Burdens and Fugues in D major - (2012)
for Carson Cooman
A concert work tailored specifically to a small organ of one manual and shortened pedal board was the topic of conversation between Carson and myself. In thinking through the notions of such limitations -- limitations being the fount of much creativity -- breaks in the texture of the music would allow an organist to draw stops by hand, while a small number of imagined registrations could carry the piece. For this, the episodes are marked with only three dynamics, mp, mf, and f, with fermati placed at junction points. Refrains return, and for this a small rondo form emerges, the lyrical and ornamented moments marked as at measure 24 and beyond.
As the subject of the work is the tonic major seven chords' members, an episode of imitation highlights this with the pedal in augmentation against the lilt of the manual's two voices. Restatements in imitatio occur at the mediant and dominant.
After a refrain, a lively fugue subject follows. This first fugue opens in the soprano line with its answer in the dominant.
After another refrain, the fugue takes up with a pedal solo with the subject appearing in tonic, dominant and a short dalliance into the lowered seven's region. This becomes a double fugue as two subjects unite in varying restatements of the larger theme.
The last statement takes the three different themes to weave a short burst of counterpoint before closing with a look back to the texture of the refrain wedded to the tonic major seven chord.
Composer and performer Carson Cooman currently serves as Research Associate in Music and Composer-in-Residence, The Memorial Church of Harvard University. His music is found on more than 35 recordings, and his performances focus on contemporary music for the organ. Additionally he writes on music for a number of publications. For much more information, his website is www.carsoncooman.com.
Duration: 11 pages, circa 7' 30" - 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.
Burdens and Fugues in D major