California High School, Whittier
Doug Nordquist, Conductor
(1980) L-R Shannon Scott, Rebecca Danner, Me, Dr. McBeth
(1981) L-R Craig Vire, Me, Dean Morris
2011 Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Chorale is the original title of this piece. To my good friends, C. Dean Morris and Dr. W. Francis McBeth is the original dedication from 1980. Dean and I were classmates at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. We both had specifically gone there to study with Dr. McBeth. Dean was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I was from Southern California.
Chorale was composed in late 1979 and early 1980 for my Senior Composition Recital. The mental picture I had while writing Chorale was the very last few minutes in the life of Christ. It is a meditation on the sorrow and suffering of the rejected Savior. The pain of nails piercing flesh, the agony of being suspended between Heaven and Earth, and to his final cry of "..it is finished". The Crucifixus movement from the St. Matthew Passion by Bach was also influential.
Chorale was composed during my student days with Dr. W. Francis McBeth. Chorale was first performed by the Ouachita Baptist University Concert Band in April of 1980 (Marvin Lawson, Director) as part of my Senior Composition Recital with both Dean and Dr. McBeth in the audience. The words, In Memoriam, were added after the passing of both Dean and Dr. McBeth.
The minor second found throughout the work is a specific reference to Caccia and Chorale by McBeth's teacher and friend Clifton Williams. It also references the minor second found throughout the Second Symphony of McBeth's classmate and friend John Barnes Chance. It also recalls McBeth's own Kaddish, and Dean's composition, In Memoriam to Clifton Williams.
Dean was born in 1957 and passed away on July 8, 2009, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Dean was a devoted husband, father, as well as a gifted and humble composer. While we were both students of Dr. McBeth, Dean and I spent many hours discussing our music and that we would bring to Dr. McBeth’s class. It was a great experience and opportunity for both of us.
Dr. W. Francis McBeth was born in 1933 and passed away on January 6, 2012. Dr. McBeth was a devoted husband, father and beloved teacher, friend, and truly accomplished composer in his own right. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to personally thank Dr. McBeth many, many times over the past 30 years. To have been one of his students and experience the generosity both he and Mrs. McBeth showed to me is a treasured memory.