New Composition (July 2021)
Based on Psalm 6:6 and 30:5, ‘Weeping Turns to Joy’ is a short piece for four part choir, piano, flute and cello:
Score pdf file: Weeping Turns to Joy
AIFF computer recording of Weeping Turns to Joy on Soundcloud
MP3 computer recording of Weeping Turns to Joy
MP3 Backing Track of Weeping Turns to Joy_Backing_Track
From Glory To Glory
is a suite of music re-telling the gospel story using a fusion of classical and contemporary instruments and musical styles.
I have compiled computer recordings of these tracks (made using ‘Sibelius 6’) into a single mp3 “album” available from my podcast here:
A very slightly older version of the suite is also available as individual tracks via “Soundcloud” (see above). See below for pdf’s of the scores. The choir’s words are on the scores, but the computer can only sing ‘Ah’s’, so you have to use your imagination a little!
If you are interested in performing some or all of From Glory To Glory then please drop me a line. I can provide pdf’s of individual parts.
Movement 0: Trinity
We open with God’s existence ‘before’ the act of cosmic creation (hence Movement 0). A solo piano introduces three musical lines, the third of which is generated from the interaction of the first two, representing the way in which God the Father is the root of the divine being, God the Son eternally depends upon the father and God the Holy Spirit ‘proceeds’ from the Father and the Son. The piece is also Trinitarian in having three sections. It ends on an unresolved chord, suggesting the eternality of the Godhead.
Movement 1: Light
This movement depicts the angels rejoicing in God’s creation of light and ‘dancing’ among the stars.
Movement 2: One Sin
A setting of a line of poetry from Christian writer G.K. Chesterton, about there being ‘only one sin, to call a green leaf grey’, that is, to reject the reality that God is God for the lie that man can be his own God. As Humanity experiences the consequences of sin the music enters the minor key and becomes broken up.
Movement 3: Logos
The opening of John’s gospel represents God the Son as the personification of the Stoic philosophical notion of the divine logos, or rational principle behind creation. Only this logos reveals God in person through the incarnation.
Movement 4: Love
Choral setting of Jesus’ answer to the question about the greatest commandment.
Movement 5: Garden
As Jesus contemplates his calling to die as a sacrifice for sin, he prays in the garden of Gethsemane. The piece uses suspended resolutions and a fluctuating pattern of major and minor notes that gradually become more resolute as Jesus turns his face to the cross and prays that the Father’s will be done on earth as in heaven
Movement 6: Agnus Dei
Based on the saying of John the Baptist: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29), the ‘Agnus Dei’ (‘Lamb of God’) is a traditional liturgical chant that contemplates the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross in light of his subsequent resurrection from the tomb. Far from being yet another failed messiah, Jesus is God’s self-sacrifice of forgiveness in the face of our sin.
Movement 7: Kyrie
A setting of the traditional Kyrie, a prayer for forgiveness: ‘Lord, forgive us, Christ forgive us, Lord forgive us.’ This is the appropriate initial response to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Movement 8: Telos
Inspired by John’s vision of heaven in Revelation 21, the choir sing about the wedding feast of the Lamb who will wipe away ever tear from our eyes and bring ‘Shalom’ (a Hebrew word meaning peace, wholeness and flourishing).
Movement 9: Gloria
This piece returns us to the Trinitarian theme and key of movement zero, using it as a setting for the apostle Paul’s comparison between the sufferings of the present world and the glory of the new heavens and earth to come revealed by the resurrection. This movement is about living the Christian life on earth in the light of the hope of heaven.
I developed an early and eclectic appreciation of music, but came a little late to its formal study, learning to play the flute whilst at secondary school and studying music GCSE in my final year. I joined the school choir, flute choir and orchestra. I also began composing. Several pieces were performed at school concerts.
I went on to study music A-Level at Portsmouth College, where I formed a band (we mainly played prog-rock covers) and composed music for the drama department’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ (here’s the ‘Tempest Overture‘ I composed using themes from the production).
I had several pieces performed through local music competitions, including a Christmas choral piece that was performed at Portsmouth Guild Hall.
This live recording of the original version of my Kyrie in G minor is from a composition competition at the end of my A levels in the early 1990’s. The orchestration is slightly different (the Bass is acoustic instead of electric, and there’s a vibraphone instead of piano), but in this version you can hear the words sung by the choir!
Then I was accepted into Cardiff University to study a joint degree in Music and English Literature. Here I am playing a grand piano at Cardiff University, and playing my flute at home, in 1994:
I sang in the university choir and chamber choir, and composed music for the university drama society production of Shakespeare’s ‘Much ado about nothing’, which was played by a live sextet. I wanted to study composition. However, while I’d reached Grade 7 on the flute, I didn’t have grade exams on a second instrument, which was a requirement to proceed past the first year to study composing. In the end, for various reasons, I turned the third humanities subject I’d been studying in my first year into my degree subject, graduating with a bachelors in philosophy.
As a Christian, I’d felt music was something I could do to the glory of God, and now I put my energy into pursuing philosophy to the glory of God. I went on the study an MA in philosophy at Sheffield University and an MPhil at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. Now I work as a Christian philosopher and apologist, with a part-time post at the Gimlekollen campus of NLA University in Norway, where I’m the ‘Assistant Professor in Communication and Worldviews’.
After my university studies, I spent three years as a student pastor at an Anglican church in Leicester, where I continued to play flute in various worship groups. A year after I moved to Southampton in the summer of 2001 (to work for a Christian educational charity), I stopped playing the flute, but I still join the ranks of my church’s choir on special occasions.
In 2010 my church small-group encouraged me to take up a hobby, and I decided to get back into composing. I bought a midi-keyboard and some ‘Sibelius 6’ composition software. Once I got to work, the main thing to emerge over the next few years was ‘From glory to glory’.
I hope ‘From glory to glory’ might help people experience something of the glory of God and the attractiveness and scope of the gospel of Jesus. Ultimately, I think Christian art can be part of the same project of ‘persuasively communicating’ the Christian faith and worldview as is my work in philosophy and apologetics, as I explain in my article ‘The Apologetics of Cultural Re-Enchantment in 3D: Makoto Fujimura’s Culture Care & Paul M. Gould’s Cultural Apologetics’.