O God of hosts, the mighty Lord - Simon Mold

Duration: 5'00"
Ensemble: SATB organ
Grading: Easy/Medium
CMP384 Full score £2.50

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This anthem for general use was commissioned by Emma Trounson, Director of Music at the Church of St James the Greater, Leicester, with a request for a piece that could be used more than once during a typical year. I accordingly felt Psalm 84 would be an appropriate text, but instead of using the BCP's familiar O how amiable are thy dwellings, I opted for the metrical translation by Tate and Brady in their New Version of the Psalms of David (1696). This enabled me to write a strong "home" melody that can bear repetition without any problems dealing with an unmetrical text.

So the piece begins in E flat with this expansive tune, written in compound time and with a slightly Celtic flavour, which was deliberately conceived with a tessitura to suit a soloist or semichorus from any section of the choir. This is taken up again by full tenors and basses in unison, accompanied by the upper voices. There is then a turn to C minor as the "panting heart and flesh cry out", with the organ hardly in evidence as the singers momentarily, as it were, feel bereft of support. The birds who "Around thy temple throng" are illustrated with some high, twittery semiquavers in the organ, which then provides a more solid, chordal underpinning as they "Securely hatch their young". A key change heralds the confident return of the opening tune sung by all voices in unison, and the anthem concludes with a short, reflective amen.