The “adagio” has emerged over the centuries as a musical genre characterized by slow tempo, serene lyricism, and soaring melody. My new collection, Adagios of Hope and Peace: Ten Settings for Organ, includes 8 hymn-based compositions plus 2 free-style works which evoke feelings of tranquility and quiet assurance. These pieces are particularly designed for funeral and memorial services, but may be equally useful as preludes and offertories.
I was recently commissioned to write an organ piece for the memorial services of a beloved theologian in New York City. The result of that effort was Cantus Aethereum, a simple 3-minute work based on an original plainsong-like melody. It occurred to me later that other pieces of similar character, especially those based on familiar hymn tunes known for their power to heal and comfort, would fill a needed spot organ repertory. It is my hope that these each hymn tune and free setting will imbue the melodic material with sweet assurance and serenity.
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