Here’s the world premiere recording of my setting of a collect from the Book of Common Prayer, “Lord Jesus, Stay With Us.” It was performed in Bristol Chapel at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, featuring an ensemble of various student singers.
Patrick Dunnevant, Artistic Director and Conductor
Matthew Adrian, Assistant Music Director
August 13th, 2012
First Presbyterian Church
The Wedgewood Summer Chorale is a seasonal choral ensemble founded in May 2012 made up of current Belmont University students and alumni. The WSC is dedicated to fostering excellence in choral singing, improving sight-singing skills and musicianship, offering reading and performance opportunities to emerging conductors and composers, and providing further opportunities to improve as choral musicians working together in an ensemble. Rehearsing once a week, the choir places a strong focus on musical independence and professionalism.
Patrick Dunnevant (Artistic Director and Conductor) is composer, arranger, conductor, and baritone. While receiving his B.M. in Music Education from Belmont University, he co-founded the university’s original student-run a cappella group, the Beltones at Belmont, serving as the ensemble’s music director for two years. He is currently enrolled at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey to receive an M.M. in Composition. Patrick is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.
The Mills E. Godwin High School Madrigals, under the direction of Sherri Matthews, performed my arrangement of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” on February 19th, 2012 at Derbyshire Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. The soloist is senior Will Theuer.
The Beltones sang my arrangement of the national anthem at the women’s basketball game on February 16th, 2012. Unfortunately, they were missing several people, and an alto had to move up to soprano, but even so, the athletic director immediately asked them to sing it again next season.
This piece immediately introduces itself as something out of the ordinary; a textural chord hummed by the choir, and a soaring, rhythmic flute solo as the primary highlight. This flute line is often technically demanding, and serves as a stark contrast to everything else in the work.
The text is a beautiful description of moonlight reflecting off of the surface of a lake.
Stuff of the moon
Runs on the lapping sand
Out to the longest shadows.
Under the curving willows,
And round the creep of the wave line,
Fluxions of yellow and dusk on the waters
Make a wide dreaming pansy of an old pond in the night
The flute serves as an audial representation of the “fluxions of yellow and dusk” shimmering on the water and shore, whereas the lush texture of the choir underneath it portrays the beauty and reverence of the sight.
The anticipation in the vocal lines grow more intricate and strong as we begin to discover more about the journey of the “stuff of the moon.” Each destination of the moonlight is set in a distinct way, and when we finally arrive at the lake, the music becomes more consonant, yet doubles in power and emotion.
Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard was written to be challenging for even a semi-professional ensemble of trained singers.
“[Patrick Dunnevant] wasn’t afraid to do some chord substitutions and play with the texture of it while still retaining, I think, the nobility of the original hymn…” – Dave Brown, Mouth Off
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing was arranged for the Beltones as my “senior solo” and was first performed in the ensemble’s spring concert on April 29th, 2011. It was also recorded on the group’s first recording, The Beltones, which can be listened to for free and purchased here. It was also performed by the Mills E. Godwin High School Madrigals in Henrico, Virginia.
This arrangement was reviewed and featured in the January 29th, 2012 episode of “Mouth Off,” an a cappella-related podcast. The segment begins at 18:35.
Each section of the work builds dynamically. Even in the opening section, where a single baritone sings the melody by himself, there should be a palpable amount of anticipation of what is to come. The ensemble grows and adds layers of parts and different ostinati with each verse, until the African-influenced fourth verse, when it all breaks loose into a rhythmic frenzy. Shortly afterwards, there is a three-part round on the melody:
This is a tribute to a composition teacher of mine, Deen Entsminger, who employed this in a setting of the Doxology.