Prelude and Fugue (In Memoriam Nadia Boulanger)
by  David Conte

premier.jpgCommissioned by the American Guild of Organists for Biennial National Convention in Los Angeles, 2004 and for the International Symposium honoring the 25th anniversary of the death of Nadia Boulanger, to be held at the University of Colorado, Boulder--October 7th-9th, 2004

Dedicated to the memory of Nadia Boulanger

Underwritten by the American Music Research Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, made possible generous gift from Mr. Don Campbell

World premiere July 5, 2004 Bridges Hall of Music, Pomona College, Pomona, California.
Upcoming performance in conjunction with the International Symposium, Friday, October 8, 2004
St. JohnÕs Episcopal Church of Boulder

Program Notes

"When I was nineteen years old, I began three years of study with Mademoiselle Boulanger in Paris and Fontainebleau. The genre of Prelude and Fugue was very close to her heart. She had memorized all 46 of Bach's Preludes and Fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier by the age of thirteen. She used to say: "Each week I had to play a Prelude and Fugue by heart for my father, A Prelude and Fugue a week, that's not much!" I chose this genre both because it is wonderfully idiomatic for the organ, and to honor the inspiring qualities of rigor, discipline and imagination that were the hallmarks of Mademoiselle Boulanger's teaching.

The tone of the Prelude Is solemn and serious, and begins with a long, angular but lyrical theme stated, over Bb pedal. The piece slowly builds in intensity and the theme is stated three more times, separated by contrasting episodic material. The Bb pedal remains throughout the entire com Position.

The Fugue (in four voice) is marked Andante moderato. Though the subject is motivically related to the main theme of the Prelude, the duple-compound meter gives the Fugue a more buoyant and lively Character. The development section is rhythmically more animated with running sixteenth notes, and contains inversions and stretti of the subject. The rhythmic intensity increases again at the recapitulation with the introduction of triplet sixteenth notes, and the Fugue concludes with a brief pedal cadenza in the affirming tonality of Bb major."

--David Conte

About the Composer

ken cowan david conte picture David Conte, ASCAP, has been Professor of Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1985. He has received commissions from Chanticleer, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Dayton Philharmonic, the Oakland-East Bay Symphony, and the Stockton Symphony, and has composed songs for Barbara Bonney, Thomas Hampson, and Phyllis Bryn-Julson. He is the composer of four operas, works for orchestra, and numerous works for solo organ, chorus and organ, solo voice and organ, and chorus and orchestra. Conte's music is published exclusively by E. C. Schirmer Music Company, Boston. His music is represented on numerous commercial CD recordings. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Cornell University, where he studied with Karel Husa and Steven Stucky. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship. In 1982 he worked with Aaron Copland in preparing a study of the composer's manuscript sketches. He received a Conducting Fellowship at Aspen Music Festival, and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Fellowship. He has Served on the faculties of Cornell University, Colgate University, and the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan.

About the Performer

cowan.jpgIn recent years, Ken Cowan has quickly become one of the most sought-after young organists in North America. He has already performed solo recitals across the United States and Canada, and has been featured at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, and the Royal Canadian College Of Organists. Mr. Cowan has won numerous awards, including first prizes at the Royal Canadian College of Organists National Competition and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music National Competition, Currently Mr. Cowan serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Organ at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey and is the Associate organist and Artist in Residence at St Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City.

A native of Thorold Ontario, Canada, Mr. Cowan received the Master's degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, studying organ with Thomas Murray, Prior to attending Yale, tie graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis institute Of Music in Philadelphia.

MUSING: Voice of America by DAVID VOGELS
Reprinted by permission of The American Organist Magazine

©2009 Boulanger America.
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