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Welkinharmonie (2015)

Instrumentation: Organ
Duration: ca. 70'
Supported by the Shin Pond Artist Residency
Premiere Dates: April 14, 2015 Washington, DC
May 1, 2015, Baltimore, MD
June 7, 2015, Dallas, TX

Program Note

Welkinharmonie, or “sky-music,” is a meditation on the mythic cycle of creation, preservation, and destruction that is at the heart of many faith traditions, particularly Vedic Hinduism. The work draws on a number of sources: most prominently, it references the “organ masses” of the Baroque era, where chants or hymn tunes would be quoted in organ works and placed in the order in which they would appear in the service. This historical tradition was accompanied by contrapuntal workmanship, so in some senses Welkinharmonie grapples with how to create counterpoint in a musical language that freely uses consonance and dissonance, while at the same time creating a ritual progression absent of direct quotation. The texts associated with the composition serve to create meaningful resonance, providing some illumination for each individual movement. Frequently referenced themes in the work are time and meaning: how are these created, sustained, and changed? The first movement, for instance, plays with time and rhythm, culminating in a seven-fold augmentation fugue at the end. This suggests something quantum, a resonance with the study of physics that seeks to unify the infinitely small elements of the universe with the infinitely large. Ultimately, Welkinharmonie is a ruminative twenty-first century statement of faith, blending elements of myth, science, and musical study.

— Douglas Buchanan



I - Praeludium - Toccata Capriccioso


III - Overture - Ciaconna Giubilante


VI. Fantasia Canonica - Ricercar di Campane


VIII. Antiphon II


XI & XII. Postludium (Quodlibet Nocturnam) - Antiphon III (Euouae)



An excerpt from Douglas Buchanan's "Welkinharmonie," for organ solo, performed at the Church of the Epiphany's Tuesday Concert series in Washington D.C. on April 14, 2015.


Welkinharmonie: Antiphon 1


Full Program Notes

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