Symphony no. 1

Subtitled ‘The Old Abandoned Fort’, this chamber symphony was inspired by the Civil War era Fort Union in Watrous, NM. Three movements contemplate the eery ruins once known as a thriving point of commerce and military power due west along the Santa Fe Trail.

I. Con moto
…a garrison was stationed here,
full of industry and commotion…

II. Tranquillo
…an adobe fortress isolated on a vast prairie…

III. Maestoso
…in the silence, echoes of the outpost remain…

2 Flutes (#2 doubles piccolo)
2 Oboes
2 B-Flat Clarinets
2 Bassoons
2 Horns in F
2 Trumpets in C
2 Trombones
Percussion (1 player)
Glockenspiel, Chimes, Snare Drum, Bass Drum

order performance editions
listen to a recording

Concerto for Organ and Strings

In three movements, this work, an adaptation of fantasies 2-4 for organ solo, was composed in memory of Katharine Peterson Gronen-Kaiser, a mentor and friend who died on the Great Vigil of Easter, April 23, 2011.

order performance editions
listen to a recording

One day, I visited an art gallery to pass the time. Yes, there were paintings of barns and soldiers and bowls of fruit. Yes, there were stuffy portraits and lavish murals and fussy assembled things. In one room, the light was more dim. A single bench sat in the center and on each of the four encompassing walls, there was a single large oblong piece. I don’t remember the artist’s name, couldn’t possibly have been Barnett Newman…

The panels are described in this way:
1 – A melancholy indigo, with an orange nasturtium
2 – A ensanguined scarlet fading to a blushy rose
3 – White lilies in a baroque golden frame
4 – Charcoal, with a sprig of yellow daisies

Through my eyes, I fell into each mass of color. My heart sang for their music and my soul was set adrift…


inquire about performance editions
listen to a performance

Spaces of Night

If I should cast off this tattered coat,
And go free into the mighty sky;
If I should find nothing there
But a vast blue,
Echoless, ignorant –
What then?

This questioning verse by American writer Stephen Crane (1871-1900) anchors the 18-minutes long Spaces of Night, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano, strings, and organ. Commissioned by the Albuquerque, New Mexico chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Spaces of Night received its world premiere March 17, 2012, in Keller Hall on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque.

Mezzo-Soprano solo

order performance editions
listen to a recording

Ghost Canyon String Quartet

Three movements, circa eight minutes in duration. Inspired by poetry of John Gould Fletcher. Commissioned by Alison Schuler in memory of her parents, Col. Richard and Mrs. Irma Schuler.

I Lento:
a dry desert heat,
a traveler chances upon an undiscovered canyon,
a play of sandstone and sage,
light and shadow,
there are glyphs on the walls,
and bleached bones in a wind hollowed nicho.

II Tranquillo:
a pool of water,
in a shallow wind hollowed basin,
clear, turquoise blue,
a few drops of water from somewhere above,
rain, or the remnants of a spring.

III Animato:
the wind is here,
not steady and driving,
but unpredictable and playful,
dusk, the heat retires,
puffy white clouds dance in front of the sun,
and a ghostly frolic of light chases through the canyon.

order performance editions
listen to a recording

© 2022 by Frederick Frahm.
All rights reserved.