I am looking forward to learning from many gifted church music colleagues at the upcoming Vi Messerli Memorial Lectures in Church Music, October 23-25, 2016, at Concordia University Chicago. I will present a workshop, a piano literature reading session, and a composition master class as part of the conference (titles listed below). For more information, click here.
- Five Altos and Two Tenors: Performing Miracles with Smaller Choirs
- Piano Music for the Reformation
- Master Class: Composing for Choirs
Concordia Publishing House has released volume 9 of the 12-volume series Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘P’, ‘Q’, and ‘R’. This volume includes my setting of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” (PRECIOUS LORD), written by Thomas A. Dorsey (“The Father of Black Gospel Music”) during a period of great suffering and loss. Other contributors to this volume (edited by Kevin Hildebrand) include James Biery, Charles Callahan, and Wayne Wold. You may pre-order the book now, and it should become available on June 30, 2016.
Concordia Publishing House has released a collection of eight newly-composed organ preludes from eight different composers: Mark Bender, Jonathan Kohrs, Kenneth T. Kosche, Matthew Machemer, Jonathan R. Mueller, Paul Soulek, Steven Wente, and me. A Reformation Easter: Organ Preludes on Sixteenth-Century Hymns contains my setting of “Christ Is Arisen” (“Christ ist erstanden”). You can read more about the collection and hear sample recordings on Concordia’s website: click here. Order the book from JW Pepper.
Concordia Publishing House has released volume 8 of the 12-volume series Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘N’ and ‘O.’ This volume includes my setting of the 15th century tune O filii et filiae (“O Sons and Daughters”), arranged as four variations. Other contributors to this volume (edited by Kevin Hildebrand) include Carl Schalk, Wayne Wold, Walter Pelz, and Wilbur Held. You may pre-order the book now, and it should become available on December 30, 2015.
Looking for a new SAB anthem for Christmas this year? The Spring 2015 edition of the ALCM’s journal CrossAccent contains the following review of my Christmas anthem “We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth”:
Shaw has taken a great 14th-century German text that includes some stanzas by Martin Luther and provided a lovely new tune and accompaniment. This is a splendid opportunity for those who seek to provide classic Reformation texts accessible to choirs and faith communities of today. SAB voicing appears to be very natural with Shaw, and this should find great usage for Christmastide and Epiphanytide worship or concerts.
Concordia Publishing House has released volume 7 of the 12-volume series Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘M.’ This volume includes my setting of the unique tune McKee (“In Christ There Is No East or West”), a setting that is reminiscent of the “open-spaced” chords found in Aaron Copland’s music.
The May/June 2015 edition of the Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians includes a review of my choral anthem “Who Trusts in God” (2-part, accompanied), along with reviews of anthems by British composers John Rutter and William Walton. I wrote this piece in 2003 (Concordia published it in 2014, after it had been rejected 11 times by other publishing companies!), and I have always been fond of it. Here is their review, which very nicely describes the piece’s structure and harmonic makeup:
Choirs ready to begin exploring more adventuresome music can use Who Trusts In God as an effective first step out of purely diatonic music. The atmospheric accompaniment shifts around suggesting tonal centers without observing strict common practice tonality. The vocal lines are tuneful and easy to absorb. Meter shifts frequently, but again the rhythm is comfortable. To lighten the demands on the full choir, an extensive middle section can be sung by a soloist. The opening material returns after this with only minor alterations, creating a balanced ternary form. This attractive, interesting piece is an excellent way to introduce a broader tonal palette to choirs.
Concordia Publishing House has released volume 6 of the increasingly popular Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘J,’ ‘K’ and ‘L.’ My setting of LINSTEAD (“All You Works of God, Bless the Lord”) is included in this volume. Here is a review of the entire collection by Paul Grime, Associate Professor and Dean of the Chapel at Concordia Theological Seminary:
The new Hymn Prelude Library continues a long tradition at CPH of providing organists with well-crafted hymn settings suitable for use in worship. This new series offers substantial settings that are well edited and promises to be a valuable resource for years to come.
Concordia Publishing House will include a hymn version of my new Christmas anthem “We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth” in an upcoming volume of Creative Worship for the Lutheran Parish. This resource is designed to enrich Lutheran liturgy with ready-to-edit services that feature scriptural and confessional language (coordinating with church-year readings) as well as choral, organ, and keyboard interludes, preludes, responsories, and psalm settings.
Concordia Publishing House has released volume 5 of the increasingly popular Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘H’ and ‘I’. My setting of HELMSLEY (“Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending”) is included in this volume. Here is a review of the entire collection by Jeffrey Blersch, Professor of Music and Organist at Concordia University Nebraska:
In my experience, every organist continually looks for new and interesting ways to present and lead the song of their congregation. We look for pieces which portray hymn tunes in ways which are musically interesting, sensitive to the character of the hymn text, and which are accessible and able to be learned in a relatively short period of time. The new LSB Hymn Prelude Library provides organists with just that. But, not just for selected hymn tunes – for every hymn tune in Lutheran Service Book. For these reasons the Hymn Prelude Library will be a very useful and indispensible tool in leading the worshipping assembly in song.