Listed Organ Music of Steven Monrotus, Op. 1-33

About This New Music

Inspired by the methods and musical language of Johann Sebastian Bach, Louis Vierne, and the admonition given by Cesar Franck to his composition scholars at the Paris Conservatoire ("Do not write much, but let it be very good") the 35 original compositions for Organ listed on these subpages were written for the glory of God, the refreshment of the spirit, and to be of use to musicians for instruction and supplemental repertoire.  Grouped into 5 collections, the scores include suggested registrations and hand division and are awaiting publication.  In each piece the stretch for the hands is kept to an octave or less.

We are here to create, not just survive.  Every practitioner of the creative arts, and composers in particular, find themselves faced with making some artistic decisions and taking a stand about how they intend to produce their work.  People may choose to debate the issue but it's nonetheless true that a creative artistic endeavor cannot become a beautiful, lasting work of art if constructed from a place from far outside the box.  Far outside the box there's no reality there, no rules to bend or break like an artist, no sane and solid battle-tested principles to carry forward, no patterns to follow known to satisfy the aesthetic senses, no means of production, nothing to work against.  Without requirements to satisfy comes less emotion-expressing capability, less running room to develop a musical thought, and greater risk of losing an audience.   

This music was constructed instead from a place along the edges of the box but inside the fences where tonal grammar and syntax are still operable and relevant but also where something untried, unexpected, or surprising can take place and nonetheless convey to the listener a language of warmth and meaning and a clear sense of architecture, bearing in mind that the end product should be as beautiful to listen to as it is logical.  New music like this which pays close attention to form, when per-formed, requires no explanation to the uninitiated as to what it is.  Additionally, and more importantly, tonal melody and moving contrapuntal lines weaving in and out with a complexity all their own deliberately reach out to celebrate and approach the one living and true God Who created a living world of such awesome complexity, a God Whose heart is pleasured with singing, the same God Who provided to mankind not only the Way to life but the great gift of music.  The result is something cogent, concise, contrapuntally savvy, listener-friendly, and definitely of our time ... something captivating enough to grow on people with repeated hearings ... something that can be employed by other musicians as a vehicle to help bring out the best in themselves as well.

By the same token those who love tonality also should revere the impulse that would push one to the edge of tonality and beyond.  Passages of music bordering on tonal ambiguity but still subject to the gravitational  attraction, albeit weak, of a tonic (home) key and chordal relationships which hold the music inside a region of musical space where tonal fences may be shaky but still standing can be of great beauty.  Further beyond this lies the region of extended tonality which, while the music may involve polytonality (i.e., bass in one key, triads in another) and free atonality in sections, it usually settles down to a tonic pole of some sort.  Here we find a much more rarified region which can be too extended for the tonal crowd and not atonal enough for the serialists and minimalists.  Be that as it may, art forms destined to have a future subsist on energy innovation like this -- in the case of music by keeping the best of what we know from composers of the past and doing something interesting and unpredictable with it that nobody has ever heard before.  These collections of pieces for Organ are an attempt to explore a portion of that same region within tonal fences which still beckons and to uncover what it will.      

THIS is what this new music IS...  

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THIS is what this new music IS NOT:

it IS NOT something that tries to reinvent the wheel of common practice manner ...

it IS NOT something that leaves listeners waiting patiently through a mixmaster of notes, albeit rationally constructed, for a recognizable melody to emerge ...

it IS NOT something that can be expected to resonate the most with those steeped in modernist paradigm-ideology, logical as the latter may be ...

and therefore IS NOT something that can be expected to win top honors in competitions as they typically are being adjudicated today, if that even matters ...

it IS NOT something with shapeless or meaningless form which can be fastened upon and used for subversive political ends with the goal of discrediting Western art, societies, or culture ... 

History teaches that, when it comes to music, simple doesn't always equate to bad, and complex doesn't always equate to good.  Both can be appealing, imaginative, clever, and pleasantly listenable.  Both can be dull, unimaginative, lackluster, and annoyingly unlistenable.  Even so, music should be taught and practiced in its most varied forms even if it seems complicated -- especially if it's complicated -- because in that effort lies freedom.

Those who explain over time that everything should be simplified, purged of its "flaws" and nuances, and all that creates complexity abolished, are the gravediggers of the human mind.  The poorer the language of expression, the less thought, but without the THOUGHT of beauty there can BE no beauty ... which is why listeners can expect to find this new music engaging, possessing a certain charm, useful, and unlikely to have an expiration date ... something which can only add to and supplement the much larger harvest of gifts, blessings, privileges, and benefits already in the lives of listeners, merely awaiting their recognition of it. 

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