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Commissioned by the American Guild of Organists for the Biennial National Convention in Washington, DC – 2010
Sanctuary is a set of three short pieces for solo organ. The titles are derived from definitions of, or associations with, the word “Sanctuary.”
“Reverence,” the worshipful experience one has within a church sanctuary, is expressed gently (in the opening section), forcefully and triumphantly (middle/climactic section) and prayerfully (ending). The musical language is simple and sparse.
“All Nature Sings” is inspired by a Nature Sanctuary, specifically a Bird Sanctuary. There are many bird calls. One especially “exuberant bird” sings the loudest and most joyfully!
A sanctuary is also a place where one may go to find refuge – from violence, from enemies, from the outer world. This is a place of peace. And the peacefulness of this third movement may be heard in the opening chords, downward arpeggios falling like grace upon the listener. A theme is then introduced above the arpeggios. Melodic lines are most often descending – settling and resting. A middle section grows in tempo and dynamics, rising perhaps to a light entering the upper reaches of the sanctuary. At the end, one last ray of light (or perhaps a bird call) sparkles and fades.
Notes by the composer