Kenneth Meints, 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 and "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 had both specifically gone there to study with Dr. McBeth. Dean was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I was from Southern California.
Chorale was composed for my Senior Composition Recital in late 1979 and early 1980. The mental picture I had in mind while composingChorale, 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 rejected and suspended between Heaven and Earth, and the final release, with the words, “It is finished”. Bach’s “Crucifixus” from his St. Matthew’s Passion, was also influential.
Chorale was written for my friends Dean Morris and Dr. W. Francis McBeth. Usually, a piece such as this is written after the passing of a beloved friend. Fortunately for me, Dr. McBeth saw the composing of this piece from the first note to the last, as I brought it to class each week. Chorale was first performed by the Ouachita Baptist University Concert Band in April 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 interval influencing the Chorale can be specifically traced to McBeth's teacher, Clifton Williams' Caccia and Chorale, McBeth's classmate, and friend John Barnes Chance's Second Symphony, McBeth's own Kaddish, and additionally, to Dean's own In Memoriam to Clifton Williams.
Dean was born in 1957 and passed away July 8, 2009, after a two year 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 music and looking over each other’s compositions that we would bring to Dr. McBeth’s class. It was truly 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 very fortunate to have been able to thank him many, many times over the past 30 years for the opportunity to have been one of his students and for the generosity both he and Mrs. McBeth showed to me and my family.