Suite für Orgel, Klavier und Streichquartett - (2012)
Gerd Büntzly gewidmet
I was contacted by Gerd Büntzly, regarding some of the larger concerti grossi which I have not as yet newly edited and re-engraved. In seeking a work for his group, he wrote of his using two themes based on the names of his town and a neighboring. He wrote me, "I live in Herford (60.000 inhabitants), Eastern Westphalia, (half way between Dortmund and Hannover), a town with several fine old churches and still a lot of old buildings, and some time ago, I composed an organ work with the notes of h-e-f-d, and a second subject was with the notes of the neighbour city of Bielefeld (the town where the church with the organ and the spinet is), a good deal bigger than Herford (300.000 inhabitants), but in a sort of jealousy to our town for 300 years. The notes of b-e-e-f-e-d are a lot harsher than those of Herford, so there is a good contrast."
After some exchange of messages, I suggested a work based on these suggested themes, observing that many of the churches have a portative organ in addition to the larger instrument and therefore this chamber ensemble piece could find a number of possible additional venues. [ For those needing clarification, H in the German system is B natural, while B is B flat in the English system, as in the well-beloved B-A-C-H theme. ]
i. Moderato affetuoso - (circa 8' 30")
The three movement work begins with a statement of the first theme in the organ. (The organ's registrations are omitted, as instruments vary and organists know far better than a composer their resources.) This statement continues in its original tonality as well as in transposition in the organ as a countersubject in octaves sings against it in the violins.
Gerd observed in a sketch I had sent him that the piano part functions "like little clocks." One notes the first theme in the right hand throughout as the melodic countersubject develops. Moving from rooted on E to being rooted on G, the B flat from the second theme is hinted at.
The second theme (B-flat spelled enharmonically) makes a contrast to the more lyrical opening, and then a return to the first theme answers, and a gentle coda cadences on G major out of the wash of earlier E minor.
ii. Allegretto, lento e allegretto - (circa 7' 00")
The second movement begins like a scherzo, short imitations of gestures spread between the players.
A break from the agitated mood is colored with lightly polytonal chords in the piano as the first violin meditates a moment over slowly changing chords.
This moment and a related yield back to the more agitated feeling, as the pizzicati strings underpin the first theme sung out at first in the organ. Thereafter the two swap roles. A version of the second theme then follows in a short fughetta, and the two are combined in a short coda for this scherzo-like movement.
iii. Largo e allegro con brio - (circa 5' 00")
A meditative mood responds to the previous movement's mood, as solo strings sing a theme to the accompaniment of organ recalling the harmonic changes of the opening movement as the piano decorates with arpeggios. The four strings meet for a final summation of this treatment of the materials, and then an allegro follows.
The ostinati in the piano drive forward a marcato feeling in the strings as the organ restates the tonalities of the first theme. A contrapuntal treatment of the various thematic material pushes into a short, aggressive coda and final close on the opening tonality of E.
The score is available as a free PDF download formatted for A4 size paper, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this score without parts (34 pages). For those planning a performance and wishing parts, please send an email mentioning the title of the work and your plans for venue and date.
Suite für Orgel, Klavier und Streichquartett - A4