William Doppmann

About this work:
Commissioned by Professor Ronald Rathbun, Texas Christian University, Abilene. Premiered by the composer at Grand Valley State College, Michigan in 1999 In the latter half of the sixteenth century, English virginalist composers, contemporaries of Sweelinck, were writing a genre of keyboard music called “In Nomine”, based on a plainchant fragment set to the words “gloria tibi trinitas”. My toccata, composed nearly four hundred years later, is similarly based and shares with its virginalist prototypes the scale and tonality of D-Dorian, the span of white keys from D to D an octave higher, -- sounding to our ears like D minor with the sixth degree raised a half step. (Stripped of its chromaticism, the Sweelinck Fantasia is pitched in D-Dorian as well). This toccata’s range is likewise restricted to the shortened keyboard of earlier times (about three octaves and a half) and begins sotto voce with a low pedal C sharp underpinning the Dorian figuration above. The other black keys are added in sequence systematically, creating more exotic scale patterns as the toccata progresses. At key punctuation points, a secular (and contemporary) trinity of names is introduced – the musically spellable letters of the works’ dedicatee, my Texas friend and colleague Ronald Rathbun; his wife Sharon; and, at the very end -- not to put the blame on anyone else -- my own. (notes by Wm. Doppmann)
Year composed: 1997
Duration: 00:02:48
Ensemble type: Keyboard:Piano
Instrumentation: 1 Piano

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