Alkan (arr. Spritzer)
Born: 1813, Paris, FranceDied: 1888, Paris, France
CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN wrote and published his Benedictus, Op. 54, for pedal piano in 1859, although Spritzer has adapted this for organ. The reference to the religious text in the title remains unexplained and open to interpretation.
Benedictus commences somberly, while establishing two distinct contrasting sections. The first is in D minor in the lower register (almost completely below middle C of the original instrument) with triple-meter repeated chords as accompaniment to a lyrical melody; the second opening section is lyrical in the high register, with a left-handed arpeggio movement as accompaniment. Whether these melodic sections actually represent two versions of one idea symbolically or by simple variation, both similarly use intervallic leaps of a perfect fourth (the first downward and the second upward).
Once the two opening sections are established, contrasting ideas are further introduced, including a contrapuntal development section and a chorale. These ideas appear to merge into a joyful D major, before ending abruptly with a brief overlapping of the two opening ideas, this time with the melody in the pedals.