Choir Director Don Grantham's Composition Performed
Don's composition was performed in Chicago at the National Band Director's Conference, by the Texas A&M Wind Symphony, and by the UT Wind Ensemble. The program notes below talk about the significance of St. Luke's on the Lake in creating this composition.
This piece is based on three 17th century German chorales that appear in our Hymnal, and that we have done a number of times. Those hymns, in order, are 298, 139 and 421. The distinguished composers are pictured below.
The year 1600 was an exciting time to be a composer, and much intriguing, imaginative and innovative music was created immediately before and after that date. My Circa 1600 is based on three chorales written about that time which I find particularly attractive. I became familiar with them in my role as choir director at St. Luke's on the Lake Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. These tunes appear in the Episcopal hymnal, and on numerous occasions I 'improvised' anthems on them with my choir - treating them canonically, providing descants and alternate harmonizations, altering the rhythm and meter, and subjecting them to various other procedures. Some of these techniques are featured in this wind ensemble version.The three tunes are "Es ist das Heil" by Hans Leo Hassler, "Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam" by Lucas Osiander, and "Allein Gott in der Höh" by Hieronymous Praetorius. I use the tunes in three distinct but connected sections and in that order. The first and third tunes are bright, radiant-even jaunty. The second tune is much darker, more weighty and rather foreboding. This chorale appears three times in the brass, accompanied by a fierce, tarantella-style tune in the woodwinds and insistent drumming in the percussion.
Hans Leo Hassler
Recording of the work by the Texas A&M Wind Symphony
Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professor of Music
The Butler School of Music
The University of Texas at Austin
Don’s website here