top of page
Diptych, Op 107 (Rachel Laurin)
Live recording from Apollo Chamber Players concert September 10, 2022, at Rice University, performed on the Fisk-Rosales organ. Audio: Ryan Edwards; Video: Ben Doyle. (Program note by Rachel Laurin) Commissioned by Charlotte Jones and dedicated to Daryl Robinson “in celebration of friendship and a shared passion for enriching the world through new music”, the Diptych, Op.107, was composed in the summer of 2021. Written for a large organ, using as a reference Daryl’s instrument at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, Texas, the piece includes the beautiful hymn “How shall I sing that Majesty”, proposed by the commissioners. Daryl also had the idea of a two-part piece, which could be used as Opening and Closing Voluntaries at church or presented as a singular concert piece. The first part “Bucolico” is a quiet prelude, and as the title suggests, introduces a pastoral atmosphere to the exposition of the hymn. The hymn is treated melodically and in the meaning of the words, inspired by the first verse “How shall I sing that majesty which angels do admire?”. Then, the second part of the verse “Thousands of thousands stand around thy throne, O God most high; Ten thousand times ten thousand sound thy praise” is expressed musically in a brief crescendo leading to the “Adagissimo” on the words “But who am I?” The whole movement, through its simplicity and expressiveness, tells the deep humility of a soul inhabited with the real desire to praise the glory of God. The second part “Con Fuoco” is meant to be totally contrasting in character. The short introduction presents a slight link with the prelude motive, but this fiery movement was mainly inspired by the exuberant personality and impressive virtuosity of Daryl Robinson which the composer had many opportunities to admire through online posts! After the introduction, a “Moto Perpetuo” motive is exposed, and a second theme, melodic and expressive, is presented in a choral texture. The extroverted atmosphere also brings a “sarcastic” theme, which becomes part of the celebration, leading to an increasingly virtuosic moment where every musical motive wants to win first place! In the end, the performer and the audience will be the winners!
The Night When You See Again (Wang Jie)
Live recording from Apollo Chamber Players concert September 10, 2022, at Rice University. Matt Detrick and Anabel Ramirez Detrick, violin; Tonya Burton, viola; Matthew Dudzik, cello; Daryl Robinson, organ. Audio: Ryan Edwards; Video: Ben Doyle. (Program note by Wang Jie) I still remember the first time my 5-year-old self laid eyes on a "foreigner" during a Shanghai-style heat wave. I was in a situation where the adults were talking, and I was to play with this boy from Moscow. He didn't have brown eyes and black hair. I couldn't understand a word he was saying. But we became inseparable within the hour because I could play Russian folk songs on the piano and he had a lot of them coming out of his weird looking head. His melodies are both familiar and new. His musical flavor was familiar. His face new. It wasn’t long until I became a foreigner in America. The same story played out. My eyes were too busy to catch up to the ears. I looked around and few people looked like me. My eyes produced words such as "We are different people. Here’s how we are different." I wrote music that matched my face. I tugged away my ears in the closet and showcased musical flavors from Chinese places even I had never been to. I needed to go through that. Because it had to begin with my eyes. I didn’t question it until I started to feel the divisive effect of this approach. I was losing audiences, particularly the ones who cared about me as a human being. In retrospect, I could only express differences because I felt like an outsider. I was yet to discover how we were the same. And our shared value does not take away from how we are different. Once I felt the capacity of my audiences to hear the music beyond the notes, I too, began to hear music beyond the notes. When I was ready to know the people behind their facade, I trusted that my audiences were also ready to know the me beyond the color of my face, and that I'm a woman. I’d like to think, with each piece I create, I’m getting better at shifting out of my comfort zone, into a space that is me with them. It’s the difference in me being a Chinese woman and me being human. I believe we are all here tonight because some parts of us care deeply about these musicians on stage and by extension, their love and dedication to classical music. That's being a human. For me, the last 23 years of living and working in the United States meant that I became part of a collective consciousness that could not have formed if the world is still separated by geography and language. To be a living composer in 21st century is like being the united nation of all the music from all over the world all the time. It's invisible but can be heard by us all. This is music from my home. My real home. I invite you in and I've made a big fuss to show you my proudest creative labor. When the eyes are lost in the dark at night, can we connect better?
