happy (musical) new year 2

Monday is cleanup day, New Year or not. That didn’t stop me from starting the second of the introit set I mentioned in my last post. Last week I wrote a piece for the men in my church choir to sing on the Sunday in February when the Women’s Retreat takes place (which will include a good number of women from the two musical groups I direct). I wasn’t sure whether the men or the Praise Team, which will also be low in numbers, would do the introit (the chancel choir was scheduled), so I thought it might be nice to do something that would involve both groups, although the chancel choir men are featured. But first, there was some housecleaning…

…although not as much as I thought, since we’ve been hiring help. We spend most of our time at Dad’s place, so there’s a certain amount of cleaning up for the three of us–it really messes up my composing time!

Since I thought this piece might work for both groups, I gave it a strong Gospel flavor (the piano part is going to be fun). The piano sets up a two-measure pattern, with slight variations and a few harmonic changes in each iteration. Finding a text for the singers, since I am following the lectionary with this set, proved difficult since I had already taken the best text for the men’s anthem. The Episcopalians use a different psalm than the Presbyterians for February 19 (the day this will all be sung), and it offered some inspiration.

The piece works pretty well. After the piano sets the mood, the men come in with the text. Later (not too much later, since the piece is only 2 minutes long) there’s a call and response between men and congregation, the latter to be led by the Praise Team. It’s designed so that the congregation won’t have to be taught ahead of time, but just repeat what the men sing.

I particularly liked in retrospect the way that the piano brings its phrase to a close between the first call of the men and the Praise Team/congregational response. As a result it sounds as though the response begins a new section, rather than responding to the previous call. That feeling changes as the call and response continues. I like the moment of uncertainty and ambiguity.

This piece should be a neat way to start the service. Here’s the link to the pdf and the mp3 of the electronic realization. I hope its…

music to your ears also.

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