I was listening to K. Lee Scott‘s Requiem today. It’s an incredibly beautiful work. Lee did not use the traditional liturgical texts: rather, as Brahms did, he assembled texts from scripture and other sources. The result is a glorious picture of resurrection and new life. It is a Requiem that is brimming with hope. That may seem to be an oxymoron to some, but remember that the liturgical color for a funeral is white, not black, and the funeral liturgy focuses on the resurrection.
One of the texts Lee has chosen is Donne’s Holy Sonnet VII, “At the Round Earth’s Imagin’d Corners.” I was first introduced to this text when I was 13 and my high school choir sang a setting of it by Willametta Spencer. Lee’s setting is much more expansive and effective, I believe, than Spencer’s is. You owe it to yourself to hear this piece!
Here’s Donne’s Holy Sonnet VII:
At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter’d bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold God and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For if above all these my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there; here on this lowly ground
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou’hadst seal’d my pardon with thy blood.
If you get the Requiem CD (which you can order on the above-linked web site), an added bonus is that there are several pieces on it that were originally on the long out-of-print recording called The Tree of Life. That recording was made way back when (in 1985 to be exact). It is one of the three Lee Scott Singers recordings (along with He Is Born and The Wind of Heaven) from the era when I was still in the Lee Scott Singers (geography has prevented me ever since). The hymn The Tree of Life, set to Lee’s original hymn tune SHADES MOUNTAIN (Lee lives on Shades Mountain, as do my parents), is in the new ELCA hymnal, as well as in the new Yale hymnal, in the CRC hymn supplement “Sing! A New Creation“, and in many many other hymnals. You need to hear this collection.