Published by Santa Barbara Music
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In scoring this text for SATB choir and piano accompaniment, I chose to illuminate two separate entities. The choir represents the psalmist and the piano represents the presence of the Holy Spirit. As the piece progresses, the piano slowly becomes more and more integral as an accompanimental figure, until it acts as constant rhapsodic embellishment.
This particular psalm was intended to be sung responsorially. Therefore, the opening monophonic line serves as the cantor’s melody. This passage is modified throughout the piece, as if to paint the psalmist's gradual comprehension of the text. During the opening section, the chorus only begins to feel the “presence” of the piano – as it reveals small decorative elements. Eventually, the piano melds into an incessant eighth note rhythm, yet again highlighting the idea of a growing presence. The choir emits declamatory realizations and assurances of joy and hope.
The unison line is then stated again in its modified form on the poignant text “He will restore your life.” The piece then moves into a closing section, layering earlier presented elements into a complete “understanding” of the presence of God: the left hand chordal planing from the second section, the accompanimental figure from the third section, the evolving obbligato pattern in the right hand into ornamental filigree, and the unison restatements of key scriptural quotes by the choir. This section is closed with the chorus singing a major chord with an added tone, following by a distant ringing of the modified raised 3rd of the original chant line in the piano, as if “I lift my eyes to the hills” is a resounding memory of their journey.
Daan Bee Kim