Voice +piano. 4 minutes. Text from Psalm 63 and 32. Range D4-A5.
Cynthia Skelly Wohlschlager, voice; Ralitsa Georgieva-Smith, piano; Jessica Mazza, flute; Kelcey Lauer, flute; Brian Peters, trumpet; Jordan Morrison, percussion; Jesse Ayers, conductor
My soul thirsts for Thee, O God, thirsts for Thee.
My flesh yearns for Thee, O God, yearns for Thee.
My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee,
In dry and weary lands I seek Thee.
My heart grows parched as in summer drought,
My bones are wasting from strife.
I will confess unto You my guilt, and now You've giv-en me life.
I sing for joy, and in the shadow of Thy wings
I sing for joy, my mouth offers praises!
O God, Thy love is better than life.
I lift up my hands to Thee, O I sing for joy!
My soul clings to Thee O God, clings to Thee.
Thus I behold Thee, Thy power, Thy glory, my lips will sing praise unto Thee!
The title Prayers from the Ashes, suggested by dear friend Alexandra Gomez Robbins, refers to both the mourning of sackcloth and ashes but also renewed hope signified by the phoenix rising from the ashes. The texts are from the book of Psalms, beginning with lines in which the psalmist cries out in distress ("Deep Waters") and then dejection ("We Hung Our Harps"). The psalmist then resolves to wait upon the Lord ("I Waited") (a practice almost unknown in our own culture). The last song ends in hope, with the psalmist declaring "I sing for joy in the shadow of Thy wings" and "Thus I behold Thee, Thy power, Thy glory, my lips will sing praise unto Thee!"
The musical materials are derived from an ascending pattern consisting of two perfect fifths separated by a minor sixth: F-C-Db-Ab. This can be heard most readily in the "harp" motive in the opening of the second song, but is present in one form or another in all four movements.
© Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Jesse Ayers