Kyle Gann (b. 1955) — Summer Serenade (2014) for organ
Kyle Gann (b. 1955) is an American composer and musicologist well-known for his work and scholarship on the “Downtown” American music movement and post-minimalism. Gann’s output as a composer is varied and deeply expressive; his pieces range from microtonal electronic works, to mechanical piano music, to scores for traditional ensembles. While his harmonic language is usually quite luminous in its use of tonal and modal elements, much of his music contains rather complicated (but intelligible) rhythmic dimensions with multiple tempo layers existing simultaneously. Educated at the Oberlin Conservatory and Northwestern University, Gann has been a faculty member at Bucknell University and Bard College. His musicology books on Conlon Nancarrow, John Cage, Robert Ashley, and other subjects have been widely acclaimed.
“Summer Serenade” (2014) was composed for organists Carson Cooman and Gerhard Stäbler. The starting point of the music is the beautiful closing chord of Gann’s ensemble work “Catskill Set,” which the composer realized was voiced perfectly for the organ. From there, the music unfolds very gradually and tranquilly: with a warm, leisurely, and languid summer spirit. (The composer noted that the work may be played either quietly or loudly.)