Promenade and March
“Flash from our eyes the glow of our thanksgiving,
Glad and regretful, confident and calm;
Then through all life and what is after living
Thrill to the tireless music of a psalm.”
(One of the original stanzas of Hark, what a sound)
For 37 years Graham Morrison was Musical Director at Edinburgh Methodist Mission. He was a first‐rate musician in so many directions. It was my privilege and joy to sing in his choir throughout that time, and to find in him a good friend and a like musical mind.
Graham died suddenly on 29 January 2007 at the age of 57.
In Graham’s memory I composed Promenade and March, a piece for piano solo based on Highwood, Sir Richard Terry’s well‐known tune to the hymn Hark, what a sound by Frederic W H Myers. Highwood was one of Graham’s favourite hymn tunes, and he based more than one organ composition on it.
The piece is in D major. It starts with a statement of the short Promenade, which is naïve and without affect. Next the March is stated in B minor, the classical key of suffering. It begins on a 9–8 appoggiatura, one of Graham’s favourite devices, and it turns out as a heavy dark tune with a touch of the macabre. The Promenade is restated, stumbling this time into the subdominant side of its tonality space, from which it is rescued twice. It builds up on a long dominant pedal A, and after a full second of silent suspense the March bursts out in D major, the classical key of glory. If the first statement of the March was the memory of a funeral, this triumphant restatement is the assurance of eternal life.
I made these recordings in 2007 in Central Hall, home of Edinburgh Methodist Mission. The lowest bass notes have been digitally enhanced to compensate for shortcomings in the microphone.
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