The hymn tune Toplady was written by Thomas Hastings. It was written for the text “Rock of Ages” by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady. While Thomas Hastings wrote over 50 hymn tunes, this remains his most popular today by far.
Rev. Toplady is believed to have written the hymn after taking shelter in a gorge during a thunderstorm in the Mendip Hills in England. The fissure that is believed to have sheltered Rev. Toplady is now marked as the “Rock of Ages”, both on the rock and on some maps.
Composed by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry in 1916, Jerusalem is probably one of his best known works. Originally composed for “And did those feet in ancient time” by William Blake, in the US, it is often used for the text “O day of peace that dimly shines” by Carl P. Daw. The song was used by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies until they won the right for women to vote, and it is now sung every year at the end of the “Last Night of the Proms” in the Royal Albert Hall. It is considered to be England’s most popular patriotic song.
ST. ANNE was probably composed by William Croft when he was organist at St. Anne’s Church in Soho, London, England. The tune was first published in A Supplement to the New Version (1708) as a setting for Psalm 42. ST. ANNE became a setting for “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861), and the two have been linked ever since. The tune shares its first melodic motif with a number of other tunes from the early eighteenth century, most notably Bach’s great fugue in E-flat, nicknamed “St. Anne” because of the similarity of the first fugue subject to this tune.
Ronny Krippner studied organ and improvisation at the Hochschule für Musik in Regensburg and at Exeter University. He is Specialist Lecturer in Organ Improvisation at Birmingham Conservatoire and Assistant Director of Music at St George’s, Hanover Square. In 2009 he was both a finalist in the prestigious Organ Improvisation Competition in St Albans and a prize-winner in the International Organ Improvisation Competition in Biarritz. The DVD ‘Ex Tempore – The Art of Organ Improvisation in England’, featuring improvisations by Ronny Krippner, has received high critical acclaim.
He has several handouts for the study of improvisation available on his website here.