Even though I love Baroque music, it is not the style of music I like to use to write music. If music is like story telling, the Baroque style is not the what I would like to tell my story in. For my story, it is not the right sound. If I would use it to tell my story, it would sound strange, I would not be telling it in my voice.
Finding my voice to tell my musical story, finding the style I would like to write my music in, is a journey of exploration that will probably last the rest of my life. One of the first pieces I tried to find a way of writing that appealed to my, that sounded like my voice, is the choral prelude for Hymn 311 from the Dutch Protestant Hymn book from 1973. The melody goes like this:
The melody itself is already a bit like music I’d like to create. The tonality is a sort of not really d minor. The minor seventh (the note c) features prominently in the melody. In accompsnying a melody like this on the organ, I would almost automatically use seventh chords more than classical triads. And that is a sound that instinctively appeals to me. In this choral prelude I write music that is based on seventh and even none chords. To my ears that creates a sort of mellow, warm sound that is very pleasing. It was the first pointer for me for the direction I should take to find my own voice as a musician and as a composer.
The musical form is basically a tripartite form. The first section is in the tonal realm of d (notice the repeat notes d in the pedal). The second section follows the choral melody to the tonal realm of g and the main musical idea of the introduction is repeated 4 notes higher. The final section returns to the tonal realm of d, and as conclusion to the piece the introduction is repeated. Simple, yet effective.
Even though this hymn is used only in the Netherslands, I hope the music is nice enough to use it outside the Netherlands as well.
The recording was done with the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradisi, of the Schittger organ in the St. Martini-kerk, Groningen.