Sunday, February 8, 2015

Little Suite

The organ is such a beautifully versatile instrument. I was privileged to play the organ at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church in a flute concert, playing a Handel sonata with a soloist (the inimitable Charmaine Bacon), a solo composition which I'm detailing below, and my first ever actual concerto, the Soler Concerto #6 for Two Organs, with a flute choir playing the part of a second organ. More on that later, I'm sure; for now, I want to talk about my Little Suite for Organ.

The Little Suite is built on patterns that I use to create improvisations are hymn tunes, although these pieces are not based on known themes but rather on original melodies. They were written separately, but I believe work nicely as a unified concert piece, and while they may be suitable for worship services, they were not written with that intent in mind.

The first piece is a Scherzetto, about 90 seconds to two minutes in length. It's in a constant three-against-two rhythm. The left hand keeps steady time while the right carries a flighty melody in the upper reaches of the 4' stop.

Secondly, the slow Meditation. Using a 2' stop in the pedal against wide open quintal chords the bass of the strings is a trick I've had for a long time, especially for improvisations on slow hymns, and I will probably start writing some of those improvisations down and publishing them. If a 2' isn't available in the pedal, a 4' stop can be used played up the octave.

Finally, the biting March. When I use this sort of pattern for improvising, it's not usually quite so sarcastic in tone. It uses a compositional form I've been toying with since I started writing, which is to shortcut the repeat of a ternary form (March and Trio in this case) by coming back not to the beginning of the primary section but instead to come back to the middle of it. Del segno, not Da Capo, in other words.

At the aforementioned recital, I was able to record the Little Suite, warts and all. It's here, courtesy of Soundcloud.

And as usual, the score is available here in glorious PDF.

Creative Commons License
Little Suite for Organ by Mike Cutler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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