This piece was commissioned by Preston Light, a good friend of mine and a fantastic musician. He wanted a solo work inspired by the lyrics of the old gospel hymn “Beulah Land” by Edgar P. Stites, famously recorded by Jason Crabb in 2011. Mr. Light’s mother, who passed away in 2012, was well-known for her version of this song that she sang in church services during his childhood.
This work begins with a meditative introduction without accompaniment, allowing for rhythmic flexibility and an oratorical style somewhat reminiscent of a sermon. The piano then enters with increasingly complex figurations, which I thought of as the combination of earthly and heavenly congregations responding to the sermon. This section is followed by the remainder of the pieced – initially titled “Sparkling” – which combines some earlier motifs and figurations. This section I imagined as an illustration of the ascension of the congregation and priest together, singing as one. In other words, it is the “heavenly flight” described in Mr. Crabb’s “Sweet Beulah Land” lyrics:
I'm looking out across the river
To where my faith is gonna end in sight
There's just a few more days to labor
Then I will take my heavenly flight
My Home Shall Be Eternal (2018)
File will be provided as a printable PDF containing a title page, program notes, score, and individual parts.