Return to the Father - Ray Cook

Duration: 5'45"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Medium
CMP291 Full score £3.50

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Written in response to the fact that there is not a huge choral/organ repertoire for Ascensiontide.

The words were written by my wife, Liz, and are based on Luke 24: 44-53.

The opening has a baroque feel to it with relatively simple choral parts. The organ is not there merely to accompany but also creates the atmosphere through independent part writing. Many of the melodic patterns are of the ascendency, the organ harmonies rising, the ascending fanfare passages between the texts, the chordal arpeggios all adding to the upward feeling. The organ adds to the dramatic effect on "Bethany" and "the clouds rent asunder" as well as reflecting the excitement of some of the words.

The words of Jesus, "I must to my Father return" on through to "sit at God's right hand" are given to a solo tenor, accompanied by very simple chords to allow the melody to hang in the air before a more forceful "Go spread the word" passage. There are exciting, demonstrative organ interjections between the words "they turn, hearts alight, minds on fire" before the calmer "abandoning their fears".

The baroque feel now returns, adapting the opening passage and leading into effervescent alleluias, with, once again, the organ using rising chordal arpeggios to reflect the excitement of the event.

I do hope your choir enjoys singing this piece - reflecting as it does the meaning of the event which is entirely central to Christian worship - your organists really let themselves go and have a great time and your congregations feel the spirit and exuberance of both the words and the music.