CHEN YI
Totem Poles
(2017)

For Organ Solo

Duration: 5′
Commission: Commissioned by the American Guild of Organists for its Biennial National
Convention held in Kansas City in July 2018.
Premiere: July 3, 2018. Prof. James Higdon, organ; Bales Organ Recital Hall in University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

Program Note:
My organ solo piece Totem Poles is commissioned by the American Guild of Organists for its Biennial National Convention held in Kansas City in July 2018. The primitive power and the spiritual mysteries of the ancient totem poles are permeated into the rich palette, and brought out from the sonic giant, the solo organ in my piece. From the bronze drum set on top of the totem pole, I imagine that our ancestors played the powerful low percussion instrument, to unify the rhythm in their group dance; from the delicate and magical decorations carved on the drum and the pole, I imagine that the beauty of the totem poles is presented in multilayers with various timbres from different manuals (keyboards) and pedals, and the ineffable universe is harmonized in the powerful and brilliant grand chords fully sounded from the organ. The work is premiered by Prof. James Higdon at the Bales Organ Recital Hall in University of Kansas on 7/3/2018 in Lawrence, KS, USA.

–Chen Yi