For thirty-one years I was Music Director at Brookside Community Church in Brookside, N.J. My job was to prepare the Adult Choir to perform service music and anthems for the Sunday morning services along with other yearly celebrations. One of these was the service of Tenebrae. The word “tenebrae” is Latin for shadows and the Tenebrae service often occurs on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. It is a dark and somber event. One year, I hired a string quartet and English horn for Tenebrae and realized that this would be a perfect time to write music for a service I always thought to be deeply profound. Tenebrae was the result. Over the years, the work has been orchestrated into many configurations: trumpet and organ, baritone and strings, the 2nd movement of a concerto for oboe and strings which morphed into saxophone and strings, and Conn-O-Sax and organ. In any of the configurations, the work is contemplative and deeply emotional.
THE MYSTERIES REMAIN
The Mysteries Remain is a four-movement work for trumpet and organ inspired by the poem “The Mysteries Remain” by H.D. or Hilda Doolittle. Although the form has no direct correlation to the poem, the titles of the four movements are derived from various extracted lines. Since I have a great interest in opera, an attempt is made to set a scene with each movement and follow through with a logical dramatic conclusion. The entire work is paced to allow the last movement to act as the climax and end the composition with a strong cathartic flourish.