Bengt Hambræus's Livre d'Orgue: An Exploration of the French Classic Tradition and Beyond 1
Laraine Olson Waters
To begin an acquaintance with the music of Bengt Hambræus is (to use an image borrowed from Hambræus himself, in describing the experience of writing one of his works2) like entering a time-capsule. For Hambræus, an autodidact who "composed his way through music history" 3 in order to learn the craft of composition, the musical vocabulary of centuries past exists simultaneously in his creative spirit with the most forward-thinking of twentieth-century musical innovations. More than this, however, Hambræus is a person of phenomenally wide-reaching interest and expertise, which, combined with (as the homely Swedish saying has it) "a horse's memory" means that Hambræus's works are informed by references to literary forms, theological concepts, and even organic processes in nature, as well as the musics of traditions other than that of the West. 4
Hambræus, born, in 1928 in Stockholm, Sweden, followed early interest in botany and languages through high school and college, later studying musicology, ethnomusicology and religion at Uppsala University, where his dissertation was on the a medieval manuscript (a contrafactum by Pierre Certon of an earlier work by Guillaume le Herteur) in the university's library. His lifelong fascination with the organ began in childhood and continued to develop through his relationship with the noted Swedish organist Alf Linder which, although it included no formal training, was one of master and apprentice, with Hambræus acquiring a practical knowledge of registration, acoustics and literature (especially the large works of Max Reger) through observation and first-hand experience. Through Linder he was also introduced to the music and acoustical theories of Ernst-Karl Rössler (born 1909), a German organ theoretician whose influence on Hambræus's compositional technique will be described later in the section of this work dealing with Hambræus's harmonic idiom. Hambræus began to compose very early (having written quite a few works in the nature of compositional studies before his Opus 1, a chorale partita for organ dating from 1948) and his output has continued at a phenomenal rate, in every conceivable medium from solo piano and organ, chamber ensemble (often employing very unusual instrumental combinations), electronic, vocal and choral, to orchestral as well as ballet and opera. Perhaps most unusual, in this latter part of the twentieth century at least, is his continuing interest in organ composition at a time when music for the instrument has been, to quote organist Werner Jacob, "in a sort of contrapuntal ghetto." For Jacob, the chief contribution of Hambræus to the development of "a new organ music" has been in the realm of pure sonority and innovative compositional and playing techniques.5
The road which has led Hambræus from his early interests in Asian ritual music and medieval codices to his present position on the leading edge of contemporary compositional techniques has had several important way-stations. After university studies, Hambræus attended several summer sessions at Darmstadt in the early 1950's, where he participated in the class of Olivier Messiaen and, in the company of such later-influential figures as Stockhausen, Nono, Maderna, and Boulez, continued to explore twelve-tone technique, already familiar to him through René Leibowitz's book Introduction à la musique de douze sons (Paris, 1969), which he had studied at Uppsala.6 Interestingly, Hambraeus says that Messiaen's theories did not have a lasting influence on his vocabulary. 7 Through his participation at Darmstadt however, Hambræus was also influenced by Edgard Varèse's concept of "organized sound" and explored Webern's "pointillistic" approach to twelve-tone technique. Equally important to Hambraeus's development were invitations to work in the electronic music studio of the West Deutsche Rundfunk in Cologne (1955) and the Studio di Fonologia Musicale in Milan (1959). Hambræus characterizes this different natures of these two experiences, and their lasting meaning for him, with two words which he heard over and over: at Cologne, "nachmessen" ("verify," i.e. calibrate each setting) and at Milan "sentire" ("listen" as well as "feel"), both of which injunctions taught him valuable lessons in the manipulation of electronic media. 8
In 1957, Hambræus became a producer and director at the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, where he remained until, 1972, and where his weekly program "Night Studio" explored the international avant-garde music scene.9 Many of these programs involved live performances in the studio; in his article "Visioner-forvandlingar-aterblickar" (see footnote 3), Hambraeus describes the particularities of writing "studio music," i.e. music written especially for studio performances rather than for the concert hall. 10 Typically for him, each new compositional challenge has led him to master some new detail or understanding of his craft: one hallmark of his work is the great care he takes in choosing not only instrumentation (or registration, in the case of organ works) but often particular placement and/or modification of the instruments ("miking," sound-level adjustment, etc.) in order to achieve precisely-conceived musical effects. (Hambræus had earlier observed that his organ mentor, Alf Linder, used different registrations for a live performance, radio broadcast, or recording in order to achieve the same acoustical effect.11)
The last destination for Hambraeus (at least in place, if not in compositoinal time) was McGill University in Montréal, Canada, where Hambræus was invited in 1972 to accept the position of Professor for Life, teaching electronic music, composition and orchestration. He accepts commissions from all over the world but has also written many works for colleagues, students and performance ensembles at McGill. In 1981, the gift of a new organ for Redpath Hall at McGIll University occasioned a sabbatical year for Hambræus who wrote his four-volume Livre d'Orgue for the organ dedication series. The organ, built by Hellmuth Wolff, is a large three-manual instrument in the French Classic style, which gave Hambræus' son Michael the idea for the form of the work, inspired by the seventeenth-century "Livres" (suites of short pieces, each of which is characterized by a specific registration which gives its name to the piece) of French organ composers. The work is dedicated to Michael Hambræus and to McGill University. The première was given on the Redpath Hall organ by John Grew, professor of Organ at McGill, during a symposium dedicated to "L'Orgue à notre époque" ("The Organ in Our Time") held at McGill on May 26-28, 1981.
Overall Structure of Livre d'Orgue
As has already been noted, the title and general structure of the work is suggested by the suites of pieces for organ of the French Classic composers, variously titled "Pièces d'Orgue," "Versets," etc. The work has a general didactic purpose, as did several of its French Classic predecessors, serving as a study in contemporary compositional styles as well as a technical practicum. The four volumes of Livre d"Orgue, each of which contains twelve individual movements, show a gradual development from easier pieces to the most difficult, and serve as a study of contemporary compositional techniques, notation, and performance techniques. As Bo Alphonce has pointed out in his notes to the recording of Vol. III, Livre d'Orgue may be considered as a study in contemporary improvisation as well, with many of the movements showing an improvisatory approach to the treatment of the sound-material.12
Each volume of Livre d'Orgue is a complete suite containg an introductory and final movement, a "Basse de Cromore" (except Vol. I, which includes instead a "Cromorne en taille"), a "Basse et Dessus de Trompette," and a "Récit de Tierce en Taille," as well as other movements of differing characters and registrations. Hambraeus offers to the performer a certain freedom of organization in performing the work: each suite may be performed independently, or the performer may even select individual movements from the four volumes to perform together. (Again, this shows a parallel with French Classic suites, which might offer different performance possibilities to suit different liturgical demands, for example, the 1685 Livre of Nicolas Gigault, which provides different ending points to accomodate liturgies of varying lengths.
Each movement of Livre d'Orgue, as does its French Classic counterpart, explores a particular sonority or set of sonorities possible on a large instrument of this particular design. The essential structure (but not necessarily the specific style) of the corresponding French Classic movement is sometimes preserved, but it is the sonority itself which suggested certain possibilities to Hambraeus, who had no other preconception in approaching each movement than to do "something different with the sound."
