As promised, I actually have an old piece to post! It’s actually a comparatively recent piece, having just been written near the end of 2010…but it’s not on this site yet. 🙂
I chose this piece in honor of the season (we sang most of the songs in the medley at the Remembrance Service at church last night). Listening through it today to make sure I had the correct file (can’t find the exported .wav for some reason…), I’m not as pleased with it as I remember being when I wrote it. Probably has something to do with it being one of the pieces I wrote when I was rusty and trying to get myself back into both composing and creating mock-ups…Unfortunately, as expressed in my previous post, I can’t exactly go back into the mock-up right now and fix it, either, so we’ll just go with what I’ve got. 🙂
Hymns included in the medley:
At the Cross
When I Survey
Lead Me to Calvary
The Old Rugged Cross
You can find the .mp3 here: Cross Medley
And here’s the PDF score: Cross Medley
I was sitting in church a few weeks ago, following the words in the hymnal because I had a sore throat and it hurt to sing, when we turned to “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” I’ve always loved this hymn–the melody is lovely, and the words are earnest. Yet as I listened to it, I realized how carefully one has to pay attention to the words on some verses to grasp their full meaning. The melody and harmonization/accompaniment are the same on each take, but the thoughts behind them differ. The rhythm of the melody is fine on some verses, but on others, it doesn’t emphasize the sentence structure very well, and meaning is lost if one is not carefully analyzing the words as one sings (or listens). “Hmm,” I thought, “I should make a choral arrangement of this song.”
With this intent, I copied down all four verses on a piece of paper during the offertory, and on Monday morning, I began work on the quickest choral arrangement I’ve ever written (since I have sooo many to compare it to…). My goal was to fix the problems I had perceived as best as I could with an eight-voice choir and everything I ever learned in Dr. W’s classes about text painting, the memory of every nuance Mr. S ever insisted on for the peformance of a piece in Cathedral Choir, and all the film music emoting and “timeless” techniques I learned at CCC. The purpose of music, after all, is to express, and as both Dr. W and Mr. S were fond of reminding us in class and choir, the purpose of music melded to words is to express the meaning of the words more fully than the words can do by themselves. The music should support the words and give life to them, not simply offer a pretty setting so a choir or congregation can happily sing them without processing them.
If you read the lyrics below, you’ll see that I ran two phrases together on the second verse. That wasn’t a typo–since I chopped out two beats in the arrangement to make it more apparent that the two are part of the same thought, I couldn’t quite convince myself to separate them in lyric format just for the sake of tradition. 🙂 I hope you enjoy the arrangement, performed by EWQLSO strings, which can be heard at this link (this is a newer version that what some of you may have been emailed): My Jesus, I Love Thee
Here’s the link to the .pdf score: My Jesus I Love Thee
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.
For Thee, all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior, art Thou:
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now;
My Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee, Jesus, Savior.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me and purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death.
I will praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath.
I’ll say when the deathdew lies cold on my brow:
“If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever (ever) adore Thee (adore Thee) in Heaven so bright.
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow:
“If ever I loved Thee, if ever I loved Thee,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”
All right! This piece has lyrics by a good friend from Uplift Mountain–she sent them to me about ten years ago, back before I knew anything about writing music, and I created a horrible arrangement for it. Every once in a while ever since, I’ve tried to come up with a better setting (and failed miserably!), and I finally found one in December which I finished in January and of which I made a string mock-up this last week. Here’s the link to the .wav audio:
And the link to the .pdf of the score:
Lyrics (tweaked slightly!):
Soli Deo Gloria, Soli Deo.
Soli Deo Gloria, Soli Deo.
Weary, worn, and heavy burdened,
My heart is sinking to the depths.
Tried and torn and ever-failing,
Oh, dear Savior, give me rest.
Raise me up on wings of eagles;
Plant Your joy inside my heart.
Give me peace, and give me comfort;
Restore Your hope unto my life.
Soli Deo Goria, Gloria.
I watch the days unfold before me,
Your ever-gracious gift to me.
Make me live out my salvation;
Give me strength to follow where You lead.
For my ways are wrong and often futile;
The steps I take lead me astray.
Reach down Your loving hand to guide me
And help me step by step (step by step), each slow step by step (step by step), to find the way.
Raise me up (for Your glory) on wings of eagles.
Plant Your joy (deep) inside my heart.
Prince of Peace and Lord of Comfort,
Restore Your hope (Your blessed hope) unto my life.
Make my life a sweet aroma;
I lay my life before Your throne.
Give me ears to hear Your wisdom, my King.
Your will alone, for Your glory, Your will alone, my King, be done!
For Your glory, Lord, Your glory! (Raise me up on wings of eagles)
Only for Your glory
For Your glory, Lord, Your glory! (Give me peace, and give me comfort)
For Your glory be all things.
Soli Deo Gloria (Make my life be)
Soli Deo Gloria (only for you)
Let me live
Soli Deo Gloria again.