an intimate space (2018)
mechanical action organ - 10 min
written for Alexis Young
excerpt from the performance notes:
because every organ is different, it's important that the performer becomes incredibly familiar with the organ on which they will perform this piece. since the main interest lies with gradually pulling on mechanical-action stops the performer will need to pay great attention to the intricacies and tendencies of their performance instrument. there will be three stops that serve as the focal timbre for the piece: 8', 4' and 2' flutes. The performer should first find four distinct "stages" at which each stop will excite the partials of their respective pipes and then recall what they sound like for use in performance.
Although the sounding pitches may be unique to [an] instrument, the relationship between each of these stages should be universal across all tracker-action organs... the performer will determine what each stage is on their performance instrument and "pull accordingly". The simplest adivce the composer can offer to the performer is to be patient and pace your performance.
the "intimate space" portion of the title refers to many aspects of this piece, both physical and musical. the changing pitch relationships heard throughout are the result of the organist pulling out the stops at small increments: an intimate amount of space. the aural result is a conceptually intimate difference between sonorities, dealing with microtonal harmonies. as a gross generalization, many mechanical action organs tend to have fewer pipes or available timbres than electro-pneumatic or fully electronic instruments, and therefore tend to occupy physically smaller spaces. Lastly, the success of the piece relies heavily on the performer/instrument relationship, requiring time spent discovering the intricacies and tendencies of the instrument.
the score can be downloaded for free. please note that the music is protected by copyright. if you'd like to play the piece, feel free to get in touch with me here.
the premiere of "an intimate space" took place at Western Michigan University for the concert "balancing act" where Graeme Shields, Allen Schrock, and Steven Flick performed brand new music alongside early- to mid-Baroque repertoire. the organ pictured is the Noack in the organ studio at WMU, on which this piece was written.