Within Livre d'Orgue as a whole the general structure, including both harmonic and melodic material, remains consistent, with many thematic and structural links between pieces of the same genre, and even between otherwise unrelated movements (including between movements of different volumes). Several movements end with harmonic or melodic structures which are emphatic non-resolutions. Such "open-ended" terminations are characteristic of Hambræus not only in smaller forms such as these, but in the "families" of works which Hambræus has created by manipulating the sound-material of an extant work to create the material for a subsequent one. (Constellations I-V, for example, is the best known off Hambraeus's compositional "families": elements of the original piece, Constellations for organ, were electronically manipulated to create Constellations II for electronic tape, which in turn combined with the original to produce Constellations III for organ and tape, and so on through Constellations IV for organ and percussion and Constellations V for chorus, organ and two amplified solo sopranos.)
Before examining specific elements of style and compositional technique in Livre d'Orgue it is important to note once again that Hambræus is mainly concerned with sonority as the determinant for the way in which specific musical events "play out" in real time. This is especially important in considering the relative proportion and importance that motivic and harmonic details assume in relation to the gradual unfolding of sound-events through the duration of a particular piece.
Many of the characteristic harmonic structures used throughout Livre d'Orgue may be seen as derivations from, and manipulations of, the overtone series.13 In part as a result of Hambræus's fascination with the theories of Rössler (who proposed the selection and inclusion of overtones in organ construction as a means to enhance both polyphonic clarity and harmonic texture), he has explored harmonic constructions based on the odd-numbered partials of the overtone series. (It is precisely these partials - apart from the third partial which produces the fifths above the fundamental - which do not generate the elements of traditional triadic chordal structures.) Furthermore, ratios of these odd-numbered partials produce intervals which assume prominence in Hambræus's melodic lines (see below, under "Melodic characteristics").
In response to a question about the seeming disparity in Hambræus's use of both simple and complex structures and sonorities, Hambræus has said:
Just imagine a scale from the simplest intervals or chords (octave, ratio 1:2, fifth, 2:3; fourth, 3:4; triads like 4:5:6 or 3:5:7) to the more complicated in the higher areas of the partial-tone spectrum. Then you will find a basic harmonic concept in all my music, not in the traditional way, however, but based on sections and selections of the partial spectrum, from unison, fifth, fourth and diapason, up to the densest clusters! The same thing happens with the rhythms. With this background I do not regard these as disparate elements, simply as contrasts, juxtapositions, overlappings, gradual sliding from one field to another or even as an attempt to integrate the whole system!14
Characteristic Interval and Chord Structures
a) chords structures which include the important intervals of minor and major 2nds, augmented 4ths, and minor and major 7ths: Example 1 from "Caprice en dialogue," Vol. II
Example 1: "Caprice en Dialogue" Livre d'Orgue (II)
b) octaves divided at the augmented 4th, often in parallel fashion: Example 2 from "Basse et dessus de Trompette III," Vol. IV.
Example 2: "Basse et dessus de Trompette" Livre d'Orgue (III) mm. 65-66.
c) chord- and interval-structures which incorporate the minor 9th: Example 4 from "Caprice en dialogue," Vol. II.
Example 3: "Caprice en dialogue" Livre d'Orgue (II) mm. 5-6, m.15, m. 19
d) juxtaposed triads in different "inversions"; generally show minor 2nd relationships between pitches of different triads: Example 4 from "Prelude sur les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. III.
Example 4: "Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux" Livre d'Orgue (III) mm. 4-6
e) parallel intervals and chords (note the use of parallel augmented 4ths): Example 5 from "Finale sur les Grands-Jeux, en dialogue avec le Cornet du Récit," Vol. IV and in the "Récit de Tierce en Taille II," Vol. III: parallel intervals and chords (the use of parallel augmented 4ths).
Example 5: "Finale ....." Livre d'Orgue (IV) mm. 7-10
f) juxtaposed triads with augmented 4th root relationships: Example 6 from "Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. II
Example 6: "Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux" ....." Livre d'Orgue (IV) mm. 6-8
g) "additive" chords produced by adding notes to a sustained set of pitches, or by successive accumulation of pitches through tying: Example 7 from "Ouverture sur les Grands-Jeux." Vol. IV. Examples 7 is also a reference to the "spiral chord" in "Déserts," mm. 115-117, by Edgard Varèse.
Example 7: "Ouverture sur les Grands-Jeux" ....." Livre d'Orgue (IV), mm. 9
Numerous examples may be found throughout, using cluster notation (which distinguishes among white-note, black-note and chromatic types; see Example 8, "Champs," Vol. i) and written-out notation (see "Vibrations," Vol. II, and "Stratifications," Vol. III). Clusters are often produced by the incorporation of minor and major 2nds into a static harmony.
Example 8: "Champs ....." Livre d'Orgue (I), mm. 5-7.
Many final chord structures are "open-ended" rather than resolutions; at the conclusion of "Terme sur les Grands-Jeux," Vol. I (see Example 9) the open-ended last chord may be seen to have a possible resolution in the opening measures of "Introduction sur les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. III, shows the final chord which Hambræus calls "an open scream." 15 Other terminal chords, if not as dramatic as these examples, may be relatively unstable (even after a seemingly-stable cadence has been reached) because of the inclusion of additional dissonant pitches, or the elimination of "fundamental" pitches.
Example 9: "Terme sur les Grands-Jeux" Livre d'Orgue (I)
Other Harmonic Structures and Principles
Hambræus also manipulates the sound-material itself to produce characteristic intervallic and harmonic constructions.
a) "Synthetic" intervals" Mention has already been made of the "chords" produced by mutation stops 16 ("Ronde des Tierces en couple," Vol. III) while this is the most thorough-going example of this process, many other examples may be found.
b) Use of "beats": In "Stratification," Vol. III, the beat-pattern set up by the opening pedal interval of a minor 2nd actually sets the tempo for the movement. The inclusion of beat-patterns produced by dissonant intervals as part of the sound-effect is also used by Hambræus in other movements, and implies slight shifts in tempo as the changing beat-patterns unfold (see "Vibrations," Vol. II, "Les timbres irisés," Vol. III). In these movements of slowly unfolding harmonic changes, the change in the relative rate of beats produces "built-in" rhythmic accelerandos and rallentandos. Reference has also been made to the inclusion of the Tremblant (whether throughout the duration of a movement or at a certain precise moment) to add an element of aleatoric micro-tonality.
"Stratification" of Sonorities
Hambræus often separates the sound-material into different layers or "strata" by either pitch-set separation, non-contiguous registration, or a combination of both (see especially "Stratifications," Vol. III, which is the most consistent example of these processes).
Besides the clear example of "Stratifications," the process of superimposing and/or juxtaposing elements may be seen in "Champs," Vol. I (the superimposition/ juxtaposition of diatonic and chromatic clusters) and in "Basse et dessus de Trompette II," Vol. III, where static elements (pitch-sets, motives, rhythmic patterns) are in varying interplay among the three distinctive ranges of the Trompette/Bombarde reed family.
