Happy New Year to my readers. I am composing this piece for Dr. Andrew Seigel, Professor of Clarinet at SUNY Fredonia and Dr. Jihyun Woo, Professor of Music Theory at SUNY Fredonia. They are producing a CD of clarinet and organ music and this composition, as well as my "Affirmations" for bass clarinet and organ that I wrote over from the double bass and organ version, are adding to the repertoire.
I always find writing for organ a challenge. Writing a piece for organ was my final exam for my A. mus. D in composition at the University of Arizona and I worked closely with a graduate student organists and began to learn about the instrument. Since that time, I have written other pieces for organ and once again, I always asked the organist for assistance. With this piece, I am asking Jihyun for her advice and hope to glean many things to improve the piece. In addition, I was guided by Sondra Soderlund's "A Guide to the Pipe Organ for Composers and Others" and it is an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to compose for the organ.
Andrew and Jihyun were looking for a relatively brief prelude or two that could be used in concert or church setting. I hope that I achieved their goal. One of the challenges in composing for organ is that the software does not play back the registrations. The only sound is full organ. I changed the sound to strings, flutes, and oboe to approximate the organ registration, but these sounds do not have 2',4',8', and 16' stops. I am also relying on Jihyun to make suggestions regarding registration. I included dynamics and some suggestions as each organist will use my suggestions to come up with what works best on the particular instrument they are performing on.
The Meditation uses some mild polytonality, but is very tonal otherwise. Meter changes break up the regularity of rhythm and triplet patterns break up the duple meter feel. The dynamic never rises above a mf. The Festive Celebration again uses triplet patterns within a duple meter. A lot of syncopation is present in the organ part during the A sections and then it becomes more straight-forward in the B sections. The harmony uses a lot of chords in 4ths. Once again, meter changes break up the steady 4/4 meter and the movement freely modulates to different tonalities. The predominant dynamic is f and a full organ sound is appropriate here. Measures 43-60 provide a registration, dynamic and textural change before returning to the Great manual to build to the end.
To see and hear what I have discussed, go to http://www.cooppress.net/Meditation_and_Festive_Celebration_blog.html. You will be viewing a transposed score.
As always, your comments are appreciated.