Bless the Lord
for SATB Chorus, Organ, and optional Percussion (2015)
approx. 4 min 45 sec
premiered June 2015
Festival Celebration Choir of Albany, NY
Philip Spaeth, Artistic Director
Andrew Krystopolski, organ
Michael Barranco, percussion
Westminster Presbyterian Church
About Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord (2015) was composed for Festival Celebration Choir of Albany, NY. It is essentially a setting of Psalm 104, a Psalm long associated with the Christian celebration of Pentecost. It was composed for the chorus's spring concert in 2015, which was comprised entirely of choral settings of various Psalms (culminating in a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms). The opening notes of the piece are derived from the Latin chant associated with this Psalm 104's use at the Solemnity of Pentecost as found in the Graduale Romanum, which becomes source material for other music throughout the piece. There is also a fair amount of exciting music for the organist, though not terribly difficult, and the optional percussion part is composed for a single player and only for bongos (with snare sticks) and crash cymbals, putting it in reach even for choirs of modest means. Bless the Lord makes for a festive addition to any choral performance, or as an anthem piece during religious services.
Below is a video recording of the premiere in June 2015.