Unchanging Love: Brass and Organ Music



(Albany Records: Troy 1068)

Chris Gekker – Trumpet
Richard Bunbury – Organ
Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
Harrylyn Huff – Organ
Larry Bell – Piano

Poems for Trumpet and Piano
– Chris Gekker, trumpet / Larry Bell, piano
1. Miracles (Whitman)
2. A Cradle Song (Blake)
3. A Dream Within a Dream (Poe)
4. There cam a wind like a bugle (Dickinson)
5. Dover Beach (Arnold)

Liturgical Suite
– Richard Bunbury, organ
6. Processional
7. Fugue
8. Toccata
9. “Wayfaring Stranger”
10. Gigue
11. Pastorale
12. Postlude

Four Lyrics for Trumpet and Piano
– Chris Gekker, trumpet / Larry Bell, piano
13. Appassionata
14. Andante con moto
15. Giocoso
16. Amoroso

Unchanging Love
– Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble
Harrylyn Huff, organ / Larry Bell, conductor
17. Prelude
18. Offertory
19. Postlude

Remembering Al: Idumea Variations
– Larry Bell, piano
20. Remembering Al


About the Music

Poems for Trumpet and Piano, op. 85 (2006), was written for Colby and Carson Cooman. Carson had heard a performance of my song cycle, Dream Within a Dream, op. 79, and asked if I could arrange the songs for his brother Colby, a trumpeter. This cycle of songs is based upon a variety of texts that are included in the score of the instrumental arrangement: “Miracles” by Walt Whitman; “Cradle Song” by William Blake; “Dream Within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe; “There came a wind like a bugle” by Emily Dickinson; and “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.

The Liturgical Suite for Organ, op. 69, completed in June of 2004, was commissioned by and dedicated to Carson Cooman and Richard Bunbury. The work is in seven movements and is designed to be both a recital piece and a functional part of a church service. Its premiere performance was given March 6, 2005, at Mission Church, Roxbury, MA, by both commissioners.

The movements are Processional, Fugue, Toccata, “Wayfaring Stranger,” Gigue, Pastorale, and Postlude. The whole work is a kind of arch form that frames the central variations on the religious folk song “I am a poor wayfaring stranger.” Some of these movements contain repeats that allow them to be extended as the occasion requires. In addition, each piece contains general registration recommendations that were suggested by the commissioning organists.

Four Lyrics, op. 60 (2001) was commissioned in by Fay Chandler in exchange for one of her paintings: Multifarious Explanations . The work is a transcription for trumpet and piano of my songs for tenor (or soprano) and piano, Shakespeare Sonnets , op. 58 (2001). The music is richly lyrical. Although written in a modern harmonic idiom, it is rooted in the Romantic song tradition. Four Lyrics was first performed at a private event in my home with trumpeter Andrew Sorg and myself on piano. Later, Chris Gekker and I first performed this work publicly in a master class at The Boston Conservatory.

Unchanging Love, op. 88, for brass quintet and organ, was commissioned in 2007 by The Memorial Church at Harvard University to celebrate it 75th anniversary year, 1932–2007. In three movements– Prelude, Offertory, and Postlude–my work was designed for liturgical purposes. Each of the three movements is based on a hymn I wrote called “Unchanging Love,” my setting of a text Romulus Linney used in his play Holy Ghosts. (Linney also wrote a play named Unchanging Love .) This hymn, with its text sung, serves as the conclusion of my opera Holy Ghosts .

Remembering Al was written in the summer of 2007 after the death of our close friend Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., the Pulitzer-Prize winning historian married to the artist Fay Chandler. I played it at Al’s memorial service, October 19, 2007, held in Memorial Church at Harvard University. Unchanging Love , for brass quintet and organ, was played at the same service.

-Liner notes by Larry Bell