"Filtering" of Elements
This term is used in electronic music to describe the process of eliminating certain pitches from a vertical structure. (See "Champs," Vol. I, for examples of filtered clusters, and "Stratifications," Vol. III, for an examples of filtering of normally-notated pitch-sets.) The filtering process may also be applied to horizontal structures (see the bass line of "Ronde des Tierces en couple," Vol. III, which shows the original ostinato line, mm. 1-2, and the same line with random pitches "filtered out", mm. 25-28.
References have already been made to the effect of beat-patterns, overtones, registrations, and winding manipulation 17 of the sound-material. It is worth pointing out again that much of Hambræus's interest in these phenomena comes from his study of Asian music, in particular Japanese ritual music, where "what happens within the tone" 18 is of more importance than the pitches themselves. As Oscar Hadlund has put it in his study of Hambræus's compositional language, "a world can be born from a single note." 19
References have already been made to parallel chord constructions as well as to the parallel "synthetic chords" produced by registrations which include mutations.
The only movement using this process is the "Fugue sur les Pleins-Jeux, avec les anches," Vol. IV. Of interest in this tightly-constructed work is its palindrome form: the pitches of successive entrances of the subject correspond to the first four notes of the subject itself, followed by two other expositions with a different pitch sequence of entrances based on other notes of the subject. After an episode based on the "hinge-intervals" which separate the three divisions of the subject (pitches 4/5 and 8/9) the final three expositions reverse the process of the first three.20
Hambræus's love of bell sonorities and a fascination with the process of change-ringing have influenced his works for other musical media, for example Rota II (1963) for electro-acoustic media. Examples of bell-like sonorities are found in two successive movements from Vol. II. In "Introduction sur les Pleine-Jeux," the alternating chords in mm. 15-23 imitate the pealing of bells, which continues into the next movement, "Mouvement perpétuel," in which the opening figures represents the continued oscillation of the smallest bells after the larger bells have stopped.
(See Example 10a from "Récit de Tierce en Taille II," Vol III, and Example 11b from "Stratifications," Volume III). Example 10a is a schematic of the pitch-progression of the accompaniment voices, which shows a gradual contraction and expansion of pitches in a wedge-like fashion. Example 10b shows an application of this process over a shorter duration, producing cluster harmonies.
Example 10a and b: (a) "Récit de Tierce en Taille" Livre d'Orgue (IV) mm. 1-11
(b) "Stratifications" Livre d'Orgue (IV) mm. 21-22
Mention has already been made of one type of "oscillating" figure, that of the "bell-peal" chords at the end of "Introduction sur les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. II. Examples 11a and 11b are from "Basse de Cromorne," Vol. IV showing rapid alternation of intervals in an oscillating pattern. Other examples of this process may be seen in "Finale sur les Grands-Jeux," Vol IV. "Caprice en Dialogue," Vol. II, and "Basse et dessus de Trompette II," Vol. III, in which the alternation of motivic material (and its juxtaposition) becomes a formal element in the composition.
Example 11a and b: from "Basse de Cromorne" Livre d'Orgue (IV) mm. 11 and 26
There is no attempt here to describe exhaustively the character or range of Hambraeus's melodic writing in Livre d'Orgue; however, certain features may be noted.
a) characteristic intervals (see Example 12 from "Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. III): As in the chordal constructions of Livre d'Orgue, the intervals of minor and major 9ths and augmented 4ths are prominent in certain melodic lines, as its octave division at the augmented 4th.
Example 12: ""Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux," Livre d'Orgue (III) m. 13-14
b) octave displacement (see Example 13 from Monodie avec des timbres changeants," Vol. II): The process of octave displacement creates large leaps in the melodic line.
Example 13: "Monodie avec des timbres changeants" Livre d'Orgue (II) mm. 7-8
Figuration as Pattern
a) harmonic arpeggiation (see Example 14 from "Récit du Hautbois, du Jeu de Tierce, de la Voix humaine, et du Cornet," Vol. III): The effect of the melodic arpeggiation is heightened by the Cornet registration in this passage, which produces pure 3rds and 5ths above the triadic patterns.
Example 14: "Récit du Hautbois" Livre d'Orgue (III) m.12
b) "oscillating" figuration: melodic figuration which repeats certain pitch-sets in an oscillating pattern. "Mouvement perpétuel" from Vol. II is constructed entirely from this kind of figuration, with varying patterns overlapping in the right- and left-hand parts.
c) figurations centering around a single pitch (see Example 15a from "Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. III, and Example 15b from "Terme sur les Grands-Jeux," Vol. I): Example 15a shows a "wedge" figure which expands and contracts from the pitch-center E, while Example 15b shows an example of figuration which returns constantly to its pitch-center A.
Example 15a and b:(a) "Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux" Livre d'Orgue (III) m.62
(b) "Terme sur les Grands-Jeux" Livre d'Orgue (I) m. 39-40
Other Melodic Characteristics
a) expressive use of chromaticism, large intervals: This is seen especially in the melodies of the Récit movements, which are highly expressive in the manner of their French Classical counterparts (influenced by the air de cour style of seventeenth-century French vocal music).
b) use of motive, sequence: This will be discussed more fully under "Phrase and Phrase Organization" below.
Ornamentation, both notated and improvisational, was integral to the French Classic style, both in terms of adding elegance and interest to the melodic lines and enlivening the texture of homophonic passages. Hambræus's writing in Livre d'Orgue includes several types of ornamentation, both melodic and textural, which also give much of the work a spontaneous and improvisational quality.
a) use of ornamentation symbols: These include grace notes and groups, and the normal "tr" indications for a long trill.
b) written-out ornaments (see Examples 16 from "Tocatta sur les Pleins-Jeux, et la Trompette du Grand-Orgue," Volume IV and Examples 17 a-d from "Récit de Nazard," Vol. IV): In Example 28, two written-out turns (and one incomplete turn figure) are used imitatively in all voices of the harmonic texture, The examples from the "Récit de Nazard" show written-out trills, trill-like oscillations, mordants, roulandes and échappées.
Example 16: "Toccata sur les Grands-Jeux" Livre d'Orgue (IV) m.12
Example 17: (b) "Récit de Nazard" Livre d'Orgue (IV) mm. 1, 5, 15, 8
c) "harmonic ornamentation": The oscillating intervals and chords, the additive process of chord generation (somewhat like the style brisé of French clavecinists), and "filtering" process all serve to add interest tot he musical texture of many movements.'
Phrase and Phrase Organization
Again, it is difficult to characterize Hambraeus's handling of phrase structure and organization through the extremely diverse movements of Livre d'Orgue;. Detailed comments about this subject are included in the analyses of selected movements; the following comments, as with those concerning melodic characteristics, deal only with a few very general observations about different phrase-types in Livre d'Orgue.
In general, these are long-breathed, irregular in length, and organized into phrase-groups or periods. Some phrases may be extended by motivic repetition or sequence, separated by rests, or elided. See for example the "Récit de Cornet" from Vol. I for relatively straightforward examples of some of these characteristics.) Some phrases may center about a single pitch which defines the pitch-center, and which may shift suddenly at the end of the phrase to a new pitch-center, generally a half-step away. (See the "Basse de Cromorne" movements in Vols. II and IV and the "Récit de Tierce en Taille" movements in Vol.s II, III and IV.) Long-held notes may interrupt the flow of the phrase ("Basse de Cromorne," Vol. IV; "Récit de Mixtures," Vol. IV). Lastly, phrase groups or periods may rise and fall gradually over longer time-durations ("Récit de Voix humaine," Vol. II, mm. 1-25), although many do not show this characteristic.
