…and a good thing, since they’re playing it on January 31st. They are cellist Ovidiu Marinescu and the Helena Symphony, conducted by Allan R. Scott. I am honored to have been commissioned to compose this in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Helena Symphony.

The name of the piece is And Seeing the Multitudes, the opening words of the passage relating the Sermon on the Mount. It is built upon the eight Beatitudes, with the chorale Herzlich lieb’ ich dir, O Herr following. It is not a well-known chorale, even among those who sing chorales, but if it is known in America, it will be in its Catherine Winkworth translation: “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart.”

It is in one movement, 20 minutes long. The instrumentation:

2+pic, 2,2,2—4,3,3,1—timp+3(incl marimba)—piano, harp—solo cello—strings

Each of the eight sections is based somehow on the chorale, so it works as variations before the theme.

My friends who allow me to talk about composition—these are a select few, self-effacing, withdrawn, and so shy that they are always changing phone numbers and would rather not inform me—know that I have a firm, one may almost say unshakable, rule about orchestration, and that is that the worth of any piece is in indirect proportion to the appearance of the glockenspiel. I confess to using a glockenspiel in this. It plays eight notes. I tried to cut it to six, but failed.

More later, as we get closer to the premiere and as I write up program notes.

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came to him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Gospel of Matthew 5:1-10

“Lord, Thee I love with all my heart” translated 1863, Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878), from
Herzlich lieb hab’ ich dir, o Herr (c.1567), Martin Schalling (1532-1608), based on Psalm 18; Bernhard Schmid, Orgelbuch, Strassburg (1577)