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Just as the Word became flesh, so the numbers become music in this setting of the Prologue to the Gospel of John. The incremental increase in successive intervals found at the start of the opening phrase (minor second, major second, minor third, etc.), followed by the phrase's inversion and subsequent canonic expressions, are as mathematical as music gets, but the flowering of the phrase and its inverted answer into rich chords on the word 'flesh' has no discernible rationale — a journey from mathematics to mystery. But both are incomprehensible in their own way.
Telling God's Story is a setting of a text that explores the Christmas story from the perspectives of poverty, power, and parenthood, while encouraging enrichment, empowerment, and empathy. It does this across time and place, its internationalism signified at the end of the carol by words in German, Italian, and Greek. A carol for our times…
These settings were originally intended for use in Advent, hence the allusion to Palestrina's Matin Responsory by way of the quotation
of its opening figure in the settings' chant-like sections. Antiquity is also referenced through the use of organum-like writing and its
gradual transformation into a richer harmonic language that touches on the dissonances of modernity, most clearly in the final Amens.
The settings are focused on the movement from darkness to light that characterises Advent, but they also explore Mary and Simeon's words as utterances reaching towards light, rather than as a statement about something already fully attained, and in this sense the settings have relevance to most other seasons too.