Stephen Syverud

In Memoriam (pipe organ)

Audio sample (.mp3)

Score-pg1-2 (.pdf - Click here to acquire Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Performance Instructions

Program Notes:

In Memoriam (James Dean) written for organ is to only be performed on an acoustic instrument. The piece is dedicated to the memory of James Dean, who died in his Porsche 550 Spyder September 30, 1955 while driving to Salinas, California to participate in sports car race. The composition was written for Karel Paukert, the organist at Northwestern University, School of Music. The registration freely determined by the performer within certain boundaries. Letters indicate a change in registration in the score. To accommodate different instruments, general dynamic level is indicated. for example, Registration J is the highest dynamic level (full organ) possible, while Registration K is the softest dynamic level. The various registrations are to be distinctive and the differences between them should not be subtle. A wide variety of timbres is determined by the individual performer for each registration. Notation is fairly traditional. Clusters are notated and bracketed portions contain non-metric and rhythmically free sections during which the groups of pitches are repeated and permuted at random using a variety of rhythmic values. It is the intention that the order and durations in the bracketed areas not be practiced, but these areas are to be treated as improvisational, varying with each performance. Numbers that appear in the score are used to indicate duration of events (sound and silence). During the performance, the performer counts up to the number indicated. The time taken to reach the number determines the duration of the event. No attempt is made to count evenly or maintain the same/similar speeds for other occurrences of the numbers. However, the strictly notated music immediately preceding each number will affect the manner in which the counting occurs. The last non-traditional symbol used indicates proceeding from a single note to a cluster or two clusters. The twelve-tone series is used in a strict fashion and only involves the use of pitch. Pedal tones and half-step relationships are used extensively to emphasize the importance of particular pitches. Repeated motives can be heard throughout the piece, although there was no attempt at making any of the relationships symmetrical. The composition is through-composed, reflecting many related, but complicated ideas that perhaps parallel the short life of James Dean. A quote that seemed important to him is from the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: "What is essential is invisible to the eye."

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