Hanover Variations (2000)

Unity Series 268 (publ. 2001)
Duration: approx. 5:40 

Like many hymn-writers, Robert Grant looked to the Psalms for the inspiration to his song O worship the King.  Song no. 16 in the SA song book is based on Psalm 104.

This more involved work for Unity Series ensemble is a set of variations on the well known hymn tune Hanover. It is not, as my friend Steve Hanover has suggested, a piece of music written in his honour (sorry, Steve)!

The following words are often associated with the tune: 

O worship the King, all glorious above;
O gratefully sing his power and his love;
Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendour and girded with praise.

Robert Grant (1779-1838)
SA Songbook 16 (Tune: Hanover TB 531)

The format of the work is:

  • Introduction & Theme: Moderato
  • Variation I: Allegro giocoso
  • Variation II: Andante
  • Variation III: Allegro (a la marcia)
  • Reprise of Theme: Grandioso
  • Finale: Allegro vivace 

Official Unity Series Recording

Hanover Variations.mp3

Sample score pages
(right-click to download or 
open in a new window)  

Hanover Variations v3 p1&2.pdf Hanover Variations v3 p1&2.pdf
Size : 68.518 Kb
Type : pdf

The principal motif of the piece is extracted from the first five notes of the tune (in the key of Bb these are F-Bb-C-D-F), re-arranging them as follows:

This motif is heard at the beginning of the piece and at various times in the music.

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