Prelude and Fugue on "Union Seminary" (Gerre Hancock)
Recorded May 30, 2020, at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston. Gerre Hancock's “Prelude and Fugue on UNION SEMINARY” was composed in 1983 for Frederick Swann, who, like Hancock, was a graduate of Union Theological Seminary. The prelude presents the theme in four variations showcasing various textures and tonal possibilities, each separated by a brief interlude. The fugue begins gently on foundation stops and gradually increases in rhythmic, harmonic, and registration complexity before concluding in a jubilant toccata with the tail of the theme presented in canon between the organists' two feet. Draw us in the Spirit’s tether, For when humbly in Thy name, Two or three are met together Thou are in the midst of them; Alleluia! Alleluia! Touch we now Thy garment’s hem. As the brethren used to gather In the name of Christ to sup, Then with thanks to God the Father Break the bread and bless the cup, Alleluia! Alleluia! So knit thou our friendship up. All our meals and all our living Make as sacraments of Thee, That by caring, helping, giving We may true disciples be. Alleluia! Alleluia! We will serve Thee faithfully.—Percy Dearmer
Toccata in D Minor, BuxWV 155 (Dietrich Buxtehude, 1637-1707)
Performed on the 1974 Rudolf von Beckerath organ at the University of Houston Organ Program. Specification available at: https://uh.edu/kgmca/music/organ/instruments/organ-hall.pdf Buxtehude served as organist of the prestigious St. Mary’s Church in Lübeck for nearly forty years and left a body of organ literature that includes twenty präludium, four toccatas, and ten canzonas, offering one of the most significant sources of organ music prior to J.S. Bach. A master of the stylus fantasticus, which is described by Johann Mattheson as “...consisting not as much in setting or composing with the pen as in singing or playing that comes of free genius or, as is said, extempore.” Buxtehude mastered both the unbridled improvisatory and strict fugue forms found in the präludium and toccatas. Following the opening declamatory section, the Toccata in D Minor alternates between free and strict sections, offering the organist an opportunity to showcase various plenum and other tonal colors of the instrument.
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’, BWV 676 (J.S. Bach)
Published in September of 1739 in four volumes, the Dritter Theil (“Third Volume”) of Bach’s Clavier-Übung (“Keyboard Practice”) is his first publication for organ. The collection contains 27 works organized to create a German Organ Mass. There are numerous allusions to the Trinity within the collection, including three Gloria settings (in the keys F-G-A, forming a third). One of these Glorias, Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr’ (All glory be to God on high) BWV 676, features an elaborate three-voiced trio texture in which the chorale melody serves as cantus firmus, surrounded by invertible counterpoint. Recorded June 8, 2020, on the 1974 Rudolf von Beckerath organ at the University of Houston. Specification available at: https://uh.edu/kgmca/music/organ/instruments/organ-hall.pdf
Adagio in E Major, H. 63 (Frank Bridge)
Daryl Robinson, Director of Organ Studies at the Universty of Houston's Moores School of Music, performs "Adagio in E Major" by Frank Bridge on the dedicatory recital of the Nichols & Simpson organ at South Main Baptist Church in Houston, TX. Recorded December 2, 2017 http://www.darylrobinson.com Video recording by South Main Baptist Church Broadcast Ministry
Fantasia on a Theme of Gustav Holst (Aaron David Miller)
Daryl Robinson, Director of Organ Studies at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, performs "Fantasia on a Theme of Gustav Holst" by Aaron David Miller on the dedicatory recital of the Nichols & Simpson organ at South Main Baptist Church in Houston, TX. This work was commissioned by Mr. Robinson and is dedicated to the congregation of South Main. Recorded December 2, 2017 http://www.darylrobinson.com Video recording by South Main Baptist Church Broadcast Ministry
Concert Variations on NICAEA (David Briggs)
Daryl Robinson, Assistant Professor and Director of Organ Studies at the University of Houston, performs "Concert Variations on NICAEA" by David Briggs on the 2014 Nichols & Simpson organ at St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas, TX. Mr. Robinson commissioned this work in 2014 in honor of his mother. Recorded live, April 2015. http://www.darylrobinson.com
Lullaby from Suite No. 2 (Calvin Hampton)
Daryl Robinson, Assistant Professor and Director of Organ Studies at the University of Houston, performs "Lullaby from Suite No. 2" by Calvin Hampton on the 2014 Nichols & Simpson organ at St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas, TX. Recorded live, April 2015. http://www.darylrobinson.com
bottom of page