Perplexed Joy

Well, I’m not perplexed about my new position. It’s now official: I’m the Music Director/Organist at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Dublin CA. The congregation is wonderful and there is great potential for growth. The “perplexed” in the title refers to my latest composition project. It’s not over yet! I thought I had the piece for Amanda and Jeremy’s wedding, but then I wrote another one! I’ll have to pick one for the ceremony, but I’m well on the way to creating the suite of pieces I thought about in a previous post (two pieces finished; a good start on a third; can another one be far away?).

Like the previous Reflected Joy, this piece is based on themes from my son Jeremy’s upcoming wedding to Amanda Riegle. The flavor of Jesu, Joy is quite evident, as you can see in the first excerpt. The Beethoven Ode to Joy presence is quite subtle at the beginning, with the first hints coming in the left hand 7 measures in. There’s a much stronger statement towards the end of the piece in the treble clef–I know, I know: the right hand has a little juggling to do, but it IS playable! Although nobody would call this a neo-Baroque piece, it flows more gracefully than its companion work largely because of the 12/8 time signature and the three-measure open-ended phrases.

While I like the impressionistic flavor of one of the motives of the previous piece, as well as the dramatic shifts as now you see, now you don’t see the Beethoven, the flowing character of this piece may be more appropriate for the ceremony. About halfway through there’s an interesting juxtaposition of keys, as the piece moves from G major to E-flat to C to D in successive phrases. Originally I’d had the piece return to its starting key, but the V-I progression was out of character since none of the other key changes were modulations as much as voice leading.

What a delightful dilemma: do I play the first piece I finished, or this one, or write another? All while packing up boxes of music and books to move to my new position, finishing my Mom’s estate, turning our “camping out” chez Dad into a more livable arrangement–and more. Life is wonderfully full.

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