Prayer originated as an interlude for flute and piano in my choral setting of Psalm 19, Requiem, written in memory of Marie Mountain Clark. She was a friend and former principal flute in the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (and Congressional Gold Medal recipient for her service as a WWII Women's Air Service Pilot – WASP). Since the premiere of Requiem in 2009, several of my friends have asked me to transcribe Prayer for their instruments. It has been used for weddings, funerals, offertories, and preludes.
Prayer precedes the final verses of Psalm 19 in the Requiem, and it introduces the Psalmist's poignant text on the human weakness of willful transgression. “Cleanse thou me from secret faults…. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (KJV).
I think the fact that I had a bad cold while writing this music added to its effectiveness, for I was feeling quite sorry for myself. The melody portrays my prayer rising ever higher, asking forgiveness for my sins. The plagal (Amen) cadence at the end acknowledges God's gracious forgiveness.
Difficulty level: College or advanced high school, requiring full control of intonation and long tones in all ranges.
Performance Time: 3’ 40”
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