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Bruce Simonds Composer

Prelude on "Iam Sol Recedit Igneus" for organ

Performances: 1
Tracks: 1
Musicology (work in progress):
  • Prelude on "Iam Sol Recedit Igneus" for organ
    Year: 1924
This is a beautiful and evocative ten-minute organ solo that has emerged as one of the best known American works of its type, among fanciers of the pipe organ. As of this writing it has been recorded at least three times on a specialty organ CD label (Pro Organo) and once on a standard-repertory classical label (Telarc).

Bruce Simonds was a leading piano educator and concert pianist. As a teacher he had a long association with Yale University (1921 - 1973) and rose to become dean of the graduate school of music.

Both of his organ compositions are in the American concert organ repertory. This work is unusual in managing to have both a religious and a pictorial content.

As the subject of this work Simonds chose a verse occurring within the Catholic plainchant "Lux Beate Trinitas," which poetically likens the Christian Holy Trinity to aspects of light. The verse in question is "Iam sol recedit igneus," or "now as the sun's declining rays."

The piece, therefore, is both a nature painting of the fading light of the sun at twilight and a meditation on the spiritual feeling of considering the beauty of that time of day.

The musical material is slightly Impressionistic, particularly in a recurring motive, a fading step-wise series of parallel chords.

© Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide
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