Organist and Choirmaster James Walker had planned a concert for his fine
choruses and chamber performers with two works, a short concerto for
organ and chamber orchestra, and Charles Ives' The Celestial Country.
Each work's orchestration excluded instruments in the other's
orchestration. This handed him the dilemma of a finding specific work
for that particular set of instruments. He asked me to complete the
program with a work tailored to the specific group of instruments. As
All Saints also has a fine two-manual harpsichord and as James'
assistant at that time, Timothy Howard, was also a fine player,
essentially we decided together on a double concerto, with James at the
organ and Tim conducting from the harpsichord.
Based on a simple chord structure and progression, the theme is stated
by solo harpsichord prior to the opening concerto grosso itself.
i. Improviso, cantilena e contrappunto
The first movement opens with improvisation-like gestures for the organ,
followed by a long lined melodic section for strings and winds, and then
a contrapuntal development of motives drawn from the "Thema." The
excerpts which follow are not the entire performance, but only hint at
the work's whole.
ii. Lento assai
An introspective middle movement restates the theme in the body of the
Lento, after a meditative opening.
iii. Rondo cantabile
The harpsichord opens this movement in the submediant minor, in answer to the organ's lead in
the first two movements, and then a rondo of themes based on the "Thema"
and its chord progression ensures, growing more lyric and long-lined as
the movement wends its way to a sub-dominant coda and final cadence on
Thereafter, a long arching melody for flutes and violins
sings out above the thema repeated by the organ.
For the implications of the thema touching so many
tonal regions, now comes a moment resting in F major, its melodic
contour drawn from the Thema's characteristic chords expressed in
this diversion from B major.
The several restatements of the thema and its
accompanying melodic derivations in long arches becomes decorated with
fanfares from the winds and brass, bringing the overall rondo variation
to its logical close.
pages, circa 25' 00" - an MP3 demo is here:
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this score.
in B major
Full score - A4 edition