Church Organist, for soprano and organ

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Church Organist, for soprano and organ

8.00

Key of G major.

Soprano range: G3 - A5.

Organ accompaniment difficulty: Intermediate.

Registration suggestions throughout. While the piece was composed for a large pipe organ with en chamade, the registration can certainly be modified to suit smaller organs.

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Church Organist was commissioned by Dr. Steven Egler, Dean of the Saginaw AGO chapter, to be premiered by Mr. Michael Plagerman, organist, and Mrs. Erin Whitfield, soprano, at First Presbyterian Church of Saginaw, Michigan on May 24, 2019. The work pays tribute to one of Saginaw’s most beloved poets, Margaret Curry Rorke (1915 - 2000). Her poems were featured for twenty-two years in the Saginaw News. Between 1975 - 1991, she penned around 400 poems that were published in the Detroit Free Press. She also published numerous books exploring various themes including marriage, motherhood, spirituality, religion, and nature. The proceeds from her books were donated to charities, churches, and cultural institutions of Saginaw. Margaret was fundamentally a woman of faith and was a member of First Congregational Church of Saginaw all her life. It can be no surprise then that she sought to celebrate the beauty and power of music ministry and the crucial role of the church organist in this poem. In my setting, I have tried to embody the directness of her verse and her undeniable passion. The music is truly a celebration of the organ, with the soprano often singing in unison with the instrument throughout, and exploiting the full spectrum of possible stops. It begins with the Vox Angelica (the faintest stop on the organ) and concludes with full organ and Trompette en chamade, producing a roaring and fiery response to the poet’s final line: “Our worldly woes succumb / To one, Oh Lord, who has the power/ To help ‘Thy Kingdom Come.’”