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This is a suite of four hymns commonly sung in the churches where I grew up in East Tennessee. These settings express a range of emotions from quiet introspection to unbridled jubilation.
1. Softly and Tenderly (5 minutes). accompanied. A quiet setting expressing the longing of the Saviour for us to "come home." Beginning with unison men over a simple Copland-esque accompaniment, it contains both the traditional harmonization familiar to audiences, as well as some brief, striking sojourns to remote tonalites used to underscore texts such as "though we have sinned He has mercy and pardon."
2. There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood (4 minutes). a capella. A medley of the title hymn along with "Are You Washed?" and "Nothing But The Blood." It begins slowly and softly with a cappella unison women singing the opening phrase "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins." The tempo picks up into a camp-meeting style for the other two hymns.
3. When I Survey The Woundrous Cross (2 minutes). a capella. Austere and stately. The first verse is set with the traditional harmonization, the second verse is dramatically re-harmonized to paint the text "See from His head, His hands, His side."
4. Amazing Gospel Grace (5 minutes). accompanied. An energetic, up tempo, Gospel style. A tour de force of lines from other hymns -- not a medley -- but an interleaving of lyrics, such as the example below.
Amazing grace / How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
That saved a wretch like me / Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
I once was lost / Love lifted me and now I am found
Amazing grace / How sweet the name of Jesus sounds.
© Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Jesse Ayers