This is Dirksen’s presentation tape for The American Adventure themes. For background:
Theme F is from the third mvt. of the Sonata for Clarinet, Strings & Piano. Associated with Dugan and trains.
One of his favorite stunts was to turn unexpected tunes into marches, most notoriously Sine Nomine for the 1974 PB service! Here he does it to The Star-Spangled Banner, and folds in Dixie and Yankee Doodle for good measure. The Trio of the march is Que grande viene el rio, Rick’s big song from Tularosa. That .mp3 is at the end of the list, and here’s the score Que grande viene el rio (Tularosa)
Meter and hemiola
Another life-long preoccupation was the swinging alternation of 6/8 and 3/4 with which he worked continually. These two works, side-by-side in his catalog, show him using the same text with different melodies but the same metrical alternation at play throughout. (They also both feature vivid organ trumpet solos!)
142 Come, O come our voices raise (1988)
143 Cantate Domino Canticum Novum (1992)
And of course his last anthem 145 Sing, ye faithful also runs along these lines. There are many more pieces where he works this vein – it was endlessly fascinating to him.
Sing, ye faithful also ends quoting the Queens Change, which he used also in 307 O Ruler of the universe, the service Her Majesty attended on July 8, 1976. The bells of the Cathedral were a ever-ready inspiration, both the big ones in the tower and the ten handbells the Whitechapel Guild provided for peal practice (which lived in the Choir room, not the ringing room!) Dirksen’s work in fact has bells and bell tones throughout, either deployed directly or with the sound hovering in the music’s background. By far his most extensive working through of these bell ideas was the grand 127 At break of day commissioned for Christ Church, Alexandria in 1983. He uses the last three verses of Thomas Traherne’s Christmas poem which start “At break of day, oh how the bells did ring!”.