Organ Works

Frederick Frahm’s composition catalog features many works for organ including concert works, chorale preludes, programmatic pieces, and several major works for organ and instruments including the Concerto (organ and strings), Septem Verba (for organ and violin), and Spaces of Night (song cycle for voice, organ, and string orchestra).

A variety of publishers distribute many of these pieces including Zimbel Press (NY), Firehead Editions (London), and Musik Fabrik (Paris).

For a list of additional works, please contact the composer. Click on work title or publisher link to see a sample pages. There are many recordings of these and other organ works by Frederick Frahm. Visit the composer’s Youtube channel or check out the videos posted on this website!

As of Fire

Inspired by a poem of Catherine Walsh, who commissioned the work in 2008.  The music is intended for a symphonic instrument in a large space.  An additional performance option allows for a narration of the Walsh poem in sections within the performance.  As of Fire was premiered at Blackburn Cathedral (UK) by Robin Walker in 2009, and the US premiere was played by Douglas Cleveland at the Cathedral of St. John in Albuquerque, NM in 2010.

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Cabeza de Vaca (trilogy)

This set of three piece considers the life and experiences of 16th century conquistador Cabeza de Vaca. He came to America (after Cortes) and his journey was one of great discovery, but the voyage turned out quite differently than he had expected. The movements are titled: Cabeza de Vaca at the shore, Cabeza de Vaca hears a distant music, Cabeza de Vaca ponders his life as a soldier. The music is dramatic, pensive, ethereal, and austere. 

Order a copy from Firehead Editions

Chaplinesque
Inspired by a poem of Hart Crane which describes the artist’s life. In many ways, this is an essential piece of the composer’s ‘cubist’ works for organ. A ‘painting’ in musical sound, with colors and textures and masses juxtaposed in a way that urges them to continuously renegotiate their relationship with each other. Circa 5 minutes in duration. World premiere played by Robin Walker on 20 March 2016 at Methodist Central Hall in London.

We make our meek adjustments,
Contented with such random consolations
As the wind deposits
In slithered and too ample pockets…

Hart Crane (1899-1933)

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Fantasy for Organ

The musical fantasy finds its inspiration in improvisation.  Of the three organ works by Frederick Frahm distinguished by this title, the first fantasy is the more symphonic, and the second and third fantasies are smaller works.  Each makes uses of juxtaposed episodic material of great contrast, a broad use of color, and symmetrical form.  The Second and Third fantasies can played with minimal pedal work.

A line quoted at the top of the score, appropinquante termino mundi (at the boundary of the universe) comes from the first canto of Iain Davie’s poem entitled the Apocalypse of Pope John.  This text served as a departure point for the First Fantasy for Organ.

Technically, the musical ideas are connected by contrast, even contradiction.  There will be bold, dissonant, jagged phrases offset by spare, unison or bicinium phrases characterized by triadic, albeit chromatic harmony.  There are moments of indignant rage followed by serene melancholy, or moments of sweet chorale singing followed by ecstatic gesture, or brittle open consonance answered by strident dissonance.

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Firehead

Commissioned by Robin Walker for performance at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. The premiere performance was given by Mr. Walker on May 18 at St. George Hanover Square (London) on the Richards, Fowkes & Co. organ. The title of the work is drawn from the narrative poem of the same title by American Poet Lola Ridge. This music is designed for a large instrument, and is an exuberant piece for festive occasions.

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La Morte Meditata

An expressive piece for manuals only (mostly, a couple of pedal pull downs are appropriate) composed in memory of Eric Nash Walters (1967-2016). The music is inspired by a poem from 1932 of Giuseppe Ungaretti which, in the course of several stanzas, beautifully considers the tender nature of death. This music slowly unfolds, mournfully at times–frenetically at others, and concludes gently and resolutely. In many ways this work also stands as a portrait of a gentle, but complex spirit, where struggle and love coexisted, each buoyed by art and passion and genuine empathy.

…Quando m’avrai domato, dimmi:
Nella malinconia dei vivi
Volerà a lungo la mia ombra?…

…once you have conquered me, tell me:
among the sadness of the living
how long will my shadow fly?

Giuseppe Ungaretti, 1932

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Nooksack River Psalms

The “Nooksack River Psalms” are collected in a set of three pieces based on psalm verses that are used to personify the river, which at times can sleep in a dry bed or rage and roil over its banks to flood crops and homes.  The music is composed for manuals only, with an occasional pull down pedal note.  Registration is simply indicated in the score, but the tonal resources of a larger instrument should be explored at the discretion of the performer.

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Old Stone Church

The Old Stone Church is not about any particular building or sacred space but rather an architecture as suggested by the title. The music is constructed phrase by phrase (brick by brick) to form an austere and imposing structure. Designed for a large instrument and a resonant space, this work explores the concept of a massive space built by human hands to encompass a divine idea. Inspired by a quatrain from a longer poem by Geoffrey Hill (The Pentecost Castle), the music finds expression in grandeur, fits of nervous energy, and a brief admission of melancholy.

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Salmo 150 per Organo

Commissioned by Riccardo Gnudi for the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Tamburini organ at the Church of St. Stephen the Cavalier in Pisa, Italy. At the head of the score of Psalm 150, an inscription reads: In týmpano et choro, in chordis et órgano, laudáte Deum… In just a few words, the psalmist offers us a list of numerous instruments with which we can use to offer praise to God in his holy sanctuary. But there is more to this– praising God in manifold ways is a daily part of living. Our every word, action, deed is all a part of acknowledging our Creator and the grace in which we live and have our being. This music portrays a variety of ways in which we praise God: proclamation, prayer, procession, and psalms.

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Three New Mexico Sketches

In August of 2010, in advance of a recital performance at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe on the Fisk Organ (Opus 133), the composer scored the Three New Mexico Sketches to be premiered on that recital program. The music is descriptive of the local surroundings in the Northern New Mexico desert landscape. The triptych forms a musical ‘day’ as suggested by the movement titles: By the Rio Grande at Dawn, In Chaco Canyon at Noon, At Dusk on the Plains of St. Agustin.

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