Three Psalm Preludes

In mid-July 2013 I realized that our Artist in Residence, Phil Sullivan, an outstanding trumpeter, was due to arrive shortly at St. Stephen’s for a three-week residency. While we had plenty to play, from his own repertoire, to my Five Preludes for Trumpet and Organ and Suite for Trumpet and Organ, I wanted to have something new. I had recently acquired Herbert Howells’ two sets of Psalm Preludes, and, while I wasn’t thinking of anything as big as his works, I liked the idea of the reference to a psalm verse.

The wrinkle in my case is that each of the three pieces I decided to write would draw its musical and textual inspiration from the choral introit for each Sunday, based on the 3-year lectionary. Last week’s setting of Psalm 85 (“I will listen to what the Lord God is saying”) went quite well. We’re ready with Psalm 107 (“Give Thanks to God”) for this Sunday, with Psalm 50 the week after.

Even though each piece is paired with an introit, the three pieces also work as a three-movement work (although not in chronological order). I’ll try to get some score and audio excerpts up soon. In the meantime, between writing, practicing and playing music, and a major overhaul of the website, it’s about time to take a vacation from summer…

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