Vox in Rama - New Composition
  • Drake
    Posts: 128
    It being close to the Roe v Wade memorial, I noticed a lot of interest in settings of Vox in Rama (A Voice in Ramah) on the forum recently; so I thought I would try my hand at writing a setting as well. It's hot off the press right now, though I may tweak it here or there before putting it on CPDL. I hope it may be of use. Electronic rendering and free PDF (Creative Commons) are available at the link below.


    Feedback is welcome.
  • Drake, this is quite lovely. Haunting and lovely.
    Thanked by 1Drake
  • (I would love to see an edition with larger text though. I'm only 31 and its even small for my eyes. It would be difficult for my choir members to read this as most of them are over 50.)
    Thanked by 1Drake
  • Drake
    Posts: 128
    @ServiamScores, I've bumped up the lyric font size, so if you grab it again, it should be easier to read the lyrics. Thank you for the feedback.
  • Wonderful, Drake!
    Heart rending and beautifully crafted!
    Thanked by 2Drake ServiamScores
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,517
    Heart-breakingly beautiful, Drake! This is deeply moving, a poignant masterpiece. Thank you for composing and sharing it.
    Thanked by 1Drake
  • It's works such as this (and there have been others on our Forum) that could well be mentioned on that other current thread, initiated by Jonathan Boswell - 'Certain sorts of choral polyphony as reflections of the eternal God'.
  • Drake
    Posts: 128
    I am really touched by your kind words and compliments. I showed this thread to my wife, and she said, “Invite them all to dinner!”
  • I have composed quite a lot of ritual music, some festive propers for choir, organ, brass consort, and tympani, polyph0nic resp. pss and Allelya verses, graduals, etc. My work is 'pretty good' but doesn't begin to hold a candle to that of many on our forum. It's a shame that they are not published so that they might be used in our churches that value real sacred music - so that people could see what truly modern music is.

    My current project is my favourite verse from Scripture - I. Corinthains 2.9 - Oculos non vidit. I'm torn between doing it in Latin vs. King James English. I would gladly hold my breath for someone here to write an anthem or motet on this text.
  • Drake
    Posts: 128
    MJO, I would gladly attempt a setting of that text if you would like, but I wouldn't want to take your project from you either.

    It is harder for me to respond to your first paragraph because, in a certain sense, I shouldn't be able to write music as I do. I have no music degree and little formal training. I had piano lessons in childhood, a bit of choir in school, only the introductory music theory and ear training classes in college (and also a bit of music history), and I have sung with parish choirs. Aside from receiving a sheet of voice leading tips from my piano teacher's husband (himself a professor and composer) I've had no formal training in music composition.

    Therefore, I can only credit God for giving me a talent (certainly I did nothing to merit that) and for putting me in the place He deigned so that I would receive an immersion in the traditional liturgy, both at the parish where I sang for a good number of years and briefly at the FSSP seminary (where I learned enough about chant to direct a schola). Also, having immediate computer playback is a composition crutch that I greatly benefit from and which was unavailable to composers until very recent history.

    I, in turn, am in awe at your vast knowledge of music history, hymns, composers, choir methods, and all things organ. And I am most grateful that you (and others) continue to encourage me in my composition efforts.
  • The background (or lack of it) that you describe makes your work all the more reverential. God has obviously given you a gift such as few enjoy without years of formal tutelage. Once in a while, though, like he does with those rare miracles, God will choose to place his gifts wheresoever he will.
  • God will choose to place his gifts wheresoever he will.

    I was going to quote the very same thing until I read your response, MJO. It's truly wonderful and beautiful.

    (As an aside, it's probably a good thing you didn't have too much formal training; no chance for some high-brows to spoil you. I can personally attest to the fact that studying serialism and many other types of music formally in college will do little to help you compose beautiful music... time wasted, really. I'd have been much better off, at least in regards to composition, simply sitting, listening to some Palestrina/Tallis/Byrd and then spending some time at a well-worn piano, pencil in hand.)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,071

    My colleagues are right... the universities were (are?) bereft of beauty... I too escaped from their ridiculous preoccupation with things 'modern', (eg., throwing ping pong balls in the piano and cutting up tape recordings and pasting them back together) and pursued copying the masters in confines of my own cave of sorts.

    Beauty comes to those who seek it.
  • Or, as our Lord said - 'seek and ye shall find' (what you seek).

    I would exult over it if some of our gifted composers would compose a polyphonic series of sets of the complete propers in English - meaning, for each Sunday or Solemnity 1) Introit, 2) Gradual or Tract, and Resp Ps for those who would need it, 3) Alleluya verses, 4) Offertories, and 5) Communions. Has anyone since Byrd done this?
    Thanked by 1JacobFlaherty
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 170

    I too find myself in the same boat as you. Little musical education other than what I could find out on my own, and yet God gives talents to his stewards to invest in, and not bury...Keep it up, and bravo.