These are figurational melodic phrases which often are interpolated in the manner of recitative-like interruptions within passages of a more harmonic, homophonic nature, and which often serve as rapid approaches to long-held notes or harmonies. (See "Choral," Vol. I, and "Prélude su les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. III, among many other possible examples.)
Juxtaposed Motivic Phrases
Used most notably in the "Basse et dessus de Trompette" movements, the contrast between different motivic material becomes the formal construct of these pieces.
Toccata-Type and Moto Perpetuo Movements
Examples of thes types include 'Tocatta sur les Pleins-Jeux et la Trompette du Grand-Orgue" from Vol. IV and the :"Mouvement perpétuel" from Vol. III.
Metric Patterns: Time Signatures
The prevailing meter in nearly all movements is 4/4 (or one of its permutations). However, the avoidance of the predetermined, recurring beat pattern of duple meter precludes any apparent monotony. Hambræus's rhythmic structures show enormous flexibility and variability.
Characteristic Rhythmic Patterns and Groupings
a) (see "Stratifications," Vol. III): gradual acceleration of figuration through changing subdivisions of the beat; numerous examples throughout Livre d'Orgue
b) use of rhythmic patterns which juxtapose 2(/4) against 3.
c) "micro-variations" within complex rhythmic patterns (see Example 18 from "Basse et dessus de Trompette," Vol. IV): further subdivision of triplet (or even quintuplet) patterns, including syncopation.
The beat patterns set up by dissonant intervals and/or choice of registration (already mentioned above) should be mentioned again here as a means of creating rhythmic "micro-events" over long time-durations.
Example 18: "Basse et dessus de Trompette" Livre d'Orgue (IV) m. 60.
Only one movment, "Ronde des Tierces en couple," Vol. II makes overt reference to dance-rhythm ("tempo di swing".) However, certain passages in other movements evoke a dance-like feeling (for example the figure in meas. 3-4 and 7-9 of "Basse de Cromorne," Vol. IV, which has the feeling of a hornpipe.) It might seem remarkable that a work such as Livre d'Orgue would not show more influence of dance-rhythms: the French Classic suite movements were almost invariably cast in one or another of the prevailing dance types of the time, and the influence of these dances from the ballet de cour was one of the most characteristic style traits of French Classic organ music. However, Hambræus is clear that he did not set out to write pieces in imitation of the French Classic style, and these references to dance must be seen as rather exceptional within the work as a whole.
Rhythmic Variation of the Same Material
(See Example 32a-c from "Basse et dessus de Trompette III," Vol. IV. The same juxtaposed motives are slightly changed rhythmically with each successive repetition of the material.
Movements Lacking Either Meter or Measure Indications (or both)
a) "Transition," Vol. I (no meter indication or measures): a fluid récit-type melody, consisting of supple rhythmic patterns which grow out of one another through rhythmic acceleration from beat subdivisions of three, then four, then five notes within each beat.
b) "Champs," Vol. I: the tempo indication is given as quarter-note = M.M. 56, with each measure corresponding to four quarter-notes. Here the aleatoric movement of clusters produce a fluid movement free from metric pulse, contrasting with conventionally-notated passages (which, however, make much of complex patterns of triplets and quintuplets).
Example 19: "Basse et dessus de Trompette" Livre d'Orgue (IV) mm. 1-4, 29-31, 55-60.
c) "Movement perpétuel," Vol. II (no meter indication or measures): a continually-shifting rhythmic emphasis is set up by the changing patterns of both hands, as well as the horizontal "filtering" of the left-hand part and its rhythmic manipulation. (This process is discussed further in the detailed analysis of this movement in the last partt of the study.)
"Events in Real Time": Means of Creating Movement
Many of the processes discussed above are only meaningful when seen in the context of their use in "real time" to create motion toward and away from points of relative climax or resolution. The discussion of individual movements in the final section of this study will refer to these processes in the individual analyses. The movements selected for discussion have been chosen to be representative of the many styles included in Livre d'Orgue and will, it is hoped, provide at least an overview of the compositional processes at work.
Use of "Borrowed" Material in Livre d'Orgue
Hambræus "borrows" material (usually considerably altered) in many of his works, using as sources both his own compositions and works of other composers. as well as sources from other musical and extra-musical traditions. This should not be taken to imply a "pastiche" technique: the borrowings may be considered as "hommages", or sometimes as quasi-unconscious musical recollections, or even as extra-musical associations.
As well as these borrowings from "external" sources, the movements of Livre d"Orgue also share much motivic, thematic, and harmonic material; in particular, all the movements of the same category are related in one or more of these ways. A most interesting parallel to this procedure is to be seen in Hambræus's more recent work, is Missa pro organo in memoriam Olivier Messiaen (1992), in which each movement exists in two forms appropriate to different acoustics and instrument size. Hambraæus's manipulation of material in this work, from simpler to more complex may, be compared with a similar process in related movements of Livre d'Orgue.
Borrowings from "External" Sources 21
"Perspectives du Mi en quatuor," Vol I: The short-long alternation of eighth and dotted or half-notes represents the "dot-dash" alternation of Morse code, with the whole spelling out "Livre d'Orgue pour McGill."
"Choral," Vol. II, from measure 20 to the end: The chorale melody is taken from the Latin hymn "Stabat mater" (much altered in its second statement.)
"Terme sur les Grands-Jeux," Vol. I, final chord; "Ouverture sur les Grands-Jeux," Vol. IV, meas. 7: Both evoke the "spiral chord" from Déserts by Edgard Varèse. (Hambraeus also quotes this chord in his Motetus Archangeli Michaelis, 1967 for chorus and organ.)
"Récit de Voix humaine," Vol. IV, meas. 5-7 and 50-58: the first four notes of the chorale "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" (much altered).
"Ronde des Tierces en couple," Vol. III: an almost continual interplay between the first (original) motive and quotes from Bach's G minor fugue (from the Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542), Max Reger's Fantasy and Fugue, Op. 135b, and Brahms' Second Piano Concerto in B-flat major, Hambraeus characterizes this movement as inviting the three composers to a dance ("tempo di swing").
"Trio," Vol.III: The pedal part quotes the melody "Judex sapiens," which Hambraeus characterizes as a "ritual wail". (Hambraeus also quotes from his Inductio for six horns and choir, written for the induction ceremony o McGill's new chancellor in 1980.)
"Postlude sur les Grands-Jeux," Vol. III: quotations from the chorale "O Traruigkeit, O Herzeleid" in mm. 7-8, 20-21, and 29-30 (altered). Another interesting association here (although not an actual borrowing) is the "crown of thorns" passage in mm 9-13 and 32-33 (reminiscent in its musical symbolism of Bach's use of musical figures to evoke specific word-associations.) 22
"Toccata sur les Pleins-Jeux et la Trompete du Grand-Orgue," Vol. IV: the pedal solo in mm. 45 -46 quotes from Reger's Tocatta and Fugue in A minor, op. 80.
