Diatonic Fantasia and Fugue in G major - (2021)
to the memory of my brother, Gregory
Beginning with a simple arpeggio on the tonic major seven chord, a set of gestures is constructed in which notes linger and are withdrawn from the aggregate chord, a five note chord built and reduced. For this, the notation might be a little cumbersome to some. The clusters are punctuated with a quasi-pizzicato bass line in the pedal.
The fugue subject outlines the tonic major seven chord with short answers from the melodic subdominant. Thereafter, with episodes of similar arpeggios, the fugue plays out in dynamics recommended all to be "dolce."
My middle brother, Greg (1946-1987) was an amateur musician, who studied violin with a neighbor who lived just across the street. While serving in the Navy, he played in various productions as time and place permitted. Wife and apple of his eye, Roberta (1943-1974), died far too young, as did Greg later at the age of 41. When a child in a men's and boys' choir, a Los Angeles Times photographer snapped the "choirboy" photo which then was used for years in the paper's section announcing various religious services as a sort of logo.
With the death of my elder brother last month, I thought to remember Greg as well in a light-hearted, sweet work to start a new year. There was about 13 years between Gordon and Greg, my middle brother having been a surprise to our folks. I was planned therefore, that Greg have a brother near his age. For that we found ourselves together in a boys' choir, under the direction of Frank K. Owen, who I had remembered with another organ work, a Contrappunto in A minor . Oddly, quite a number of organ works remember musically the many musicians who were friends and associates of my parents, whom I met later as an adult. Many of these played their roles in the Los Angeles and Pasadena chapters of the American Guild of Organists. The Los Angeles Examiner (a newspaper which exists no longer) of 22 December 1956 printed a photo of some choir boys, Greg being second from the right in the front row. It seems as if from another age, as I look back from today.
Part of my enthusiasm for the "king of instruments" is firmly rooted in this time of life, when I recall this photo above, sitting next to Mr. Owen on the organ bench. My brothers and I all were for some years singers in the same choir, and we all three shared in such musical experiences as we shared as family, and we all shared an appreciation for the organ. It seemed quite apt, then, to celebrate memories of Greg with an organ work., as I have done with so many others who wove a seamless web of music about me from a very young age.
6 pages, circa 7' 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 organ score.
Diatonic Fantasia and Fugue in G major