Benedict Todd

Organist · Composer · Conductor

Organ Concerto

Organ Concerto

  • Composed: March - June 2010
  • Duration: 11 - 12 min
  • Instrumentation: 2-2-2-2 (doubling Picc., C.A. & CBsn.) 4-3-3-1 Timp. Perc.(3 players) Hp. Strings
  • First performance: University of Bristol Symphony Orchestra with Claire Alsop (organ), 3 December 2011, The Victoria Rooms, Bristol.

  • Notes: Assessed composition for BA (Music) final year portfolio - University of Bristol 2010.

  • Programme notes: This Organ Concerto grew from a conversation with an orchestral trumpet playing friend. It was his opinion that the only reasons for an organ to be used in an orchestral setting is to play big, loud chords or very long, low sustained notes. As an organist myself, I knew that the instrument was capable of so much more than this. So in this concerto, I wanted the organ to take on many different roles, sometimes taking its place as a member of the orchestra, at others the lonely position of the soloist (as well as the inevitable loud chords towards the climax).

    Another important influence whilst writing this piece was the idea that the organ and the orchestra tend to exist in two rather separate worlds which rarely have a chance to overlap: the organ is forever associated with the church and religion, whilst the orchestra, at least in recent times, is almost always associated with secular culture. It seemed that this basic difference would provide a good basis for the relationship between the orchestra and the organ in this concerto. Very often ideas are passed from one to the other, but it may be found that this change does not always enhance the material and, in many places, quite the opposite occurs. This piece is structured in three movement-like sections, each with a distinct character, and with an extended introduction and coda. Although there is an inherent tension between the organ and orchestra throughout a large part of this work, hopefully the finale will leave the listener in no doubt as to the eventual outcome of this conflict.

  • Recording (extract)
  • This recording was made during the concert given by the University of Bristol Symphony Orchestra at the Victoria Rooms, Bristol on 3 December 2011. The conductor was Neal Farwell and the soloist Claire Alsop.
    This recording is copyright © B Todd 2011. All rights are reserved.

  •  This score is available. Please click here for details.

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