"Fugue sur les Pleins-Jeux, avec les anches," Vol. IV: The first four notes of the subject recall the "Promenade" theme from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
"Récit de Nazard," Vol. IV: Hambræus refers to the oscillating figuration in this piece as evocative of a butterfly, or perhaps a reminiscence of Schumann's Vogel als Prophet.
"Internal" Borrowings; Relationships Between Movements
Introduction and Final Movements
As has been stated previously, the movements belonging to the same category share various relationships in their materials and processes. (Some of these will be discussed in greater detail in the analyses of "Prélude su les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. III, and "Finale sur les Grands-Jeux, en dialogue avec le Cornet du Récit," Vol. IV, in the final section of this study.) To cite some more obvious parallels:
"Prologue," Vol. I: A motive is introduced in mm. 3-5 which is used again in the "Ouverture" and "Finale" movements of Vol. IV.
"Prologue sur les Grands-Jeux," Vol.. I: The additive chord in mm. 6-7 is used in the "ouverture" (mm. 4-5) and "Finale" (mm.103-104) movements of Vol. IV (although transposed and intensified through the inclusion of denser intervallic structure, doublings, and double pedal).
"Basse et dessus de Trompette" movements, Vol. II, III and IV. As previously stated in the section dealing with standard French Classic registrations in Livre d'Orgue, al of these related movements share the same formal process of juxtaposition of material which contrasts the characters of the different ranges of the Bombarde/Trompette reeds. Another movement which is in part a study piece for these movements, "Fanfares," (Vol. I) shares motivic material with the "Basse de Trompette" movements.
Other Related Movements of Different Genres
"Introduction sur les Pleins-Jeux," Vol. I: The oscilating figure in mm. 11, 12, 14, 17-18 and 21 becomes the opening figure of "Mouvement perpétuel" which follows it.
"Répercussions," Vol. III, and "Duo-canone al rovescio," Vol. IV: These movements share the same thematic material.
Analyses of Individual Movements
"Prélude sur les Pleins-Jeux" (Vol. III)
In perhaps no other movement-type of Livre d'Orgue (with the exception of the "Récits de Tierce en Taille") does Hambræus come as close to the French Classic model. Dom Bédos describes the "Plein-Jeu" thus "The Grand Plein-Jeu must be treated seriously and majestically; it should be played in large harmonic sweeps, interwoven with syncopation, dissonant chords, suspensions, and striking harmonic surprises; and may all that, however, form a regular, measured, rhythmical flow." 23
Example 20: "Prélude sur les Grands-Jeux" Livre d'Orgue (III)
© Éditions Jacques Ostiguy, 12790 rue Yamaska St. Ste. Hyacinthe PQ, J2T 1B3.
The opening section of this movement exploits to great effect those "large harmonic sweeps" and "striking harmonic surprises" which Dom Bédos describes. The opening figuration (meas. 1-4) on the Grand-Orgue and Pédale is made up of widely-spaced intervallic patterns which emphasize the minor 9th as well as octave division at the augmented 4th. (The effect of the minor 9th intervals is intensified by the frequent D-E flat, C- D flat and D#-E intervals in measure 1.) A rapid alternation of triads in different inversions follows (note the tremolando effect of the alternating triads in m. 4, an example of rhythmic ornamentation in Hambræus's style) leading abruptly to the static opposed triads of m. 6-12 and the oscillating augmented 4ths of the pedal part.) (See Example 33 for a schematic of the interesting pitch relationships between these triads and their relation to the augmented 4th pedal interval.) A return to the opening figuration this time on the Positif, again leads ("sans attendre") to a new block-chord, which is repeated on the Grand-Orgue and moves to a new harmony in mm. 16-17, again over the same augemented 4ths in the pedal part. This passage (mm. 13-19) may be seen as a harmonic progression toward the prolonged harmony (mm. 20-25) which opens the second section of the movement (mm.20-55). (See Figure 2 for a schematic of this progression, which has a strong cadential feeling in D major.) The recitativo interpolations in mm. 18 and 19 heighten the dramatic effect of this progression.
Figure 1: Schematic of Intervals of Triads in mm. 6 - 12.
Figure 2: Harmonic Reduction of mm. 15 - 20.
The new harmonic destination (mm. 20-25) exploits the contrast between the relatively slow beats of the pedal minor 2nd (C#-D) against the more rapid ones produced by the major 2nd (E-F#) in the right-hand part. A "filtering" process further creates micro-tonal variations in this harmony (alternately leaving out certain pitches from the original harmony, changing octaves of pitches, and introducing oscillating ornamentation of pitches, as in the quintuplet figure of m. 24. This chord finally reduces and "resolves" itself to a single pitch, E, in m. 26, from which the long figurational passage which begins the new section is generated (with rapid contrasts between the Grand-Orgue and Positif). The general structure of this long passage (mm. 27-35) is a rising line (characterized by a rhythmic "crescendo" although progressively faster rhythmnic groupings) to its high point of C. where it is contrasted between the two manual divisions and ornamented, after which it falls gradually (through the pitches G, E, and E flat) to A flat. At this apparent point of arrival the pedal enters on G, and the A flat is transposed to the pedal to create a minor 2nd.
Over this pedal interval a new harmony unfolds as an arpeggiated chord (meas. 37) which is presented as a figurational line and intensified (by means of the adding of stops and a change of manual) and ornamented in m. 39, ending abruptly on the interval B-F# which leads to C#-F in measure 40. Through a long passage (mm. 40-55) a new harmony (based on the important minor 9th and minor 2nd intervals) is developed and in its turn undergoes the "filtering" process. Over the continuing double pedal-point (C#-D) the last section begins with a return to the opening figure of m.1 (exploiting the interesting contrast of slow beats from the pedal interval with the rapid manual figuration above it.) One final harmony remains to be developed in mm. 57-61 (with the minor 2nd of D#-E now in the manual part), only to be interrupted by a figurational passage which begins with a "wedge" figure and ends with the minor 9th of the opening figure, with the whole as one rhythmic crescendo leading to the final harmony (mm.63 - end) which is the same as in mm. 44-55. The briefest of references to the opposing triads of m. 6 interrupts this chord, which "reconstructs" itself in mm. 65 to the end.
"Vibrations" (Vol. II)
A homogeneous and relatively "color-neutral" registration of 8' manual Bourdons allows the intrinsic beat-patterns of the various interval and cluster structures to be heard clearly. Because each hand plays on a separate manual, Hambræus is able to achieve extremely dense structures within relatively limited pitch-ranges, which can then be contrasted to great effect with more diffuse tonal constructs (which include the pedal range as well). It is in part this possibility, coupled with the speeding-up or slowing down of the beat patterns, which increases or decreases the tension and movement through the piece.
Another very important aspect of this movement is the extremely subtle pitch distinctions created by the contrast between the notated pitches (which are tempered) and the "synthetic" pitches produced by the mutation ranks of the pedal registration (which are pure). Several examples may be noted: at mm. 28-32, the notated D# in the right hand is heard against the pure D# created by the pedal B played at 3 1/5' pitch; at m. 49 the manual A flat is heard against the synthetic G# produced by the pedal E; at m. 69 the C-E interval between the two manual parts (pure in this temperament) is contrasted not only with the "synthetic" C-E above the pedal C, but is also heard against the F#-A interval above the pedal F# (A pure third at the relationship of the augmented 4th).
