Live performance added. About tonality. With this one I wanted to compose an 'easy to play' repetitive diatonic piece, without the complex harmonies of my other music. Yet, in some way it has the same tendencies of my other pieces. Look at the chant, with its pentatonic / myxolidian colours. These caracteristics are somewhat overruled by the other notes, making it an ambiguous aeolian / phrygian (in earlier versions the pedal ended on e, the chant still ends with a 'hanging' e minor chord). And the phrygian semitone step is also an important building block for the complex harmonies of my regular music. (Notice that the first statement of the chant (first bars) is actually incorrect, as if it is reshaped.) I'm not deliberately calculating this. It arises spontaneous and intuitive.
This one is a study in two part textures. As such it belongs to a set of organ pieces that will, I hope, become a concert suite for the organ. It is also a study in translating my own harmonic language to the bare layout of just two voices. Should I work with harmonies in a traditional sence? With different shades of dissonants? Or should I handel these complex chords as strictly defined sets of inteval classes? I don't find this an easy task to deal with, but I give it a try.
This one is a study in a five part texture, divided over two manuals and pedals. The registration is taken from the famous 'fugues graves' by De Grigny. This clever combination of cornet and cromorne is capable of carrying the sound through a long church nave.
A simple organ piece for the liturgy, that could also be used as a template for improvisation. Liszt already experimented with open ends, inserted monodies, tonal ambituities, the descent of a single line in lower regions. I used and imitated his Via Crucis in my improvisations, about 15 years ago. I have written this example out, just like my piece of march 10, so that I can use it in church. Because of it's simplicity, vagueness and wide range, people are forced to interpret it in there own way. And that's exactly what people tel me after the service, not what I intended but what they experience themselves. It's based on a well known Dutch hymn for Lent (Alles wat over ons geschreven is).
This is church music. No, it is not. Yes, it is. No, it isn't. Yes, no... So, what is it? The vicar of the next service asks me to play some music as a response to a story. I don't know this story, but I know it is about getting support half way a journey. So I took a sketch from a few weeks ago that I didn't use in church, and I adpted it to the outline of this story. Although I did use the initial sketch for another walking piece: Lonely Midnight Walk (piano).
Oboe, Cello, Bassoon
A simple organ piece for the liturgy, a sketch that could also be used as a template for improvisation. It's my idea that one can do almost everything in church on the organ, as long as it is part of the flow of the liturgy, lectures, prayers, moments of silence. Liszt already experimented with open ends, inserted monodies, tonal ambituities, the descent of a single line in lower regions. I used and imitated his Via Crucis in my improvisations, about 15 years ago. I have written this example out, so that I can use it in church tomorrow. It's based on a well known Dutch hymn for Lent. The title, taken from the hymn, means: O love that is hidden.
I started this one as a four part chorale for the organ. But I didn't play it in church. So I wanted it to be rearranged for the piano, while keeping (so to say) it's organ-like grandeur. So I doubled the bass line, rearranged the middle voices, made minder adjustments to the soprano line and added some arpeggio's. And that was enough, the complex harmonies weren't compromised by the rearrangement of the voices.
Please take notice of this probably little known, but brilliant and exciting triple fugue by Ludwig van Beethoven. He likely composed it when he studied with Albrechtsberger. I found this piece in a publication (1853) of Beethoven's contrapuntal studies by Von Seyfried. There is a recording on the organ by Maria Magdalena Kaczor. I think this piece can also be played with some modifications by piano/organ four hands or probably by string quartet.
This is my first attempt to edit a midi file with Garritan Classic Pipe Organs Collection. For this tiny piece from the Buxheimer Orgelbuch I chose a renaissance plenum. I do not know modern transcriptions of the Buxheimer Orgelbuch. So a few years ago I tried my own luck with some of these pieces. The Buxheimer Orgelbuch is the first substantial organ collection ever (15h, century, South Germany). The Buxheimer Orgelbuch can be found online at the IMSLP library (organ tablature).
This 'monody' can be performed in many ways. The sound track is my own performance on the organ. I like to write unaccompanied melodies (monodies). Some of them I used as organ pieces (sometimes harmonized), some of them were performed by recorder players. Others became the starting point for electronic experiments. Some of these melodies were based on tone rows (diatonic, chromatic). Others were written purely intuitive. It made me think of reciting tones, as in Gregorian chant. It made me also aware of varying smaler note groups, as with Indian ragas. This one is a mix of two of such separate melodies. Because of this, there is an alternation between sections with wide leaps (more abstract, avoiding tonal references) and sections circling around a narrow range of notes. Nevertheless, it is in the more abstract sections that the high c sharp and central g are becoming predominant, as the reference points in some sort of meta tone system. That's how I like to experiment with twelve tone music, not as a closed system but as a form of organic growth.
Replacement of an earlier piece, now with my own performance. While composing it I didn't think of a specific tonality. It just circles around a sustained note that seems to be stuck. That's, of course, something that every player of a mechanical organ will recognize.
Replacement of an older piece, now with actual performance. If there is one genre that I like to explore, it is the single melody for the organ or melody instrument. When I was stuck in a certain stage of my development, a professional composer even advised me to compose single melodies for the organ, about 15 minutes of length. He was joking, of course, but it was also serious. Chants are a world in itself, full of beauty and expression. But - on an abstract level - they also contain the seeds of larger structures. The first impulses of Western music would probably not have been there if the first composers had not elaborated on gregorian chants. And what about the endless improvisations of Indian musicians on raga's that are something between melodies and modes. This piece seems to be a simple melody in e minor, embelished with a lot of inflections. But that is not how it was conceived. I started with a musical alphabet, translating some words into music. That was how the notes were derived. Then I mirrored these notes from the inside out. So at the center there is some awareness that the inner note groups are related to each other. But on the outside this awareness is much vaguer. And so this piece plays with perception and memory. I dedicate this performance as a little requiem to the pine tree in the church garden. It was blown over during the last storm.
This wonderful fugue for two violins and cello can easily be read as an organ score, although it is not easy to play on the organ. There is at least one organ recording of it (Maria-Magdalena Kaczor, Aeolus). This piece is taken from Beethoven's contrapuntal studies, published by Ignaz von Seyfried. Not all the pieces in this volume are composed by Beethoven. He likely did copy some pieces to study them, without naming the original composer. This one, however, seems to be authentic. He must have composed it when he studied with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger.
The soundtrack is my own recording. I don't know if it is a world premiere, that'll be the day. I'm not even absolutely sure if this piece is by Beethoven. It was published by Ignaz von Seyfried in a collection with Beethoven's studies on counterpoint. It's not always clear which pieces in these studies are actually by Beethoven. But some pieces certainly are.