Friday, January 22, 2016

Voluntary in A-flat Major - Pärt-song

Here's where you might find a PDF of this page!

This past week, Arvo Pärt was declared the most-performed living composer. While I question the methodology and wonder at who was in the running (and no, I'm not nearly so egotistical as to think that I might have been!) there are few better options for living composers to be widely performed.
This week's meditative voluntary is inspired by Pärt's minimalistic style - although not by this week's announcement; it was in the back of my mind a while! Specifically, I had in mind his setting of the Beatitudes with its motivic leaps of sixths.

I tried this one out at my work organ to check a couple things before posting, see what registrations could be made to work, and so forth. The pedal part works both with and without 16', and using a (very soft) manual 16' for the left hand part was quite effective, requiring only that it be coupled to the pedal in the last two bars for a proper harmony (as I was using the 8' flute in the pedal at the time). I experimented with tempi as well and found that a speed of 50 or slower to the quarter note was - while very slow - rather pleasant.

Finally, it is possible, although probably ill-advised, to play the left-hand part in the pedals and the pedal in the left hand, but doing so makes getting a continuous legato very challenging due to the large leaps in the manual lines.

I'm curious as to the longest possible performance of this work that still has a sense of motion rather than of a series of static chords. I'd be curious to hear any interpretations!

That's all for now. Here's the legally stuff and my continued declaration of needing money.

Creative Commons License
Voluntary in A-flat by Mike Cutler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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