List of Compositions for Organ by Steven Monrotus

About This New Music

Inspired by the methods and vocabulary of Johann Sebastian Bach, Cesar Franck, and Louis Vierne, the thirty-five new scores for Organ listed on these subpages have been grouped into five collections and have been made available from Sheet Music Direct via ArrangeMe, a Hal Leonard company.  This authentically written art music for the organ was written for the benefit of organists in general and the music ministry, in particular.  Suggested registrations and hand division are included with each piece, and the stretch for the hands is kept to an octave or less.

We are put on this earth not just to survive but to learn, grow, generate, formulate, constitute, institute, originate, innovate, bring into being what did not exist before, and do something with what God put inside us.  All practitioners of the creative arts immersed in this process find themselves faced with making some artistic decisions and taking a stand about how they intend to produce their work.  In that connection 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 far outside the box.

Why? ... because 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 some sort of requirements to satisfy comes less emotion-expressing capability, less running room to develop a musical thought, and diminished ability to connect with an audience.   

This music, a mere sliver of repertoire written during a mere sliver of time near the end of this age, was constructed instead from a place along the edges of the box -- still inside the tonal fences where tonal grammar and syntax are operable but where something untried, unexpected, or surprising can still take place, bearing in mind that the end product, besides having some sort of discernable or logical construction, should be captivating to the ear.  New music like this generally pleases and requires no explanation to the listener as to what it is.  Additionally, and more importantly, tonal melody and singing contrapuntal lines 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 from above the great gift of music and a singing faith in Him.  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 and are attracted to 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.  As stated, these new Organ compositions are the product of walking through a portion of that region that lies close to but still inside tonal fences, a place where chordal syntax and grammar remains the means for communicating a language of warmth and meaning to an audience -- a fertile region which still beckons the creative imagination to uncover, fashion, and form 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, complex and lengthy doesn't always mean a masterpiece.  What an inspired composer has had to say using simpler and more compact musical means has in many cases resulted in a very adroit, skillfully crafted piece or set of pieces -- miniatures quite pleasing, even charming, to the ear which are of great practical use.  Another composer applying more complex and extended compositional means to the same musical material may succeed in creating something larger and more complicated but not necessarily better at bringing out everything the theme has to offer -- it may in fact be something banal, repetitive, even annoyingly unlistenable and of little use.  Even so, new music should be produced in its most varied forms even if it seems complicated -- especially if it's complicated -- because in that effort lies freedom, the freedom to partake (albeit on a much smaller and limited scale) in His nature as Divine Creator.

Those who insist that everything in new music should be shortened and simplified, purged of "needless" multiplicity of involved and intricate elements, and all that creates a fascinating complexity of movement abolished, are the gravediggers of the human mind.  They fail to make the connection that the poorer the language of expression, the less thought, and without the THOUGHT of beauty there can BE no beauty.  Which is why listeners can be expected to find this new music largely compounded of independent moving lines possessing of a certain charm if not engaging, useful, and unlikely to have an expiration date ... something which points people to God and 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.

Inspiration comes when it finds composers working, they transcribe into notes what inspiration brings, and performers press keys ...

but it is God Who makes the music.

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