New Bolcom Work for Organ and Brass Quintet to Receive Premiere

Organist Douglas Reed of the University of Evansville has strong ties to the University of Michigan and has been a staunch advocate of its renowned composers/keyboardists Williams Albright and Bolcom. He is currently recording the complete organ works of Albright and, to celebrate his retirement from teaching at Evansville, the AGO Chapter of that city has commissioned a new work from William Bolcom. The work features the organ with a brass quintet, by Reed’s request because his son, Eric, is a world-class horn player and member of the American Brass Quintet. Interestingly, at the time of the commission, Eric was horn player for the Canadian Brass Quintet and this influenced some of Bolcom’s compositional decisions for his new work Fantasia for Organ and Brass Quintet. As Bolcom has written in his program note:

“The work is in several consecutive movements and lasts about 15 minutes: Movement I., Introit and Dance, begins with a forceful tutti polychord followed by antiphonal passages between quintet and organ and leading to a joyous 12/8 dance movement integrating the ensemble. After a return to opening material comes II., a lyrical Canzonetta in 6/4; this leads directly to III., Caprice Canadien, a humorous hat-tip to the Canadian Brass Quintet in 2/4 (listen for hidden references to famous Canadian tunes). IV., a Cavatina, is a lyrical grazioso piece in 9/8, closing with a pianissimo recall of the opening ff chord – out of which comes movement V, the closing Fugato giocoso in 6/8, including one more recall of the opening.”

William Bolcom’s Fantasia will be premiered on April 10, 2015 by Douglas Reed (playing Fisk Organ Op. 98) and American Brass Quintet in Evansville, Indiana at the First Presbyterian Church.

March 10, 2015