Land of Rest

Listen Here

Price: $3.25 per copy

Land of Rest

SATB chorus, organ, soprano soloist, string quintet (or string ensemble)

Duration: 6 minutes and 15 seconds

Text: 19th century American folk hymn, Verse 1, 3, and 6 from Jerusalem my Happy Home. Verse 2 text by John Proffitt. Verse 5, Amazing Grace.  Soprano solo and men’s chorus,  Revelation 21

Premiere: 2005 Roberts Wesleyan College Chorale, Paul Shewan, conductor

Land of Rest was composed in 2004 for the Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church of Houston Texas. The work was composed in tribute to longtime Palmer parishioner Linda Proffitt, wife of my record producer and dear friend John Proffitt. Linda passed away in 2003.

The blues-inflected introduction (marked “funky”) is the A section of the work’s ABA form. It opens with a lament for solo cello, taken up shortly by the soprano solo, and one by one, the other ensemble strings which combine in a soulful, syncopated accompaniment to the words from Revelation, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…” The introductory section rises to a crescendo, with full strings under the wailing soprano, leading to a climax at “…for the old world shall pass away.”

The mood brightens at the entry (B section) of the chorus sopranos and altos, with organ, marking the first hearing of the hymn melody in its original lilting 6/8 meter. Subsequent verses feature the tenors and basses, divided into four parts a capella, then full chorus, all propelled by a flowing cantilena in the strings, later joined by full organ. The final verse, opens the stops for choir and organ, and is framed by a jazzy syncopated string accompaniment, bringing the central climax of the work at the words “God grant that I may see thine endless joy…”

Land of Rest concludes, as it began, with the solo cello and double bass accompanying a wordless solo soprano vocalize, as the men of the chorus intone for the last time, quietly, “God shall wipe away all tears.

Purchase this CD: The Road Less Traveled, Albany Records, TROY 783