme returns, this time with the notes disposed more than two octaves with the glittering manual figurations above.
The work was first performed by John Scott at York Minster on 29 July 1995.
from notes by William McVicker © 1997