Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Creative Idea

I have been pulling together some of the church music I have written in the past few years. Maybe I'll try to interest some people I know at Concordia Publishing House. It would be neat to get them published.

First, way back when the new LCMS hymnal was in its early planning stages, I submitted an original setting of the Divine Service to the Commission on Worship as an entry in a sort of contest. I later heard over 70 settings were submitted. Mine wasn't picked to be submitted to the Synod for approval; but then again, the settings that were picked never made it in the hymnal anyway. But I think my submission had some nice musical ideas in it, and maybe some of the longer bits could be marketed as choir anthems.

Second, between my college and seminary years I composed several SATB, TTBB, and (in one case) SSA choir pieces. Most of them are based on hymn tunes, though I have also written several pieces based on the Easter Vigil and, within the past few weeks, a setting of Psalm 133. One of these choir numbers actually got performed and recorded by the Seminary Kantorei in Fort Wayne. A couple others were at least given a reading, in one case by the St. Olaf College alumni choir Magnum Chorum - my closest brush with fame so far. To make these choral works marketable, I think I would need (A) to touch up the voice-leading of the SSA piece and maybe replace the text; (B) transform the TTBB pieces into SATB and add piano reductions to aid in rehearsal; and (C) prepare keyboard-only versions, with no choir parts, to beef up my chorale prelude catalog.

Third, I have more recently written several chorale preludes, and some pieces for my church choir that I have already transformed into organ pieces. Together with the keyboard arrangements in C above, I could very soon have a decent, publisher-ready bundle of preludes to market as my own "Little Organ Book" or "First Book of Chorale Preludes." At the same time, I could bundle up the choir pieces in a similar collection. I reckon being able to offer the same music in both choral and keyboard formats might actually make them more marketable. Then, perhaps with my "foot in the door," I could look forward to commissioned work and royalties to support my composing habit. Wouldn't that be nice!

The hymn tunes I have treated so far:
  • Ach bleib bei uns (Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide)
  • Allein zu dir (In Thee alone, O Christ, my Lord)
  • Alles ist an Gottes Segen (All depends on our possessing)
  • Aus tiefer Not (From depths of woe)
  • Der mange skal komme (Lo, many shall come)
  • Es ist das Heil (Salvation unto us has come)
  • Es wolle Gott (May God bestow on us His grace)
  • Fred til Bod (Peace to soothe)
  • Hiding Place (When time was full)
  • Ich sterbe taeglich (I come, O Savior, to Thy table)
  • Jesu Kreuz, Leiden und Pein (Jesus, I will ponder now)
  • Lasst uns erfreuen (A hymn of glory let us sing)
  • Lobe den Herren (Praise to the Lord, the Almighty)
  • O Lamm Gottes unschuldig (Lamb of God, pure and holy)
  • O Mensch, bewein (O man, bewail thy sin so great)
  • Valet will ich (Farewell I gladly bid thee)
  • Vom Himmel hoch (From heaven above to earth I come)
  • Warum sollt ich (Why should cross and trial grieve me)
  • Wir glauben all (We all believe in one true God)
  • Wo soll ich fliehen hin (O bride of Christ, rejoice)
What do you think? Is that a long enough table of contents for my "First Book of Chorale Preludes"? Some of them have multiple variations of the same tune, since they were originally written as choral motets. I've bought books of organ music that had less in them. Gee, would it be nice if someone else would buy mine!

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