Although its origins are sketchy, CLEANSING FOUNTAIN is an archetypal Early American camp meeting tune traditionally matched with William Cowper’s text, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” It was known to be popular among troops on both sides of the Civil War and is often still included in twenty-first century American hymnals.
This new treatment of the tune is meant to be easy on the ears but without employing the common harmonic practices employed from Bach to Brahms. Rather, an intentional effort was made to employ post-tonal practices developed by twentieth century composers such as Copland, Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Persichetti. One will find pandiatonicism, whole-tone scales, rules-based voice movement, unresolved cadences, mixed meters and the like backing up recognizable melodic phrases from the hymn tune, all while staying (mostly) within the diatonic boundaries of a C major scale. Hopefully, the listener will experience the fresh and the familiar and find something newly revealed in this exploration of an American treasure.
Meditation on CLEANSING FOUNTAIN is set for traditional saxophone quartet (Bb Soprano, Eb Alto, Bb Tenor, Eb Baritone) and is suitable for intermediate to advanced players.