Music Speaks (Choral) (download)


SATB, organ–3’30”

An anthem for mixed voices and organ that speaks in poetic terms of the power of memory and music, which may unite us in gladness and communion.

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Plymouth Congregational Church Choir, Minneapolis
Philip Brunelle, organ and choirmaster


Music Speaks

SATB, organ
3’30” duration
Text: Gordon Bottomley
Premiere—2015, by the Plymouth Congregational Church Choir, Philip Brunelle, organist and choirmaster
8 pages


Out of a silence
The voice of music speaks.
When words have no more power,
When tears can tell no more,
The heart of all regret
Is uttered by a falling wave
Of melody.

No more, no more
The voice that gathered us
Shall hush us with deep joy;
But in this hush,
Out of its silence,
In the awaking of music,
It shall return.

For music can renew
Its gladness and communion,
Until we also sink,
Where sinks the voice of music,
Into a silence.

Gordon Bottomley (1874–1948)
“In Memoriam A.M.W.,” September, 1910, Published in An Annual of New Poetry, 1917, London: Constable and Co., Ltd.

Program Note

Music Speaks is a choral arrangement made in 2015 of a song, also called Music Speaks, written in 2013. This version honors David John Buran, a beloved Twin Cities physician, singer, parent and grandfather and husband. I sang with David in the Plymouth Congregational Church Choir. He was a proud supporter of the arts and a long-time member of Plymouth Church. I wrote Dave’s Reel for piano in David’s memory for Ann, his dear wife, who is a fine pianist.

Gordon Bottomley’s poem praises music as a force beyond words, which can unite us in “gladness and communion” as we live.


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