Sarabande/Ode & Salutation Organ solos • Craig Phillips
Composer Craig Phillips Released 6/18 Use Voluntaries Difficulty Moderately easy Catalog no. 160-876 Price $12.50 (U.S.)
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Two individual organ works by Craig Philips (“Sarabande” and “Ode and Salutation”) comprise this volume. Both pieces are dedicated in memory of organist Jonathan Biggers who was a close friend and champion of the composer. “Sarabande” is a lyric medita
tion inspired by the “O Lord, support us” evening collect from the Book of Common Prayer. “Ode and Salutation” begins quietly, with solemnity; the music gradually builds to a glorious ending of resplendent affirmation.
"Selah has recently published these two pieces by our excellent composer-colleague Craig Phillips that were composed in memory of organist Jonathan Biggers, who died unexpectedly in September of 2016. These pieces were composed in February and March of 2017 and share an elegiac quality. This does not in any way, however, mean that they are shy or retiring. They are lush yet restlessreflective yet full of rhythmic drive. Both are enlivened by thirty-second notes within the context of a moderately slow tempo. This is especially effective in the Sarabande where anapestic rhythms and grace notes add an improvisatory passion to the central sarabande passage in full harmony. There is more than an echo of Herbert Howells here. The introduction and coda treat a lyrical melody that is sometimes accompanied by the sarabande rhythm and at other times treated freely. A quiet and peaceful ending makes this a beautiful opening voluntary, especially for Evensong. At the head of the piece is the great evening collect “O Lord, support us all the day long….” The second work, Ode and Salutation, is one continuous movement. The Ode begins with the impression of bells tolling, both low and high, as a solo melody begins on a trumpet stop. A variety of solo colors are used before the second half (Salutation) introduces a hymnlike melody on rich foundation stops. This gradually builds to a triumphant conclusion including long trills (perhaps suggesting bells again?) and an active pedal part. These two works stand alone well but could be played as a set, especially given that the keys of A minor and D major flow together perfectly." --AAM Journal, May/June 2019
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