The Peter S. Williams Podcast

From glory to glory

April 14, 2021

“From glory to glory” is a suite of music I composed that follows the broad sweep on the biblical storyline. The suite is for four-part choir and a mixture of classical and electronic instruments. Some pieces are small in scope (e.g. the opening solo piano piece “Trinity”, the acapella choir piece “Love”, or the intimate “Kyrie”), whist others are much more “symphonic”.

This is a computer recording of the whole suite in a single mp3 file, made using files generated by my "Sebelius 6" software package. As the computer choir can only go “ah”, one must read the pdf files of the scores (available from my website @ www.peterswilliams.com/composing/) if one want’s the words.

That said, this live tape recording of a prior 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!

Individual files of (very slightly older versions of) the tracks are available via "soundcloud" through my website @ www.peterswilliams.com/composing/

There are ten pieces of music in the “From glory to glory” suite. Here are the “sleeve notes”:

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 “begotten” from 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

The angels rejoice in God’s creation and dance among the stars.

Movement 2: One Sin

A setting of a line of poetry from 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 by trying to determine reality on our own terms as if we were God.

Movement 3: Logos

The opening of John’s gospel represents God the Son as the divine logos, or rational principle behind creation. Only, this logos reveals God in person through the incarnation.

Movement 4: Love

An acapella choral setting of Jesus’ answer to the question about the greatest commandment in Mark 12.

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 the new heavens and earth in Revelation 21, the choir sing about the wedding feast of the resurrected Lamb of God, who will wipe away ever tear from our eyes and bring “Shalom” (a Hebrew word meaning peace, wholeness and flourishing).

Movement 9: Gloria

This final piece returns to the Trinitarian theme 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 for the glory of God in light of the hope of heaven.

 

If anyone has an interest in mounting a performance of some or all of “From glory to glory”, I can provide scores (including parts), etc. Backing tracks without the computer choir are also a possibility. You can e-mail me using the contact form on my website @ www.peterswilliams.com

 

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