• Tristan Keuris
  • Concerto for Organ and Orchestra (1993)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Concertegouw N.V. With financial assitance from the VSB Foundation Fund for the inauguration of the restored organ of the Concertegouw

  • 2+pic.2+ca.2+Ebcl+bcl.2/4300/timp.perc/hp/str
  • organ
  • 22 min

Programme Note

The commission for the Organ Concerto, which came suddenly just before the summer of 1992, was for a piece to be performed at the inauguration of the restored Maarschalkerweerd in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw on March 18, 1993.

To get started, Keuris had the organist Leo van Doeselaar thoroughly ground him in the capabilities of the restored instrument and organs in general, for Keuris initially had little affinity with instrument hast he called “God’s own accordion”. Just as he took pains to be familiar with every nuance and performance technique of orchestral instruments before writing for them, he felt he needed to undergo a similar process with the organ.

The emphasis in the first Recitativo lies primarily on a clear, radiant sound in which the organ and orchestra complement and reflect each other. The Capriccio begins with a somewhat shrouded sound, flows into a cadenza with a broad and brilliant sound, and then rounds off with a return to the veiled organ – and orchestral – registration. The Intermezzo has a Baroque quality, with French-sounding strings in the orchestra and beautiful horn solos. For the Toccata, Keuris had little choice but to tightly rein the harmonies so that the interplay between the orchestral instruments remained clearly delineated in the hall’s acoustics. The result is brilliant and compelling, even compared with the coda in this movement, as well as in relation to the closing Recitativo, a complex more dramatic version of the first one.

Programme note © Leo Samama