Note on I cannot control

From the Composer

I envisioned the chorus as hanging on a huge trapeze swinging back and forth. There is always the point of equilibrium at each end where one is weightless (and this is bliss) but guess what happens next? I especially like the descending part at the end. It reminds me of the fragility of our earthly existence, ending on a dissonant chord. God is sweet, but sometimes God is bittersweet.

exmple 1: opening of I cannot control from St. Stephen's Psalter

-Peter Margen

From the Arranger

The text suggested that it would be hard to control. Peter gets that point across with his melody: it tries to break out from a repetitive pattern, but keeps returning. The best thing I could do as an arranger was as little as possible (the role of the arranger is not to improve, but to bring out and reinforce key elements in the original music), so I did two things.

  • There’s a flowing counter-melody where the psalmist spoke of becoming part of the flow of life (I wanted to strengthen the sense of flow)

example 2: duet section of I cannot control from St. Stephen's Psalter

  • There’s a buildup from unison to thicker chords as the text moves from the individual to the community (“inseparable, yet individual…And I join you and us all”). In this case I’m both supporting the text as well as emphasizing the chords in the guitar part, which occur over a static pedal point (a device long enjoyed by composers back to J. S. Bach and beyond).

example 3: coda of I cannot control from St. Stephen's Psalter

-Robert Train Adams

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