College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Student Performances, Volume 2 Page: 78
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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS-
A Doctoral Lecture Recital - Six hundred forty-seventh program of the 2011-2012 season.
DAMIN SPRITZER, organ
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:30 pm
University Park United Methodist Church, Dallas
OVERVIEW AND INTRODUCTION TO THE
ORGAN MUSIC OF ALSATIAN-AMERICAN COMPOSER
RENE LOUIS BECKER (1882-1956)
This document provides the first biographical overview and annotated catalog of the organ music
of Alsatian-American organist and composer Rene Louis Becker. Born and educated in Strasbourg,
Alsace, Becker emigrated to the United States in 1904 and remained active as a composer and church
musician for the next 50 years. In addition to providing sources for his biographical information,
documentation of the specific organs with which Becker was professionally associated is provided
for the purpose of evaluating possible dates of composition of his undated organ works as well as
consideration of organ registrations. Sources include newspaper clippings, personal correspondence,
family scrapbooks, organ archives, and both published and unpublished manuscripts. Study of these
manuscripts, including rediscovery of at least fifty works of Becker's which were previously published
in the early 1900s, presents an opportunity to introduce a large new body of sophisticated repertoire
from a distinguished and accomplished musician to the field of organ music. Becker composed more
than 180 individual works for the organ, more than half of which remain in manuscript and which
were completely unknown since even before his death in 1956. Becker's complete oeuvre for organ
includes 34 marches, 15 toccatas, three published large-scale sonatas as well as numerous works styled
as preludes, postludes, finales, chansons, fantasies, fugues, and multiple small-scale compositions.
After an overview of Becker's compositional style and complete extant organ works, an introduction
to his largest-scale work for the organ, the five-movement First Sonata in G, op. 40, is given. This is
followed by an illustration of the overt stylistic influences present in the first two movements of that
sonata with extensive musical examples, serving to establish Becker as one of the inheritors of the
romantic tradition of the large-scale organ sonata and as a 20th-century composer of note.
First Sonata in G, Opus 40 (pub. 1912) ............Ren6 Louis Becker (1882-1956)
I. Praeludium festivum
Presented in partial fulfillment of the degree
Doctor of Musical Arts - MUGC 6954.716
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University of North Texas. College of Music. College of Music Program Book 2011-2012: Student Performances, Volume 2, book, 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc114727/m1/78/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Music Library.