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Transmigration

Work Type: Classical, Solo

Instrumentation: organ

Duration: 11-13 minutes


I am far from the first composer to be fascinated by the organ’s capacity for infinite sustain.  The organ does not need to breathe, rebow, reattack, or rewind to continue producing sound; it can simply keep pumping air indefinitely through whichever pipes happen to be open.  I wrote Transmigration with the intention of exploiting this feature, as the piece is built mainly around the opening and closing of stops while the keys are held down, analogous to the entrances and exits of instruments in an orchestral piece.

The word ‘transmigration’ means the journey of the soul into another body after death, a concept found in many religious traditions.  While Transmigration was not consciously about this idea of rebirth, it seemed a fitting title as the piece developed.  The piece itself finds most of its direct inspiration in ambient electronica, most notably the work of Brian Eno and greg davis.

Transmigration was written for Joshua Lawton, and premiered on December 12, 2005 in the Church of the Redeemer, Newton, MA, on a 1989 Noack organ.