Starting Over–Ready or Not

Unlike my last post, where I wasn’t sure where the end of August had gone, I know quite well where the first part of September has gone. Like schools, the church year actually begins as September is reached. Liturgically the church year may start with Advent, but meetings, choir rehearsals–did I mention meetings?–all pile up in a joyous heap. Add to the mix the sobering results of Katrina and some rather poor communication, if not mismanagement, and life has been filled to the brim (and then there are all those other places in the world as well). I’ve had some minor creative adventures anyway…

  • The Chancel Choir at John Knox Pres in Dublin CA sang the introit I’d written for them on Be Thou My Vision, which I wrote about in my last post. They did very well. There were some nice expressive moments. We had 26 in the choir which, considering an average Sunday congregation of 180, is very impressive (10 percent of the average attendance is a good rule of thumb–JKPC is definitely ahead of the curve).
  • My Called By God, in a TTBB transcription from the original SATB setting, was performed at Lafayette-Orinda Pres. Church. I wrote the piece (a setting of LOPC’s mission statement–not poetic, but with some universal elements that set well to music and resonated within me–both then and now) two years ago in anticipation of beginning my position as organist at LOPC. It’s been sung twice before, which does my composer’s heart good: second and third performances are not always easy to come by! It was nice to know I could be topical even in my absence.
  • My cousin Michael Moreskine is in Norway for the year, playing organ and directing a choir or two toward the north of the country. He and I have shared compositions, and he’s played several of my pieces, including a variation set on Bunessan (known by many as Morning Has Broken) for organ and cello (a wonderful combination I wouldn’t have thought of if Michael hadn’t shown me what the two instruments could do together). He also liked a duet I wrote called Gospel 3:16, a setting of a paraphrase of John 3:16. He had some modifications in mind, most of which I ignored (composer’s prerogative, I guess–although his ideas were good). He tried the piece out with a Norwegian group he’s conducting, and they liked it. So I spent some time this weekend creating an SATB version. I hope to comment on the piece and on the process of transcription in another post. As a tease: you have to be willing to give up cherished things in order to create a piece that is as idiomatic for the new ensemble as the old setting was for its own ensemble. (Composers HATE to throw notes away once they’ve been put into a pleasing order–but pruning is just as important in musical composition as it is in gardening).

That’s music to my ears…

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *