This recording is of Prelude Internationale for Organ Op. 5
from Ten Pieces for Organ Op. 1-9 by Steven Monrotus.
Dedicated to the memory of Louis Vierne (1870-1937) this work for 2 hands is written
in the same 6-part form that Vierne taught to his students for improvising on a single free theme.
The audio clip is the computer-generated
Depending upon the nature of the theme, Vierne sometimes reduced the improvisation to a fewer number of parts, but this was
the general 6-part plan:
1. 1st Exposition
of theme -- typically 12-16 bars in home key in 3- or 4-voice texture; phrases can be regular or a mix of regular and irregular length; ends in a pause.
2. Bridge (Fr. "pont") -- 4-12 bars in 3-voice texture
modulating to a different key based on the first few notes of the theme, right side-up or inverted; typically moves to the relative or dominant key, sometimes the mediant; ends in a pause.
3. 2nd Exposition of theme -- restatement of the theme in the relative, dominant, or mediant key, same number of bars with harmonized differently, texture contrasting
with 1st exposition (3 vs. 4); theme may be inverted; ends in a pause.
4. Development -- based upon a motif within the theme; modulation through several keys; usually 20+ bars in length; mix of textures; ends in a pause.
5. Preparation for Reentry -- 4-6 bars
modulating back to home key; serves as transition to connect the development with the reentry; usually 4-voice texture; ends in a pause.
6. Reentry of theme -- harmonized chromatically in 4 voices; string celeste tone used when the music is quiet; ends in a short coda.
This theme of this Prelude suggests a quiet work scored for light foundation stops with string celeste tone reserved for the final entry and coda. The irregular phrase lengths, triplet rhythms within a constant duple meter (3 against 4), inverting the
theme, preference for the mediant key in the 2nd entry, frequent and distant modulations to remote keys far away on the Circle during development, parallel 5ths deliberately woven into the harmony in 4 places (bars 8, 30, 39-40, 47) reflecting a new perception
in part-writing but never involving the outer voices, sudden modulation to the home key during preparation for the reentry, final reentry of the theme employing a 2-part canon at the octave, chromatic inflections in the coda -- ALL of these characteristics
are very reminiscent of Vierne's methods and vocabulary.
Louis Vierne left this world having touched the hearts and lives of countless individuals,
musicians and non-musicians alike. Within his compositional output we find that he was more than touched by the wings of genius, and masterpieces are plentiful. It's hoped that this trifling Prelude might be viewed as a souvenir which honors the
life and work of this great French master as a virtuoso performer, an inspired composer, a brilliant improvisor, and a mentor and friend to many.
A friend cares about you for the way you are.
A mentor cares about you too much to leave you the way you are.