Rhapsody on 'St Francis' (2019)
'Rhapsody on St Francis' was commissioned by Derek Lance and the New York Staff Band in 2019 and is based on the hymn to which we associate the words ‘All creatures of our God and King’, the first verse of which reads:
'All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.'
The work commences with a declamatory fanfare feature in the cornets and trombones, which forms an important part of the piece and will be heard again later as the music draws to its conclusion. After the opening, a sprightly variation on the theme ensues which represents the words of the second verse, ‘Thou rushing wind that art so strong, ye clouds that sail in heav’n along’. At this point there is a sense of the music being unresolved and it returns to the nervous repetitive figures heard earlier. This continues into an emphatic statement of the tune which leads into the middle, reflective movement of the piece which is based on the words of the third verse, ‘Thou flowing water, pure and clear, make music for thy God to hear.’ Here the music is more wistful, and impassioned euphonium and cornet solos lead to a rather romantic rendition of the theme with the full band.
The final movement sets off at a brisk pace, and snippets of the chorale appear at various points, although the tune isn’t heard in its full form until the conclusion of the work. A reprise of the fanfare heard at the start of the piece in cornets and trombones leads to a triumphant and majestic finale.
Recordings: Cory & New York Staff Band Live from New York
Publisher: Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory