Opus 1094

York Concertato (2014)

for Two Organs

  • Exordium
  • Cantilena
  • Fantasia

Duration: 12 min.

Dedication: for Murray and Hazel Somerville

Contact the composer regarding perusal or performance materials.

York Concertato (2014) was written for Murray and Hazel Somerville (residents of York, South Carolina). The work is a chamber sonata for two organs in three movements, and is very intentionally conceived as chamber music, as opposed to many duo organ works requiring large instruments.

Exordium begins immediately with a chord progression that forms the musical material for the movement. This idea is developed, including a section in canon that produces stark dissonances while the figurations rise together out of synchronization—eventually regaining consonance at their peak.

Cantilena is a simple and lyric aria; after the opening statement there follows an antiphonal middle section, a brief contrapuntal episode, and a return of the melody.

Fantasia employs mixed modes throughout, with a distinct evocation of the harmonies and textures of medieval music. The opening modal tune returns throughout with different decorations and ornaments. The conclusion is bold and affirmative.


PERFORMANCE NOTES: This work may be played on almost any two organs. However, it is generally assumed that Organ I is a single manual instrument with no pedals (continuo/box organ) whereas Organ II is a slightly larger instrument with at least a pedal board. However, Organ II need not necessarily have more than one manual, nor need it have any 16’ voices in the pedal.

Given the range of possibilities, registration is left entirely to the discretion of the performers. Some very rudimentary dynamic markings are provided as a starting point. These are not prescriptive, nor should they be assumed to be the only dynamic changes possible/necessary within the work.

The goal (even if using larger organs) should always be an expressive, chamber music atmosphere with balanced discourse between the two instruments. This is really a work conceived for chamber organs, rather than for large symphonic instruments. Thus, the players should also ideally be near each other.