For String Orchestra
By Gary Laughrey
Selah is from a larger work entitled Musical Moments for Orchestra. The complete work is 'book ended' by No. 1 (Etude, Brute?), and No. 7 (Cacophony of Copycats). In between are No. 2, Fanfare, Canon and Conversation, for Woodwind quintet; No. 3, Selah for Strings; No. 4, Precociously Persistent Play for Percussion; No. 5, Through a Little Brass, Briefly for Brass Quintet; and No. 6, Serendipitous Seriosity for Saxophone Quartet. These could be played together as one concert work, or, as here, individual works. They are intended to be meaningful, fun, diverse, and relatively brief "Musical Moments.”
Selah is a programmatic work. It attempts to convey the emotions of the Psalmist. It begins with a slow, somber melody in D minor ("How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever?") which is repeated with more intensity ("Consider and hear me"). This is followed by a melody in the parallel major at a slightly faster tempo ("But I have trusted"). This leads to a declamatory final phrase reflecting the hope the Psalmist has that the answer and goodness will come to him.
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