Salem Sonata for organ is in four movements and was composed during late August and September of 2003 on commission from Mr. & Mrs. Mark Welshimer. Approximately ten minutes in length, Salem Sonata celebrates the 2004 completed restoration of the historic 1800 David Tannenberg pipe organ that was originally installed and dedicated in 1800 in the Moravian Church (now known as Home Moravian Church) in Salem, North Carolina. Last used in Home Church on 30 January 1910, the organ was then disassembled and stored, and eventually loaned to the living Moravian community and museum of Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC, where it was under the watchful eye of then Curator, Paula Welshimer. In 1982, when I first met Paula, she showed me the pieces of the stored Tannenberg organ and said that it was her goal to eventually see the organ restored to its musical glory. The following year Paula and I were married and her dream of seeing the organ restored remained steadfast. In the late 1990’s, as Old Salem planned a new Visitors’ Center, her goal became reality as a new recital hall, inspired by the interior of Home Church, was planned to be a part of the new Visitors’ Center and house the Tannenberg organ. Meticulously restored in a period of over five years by the distinguished firm of Taylor & Boody Organbuilders, the rededication of the organ – which included the World Premiere of Salem Sonata – occurred on 19 March 2004 in a concert by American organist, Peter Sykes. Rarely has a commission been so personal for me. Through great persistence and diligence, the dream of Paula Welshimer Locklair (now a Vice President of Old Salem) to see the organ restored has become reality. I was honored to be commissioned by Paula’s brother and sister-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. Mark Welshimer of Bronxville, New York, to create this new work that affectionately honors both Paula and the restored Tannenberg, an instrument that will delight music lovers and visitors to Old Salem for generations to come. The dedication of Salem Sonata reads as follows:
Commissioned by Mark and Rosanne Welshimer in celebration of the
2004 restoration of the 1800 Tannenberg organ at Old Salem (Winston-Salem, NC)
and in honor of Paula Welshimer Locklair,
whose vision and dedication to the project made it a reality
Movement I of Salem Sonata (“…to thee our cordial thankfulness…”) is based on one of the hymn tunes, GREGOR’S 97th, that was sung for the dedication of the new church in Salem on 9 November 1800. This service marked the first time that Mr. Tannenberg’s organ was heard. The title of this movement, which ever increases in energy and jubilation, is from the hymn, We Join in Heartfelt, Amen, to which Christian Gregor’s hymn tune is set.
Movement II (“Hallowed be thy name…”) is also inspired by GREGOR’S 97th, though the hymn tune is less obvious in this reflective movement. The title of the movement comes from The Lord’s Prayer, which appears at the beginning of the Church Litany that opened the 9 November 1800 Dedication Service in Home Moravian Church.
Movement III (“…We owe Thee thankfulness and praise…”) is based on ALMSGIVING, one of two hymn tunes sung at the last service in Home Church where the Tannenberg was played on 30 January 1910. The 1872 hymn text to which ALMSGIVING is paired is by Bishop Christopher Wordsworth. The ALMSGIVING tune is clearly heard contrapuntally at the beginning of the movement and develops in a sprightly and joyous manner throughout.
Movement IV (“…Let His work your pleasure be…”) is also inspired by the hymn tune ALMSGIVING, but, like movement II, the tune is less obvious than in movement III. The title of the movement is from a 1868 hymn by the Rev. Daniel March (Hark, the Voice of Jesus Crying) and, as set to the hymn tune DISCIPLE (ELLESDIE), was the second final hymn sung on 30 January 1910 in Home Church to the accompaniment of the 1800 Tannenberg organ. Energetic and celebratory in nature, this movement brings Salem Sonata to a festive close.
Note to the performer.
Registration suggestions are reflective of the 1800 Tannenberg’s stoplist. They should be viewed as minimal suggestions for other organs.
Total duration: ca. 10 minutes
I (“…to thee our cordial thankfulness…”) [ca. 2′ 45″]
II (“Hallowed be thy name…”) [ca. 3′ 00″]
III (“…We owe Thee thankfulness and praise…”) [ca. 2′ 20″]
IV (“…Let His work your pleasure be…”) [ca. 1′ 50″]