Four Psalms for flute and organ
by Moonyeen Albrecht
Performed in the Paul F. Sharp Hall
at the University of Oklahoma
Laura Kellogg, flute
Silviya Mateva, organ
Moonyeen Albrecht: A Biography of an
American Twentieth-Century Composer
and a Performance Guide to
Four Psalms for Flute and Organ
This document consists of a biography of American twentieth-century female composer Moonyeen Albrecht (b. 1936), a performance guide to her piece Four Psalms for Flute and Organ, and a discussion of the performance challenges that flute and organ duos face. The biography outlines her life and career, musical influences, and discusses her style and compositional process. Alongside her teaching career at Central Michigan University, Albrecht was an active church musician, serving as composer, arranger, and organist for over one thousand services. A musical ambassador, Albrecht networked with Russian composers and musicians, which she continues to do today. The information for this biography was obtained through email messages from the composer, a phone interview, two in-person interviews, interviews with Albrecht’s colleagues, and material Albrecht submitted to Central Michigan University’s School of Music for promotions and pay raises.
The performance guide benefits both flutists and organists, and the purpose of the guide is tri-fold: to document Albrecht’s compositional decisions while writing this piece, include commentary by the Shelly-Egler Duo, for whom Albrecht wrote the piece, and provide suggestions for the organ registrations throughout as well as the reasoning behind those suggestions. This document’s registration suggestions are based on organist Silviya Mateva’s and my performance in the Paul F. Sharp Hall in Catlett Music Center at the University of Oklahoma, as well as organist Steven Egler’s comments from the Shelly-Egler Duo’s performances of the piece. The performance guide will make flutists more aware of the piece’s registrations and will also introduce them to organ terms. By being more conscious of an organ’s unique characteristics, the flutist can adjust balance, blend, and ensemble for a more successful performance. Providing insight to Albrecht’s thoughts and reasoning for certain elements in the piece will enhance the performer’s and the listener’s understanding of the work; additionally, documenting a living composer’s intentions is important for future generations of musicians, as it provides significant context when studying a piece.
Whether performing Albrecht’s Four Psalms or other flute and organ repertoire, this document will inform duos about the challenges of performing music with this specific instrumentation. Drawing on the experience of two well-established duos, the Shelly-Egler Duo and the Marianiello-Reas Duo, suggestions for overcoming those challenges are discussed, as well as input from my own experience.