Horizon - The Promise of the Lord
Horizon – The Promise of the Lord was written at the request of Bandmaster Stephen Cobb for The International Staff Band. It is based on the much loved hymn of the church, Cwm Rhondda (Guide me O thou great Jehovah).
The inspiration for the work comes from the book of Exodus, which the composer happened to be studying in his corps Bible study whilst writing the piece. Whilst the music is not intended to be directly programmatic, like the hymn Cwm Rhondda, the work takes the listener through the Exodus from Egypt to the promised land of Israel as a metaphor of the spiritual pilgrimage of the individual Christian through his or her earthly life. The music aims to evoke a sense of God’s guidance through strife and affirm the reality that God provides for us and redeems all the wrong in the world. This God who provided for the Hebrew people wandering amidst ‘barren lands’ with ‘bread of heaven’ is still and ever will be a God of provisional grace.
Through listening to the music, it is the composer’s intention that we are reminded of God’s promise of Deliverance as set out in Exodus 6 v7-8:
‘I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’
Like the hymn, Horizon – The Promise of the Lord is intended as a prayer for guidance. The Christian is a pilgrim through ‘this barren land’. The music is often chromatic and in large parts verging on atonality, as a reflection of the strife that the Israelites endured in their 40 years in the wilderness. However, it ends in climactic fashion with the Hebrew people finally reaching their destination after many years of wandering in the desert – as they approach the ‘Horizon’ promised by the Lord.