Suite for Harmonium and Piano - (2017)
for Marilyn Barnett, Studienleiterin
Staatsoper Unter den Linden
After seeking a harmonium to add to the orchestra's collection, a Victor Mustel harmonium became available, in need of restoration. With some many months of considering what a fine chamber music instrument this is, and surveying some of the fine literature written for it, the thought to compose a suite came to mind.
The work is a true duet, neither playing solely an accompanying role. The harmonium part is without those annotations which various composers a century ago would add indicating registrations. With many different makers and various configurations, it is best to rely on the harmonium player's knowledge of a given instrument to make from among the choices tasteful, effective registrations.
In a first movement, marked andante, arpeggios in the piano outline a harmonic succession with the solo lines of the harmonium over it. Later roles reverse, and the complexity of their roles increase.
The second is a caccia of sorts, marked presto ma non troppo, as the instruments exchange "sides" across the tonic and dominant regions.
The third marked largo is lyrical as a minimalist chord succession underpins a solo line in the harmonium.
The fourth and final movement is a fugue with both instr7ments stating the subject, moving through related regions and to a stretto of three voices separated at the quarter noted. A last reminiscence of the opening echoes to a quiet last cadence.
23 pages, circa 15' 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.
Suite for Harmonium and Piano