The commissioned music that is available here is meant for wide distribution, to serve in celebrating the Reformation. High school bands, other local bands, string ensembles, organists, and pianists etc. are free to use the music.
Mr. Kent Dykstra of British Columbia and Mr. Martin Jongsma of Ontario fulfilled their commissions by the end of 2016. Here is how they describe the music they composed.
“Arise” by Kent Dykstra
“Arise” is inspired by the first lines of the rhymed version of the Genevan Psalm 68, a Psalm tune used by Huguenot armies entering battle in France in the 1580s: “God shall arise, and by his might/ put all his enemies to flight.” The piece opens with a slow section in a minor key, consisting of an ornamented figure derived from the first line of the psalm, which appears at different times in almost every instrument. The complex interwoven melodies symbolize the darkness and superstition of the medieval church. The section quotes parts of Handel's aria "Behold, darkness shall cover the earth" and ends in the major key. The next section introduces the first three lines of the psalm tune in the clarinet, piccolo, and snare drum, with a martial mood. The theme is then introduced in the full ensemble. At two different points, listen for lines from Luther's chorale “A Mighty Fortress” juxtaposed on lines from Psalm 68. After the chorale, the piece ends with a triumphant restatement of the final lines of the psalm.
Please note: Arise may be freely used and copied for public or private performance—as long as composer is acknowledged. However, it may not be recorded for sales purposes without a personal request: email@example.com.
“Reformation Suite” by Martin Jongsma
The Reformation Suite begins with a prelude that uses melodic fragments from the Ein feste Burg melody. While I had a full organ plenum in mind when I wrote this piece, I avoided any organ markings, in order to leave as many interpretative choices up to the performer and their instrument! The second movement is the original setting of the 1529 melody by Martin Luther. This four-part harmonization inspired the musical subject of the fourth movement: the Fughetta.
In a 6/8 metre, the Fughetta intends to capture the joy and confidence that Christ has conquered Satan and all his evil forces. Following the repeat of the fugal exposition, a seemingly random two-voice “invention” appears in the minor mode. The musical material for this section is an ornamented, minor-mode inversion of chorale lines 5 and 6; it seeks to exemplify the craftiness of “our ancient foe.” The movement climaxes with a harmonization of the last line of the chorale melody which leads to a coda where decorated appearances of the last lines of Genevan Psalm 46 and Genevan Psalm 68 appear combined in the inner voices. The Genevan Psalm 46 reference highlights Luther's textual basis for this chorale and the Genevan Psalm 68 quotation connects this piece with the famous “Huguenot Marseillaise” of the sixteenth-century French Reformed church.
The third movement is a four-voice manualitre setting with the chorale melody in the soprano.
Lastly, the suite ends with a chorale setting intended for congregational accompaniment in the Canadian Reformed churches. As a cautionary note, the fermata, at the end of some of the chorale lines, does not mean pause for any length of time; rather, it simply indicates the end of the chorale line. The 4/4 metre (quarter-note) pulse should be maintained throughout.
In summary, it is my hope and prayer that this Reformation Suite brings glory and praise to God who brought about the great Reformation! Soli Deo Gloria!
Please note: The Reformation Suite may be freely used and copied for public or private performance—as long as composer is acknowledged. However, it may not be recorded for sales purposes without a personal request: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We intend to publish these works, Lord willing, in the commemorative book that will also contain selected entries from the various art forms. The authors retain the rights to the music, so please do not republish their music in whole or part without consulting them for permission. If you have any questions, please email us at Celebrate1517@gmail.com and we will do our best to provide answers.