Category Archives: Art Music

Real Good

Every year for a few decades I’ve woken up early on Easter morning to lead worship. With no service to lead this year, I’ll contribute Easter music of a different variety: “Death Swallowed by the Real Good.” The text was … Continue reading

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What Adam’s Disobedience Cost

The second piece I was asked to arrange for Calvin College’s 2016 Lessons and Carols service was “What Adam’s Disobedience Cost.” This hymn text by Fred Pratt Green (V5 Carol Bechtel) is not all that well known, but it fills … Continue reading

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Brass Quintet at Calvin

In 1987* I wrote a 3 movement piece for brass quintet. If I remember correctly it won a contest and was played at a horn festival in New Hampshire. Also in the “if I remember correctly” department, it received its … Continue reading

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The Shadows: Cello Septet for Tenebrae

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that two weeks in February were devoted to writing a new piece for Maundy Thursday. The composition accompanies seven Tenebrae (deepening of the shadows) readings, one movement for each reading. The service starts … Continue reading

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Tenebrae: The Shadow of the Tomb

It is finished. This is the last of the 7 movements. In this solo movement, I recapitulate many of the themes that have appeared in previous movements, hopefully in a way that is suggestive of what’s gone on before rather … Continue reading

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Tenebrae: The Shadow of Death

With only two cellos (down from the original 7 of the first movement) the musical options in this 6th movement are quite restricted. I had to focus on texture rather than harmony. The musical gesture that gives this movement its … Continue reading

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Tenebrae: The Shadow of Crucifixion

At first glance, this 5th movement of my Tenebrae cello composition may seem mismatched with its scripture. Why such beautiful, lilting music for story of the crucifixion? A few reasons. First, you can only dramatize a story so far with … Continue reading

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Tenebrae: The Shadow of Accusation

I think I’m over the hump with this movement. It’s the 4th out of 7 movements, and it’s the fastest, most complex movement of them all. (Fast music means more notes in less time, which makes it more time consuming … Continue reading

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Tenebrae: The Shadow of an Unshared Vigil

In this third movement, we’re down to five cellos out of the original seven. Because the scripture reading that accompanies this movement tells of Jesus leaving the others three times to pray, I gave a solo cello three “recitatives.” I’m … Continue reading

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Tenebrae: The Shadow of Desertion

The 2nd movement of my Maundy Thursday piece for cellos. Since the text ¬†begins with “when they had sung the hymn,” I decided to give this movement a hymn-like structure–very simple rhythms with a singable melody. Of course, the harmonies … Continue reading

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