Triptych for Manuals
by Dan Locklair
Dedicated to dear friends Quentin and Mary Murrell Faulkner, Triptych for Manuals was my first published work for organ. Composed in 1974, and published two years later, these three impromptu-like pieces are for manuals alone. I have always been fascinated by dialogue and this quality permeates all three pieces. Characterized by quartal harmony throughout, all explore dialogues in a gentle polytonal sense, with I and III also alternating dialogues between different manual colors as well.
I. Fast and Lyrical
The movement’s primary melodic material is first heard in the right hand, played legato on one manual of 8′ and 2′ colors supported by a gentle staccato, accompaniment in the left hand. Soon, changing to a second manual of 8′ and 4′ colors, a variant of this legato melody is taken over by the left hand as the right hand assumes the accompanying role, played legato. The alternation and development of these two sections continues throughout the duration of this sprightly piece.
This movement is a gentle aria played on one manual throughout on the organ’s warm, celeste strings. The polytonal aspects form the dialogue component here, which is largely played out between harmonies of the white and black notes of the keyboard.
III. Very Fast with Fire
Returning to the quick spirit of the opening movement, while I is lyrical in nature, III is motivic. As in I, dialogues abound between the two manuals, but the colors of III are richer and include bright stops with mixtures.