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Alexandra Smither, soprano
Wesley Shen, piano
Performed and premiered at the U of T Student Composers Concert, Oct 30th, 2012
"Invocation" is one of several works that I have written that were inspired by the North American hymn tradition of Sacred Harp. I used portions of the hymn text written by Robert Seagrave (1693-1742) as well as part of the original anonymously-written tune. Sacred Harp originally arose as a reaction against Puritan worship traditions, which dictated that worship would consist only of unaccompanied monophonic Psalms. Sacred Harp composers also protested against the "correct" and European school of hymn writing, led by composers like Lowell Mason. Sacred Harp is recognizable by its almost quintal approach to harmony and the pentatonic scales frequently utilized in its voice parts. Like many Sacred Harp texts, "Invocation" describes the brevity of earthly life and the longing for sacred reconciliation.