Mysterium Tremendum

Mysterium Tremendum

MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM

  • for: Organ, timpani, auxiliary percussion
  • duration: approx. 14:20
  • difficulty: moderately advanced
  • music: Original with quotations of NICAEA

MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM is an instrumental doxology (Trinitarian hymn of praise) with unique leitmotifs of adoration and praise for each member of the Trinity. God the Father is portrayed in unisons and octaves symbolizing His perfections; God the Son is portrayed in descending perfect fourths and fifths along with tritones displaying His complete divinity along with being a man of sorrows; God the Holy Spirit is set in free-flowing lines combining elements of both prior motives as if emanating from the Father and the Son.

MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM features Organ and Timpani , requiring competent musicians on both instruments, but includes characteristic and unusual colors and accents from across the percussion family. It is a moderately large work allowing development of each theme in a broad spectrum of expressions from each instrument. The work climaxes on a reharmonized quotation from the tune NICEA, better known as “Holy, Holy, Holy”, expressing worship of the Godhead as “blessed trinity.” MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM is suitable for the concert stage or for instrumental worship.

Purchase SCORE and PARTS here.

Thirteen (a psalm)

Thirteen (a psalm)

THIRTEEN (a psalm)
  • for: SATB Choir, piano, Bb clarinet, timpani, cello
  • duration: approx. 6:00
  • difficulty: moderately advanced
  • text: Psalm 13 (adapted)
  • music: Original

Psalm singing dates back at least to the time of King David. It was adopted as a primary musical form of the early church as evidenced by Col. 3:16 and was maintained in the Western church throughout Medieval times. Psalms were the featured texts of most of the Reformers and were the sole mode of sacred singing among the first American settlers. Unfortunately, Psalm singing became passé with 19th century revivalism and the adoption of popular music during the 20th century. THIRTEEN is one member of Robert Myers’s first suite of new Psalm settings, offered as a musical exposition of Scripture, to help the church bring Psalms back into modern worship.

The thirteenth Psalm contains a complaint, a petition, and a confession of faith in God. THIRTEEN portrays each of these sections with text painting appropriate to the psalmist’s words. A relentless, limping timpani beat undergirds the choir’s “how long” plea in the complaint. The petition is presented in a dissonant recitative which transitions through a shimmering tonal cluster into a joyful, major-key, confession of faith blended with a New Testament perspective from Eph. 3:20-21. THIRTEEN is moderately difficult but uses a very light orchestration in an effort to complement the vocal performance with rich instrumental color that can be easily programmed. It is well suited to advanced scholastic ensembles or adventurous church choirs.

Here’s my live recital choir creating the first performance of this work.

Watch for sheet music availability coming soon.  Click HERE for sample pages.

Twelve (a psalm)

Twelve (a psalm)

TWELVE (a psalm)
  • for: SATB Choir, piano, Bb clarinet, cello
  • duration: approx. 8:45
  • difficulty: moderately advanced
  • text: Psalm 12 (adapted)
  • music: Original

Psalm singing dates back at least to the time of King David. It was adopted as a primary musical form of the early church as evidenced by Col. 3:16 and was maintained in the Western church throughout Medieval times. Psalms were the featured texts of most of the Reformers and were the sole mode of sacred singing among the first American settlers. Unfortunately, Psalm singing became passé with 19th century revivalism and the adoption of popular music during the 20th century. TWELVE is one member of Robert Myers’s first suite of new Psalm settings, offered as a musical exposition of Scripture, to help the church bring Psalms back into modern worship.

The brief twelfth Psalm is a lament painting a bleak scenario of utter depravity and vanishing righteousness. It could just as well have been commentary on the decline of morality in Western society. Further, rather than offering resolution to the psalmist’s lament, the Psalm merely assures that “the words of the LORD are pure words.” TWELVE attempts to capture the chaos and despair of the twelfth Psalm through open voicings, mild dissonances, hemiolas, and antiphonal sprechstimme. The psalmist’s assurance is portrayed in a contrasting section of subdued peacefulness painted with flowing themes and conventional harmonies. TWELVE is moderately difficult but uses a very light orchestration to complement the vocal performance with rich instrumental color that can be easily programmed. It is well suited to advanced scholastic ensembles or adventurous church choirs.

Here’s my live recital choir creating the first performance of this work. It’s a little rough, as we had a short time to work up the piece but this captures most of the spirit of the work:

Watch for sheet music availability coming soon.

First Impressions, on Second Thought

First Impressions, on Second Thought

First Impressions: On Second Thought
  • for: Solo Piano
  • duration: approx. 8:00
  • difficulty: moderate

FIRST IMPRESSIONS; ON SECOND THOUGHT is an excursion into the impressionistic world of French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel with seasonings borrowed from 20th Century pioneers such as Charles Ives and Paul Hindemith. It is set in a rondo structure where the adventurous and tonally unstable ‘A’ sections surround distinct, sweet, and lyrical passages. The work is not particularly difficult but it allows the adventurous pianist to explore unique artistic expressions that are still accessible to the casual listener. Suitable for concert stage or recital hall.

Purchase sheet music here.

The First Noel

The First Noel

THE FIRST NOEL
  • for: Solo Piano
  • duration: approx. 3:45
  • difficulty: intermediate

This solo piano setting of the beloved Christmas carol applies fresh and distinctive harmonies to the traditional melody. A haunting, and slightly dissonant introduction sets a contemplative mood that heralds a unique approach to the carol. Set in ABA form, the A sections contain lush harmonies and delicate lyrical phrases which contrast with the syncopated and ornamented melody of the up-tempo B section. The work is easily within the grasp of the advanced pianist without extensive rehearsal but still contains sufficient challenge to provide a rewarding experience for performer and listener alike. THE FIRST NOEL is an excellent piece for offertory, instrumental praise, candlelight service, or any occasion reflecting on the miracle of Christ’s incarnation during the Christmas season.

Purchase sheet music here.

Lo, a Rose

Lo, a Rose

 LO, A ROSE
  • for: SATB Choir, piano
  • duration: approx. 5:25
  • difficulty: moderately advanced
  • text: Es ist ein Ros ensprungen, Theodore Baker & Harriet Kraft
  • music: ES IST EIN ROS

“Lo, a Rose,” arranged for SATB choir and piano, is a somber, contemplative setting of the incarnation of Christ described in the traditional German carol, “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”. This arrangement is moderately easy but allows good musicianship to shine. The light and delicate accompaniment, with hauntingly beautiful harmonies, directs the focus onto the text while providing the right amount of color and interest. “Lo, a Rose,” allows a choir to demonstrate artistic merit without enduring exhaustive preparations. The setting is meant to portray that the light and salvation brought to us by the Rose was achieved via a bitter and sorrowful path.

Purchase choral parts with piano accompaniment here.

At the Cross

At the Cross

AT THE CROSS
  • for: SATB Choir, piano
  • duration: approx. 3:30
  • difficulty: moderately easy
  • text: At the Cross, Isaac Watts / Ralph Hudson (adapted)
  • music: HUDSON

AT THE CROSS is a simple arrangement of the beloved hymn with fresh and poignant harmonies. Set for SATB choir with piano accompaniment, it is moderately easy but rewarding of good musicianship. The light, delicate accompaniment directs the focus onto the text while providing the perfect amount of color and interest. It allows a choir to show artistic merit without enduring exhaustive preparation.
AT THE CROSS adapts Ralph Hudson’s traditional refrain to reflect the reality that the Christian walk is not one of temporal “happiness” but on of  secure rest in a comforting shepherd.

Purchase choral parts with accompaniment on Swirly Music here.