Concertino Foko (2014)
for Organ, Brass Choir (184.108.40.206), Timpani, and Percussion (1)
Thomas Sheehan, organ; Washington Symphonic Brass; Scott Wood, conductor
Ray Cornils, organ; Kotzschmar Festival Brass; Peter Richard Conte, conductor
Duration: 8 min.
Dedication: Commissioned by the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, celebrating the renovation of the Kotzschmar Organ, Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine, September 2014
Commission: Commissioned by the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ
Publisher: Soundspells Productions
Concertino Foko (2014) for organ, brass choir, and percussion was commissioned by the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ. The Kotzschmar Organ was installed in the Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine by the Austin Organ Company in 1911 and was at that time the second largest organ in the world. The instrument remains one of the few remaining examples of the municipal organs that were an important part of American life in the early 20th century. The city of Portland, Maine has been a tremendous steward of this marvelous instrument. This composition was commissioned to celebrate the organ’s return to playing activity in September 2014 after two years of extensive restoration. It was premiered by municipal organist Ray Cornils (the tenth individual to hold that position) along with the Kotzschmar Festival Brass, conducted by Peter Richard Conte.
The work is a concerto for organ and ensemble compressed into a short duration and a single movement. The music begins with a raucous salvo by brass and percussion, attempting to wake up the sleeping organ. The sleepy organ responds with its quietest sounds, and the brass try again, getting a bit more of a response. After a third try, the organ bursts awake in a vibrant mini-toccata, in which the brass and percussion joyfully join. A slower, lyrical middle section combines solo stops in the organ with solos for the brass. A cadenza for the organ pedals leads to a return of the opening music and a blazing and vibrant conclusion.