New in composition, old in language, ancient in mood, the Trois nouvelles pièces
Op 87 (1934) were the swansong testament of a ninety-year old. Varyingly diatonic, chromatic, modal … organistic, pianistic, vocal … lyric, muscular, ‘undaunted by modern trends’—Varèse, Messiaen (both his students), the Second Viennese School, Stravinsky, Bartók, America’s jazzmen—showing ‘a mind still fertile with ideas and artistic sensitivity’ (Near), they were dedicated to three of the composer’s American disciples—Riemenschneider, Charlotte Lockwood (Fontainebleau) and Frederick C Mayer (organist of the West Point Cadet Chapel, 1911-54). The movement titles veer away from the formalistic into a more diffuse associations: I Classique d’hier
(Yesterday’s classical). E minor, Moderato. II Mystique
(Mystical). D flat major, Andante. III Classique d’aujourd’hui
(Today’s classical). D minor, Moderato-Andante. The closing ‘running’ toccata-style motion of the third is echt Widor, its lingering tierce de picardie ‘amen’ an incensed, candle-waxed farewell to sixty years of music-making.
from notes by Ateş Orga © 2016