In the opening section, mm. 1-27, the clusters created are in the same range on each manual, one half-step or whole-step apart. Pitches enter successively, maintaining this same relationship. (This process begins almost in canon in the first four measures, where the Positif enters two measures after the Grand-Orgue begins, with the same succession of intervals beginning a half-step lower.) Occasionally the texture thins to a simple interval on each manual (mm. 7, 9, 10) which permits the build-up process to begin again within a different pitch-parameter. At m. 16 a different process of chord-generation begins, with opposed triads evolving in each hand through the typing of one or more notes from the previous chord and the addition of one or two new pitches (alternately above or below the tied note/s).
In m. 26 the texture is reduced to its sparest point thus far, a minor 3rd interval on the Grand-Orgue, under which the pedal part enters. The augmented 4th, played on the Pédale registration of Flûte 4' + Grosse Tierce 3 1/5' (or alternatively, in the absence of the Grosse Tierce, Flûte 2+1 e/5' coupled from a manual division and played an octave lower) produces "seventh" or "French Sixth" chords in the same range as the manual parts. Once again, the half- or whole-step governs the relationship among all three parts, producing
extremely dense cluster textures which are an intensification of the process begun in the opening section. After a brief release of tension with the unison F in the Positif and Pédale, the cluster harmony quickly re-forms in m. 34-36. At m. 37 the pedal drops out, and the beats which the pedal E flat-F interval produced in the previous two measures are replaced by written-out whole-step trills in both hands, repeated in slower values in the following measure, after which the pedal enters again, beginning the build-up to a dense cluster structure in m. 42. A sudden reduction again to a unison F in the manuals in m. 43 brings another moment of great release from the tension generated thus far in this section of the movement.
Example 21: "Vibrations" Livre d'Orgue (II)
© Éditions Jacques Ostiguy, 12790 rue Yamaska St. Ste. Hyacinthe PQ, J2T 1B3.
Another cluster build-up follows, with half-and whole-step relationships and pedal augmented 4ths again governing the structure, until m. 48, where the pedal interval C-E alone is retained. It must be remembered that this interval is the one "pure" third which exists in the temperament used for the Redpath organ (producing no beat-pattern of it own), and the effect here is one of great clarity and evenness of sound. Over this long (ten measures) double-pedal the final section of the movement unfolds, beginning as at the first with closely-spaced minor 2nd intervals which are gradually expanded in range as the pedal joins the process with parallel 4ths in mm. 58-61. The highest range which the manual and pedal parts will reach in this movemjent is gradually approached (mm.65-68) after which three distinct, "cadential" harmonies (mm. 72-73, 74-75, and 76-77) are stated in the treble, middle and bass ranges of the manuals. Far from producing a feeling of closure, however, the beat-patterns of the final intervals are very wide and strong in this termperament, implying a subtle sense of forward movement even at the final cadence.
"Récit de Tierce en taille II" (Vol. III)
The tenor range of the Cornet is one of the most distinctive sounds of the French Classical organ, and the Récit movements written for this registration are characterized by long-breathed melodic lines and slowly-unfolding harmonic progressions. Hambræus's Récits are no exception, and are comparable to their French Classic antecedents in terms of their clear phrase structure, use of motive and sequence to create movement, and general rise and fall of the melodic line to create tension and relaxation. As well as wide intervals more characteristic of Romantic melodic expression.
The accompanimental parts in the Récit are written in a highly-organized fashion which, in spite of their clear pitch-separation from one another, integrates them with the melodic line into a tightly-conceived whole. Both the Grand-Orgue two voice part and the pedal line are strictly confined to a certain pitch ambitus: the Grand-Orgue voices form a "wedge" figure which alternately contracts and expands within a one-octave range. 24 The pedal part outlines the first phrase of the Cornet melody in very long values, which keeps it within an octave range for the most part as well. (In fact, it ins only permitted to explore this whole range for a relatively brief time, and for a specific musical purpose; this will be discussed shortly.) These two octave-ranges are themselves separated by two octaves, creating a large ambitus within which the Cornet melody may move.
The three-measure accompanimental introduction at the beginning sets in motion the wedge figure, which interestingly enough prefigures the first four notes of the melody yet to be heard: the paired (B-A-C-H?) half-steps of the melody (F#-G-A-G#) are prefigured by the C-C# (lower voice) and B-Bb (upper voice) of the accompaniment. Over the pedal-point C (the first note, transposed, of the meldoic line in long values) the melody enters on F# (we have already seen Hambræus's use of the augmented 4th relationship as a characteristic of his musical language.) The melody proceeds in a step-wise chromatic line to m. 7, where three large leaps appear at an elision point between the first and second phrases of the melody (the C on beat two of m. 8 may be heard as both the concluding note of the first phrase and the beginning note of the second phrase.)
In mm. 9-11 the beginning of the first phrase is recalled in somewhat ornamented form, this time cadencing in m. 13 to B flat over a new pedal-point, D flat. Beginning in m. 14, the melody becomes more rhythmically and intervallically restless, with fewer points of rest on long values and many wide intervals, with the whole phrase ranging from Great F-c2. The pedal, having moved through E flat, comes to a new cadential point with the melody (D-F) in m. 18.
The following phrase, beginning in m.19, shows yet more rhythmnic acceleration, beginning with a long-held note, then moving in eighth-notes, then moving in eighth-notes in the following two and one-half measures to sixteenth-note motion in m. 22 to a sixteenth-note sextuplet in m. 23. Here, too, for the first time the pedal part breaks away from its pedal-point function. It has thus far outlined the first four notes of the first melodic phrase (which has been shown to have motivic importance in the beginning measures of the piece, and which will return as an important motivic element later in the movement). Now, as the melody becomes more active, the pedal, moving in quarter-notes in a step-wise chromatic line (from mm. 6-7 of the first melodic phrase) implies a chromatically-shifting harmonic progression under the melody. The upper voices of the accompaniment, meanwhile, have abandoned their slowly-shifting wedge pattern to introduce an accompanimental figure which is repeated twice in the manner of a harmonic sequence in mm. 19-21, after which a chromatic triplet figure leads to a recommencement of the wedge figure in m. 22. In m. 24 this melody begins two short, identical phrases on G (the first punctuated by a two-chord progression on the Grand-Orgue), with a third repetition, again beginning on G and growing out of the outline of the preceding two, beginning in m. 26.
Example 22: "Récit de Tierce en taille II" Livre d'Orgue (III)
© Éditions Jacques Ostiguy, 12790 rue Yamaska St. Ste. Hyacinthe PQ, J2T 1B3.
The pedal part here states the opening four-note motive twice (elided at C#), while the upper voices of the accompaniment have meanwhile taken up the wedge pattern again. This long melodic phrase (which, although broken by a sixteenth-note rest and a new phrase indication in m. 30, nevertheless is included under a continuation of the original phrase indication, and thus continues, with only pauses to catch its breath, from mm. 25-32). This phrase, the longest and most rhythmically restless of the movement, clearly falls into two parts (separated by the "catch-breath" rest in m. 30) with the second part an ornamentation of mm. 28-29 of the first part. However, after the harmonic activity implied by the accompaniment of the previous phrase (mm. 19-25), we have already noted that the accompaniment has returned to the more static nature of the beginning and acts as a counterbalance to the dynamic quality of the melodic phrase. After playing itself out in this way against the accompaniment, the melody breaks off abruptly at the end of m. 32.
