A quick note and a new piece today! First the piece: I felt that the Lenten Improvisations ended right where they needed to end. But upon further reflection, I decided to add an addendum piece, namely a Toccata. A Resurrection Toccata! It is straight forward (or rather up) as a French style toccata should be.
And the quick note: I am migrating all the free works to IMSLP. It will take a little time to get all the links from previous posts, but it will happen.
Happy Holy Week! I had hoped to get this posted before this evening, but as composition goes, these things are never timely. I sometimes get caught in some small details and these last two pieces were no exception. There were parts of each that didn’t satisfy me after an initial play-through. But, as all things must come to a completion, the Lenten Improvisations are complete with the completion of the last improvisation, the Palm Sunday Improvisation. I also wanted to round the collection with toccata for Easter. It is a pretty straight forward work, much like the Miniatures and the Lenten Improvisations, but is a much more joyous work. Enjoy the works and Happy Holy Week!
There are some days, as a composer, and more specifically an organist composer, when I relish in good chorale writing. On those days when I play the chorale harmonizations of Bach or Vaughan Williams, they are so perfect and I never feel the need to do something to make them more exciting. That being said, keeping one’s voice-leading and chorale writing skills in good shape can lead to a piece like today’s Lenten Improvisation. It’s a chorale. Simple as that.
For this week, the 4th Sunday in Lent, the Improvisation is a little more joyous and clear. One of the aspects that I have enjoyed in writing these pieces is letting them be what they are rather than coming to an obvious conclusion. Not that the latter is a bad thing (see the Miniatures), but sometimes a lack of ending is important. Lent is certainly a season that anticipates something immense and the music should reflect that. This 4th Sunday is of course Laetare Sunday, reminding us to rejoice. The 4th Improvisation has a clear structure and form, a reminder of the powerful moments to come.
PS: It was just pointed out that the third system had no repeats but had text that read implied the repeats. That text has been taken out. In actually performing the work, I found that repeat to be intrusive to the flow of the work.
Today I present the next two Lenten Improvisations. The first, Improvisation II, has similarities to Improvisation I, but fleshed out in a different manner. The second, Improvisation III, is an inverted canon. Of course, that’s a simplification of technique, but each is again an exploration of a single stop color that can be found on most instruments. I continue to find the exploration of an individual stop to be challenging and the challenge is what makes it inviting!
Greetings on this First Sunday in Lent! For the first time ever, I am making a post that does not involve some kind of Youtube video. Mostly due to time, I don’t foresee myself having the opportunity to make any recordings of this next round of short pieces over the coming weeks. But I still want to get these works out in a timely manner, namely one piece per week this coming Lenten season. Without further ado, here is the first Lenten Improvisation.
It is a very introspective piece and one that certainly ends on a musical question mark. I think that’s incredibly appropriate to the Lenten season as it anticipates something to come. It is a time of preparation and having music that reflects something coming is hugely important.
Today, I had hoped to present one last Alleluia before Lent starts on Wednesday, but I was unable to get a decent recording that I felt was worthy of posting. This Communion improvisation, on the other hand, is quite nice. It’s static opening motive, I think, lends itself well to the meditative qualities of the communion procession. I am still fascinated trying to use one stop or one color for as long as I think is aesthetically pleasing, which I feel works well here. Not in a contrapuntal way either, simply that the aesthetic and color lends itself to slow change before truly introducing the chant.