I hope this serves to illustrate an alternative approach, referred to in my previous post.
While all the heavyweights are at Summer School (and the Forum goes to sleep) I have had the indulgence of a â€œcomposition dayâ€, looking at Communion antiphons and psalms, trawling for musical inspiration. Where do I start? Other peopleâ€™s music.
I donâ€™t know why, but Bairstowâ€™s â€œI sat down under his shadowâ€ was running through my mind. The opening phrase, â€œI sat down,â€ is underpinned by a chord sequence from E major to G major, which is immediately striking. Listen to how it continues on this link
(but the opening phrase is missing here). Nice ideas here, letâ€™s try using one or two. Then I thought of Paul Inwoodâ€™s psalm setting â€œYou, Lord, have the message of eternal lifeâ€ (which Alan refers to in his article). This is written around a 4 chord sequence D, F, Em(7?), A. Oh look, the same shift as in the opening of the Bairstow. I like this piece, it is simple and yet far from banal. The words fit so comfortably; it flows beautifully. He marries the chord sequence with a very attractive modal melody and creates a mood that fits that of the text (Mixolydian is one of the brighter modes). Result â€“ a piece that works.
Now I have some ideas to build on, mainly chordal rather than melodic, and the suggestion of a modality which would fit my words. Is this plagiarism? I donâ€™t think so (I donâ€™t have the music for either piece, just memories of their impression on me, which I have chosen to analyse). I donâ€™t yet know whether it will lead to anything worthwhile, but itâ€™s my springboard.