The last part of the movement becomes an exploration, motivically and harmonically, of the original four-note motive (which has already begun in the pedal part, mm. 29-32). After stating this motive, unaccompanied, in mm. 33-34, it is restated three times in sequential fashion in mm. 34-37 in parallel augmented 4ths (above a pedal sequence in whole-steps, and punctuated by chromatically-shifting intervals in the upper accompanimental voices.) A brief breaking-up of this material in mm. 37-38 leads to the final two statements, in the original tonal area (C) of the original melodic phrase (the second statement again in parallel augmented 4ths), accompanied by the wedge figure in the upper voices and the original four notes of the pedal line.
Once again, the movement ends in Hambræus's characteristic tonally-ambiguous manner: after an apparent resolution in the tonal are of C (reinforced by a double pedal-point on C in the soprano and bass voices) the final E-C interval of the Récit line is paired with the interval Db-Bb as the pedal C's are released.
"Mouvement perpétuel" (Vol. II)
As was noted earlier, in the first part of thie study, the opening line of "Mouvement perpétuel" may be imagined as the ringing on the smallest bells after the great peal of bells which ends the preceding movement ("Introduction"). Indeed the process which generates the melodic figuration of this piece is inspired by the theory of change-ringing and Hambræus's fascination with bell sonorities.
An analysis of the various patterns and their beginning and ending points is an interesting exercise and may be easily done by the interested reader, with the caveats that the right- and left-hand patterns do not begin and end simultaneously, some patterns are subject to horizontal "filtering," and successive patterns may be elided by overlapping common pitches! What is more interesting for this discussion is to see how the patterns are manipulated to create a variety in the rhythmic motion of the piece. Initially, the patterns begin "on the beat" (in the absence of bar lines, this is to be taken to mean at the beginning
of a regular grouping of eight sixteenth-notes) and each pattern corresponds to either an eight-note group of sixteenth-notes (in the right-hand part) or a four-note group of eighth-notes (in the left-hand part). This gives a feeling of regular and predictable movement through the first two systems of the movement, at which point the left hand part is horizontally filtered as well as rhythmically altered to a syncopated group of three notes. Toward the end of system 4, this left-hand syncopation continues in shorter rhythmic values against a three-note group in the right-hand. In the middle of system 6, the right-hand pattern begins off the beat (on the first F#), becoming a five-note pattern at this point.
Example 23: "Movement Perpetuel" Livre d'Orgue (I)
© Éditions Jacques Ostiguy, 12790 rue Yamaska St. Ste. Hyacinthe PQ, J2T 1B3.
The patterns themselves now change with greater frequency (every two beats) in both hands, whereas at the beginning the left-hand patterns tended to continue for up to seven beats. All of these variations of the original process produce a feeling of rhythmic acceleration, and although the original process produces a feeling of rhythmic acceleration, it should be noted that these are more momentary than ongoing, and are relieved by returns to the original "symmetric" rhythmic patterns. This noted, several more instances of rhythmic manipulation may be seen in systems 7 and 8: (system 7) the right-hand pattern (beginning on F) is a six-note group; the left-hand pattern (beginning simultaneously with it on G#) is a three-note group; the right-hand pattern beginning with the last two sixteenth-note groups (on F) is a five-note pattern; (system 8 the right-hand patterns (beginning on d2 are three-note patterns.) This piling-up of rhythmic alterations climaxes at the beginning of the eighth system, after which filtering and the elongation of the left-hand rhythmic values produces a rather long passage in which the movement slows as the left hand moves in a more randomly-organized line (both in terms of its pattern and rhythm) which occasionally stops on longer values of half-or dotted half-notes. In system 10 the patterns move back into closer synchronization (with very short two- and four-note patterns in left and right hands). A further variation in the texture occurs in system 11, where the left hand drops out briefly, to re-enter on a repeated staccato note E flat. This passage of relative stasis becomes more active in the following system (12), where for a brief time both hands share the same pattern notes (the left hand being a retrograde of the right). The entrance of the pedal in the last system seems to finally "anchor" the movement tonally (in C), as does a recapitulation of the opening right-hand figure and the C-G natural interval in the left hand under the two final figures in the right hand which, in contrast to the cadential quality of left-hand and pedal parts, seem to be cut off in mid-pattern ("non-ritardando").
"Finale sur les Grands-Jeux, en dialogue avecd le Cornet de Récit" (Vol. IV)
The concept of this movement as a "dialogue" between the Grands-Jeux of the Grand Orgue and Positif and the Cornet of the Récit owes much to the "dialogue" movements which conclude many French Classic suites. Here, however, the role of the Récit is greatly expanded from that of merely echoing passages played on the Grands-Jeux to presenting extended recitative passages which carry much of the musical "weight" of the piece.
The first long section of the movement opens with shifting, parallel harmonies on the Grand-Orgue approached by minor 9th anacruses. An ornamental flourish in the last half of m. 11 establishes a tonal shift, with the opening process repeated a minor 3rd higher and somewhat varied (as in, for example, the prolongation and trill ornament on the anacrusis figure in mm. 13-14 and the arpeggiation of the chords in m. 21) before returning to the original pitch-center in mm. 17-21. A condensed version of this opening section begins in m. 27 on the Positif in the original tonal center, with a different tonal shift in mm. 33-40. The second long section begins in m. 46 with the first recitative on the Récit beginning on the long-held C. Three long phrases which range successively further afield from the basic C-G pitch center lead to a two-measure passage on the Grand -Orgue which introduces a motive first heard in the "Prélude" from this volume. A return to the Récit recitative in mm. 60-67 leads "attaca" to the opening material on the positif and repeated on the Grand-Orgue.
At m. 74 the oscillating harmonies break up into staccato figuration based on patterns similar to those seen in m. 67 of the recitative, and leading without pause to the Récit once again at the end of m. 77. At this point, rather than a new recitative passage, a long additive process generates a dense cluster chord, against which the Positif and Pédale introduce elements which recall the minor 3rd (B-G#) relationship of the opening harmonies. The motive from the "Prélude" returns in mm. 91-94, followed by a final, extended recitative passage on the Récit which recalls elements from previous recitative sections (for example the figuration from mm. 66-67 which returns in much the same form in m. 98, and the cluster-generation process which is repeated in simpler form in mm. 99-100). A brief, ornamented reiteration of the opening minor 9th anacrusis figure is announced on the Grand-Orgue in mm. 101-102 against parallel harmonies on the Récit. The movement concludes with a rapid succession of complex chords (opposed triads and augmented 4ths) on the Grand-Orgue from which the "Prélude" motive emerges high in the soprano, only to be broken off abruptly.
