Listen along with the score here:
Yearnings of Prophets (Tpt & Organ, 3 mvts) was the second place winner of the 2006 International Trumpet Guild Composition Contest. It was originally composed for solo trumpet and choir. This organ reduction of the choir parts transformed the work into a wonderful recital piece.
Whether a believer, sympathizer, antagonist, or even a mere apathetic toward the religious movement of “Mormonism,” modern society cannot ignore the influence of so-called Mormon culture on culture at large. Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called "Mormons", and opponents alike cannot refrain from discussion about the phenomena that spring from The Book of Mormon.
Many of them regarded as prophets, the purported authors of the various books within the compilation collectively known as The Book of Mormon include various deep emotions in response to wars, apostasy, conversions, miracles, etc. This musical work captures three passages of particularly profound emotions.
The text chosen for Movement I, titled “Awake, My Soul,” was written by a man named Nephi, who strove to follow God’s will, but was conflicted by his weaknesses. Often referred to as “the psalm of Nephi,” the text reads, “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. (…) Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation. (…) Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God.” (From The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 4:27-30, 34-35.) The musical dichotomy between tortured and full of hope, ultimately triumphs in Nephi’s final declaration to praise his everlasting God.
Movement II, “O Ye Fair Ones” is a profound lamentation by the book’s principal compiler and commentator, Mormon, who witnessed almost the total annihilation of his people after they turned away from God and became a very debased society, taking pleasure in everything corrupt. As he surveyed the thousands of deceased people on the final battlefield, Mormon cried out in anguish, “O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss. O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen! But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.” (From The Book of Mormon, Mormon 6:17-20.) The flugelhorn lends itself well to the somber and agonizing tone of this movement.
Like the Apostle Paul, formerly Saul, when one has a “Jesus moment” and turns his or her life around completely, it is virtually impossible to keep the resultant joy quiet. Such is the expression of the final movement of this work, “O that I Were an Angel.” The author of this text, Alma, had indeed been a vile sinner who, after a miraculous kick in the pants, decided to devote his life to convincing others to repent and follow Jesus Christ. His desires are expressed thus: “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people. But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me. (…) I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. (…) Yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.” (From The Book of Mormon, Alma 29:3, 9.) With allusions to “the trump of God” and “an instrument in the hands of God,” the jubilant solo lines in this movement proclaim an energetic finale.
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