Praise, Laudate! for mixed chorusPrairie High Concert Chorale
Text: Psalms 148 & 150
Peter Westphalen and Cheri Brummer, directors
ca. 7 minutes
commissioned in loving remembrance of Daniel Horak (1981-2000)
Praise, our own language Laudate! the common language of the entire early Christian Church. English is for us assembled here today; Latin reminds us of all those who have gone before. The two words, Praise, Laudate command the faithful of all times and places to join in a common expression of thanks to God, the Giver of Life—Life now, and Life forever. These words seem particularly appropriate for a Christian memorial to a vibrant soul taken early.
Psalm 148 is the text for this piece. The Psalmist calls for praise by everything on, in, above and around Earth. I chose also to include the final verse of Psalm 150, "Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord!" I learned during one of my father’s sermons that the Hebrew word translated as breath actually has three meanings: breath, wind, and spirit. This verse summarizes the list from Psalm 148; all elements of Creation are summoned to praise God.
Janice Horak kindly sent me information about Dan—not to specify the kind of piece I should write, but to allow me to know more about his personality, and perhaps to find traits that I could emphasize in this piece. Dan had richly varied tastes in music—from the balance and form of classical music, to the primal energy of rap. While rap is not part of my usual compositional palette, I was taken by the idea of the spoken word and its resulting rhythmic intensity. The last line of Psalm 150 has an especially infectious rhythm; it inspired me to compose a spoken fugue. Dan also responded to strong driving rhythms; this aspect of music should be readily apparent throughout most of the work.