The final progression of two chords heard in succession on the Positif and Grand-Orgue might be seen as typical of Hambræus's final cadences, with the essential outline of E flat-G "resolving" to D-F#, but with the inclusion of many half-step clashes (F# against G in the first chord; C# against D and F against F# in the final chord) which create a deliberate sense of open-endedness at the conclusion of many of the movements of Livre d'Orgue . It is significant in this regard that Hambræus characterizes the ending of the movement as an "open scream" 25 whose "open" character is further emphasized as the notes of apparent resolution (D-F) are released in the final measure, leaving the opening D#-F#-C# to be sustained, indicated not only by a fermata, but by ties continuing to the end-bar and the indication "lunga". Indeed, we have seen that successive movements may grow out of preceding ones through such a process; moreover, Hambræus allows for the possibility of creating "families" of works in this way, as in for example the group of works under the title of "Constellations."
Example 24: "Finale sur les Grands-Jeux, en dialogue avec le Cornet de Récit" Livre d'Orgue (IV)
© Éditions Jacques Ostiguy, 12790 rue Yamaska St. Ste. Hyacinthe PQ, J2T 1B3.
In conclusion, the apparent complexity of Hambræus's musical material and processes in Livre d'Orgue may obscure the true intent of the composer. The end for Hambræus is not the intellectual exercise of the manipulation of musical material, but rather the communicative context in which the musical problem-solving is worked out. Hambræus makes it clear that he works out the dynamic implications of his compositional process in a largely intuitive manner, and that he has always endeavored to "make the 'glass-bead game' function outside of the ivory tower." 26 At the 1994 Convention of the International Congress of Organists, Hambræus made an impassioned plea for organists to "think of music first, technique second ... get within the mind of the composer." 27 It is hoped that this examination of Livre d'Orgue will help the performer (and the listener) begin to do that.
1 This article has been excerpted from the author's lecture-recital thesis of the same title (Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, December of 1995) which includes an Introduction followed by a first part with chapters entitled "Redpath Hall Organ of McGill Universtiy," "Registrations in Livre d'Orgue," "General Compositional Elements and Techniques in Livred'Orgue," "The Use of "Borrowed" Material in Livre d'Orgue" and a Second Part consisting of analyses of selected movements, followed by notes, bibliography, musical examples and an appendix detailing the "Stoplist of the Redpath Hall Organ. This article reproduces the introduction as well as chapter III, IV, and V (on respectively, overall structure, general compositional elements and techniques, and the use of "borrowed material") as well as the various analyses excerpted from the second part.
2 Werner Jacob, "The Contribution of Bengt Hambræus Toward the Development of a New Organ Music," in Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario, 3 (1978), p. 33.
3 Stig Jacobsson, critical notes to Bengt Hambræus's "Tre intermezzi per pianoforte," trans. Robert Carrol (Stockholm: Fikskonserter Verlag, 1984) n. pag.
4 For a discussion of the influence of literary form and organic processes on Hambræus's music, see his article "Visioner-fövandlingaraterblickerar: Reflexioner i fyra ansnitt óver nagra egna werk" in Svensk Tidskrit fór Musicfórskning, 3 (1970), pp. 21-22.
5 Jacob, pp. 34-35.
6 Göran Begendahl, "Den magafacetterade Hambræus: in Musickrevey, 24:1 (1971), pg. 190.
7 Louis Christensen, "A Swedish School of New Organ Music," in Numus-West, No. 1 (1972), p.16.
8 Bengt Hambræus, conversation iwth the author regarding Livre d'Orgue, McGill University, Montreal, Jan. 17, 1995.
9 Hambræus, "Visioner-förvandlingar-aterblickar," pg. 16.
10 Ibid., pp. 16-17.
11 Jacob, p. 23.
12 Bo Alphonce, critical notes for the recording of Bengt Hambræus's LIvre d'Orgue , vol. III, John Grew organist, (Montreal, McGill University Records1986) np.
13 Hambræus, conversation, Jan. 17, 1995.
14 Alan Stout, "A Conversation Between Hambræus and Alan Stout," in Church Music, 1 (1972), p. 42.
15 Hambræus, conversation, Jan. 17, 1995.
16 Above a pedal ostinato (subject to "filtering") at 16'+2' pitches (+/- 3 1/5) a dance-like single line at 3 1/5 + 2 2/3 (the 2 2/3" alternates with a 4' stop) produces parallel major thirds and major triads at non-unison pitch. This effect is intensified in a contrasting middle section of sustained chords played on the 3 1/5 + 2 2/3' combination with Tremblant. It is important to note that the parallel thirds and triads are not tempered (as are the notated pitches) but pure, thus producing an effect of "vertically-pure" intervals contrasted with a tempered horizontal musical line.
17 In "Les timbres irisés" (Vol. III) the concept of "aleatoric microtonality" arises in the use of an effect which was first suggested by Hambræus in a conversation with György Ligeti and Karl-Erik Welin (Bo Alphonce, critical notes for the recording of Bengt Hambræus's Livre d'Orgue, Vol. III, John Grew, organiest Montreal: McGill University Records, 1986). Ligeti first used the effect in his 1961-62 work for organ Volumina, in which the wind supply is shut off, or manipulated through partially-drawn stops.) In "Les timbres irisées" (Vol. III) the effect is used in different ways: at the beginning the composer gives precise indications for the order in which the stops are to be drawn (Bourdon 8', Cymbale, Prestant 4', Bourdon 16', Montre 8', Doublette 2', Fourniture) and further specifies that they are to be drawn slowly one after another and only halfway, producing a "quasi-micro-tonal, whistling effect" (composer's note). Obviously, no two renderings of these instructions will result in precisely the same effect; furthermore, the effect will be different on different instruments, hence its "aleatory" nature. Hambræus also gives the option at the end of retiring the stops in the reverse order in which they were drawn. Contrasting with this effect, meanwhile, is the fully-drawn Pédale Flûte 2' (+Bourdon 16' in the last measure) which joins the texture at mid-point in the movement with double-pedale intervals which serve as a steady-pitch line through the undulating texture produced by the "beats" of dissonant and cluster structures.
18 Alphonce np.
19 Oscar Hedlund, "Bengt Hambræus - 'Swedish' composing? A 'Stockholm Group'?" in Phillips Music Herald, Summer 1963, p. 9.
20 The present writer is grateful to Prof. Hambræus for making available his schematic analysis of this fugue during the Jan. 17, 1995 conversation.
21 Much of the information regarding "external quotations" in Livre d'Orgue was supplied by Professor Hambraeus during the Jan. 17, 1995 conversation, particularly as regards the extra-musical ones and the ones from his other compositions.
22 The author acknowledges the help of friend and colleague Dr. Lee Mitchell in ascribing the Brahms quotation.
23 Although Albert Schweizer's theory of "pictorial symbolism" in Bach's music (which links musical motives with very specific word-associations) as set forth in J.S. Bach, trans. Ernest Newman (2 vols.; New York: Dover Publications, 1966), is nowadays discredited, it is clear that Bach does, at least in chorale-based compositions, often use musical figures to suggest specific associations with the chorale text.
24 See "General Compositional Elements and Techniques in LIvre d'Orgue" above for an explanation and Example 19 for a schematic of this process.
25 conversation with the author, Jan. 17, 1995.
26 Hambræus, "Visioner-förvandlingar-aterlickar," p. 23 (Translation by the author.)
27 Todd Sullivan, review of the 1994 Calgary International Organ Festival, in "The Diapason" (March, 1995), pp. 16-17.
as published in Vol. VIII/2, Summer 1997