Program notes

Etudes Espace for organ, opus 30 (1986)

  1. 1. Rocks
  2. 2. Piping
  3. 3. Chorale

The titles of the three movements relate to the overall name of the work: literally, studies in space. I was thinking about physical space and volume a lot when writing the piece in 1986 and was particularly interested in resonance and decay – that seemed appropriate for an organ playing in the normally ambient church or cathedral acoustics.

So the first movement is meant to be granitic in mood and block-like in structure – hence the title, ‘Rocks’. Probably images of cliffs and mountains are not out of place for a piece written near southern German alps and on the Illawarra escarpment. In the second movement, ‘Piping’, I was thinking about a distant air-born melody – possibly Celtic in mood and hence the title and the idea of a freely decorated simple melody with a resonating echo-style accompaniment. In movement three, the idea was the slow moving and profound homorhythmic chorale but made up of gradual additions of melody notes to form large harmonic masses. As in the second movement there is a simple melody underlying the buildup of resonances and then at the end a slow-moving harmonic passage tracing a harmonised version of the melody.


© Andrew Schultz, 1986