Go Forth into the World in Peace. 2020. SATB, piano, 4’30”. Commissioned by the Gieseke Family, dedicated to honor the faithful leadership of the Knox Youth Group, Knox Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. Premiered October 18th, 2020, Knox Presbyterian Church Choir, Earl Rivers, Director of Music. Available from MusicSpoke.
Earl Rivers asked me to compose this anthem for his church, Knox Presbyterian in Cincinnati, after hearing music of mine—Canticle and The Arc in the Sky—at concerts of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble. He had been VAE’s music director from 1987 to 2008, and has been Knox’s director of music since 1974. The text, from the Book of Common Prayer, is well known to the congregation and loved by the Gieseke family who commissioned this. The former pastor, the Rev. Tom York, recently deceased, used these words for more than 20 years at the end of services.
Dr. Rivers asked me to write the accompaniment specifically for the sanctuary’s grand piano. The choral writing is of medium difficulty. Divisis were encouraged, but as it turned out I divided the parts only on the first syllable of “Spirit” in the next-to-last line. There is a high G for the first tenors there, an earlier high A-flat for all sopranos, but all other ranges are unproblematic.
The text is powerful and moving on its own, but felt quite apt for our time. The music, with its gently descending line and undulating triads, suggests peacefulness and perhaps the descending Holy Spirit, but I was moved to build up the forces at the Spirit’s second mention. I’ve found it necessary, for the integrity of a setting, to pay particular attention when a text repeats something.
Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage,
hold fast to what is good,
render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted,
support the weak,
help the afflicted,
honor all people.
Love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit,
and the blessing of God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit
be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.
[Above, Black swallowtail, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, 14 July 2020.]