Communion in E Major for Organ Op. 17

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In this music the stretch for the hands is kept at an octave or less, and registration suggestions and indications for hand division are included with the scores.

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This is essentially concert music that can be used for recitals, in the worship service, for fraternal ceremonies and work, or for instruction.  As such it's written for a smaller, elite audience of work-a-day organists, teachers, and church musicians within an already small classical music listening public.  Looking at it through the lens of the organ, anyone focused on composing organ music these days is writing for a medium whose core repertoire spans hundreds of years and is automatically entering into a dialogue with the past and having enduring works as models.  It was therefore natural that this composer give some thought to what it might take for his writing to become something that speaks to a broad variety of musicians and music lovers over a span of cultures, places, and even epochs -- something that might have a life beyond its original premiere and even possibly labored over, loved, interrogated, or admired by future generations.

The overwhelming majority of music being created today is made with an entirely different goal in mind, i.e. to create a hit, catching fire with the broadest possible listening public at the moment, with no concern or regard for any kind of historical endurance.  The desire to write a piece that would enter the organ repertoire is particularly apposite, and contemporary works simply do not figure prominently in the organ repertoire.  We see this, notwithstanding noteworthy contributions by such eminent composers of the last 50 years as diverse as Philip Glass, David Lang, Milton Babbitt, and Gyorgi Ligeti, among others, and the tireless efforts of people like Carson Cooman who proselytize for contemporary organ music.

Nevertheless the music under discussion has stylishness, substantive ideas, integrity with a seriousness of purpose, craft in the sense of attention to detail, and an inner propulsion that carries the listener forward from start to finish including a little of the unexpected.  Within it may be found elements of intricacy, subtlety, and sophistication that balance simplicity, contrasting ideas which generate interest, and a form molded with the intention of creating a satisfying sense of a musical journey.  All of these are necessary conditions for a contemporary work to find a place one day in the standard organ repertoire.




The console of the historic four manual Kimball organ of 144 stops, 52 ranks, 9 divisions, and 3,859 pipes at the Saint Louis Scottish Rite Cathedral.