Musical Bits~ Reflections on Sunday’s Music

September 29, 2013

 Celebrating the music of Alfred Fedak

We continue commemorating composers that have anniversaries this month and for Sunday the 29th we will celebrate eighty years of Fedak’s music. Alfred Fedak is the Minister of Music and Arts at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, NY. As one of America’s leading church musicians, he was also part of the committee that assembled the new hymnal for the Presbyterian Church.
“Faith Is The Yes of The Heart” is one of Fedak’s compositions for the church choir. The hallmarks of this work are facets of Fedak’s style: unexpected harmonic progressions, creative leaps and beautiful, lyrical melodies. Although the piece is scored for organ accompaniment, it is the violin parts that create the sustaining lines. As we heard a few weeks ago with the music of Henry Smart, Fedak utilizes the proper accentuation and expression of words within the anthem, thus verifying a text that comes to life to the listener. The interludes between the verses provide the listener with a chance to contemplate the true meaning of faith.
Sunday’s postlude, “A Trumpet Processional,” sparkles with rhythmic joy. Set in a rondo form (A,B,A,C,A) it is the primary section that is infectious to the ear. Just as in his choral selection, it is the unexpected harmonic progressions and creative leaps that develop the interest for the listener. The composer oscillates between major and minor chords and even at times “throws” in a few mediants. The second part of the A section shifts the theme to the left hand, while the right hand includes rhythmic imitiation which at times may appear to be canonic.
Because Fedak has been an advocate and instrumental in assembling and developing hymnody for the church, I will also play a harmonization composed by Fedak for our Hymn of Response: Stand Up And Bless The Lord. Once again it is the harmonic twists that make this a great match for verse 3 of the hymn: “O for the living flame from his own altar brought, to touch our lips, our minds inspire, and wing to heav’n our thought.”
‘til Sunday-Robert Morehead

Other music selections:

Gathering Music: Handel-Largo, Stölzel-Bist du bei mir (organ+violin)
Hymn of Praise: Give Thanks, O Christian People (#552)
Act of Praise: This Is The Feast Of Victory (#594)
Hymn of Response: Stand Up And Bless The Lord (ST. MICHAEL)
Hymn of Dedication: Ye Servants Of God, Your Master Proclaim (#477)
 

2 comments

  • Bob Andrews

    Bob Andrews

    Thank you for sharing Robert The piece we did I thought was great. Looking forward to more.

    Thank you for sharing Robert The piece we did I thought was great. Looking forward to more.

  • Robert

    Robert

    Bob, Thank you for reading the notes. I agree that the Fedak was beautiful-It has been a joy to work with the talented singers of Beulah's Sanctuary Choir!

    Bob,

    Thank you for reading the notes. I agree that the Fedak was beautiful-It has been a joy to work with the talented singers of Beulah's Sanctuary Choir!

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