John Stanley’s 30 Voluntaries – published in three collections as op. 5, 6, and 7 – are amongst the best-known organ works of the 18th century. These “compositions in free style” were met with great acclaim by his contemporaries. The first volume, published in 1748, immediately achieved classic status and encouraged other composers to write similar collections. The op. 5 collection is now published in an up-to-date Urtext edition by Carus, based on the first printed edition and a 1785 edition consulted for comparison. The pieces, of easy to medium difficulty, are for manuals (and can alternatively also be played on the harpsichord), and mainly comprise two movements in the sequence slow – fast. Rhythmic energy, richness of color through the use of solo registers such as cornet and trumpet, dialog between the manuals with multiple echo effects – these are the characteristics of these wonderful compositions, which are also suitable for use in worship.
Ten voluntaries for the organ or harpsichord, op. 5
Stanley, John (1712-1786)