Skip to page content

Organist and composer Timothy Tikker (b. 1958) studied with Guy Bovet and Jean Langlais, among others. He won First Prize in the National Improvisation Competition of the San Anselmo Organ Festival in 1987, the Holtkamp-AGO Award in Organ Composition in 1993, and First Prize in the UNESP Organ Composition Competition (Brazil) in 1997, and he was a finalist in the Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Competition in 2000. He has provided the following note:

"The Tiento de Batalla sobre el Balletto del Granduca was commissioned by Los Angeles organ builder Manuel Rosales for the organ he built with Glatter-Götz Orgelbau for Claremont United Church of Christ. It was premiered and recorded there by Diane Meredith Belcher in January 1999. [Rosales and Glatter-Götz also built the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ.]

"Rosales requested a piece based on the Renaissance dance tune Balletto del Granduca, best known in the organ world for the set of variations on it written by the Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621). Rosales further requested that it be cast in the genre of an early Hispanic battle piece, and that it be a show-piece for the organ's reed stops. His intention was to celebrate the Claremont church's Calvinist heritage (reflected in the homage to Sweelinck) together with his own Hispanic heritage. [The Llamarada division of the Walt Disney Concert Hall organ, including the horizontal pipes above the main console and stops such as the Trompeta de Los Angeles, should be perfect for this music.]

"The Spanish term tiento has no direct equivalent in English. It appears to be related to the verb tentar (to probe and examine tactilely); it may be then seen as similar to the Italian ricercare (to research) and toccata (to touch). A tiento de batalla is thus a battle-piece incorporating more countrapuntal, recherché musical features, rather than a mere collection of military sound-effects.

"The present work is primarily inspired by two famous organ battles: the Tiento Tercero de Sexto Tono sobre la Batalla de Morales by Spaniard Francisco Correa de Arauxo (1584-1654); and the Batalha de Sexto Tom by the Portuguese Pedro de Araújo (c. 1640-1705). It is meant as a fun-loving, affectionate parody of such battle-pieces, incorporating a host of their traditional gestures and clichés, along with occasional excursions into more modern musical territory (perhaps evoking a spirited improvisor careening out of control...), all the while incorporating and developing the theme and motives from the Balletto del Granduca."

- John Henken is Director of Publications for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.