Commissioned by Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church for their 50th Anniversary in 1974.
A Christmas Gloria
Welcome Happy Morning
Audio & Video. This nine-minute mini-cantata sets the complete Fortunatas text with organ, brass & timpani and would make a great addition to an Easter concert. Score+audio presentation is here, but it awaits a definitive recording.
Bless the Father
God of our life
Hear my crying
Lamb of God, the Heavens adore thee
Welcome all wonders
Audio & Video. Written in 1957, the same year as Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata, the two pieces share vivid brass writing and intense rhythmic energy alternating with lyric beauty. This exists in many forms: Organ and brass, full orchestra, winds only…there’s even an arrangement for SSAA choir.
Audio & Video. Dirksen’s notated half-note=96 is unplayable – he’s merely saying NOT TOO SLOW. But the circumstances of its composition actually dictate the tempo: the performance should be exactly 2′ 30″! Also – don’t miss the Choral Arts Society’s orchestral version here as well.
Audio & Video. For Easter Day. The B section is one of Dirksen’s longest and most effective build-ups to a shattering climax. It’s also a dandy timpani solo. Now back in print by Jubilate Music Group!
Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart
Christ our Passover
Dirksen’s first and perhaps most famous piece premiered as a Gradual at the 11 am service on Easter Day, 1948. Back in print from Jubilate Music Group!
Te Deum “Grosse Pointe”
Full score & video. The earlier of his two settings starts with brilliant Dirksen fanfares and the traditional plainsong but also contains a sweeping Great Procession for the Apostles, Prophets & Martyrs. It ends very dark with a Requiem quote and solemn gong. His 1996 Te Deum “Lexington” is smoothly through-composed and much sunnier.
Te Deum “Lexington”
Full score & video.
Communion Service in E major – Rite I
Full scores & videos. By 1960 Dirksen had participated in Easter services at the Cathedral for 15 years and knew the forces intimately. This grand Mass features exceptionally brilliant writing for the brass and timpani, ground-breaking mixed meters (13/8 notoriously raised the choir’s eyebrows), and in the Agnus Dei some of his spookiest writing for the organ. It’s also noteworthy that two movements of a Mass in E major end on F# (Kyrie, Benedictus). That uncanny whole-tone lift comes a shock each time but prefigures the Gloria’s triumphant final modal cadence from D to E. He also orchestrated it for double wind quartet after the Stravinsky Mass.
Communion Service in A minor – Rite II – The Canterbury Service
For the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, 10/14/79. Three brilliant trumpet parts in the Gloria.
Alleluia: a newe work
Fanfare on AMERICA
Fanfare for Bishop Dun
Fanfare for Bishop Lichtenberger
Both alle and some
Two Fanfares for Bishop Creighton
Three Unicorn fanfares
These fanfares with a Sarabande processional opened productions of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Unicorn, Gorgon and Manticore at the Cathedral in 1965 and 1976.