Thursday, March 10, 2011

Suite for Organ in D Minor

I was in a really poor mood for a few weeks, so I started writing this. It pretty accurately tracks how I was feeling all the way up until this morning, when I finished the "Gigue des pirates." Here are some notes on the individual movements:

THE PRELUDE is designed to be unsettling. It messes with the audience's expectations of where the piece will go in terms of melody and harmony. Typically a prelude sets up an idea of what the rest of the suite will be like, but I wanted to have listeners expect the unexpected. It has lots of dark sections, but ends in a stupidly triumphant mood. It also plays with small shifts between major and minor chords, and like most of the suite, it explores changes in register. I make a nod to the organ works of Philip Glass.

THE WALTZ comes mainly from a piece I wrote back in High School for guitar. I like the idea of the harmonic pulse, and unlike the Prelude, I wanted to make this piece really transparent. I add and take away voices so the listener can become very well acquainted with how the piece functions. I was shooting for a mood that was at once melancholy and beautiful.

THE TARANTELLA is a fascinating dance. You can read about it here. I wanted it to be manic and desperate sounding, so for the latter half, I pulled my stock Dies Irae melody that I wrote forever ago and turned it into a round.

THE SARABANDE is a nod to Bach's Sarabande from his fifth cello suite. His piece is kind of an enigma in that it is one of the very few (out of 36) pieces in his cello suites that has no chords--it's purely monophonic. And although it's incredibly short, it's also one of the most emotionally complex pieces ever written. So I was trying to channel that wandering emotion and lost feeling in this piece. (This one may be my favorite.)

THE SICILIENNE is more Mozart inspired than Fauré, although Fauré's is the one I'm more familiar with. I was listening to Pamina's "Ach, ich fühl's" when I decided to write this sicilienne. There's not a whole lot to this one. I guess it's the most melodic movement in the suite.

I was hoping that GIGUE DES PIRATES would turn out to be fun and a little goofy. It's in a good, old rondo form (ABACADA). Bach ended all of his cello suites with a Gigue, so I thought I would too. But as I was writing this, it made me think of pirates. Thus the name.

Well, I hope you enjoy the suite!

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