Martin Luther set his paraphrase of 'Our Father Who Art in Heaven' ('Vater unser im Himmelreich,' 1538) to the ancient tune that is the basis for these duets in the five “species” of counterpoint that Johann Joseph Fux outlines in his treatise, 'Gradus ad Parnassum' ('Steps to Parnassus,' 1725). Bach set the text ‘Dein Will gescheh…’ to this tune in the St. John Passion. Haydn, Beethoven, Berlioz, and Liszt were among many composers who studied Gradus… assiduously.
Here the auxiliary upper voice offers the opportunity for the novice soprano recorder player to become comfortable with the “white” notes from low C to top A, as well as the “black” notes, G#, Bb, and C#. With minimal technical demands and at a moderate tempo, the student may concentrate on fingerings and tuning while working through these graduated exercises. The tune remains in the lower voice throughout.
For those learning the alto recorder, the ARS libraries offer bicinia on 'Vater unser' for soprano and alto recorders in which the tune is in the upper voice.
-- Anthony St. Pierre
A very easy and informative introduction to the 5 Species of Counterpoint, hidden inside a Lutheran hymn melody. The lower line has the melody in all whole notes while the upper line explores the counterpoint possibilities according to Fux. In addition to its educational value, it also provides “real” music for beginners, offering a melody with minimal technical demands that can be played by everyone at all levels of their recorder journey.