Of Things Hoped For (2001)
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” writes Paul in The Letter to the Hebrews. I knew that I was writing a two-movement piece for Jim Biery long before I knew that it was about faith. On Jim’s birthday in 2000, his wife Marilyn presented him with the promise of a solo organ work, to be delivered the following birthday. I knew that I could write just about anything and that Jim would be able to play it. I also envisioned a binary piece in which either half could stand alone and be accessible as service music.
Of Things Hoped For begins with a modest arching phrase, supported by a descending pedal line which is easily overlooked: 8-7-6-5-1-2-5-4.; The ensuing meditation develops a new melismatic idea along with toccata elements, leading to a grand statement. A dance follows, based on the melisma, which stretches and flips the material. The little bass line from the opening reasserts itself as a soprano tune, first in a quiet B-major episode, then—triumphantly and in D major—in the trumpet.
Faith and I have an uneasy dialogue. But just as the act of writing a letter is the quickest way to draw a friend close, the meditation of writing music often makes the ineffable concrete. I found when all my notes were down that a reverent murmur had grown into a crowning shout of praise. Paul’s words came to mind, and thus a title.