Benjamin Williams

Exaltate in aeternum (2013)

Shortly after moving to Mississippi, one of my colleagues at Mississippi College, organist Bob Knupp, planned to give a recital of organ music by composers he personally knew. Knowing that I am also an organist, he stopped by my office to see what music of mine he might be able to use. Much to my embarrassment, I didn't have much to show him! While I had written some functional organ music primarily for my own use at church, I didn't have anything along the lines of a concert piece for solo organ (he ended up playing a piece of mine for violin and organ with his wife). Lest I miss his interest in performing my music, he recounted this all in his recital program with the note "(Hint to Ben write a solo organ piece.)"!

As it turned out, Exaltate in aeternum was my second piece for solo organ since that recital. The first—Jacob's Ladder—was for myself, to use as a sort of 'test' piece. I had a great deal of fun with that piece and couldn't wait to get working on another for someone I know has a great deal of talent. The three main movements share various themes and textures throughout: the first in a lilting manner, the second with a slow pensive melody in a round over a rapidly flowing accompaniment; the final movement is a sort of bouncy pastorale. In between are interludes that begin to ease one movement into the next as the themes transform throughout to the end.

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