Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) talked about the concept of Gebrauchsmuziek–essentially functional, or occasional music. He wrote for a broad range of instrumental and vocal combinations, writing music that he expected to be used, rather than sit on a shelf. A look at his list of compositions will quickly show you that he was both prolific and far-ranging in his interests.
My compositional career, while probably less prolific, is certainly focused on producing practical works for specific situations. I’ve been working on some web pages where I hope to show a catalog of my works while offering some commentary and some downloadable works. I’ve produced eleven pieces since the start of 2005. One is choral (written for a competition); the others all have an organ or piano part for me to play. Since I’m an organist with reduced opportunity to conduct choral groups than in the past, I write most for the resource most accessible to me. Eight of the ten instrumental works are based on hymn tunes; there’s not much of a surprise there, since that allows me to either strengthen congregational singing or support the theme of the service.
6/18/2005: Prelude on Ellacombe (organ)
6/4/2005: All Things Bright and Beautiful (organ)
5/28/2005: New variations on St. Denio (1981) (organ)
5/13/2005: A Song of Promise (SATB chorus and orchestra)
3/20/2005: Fanfares for an Easter Day(3 trumpets, 2 trombones, optional timpani, organ)
3/9/2005: Variations on a French Carol (arr for organ)
3/4/2005: Variations on a French Carol (flute and piano)
2/28/2005: Reflections on Brother James’s Air (flute and organ)
2/7/2005: Beginnings (organ)
1/21/2005: Passacaglia on Spirit (organ)
1/15/2005: McKee Variations (organ)
I’m getting pretty close to opening up some pages on my web site with excerpts and comments on each piece. Watch for links in my Recent Work section to the left. On the other hand, it’s been 10 days since I’ve done any composing of a musical nature. I may just get sidetracked for a few days…