Eucharistic prayer IV
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In the General Instruction on the Order of the Roman Catholic Mass, the Eucharistic Prayer is described as the "center and high point" of the entire celebration." However, frequently it is not experienced as such: the congregation's attention lapses during the long flow of words spoken by the priest, and the three sung congregational acclamations which occur during the priest's narrative are experienced as breaks or appendages rather than as integral parts of the prayer. The challenge, therefore, in composing a musical setting for this lengthy Eucharistic Prayer IY is that of transforming a theological text into a living, breathing prayer/action which engages, inspires, and invites those assembled to give sincere, heartfelt praise and thanks to God for the world He has formed and'the abundant life He has offered. In attempting to elicit this wholehearted congregational response, I have written a through-composed instrumental accompaniment to the spoken lyrical prose of Eucharistic Prayer IY. In so doing, I have endeavored not only to unify this lengthy text, but to heighten the experience of the prayer through music's singular ability to evoke an emotional response in the listener. An example of religious "program music," this composition is written to tell a story - in this case the condensed narrative of salvation history. Common techniques are employed: rising melodic and harmonic contours to suggest resurrection, ascension; dissonance to mark crucifixion, death; a bright calypso rhythm to accompany a joyous Memorial Acclamation. Use is also made of written plainchant whose centuries-old irregular nonmetric rhythms are here defined as near as possible to actual sung practice . In addition to a four-part choir which leads/supports the three congregational acclamations, several instruments have been chosen to accompany the priest's spoken text and the choir/congregation*s sung responses: flute, trumpet, piano, violin, and cello. With the exception of some keyboard passages, all parts have been written with amateur musicians in mind. This composition was written to return people to the power and transforming energy of this ancient prayer tradition of eucharistos: thanks and praise. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.