Jubilo (A Prelude for Organ)
This piece was the result of a 1998 autumn commission from the American Guild of Organists (AGO) for the 2001 Regional Competitions for Young Organists (RCYO). The commission was the first by the RCYO, an AGO-sponsored competition for organists aged 22 and under. Performance of Jubilo will be required of all competitors entering the 2001 Competitions. Jubilo is dedicated to my mother, Hester H. Locklair, a church school teacher of the young for many years, in celebration of her significant 1998 birthday.
Approximately six minutes in length, Jubilo is a single-movement composition in four primary sections. The opening section, marked “Expansive and expressive”, has the two hands alternating between a broad, ever-shifting melodic line (where the same pitches are recycled on each restatement, but with a new melodic contour) and four chordal sonorities that, with the pedal, form a short chaconne. The four pedal pitches (D, E, G, A) represent the primary musical material on which the entire piece is built. Following the climax of the first section, a trill in the manuals propels the piece forward into Jubilo’s fast and rhythmic middle section. Marked “Quick and vibrant”, dialogues between the manuals abound, soon leading to the entrance of the pedal’s joyous melodic idea. The presence of both ideas, in repetition and in development continues, and their alternation forms the core of this section. After building to a dramatic climax over a pedal trill, a variant of the piece’s opening section, marked “Expansive, with sweep” and underpinned by double pedaling, returns. Soon a brief variant of the fast section, marked “Quick and vibrant”, emerges to conclude Jubilo with the power of full organ, resoundingly expressing the extra-musical stimulus for this piece as found in the Latin word “jubilo” – “to let out whoops of joy”.