The console of the historic 1924 Kimball Masonic pipe organ of 144 speaking stops, 51 ranks, 9 divisions, 3,907 pipes at the Saint Louis Scottish Rite Cathedral
This music has been copyrighted, published, and archived with the 1) Boston Chapter, American Guild of Organists, Organ Library
of the Boston University School of Theology, 2) American Organ Institute, University of Oklahoma, 3) Unda Maris Studio, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania, 4) Saint Louis Valley Library, A.A.S.R., southern jurisdiction, and 5) Grand Lodge Library, Grand
Lodge of Missouri, A.F. & A.M. It was composed with the sound of the historic 1924 W.W. Kimball Masonic pipe organ of the Saint Louis Scottish Rite Cathedral in mind (photo).
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, viz., to create a hit that catches 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 music 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 Carson Cooman, composer in residence of Harvard University, who has written a large body of work for different combinations of instruments and proselytizes for contemporary organ music.
music like this has a certain 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,
it's worth a look. What one will find in it are 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.
History has shown that all of these are necessary conditions for a contemporary work to find a place one day in the standard organ repertoire.