Organ Music of Ned Rorem

Ronald Prowse (organ)

Catalog #: TROY0398
Release Date: July 1, 2000
Format: Digital

Ned Rorem writes about his Organ music: "Fantasy and Toccata, the first and briefest of my eight Organ works, is an heirloom. Composed in 1946 as a gift to my erstwhile mentor, Leo Sowerby, it sank without a trace. I had quite forgotten the piece when in the summer of 1987 Eileen Hunt, hunting through the archives of E. Power Biggs, recovered a copy. The following May, Leonard Raver performed the world premiere at New York's Church of Saint Matthew & Saint Timothy. Organbook I was commissioned by Leslie Spelman; Organbook II and Organbook III by Eileen Hunt, specifically to be premiered on the 150-year-old Goodrich instrument of Nantucket's Unitarian Church, the only Organ by that maker still existing on its original site. Together, the Organbooks contain 16 pieces, and their object, I suppose, is simplicity. The previous works have all been hard; it seemed time to write something more technically plain. These pieces are nonetheless gradated from very easy to quite thorny. Played consecutively they form a sort of Pilgrim's Progress of 40-odd minutes. But the three books can be dipped into as well, like jewel boxes, offering what's useful for this or that occasion. In a little more than three weeks, I composed and Orchestrated and copied my Symphony No. 1. The second movement was an Andantino in the lilting 6-8 meter I was overexploiting at the time. I made a transcription of the Andantino movement for Organ solo and called it Pastorale for Organ. Six Pieces for Organ was commissioned by the American Guild of Organists for Eileen Hunt to launch at the national convention in Denver. The premiere took place on June 29, 1998."


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Fantasy and Toccata Ned Rorem Ronald Prowse, Organ
Fantasy from Organbook I Ned Rorem Ronald Prowse, Organ
Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani? Ned Rorem Ronald Prowse, Organ
Organbook III Ned Rorem Ronald Prowse, Organ
Pastorale for Organ Ned Rorem Ronald Prowse, Organ
Six Pieces for Organ Ned Rorem Ronald Prowse, Organ


  • "Rorem's music is distinguished by a lean lyricism, vibrant harmony and a fetching terseness."

    – Detroit Free Press

  • "Prowse performs these works with conviction and with a technique equal to the most demanding passages."

    – The American Organist

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