Festal Suite

Duration: ca. 8′

Instrumentation: solo organ

Score: View score sample

Performance Note: Festal Suite was composed in May 2012 for a competition sponsored by the Kansas City chapter of the American Guild of Organists. The competition specified a piece accessible in character and not overly demanding, technically; after spending some time listening to 20th century organ repertoire (much of which was not particularly accessible and sounded quite complex), I opted to write four characteristic movements for the instrument that alternated modal and tonal harmonies and celebrated some of the overlooked repertoire for the instrument (particularly the solo sonatas of Mendelssohn) as well as my love of good hymns.

The movements of Festal Suite follow this pattern:

I. Introduction. A short opening movement primarily in the Lydian mode, the Introduction revisits some of the organ writing from my choral anthem, Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord (2012), particularly blocked chords in the hands with a striding pedal bass.

II. Processional. This was the first music of Festal Suite to actually be written, recalling, after a fashion, parts of the Mendelssohn Organ Sonata no. 2.

III. Melodie. The third movement provides a respite, surrounded as it is by three up tempo movements. It returns to a generally modal harmonic language, being primarily in the Mixolydian mode.

IV. Chorale-Postlude. There are plenty of “chorale preludes,” so why not a “chorale postlude”? Two hymn tunes – MADRID and DIX – provide the basis for this movement, which concludes on a triumphant reharmonization of the latter melody.

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