Jesus told us that no one puts new wine into old wineskins, but Robert Myers is putting that to the test with a mid-life career change into composition with a focus on sacred music, for Jesus also said, “what is .
Meditation on CLEANSING FOUNTAIN is a setting of an archetypal Early American camp meeting tune interpreted through the lens of compositional techniques developed by 20th Century composers, such as the quintessential American composer Aaron Copland. The result is thus a new and uniquely American take on an American classic. It is meant to be simultaneously fresh and familiar, and at home in contemporary artistic or sacred settings while still being easy on the ears. The music is set for traditional saxophone quartet (Bb Soprano, Eb Alto, Bb Tenor, Eb Baritone) and is suitable for intermediate to advanced players. Purchase price include full score and set of parts.
Scherzo No. 1 in C-minor is a short, rapid-fire, and light-hearted piano solo for nimble fingers. Despite the minor key-center, the heavy syncopation, headlong tempo (allegro furioso!), and brief foray into F-major, give the scherzo a happy and amusing disposition, which is fitting for scherzo’s original meaning of “musical joke.” The piece is not complex but its pace requires good dexterity to play it well at tempo. Scherzo No. 1 will provide an excellent change of pace/mood for a concert or recital program.
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, lush harmonies and delicate lyrical phrases contrast with the syncopated and ornamented melody of the uptempo B section. The work is within the grasp of the intermediate to 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 as well as being perfectly at home on the recital or concert program.
Ponder: to think about carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
Anew: In a new or different and typically more positive way.
These two words come from the third stanza of Joachim Neander’s perennially popular hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” And just as this stanza invites us to “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,” this orchestral hymn invites us to consider afresh the attributes and works of Almighty God. Ponder Anew is purely an instrumental work but the text and tune are so familiar that the words will spontaneously spring to mind as the theme unwinds. Thereby, the new harmonies, rhythms, and phrasings in Ponder Anew will likely elicit from the listener a new and different way of thinking about the text. So, as this new setting of the tune melds together peace, majesty, mystery, power, beauty, and grace it stirs the listener to “think carefully, in a new and more positive way, about what the Almighty can do.”
The music in not particularly difficult and should be readily playable by high school or higher level musicians. Yet, both musicians and audience will find the power and intimacy of the work interesting and enjoyable with music that reflects the majesty and mystery of its subject.
Fingal’s Fantasy is built on three synthesized, seven-pitch scales derived from the first three variations of the opening theme of Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, better known as Fingal’s Cave. Each scale is developed in its own section to build a three-part work of contrasting styles. Mendelssohn’s original motive can be clearly heard in the first development but appears more heavily disguised in subsequent sections. Despite the use of synthetic scales, the piece ends with a strong declaration of B-minor in homage to Mendelssohn’s selected key for Fingal’s Cave. Fingal’s Fantasy is only moderately difficult but will engage even advanced performers with an excursion into 21st century composition. It is suitable for concert or recital repertoire.