Three Pieces for Organ (11’00)

Three Pieces for Organ (11’00)


Three Pieces for Organ (2000), Score

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About this Work

The Three Pieces for Organ are perhaps my most played piece of music, and also one of the earliest compositions in my catalog.  They were originally written in 1998 for my friend Damin Spritzer, who gave the premiere, but they have subsequently been taken on by several other organists including Michelle Rae Martin, Timothy Olsen, and Frederick Teardo, to name a few.  Each piece is based on a poem by the 19th century American poet, Stephen Crane and are titled as follows:

stephen-crane-4481.  Black Riders
2.  Here and There
3.  Upon a High Place

The first piece is fast, violent, and full of rapid-fire shifts of texture.  In experimenting with the organ, I noticed that the more notes one plays simultaneously, the louder the sound.  I decided to use this simple principle to create crescendo effects, which you hear throughout the movement.  The second piece is a very slow lament using a simple chorale tune whose bass pattern is based on the name of the dedicatee (D-A-F-Bflat-G).  The final piece uses highly contrasting colors and changes of register to suggest different kinds of devils and demons “carousing in sin.”  As such, it is a playful one, discontinuous but using only a few pieces of material to generate the music.  The music was revised a couple of years later, and so there are a few changes, particularly in the second and third pieces, which make the score differ slightly from the given recording.

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