|||Bright Angels

Bright Angels

For organ, percussion, and recorded audio

  1. Messengers
  2. The Trumpet
  3. Hosannas

Composed: 1977
Duration: 10:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Score, 0244
Electronic Media, 0244A


A challenging piece for an organ of at least two manuals, percussion, and tape. The first of the three movements, “Messengers,” begins with the organist cuing the tape, which produces what the score calls “crescendo and panning” as the percussionist effects a crescendo on the marimba. The organ’s entrance is quiet, building to an eventual thematic superimposition of simple triads in dissonant combinations. Quick flurries of notes follow, each ending in sustained clusters, a minor second, or a unison. The movement closes with a return to the sustained notes that marked the first appearance of the organ. Movement number two, “The Trumpet,” centers around a tonal cluster that is shuffled between the bass pedals and the lower manual, set against staccato bursts in the top manual and the percussion; the organ holds the final cluster beyond the end of the tape. The most conventional movement, “Hosannas,” follows, complete with key and time signature. The tape establishes a B flat tonal center as the organ, using the 8′ Trumpet stop, proclaims a series of fanfares in fourths and fifths. These figures accelerate to a cadential cluster, then as a triplet ostinato is established by the marimba, a rapid and hypnotic Phil Glass-like pattern begins in the manuals. Various new pitch centers fade in and out on the tape, the organ breaks into a series of short trills in fourths, and a majestic long chord, again based on juxtaposed triads, but this time held longest by the vibraphone, brings the work to an end.

Contemporary Keyboard, February 1980

Bright Angels


Score Sample:

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Audio Excerpt: