26/8/98 (revised) for organ (three manuals) & assistant
Peroration is a technical term in rhetoric, meaning the summing up and conclusion at the end of a speech. This piece was written in my final year at Napier University, as a personal summing up of my time there, in particular my decision to pursue composition seriously. It was written for, and won, the 1992 Composition Prize at Napier, for which the brief was ‘a piece for organ, minimum three minutes’.
In my first year at Napier, I had decided to take a module in ‘Creative Music Making’ At that time,
was something of a ‘mystic chord’ for me; I kept playing it over and over again at the piano, wondering what to do with it. I went to my first lesson in Creative Music Making and said ‘Um, I’ve got this chord I really like, I want to do something with it.’; ‘Oh yes,’ said the teacher, ‘it’s kind of Bb7 with a third and a suspended fourth’, and promptly resolved it in the key of Eb;
‘Creative Music Making’, it turned out, was a piano busking module; all very well, but not what I was looking for!
By my final year at Napier I was more confident in my direction as a composer. As a kind of playful revenge, I decided to make my ‘mystic chord’ the subject of my ‘Peroration’ for organ. (What is more, as a private joke I have used this same chord in almost all of my recent pieces!)
First performed by Piet Groeneveld on the Muller organ in the Grote- of Jakobijner Kerk, Leeuwarden, Netherlands on Saturday 23 February 2002, in the presence of the composer (and, as it happens, his brother Paul, who’s birthday it was!)