A while back a dear friend of mine, who is a baritone in a local choir, excitedly came to me with a request that went something like this: “I have found the most beautiful text. It is from the New Zealand Prayer Book. It would be great if you could set it to music.” Its not everyday that I am asked to specifically write something so, of course, I jumped at the chance. I had heard of St. Mary’s Sewanee, a convent with a spectacular view atop of Monteagle Mountain, and reached out to them to see if they’d mind if I “locked myself away for a couple of days”.
I emerged with a nearly finished score for soprano, mezzo and baritone and chamber ensemble (electric guitar, violin, cello, and harp). It has since taken on various arrangements. The version presented here is for three choirs. Though one movement it is in three sections, with each section getting “slower” and is designed to take the musicians and listener into the throne room of a King who is “not safe, but He’s good”.
The text is taken from The New Zealand Prayer Book. It is an alternative version of The Lord’s Prayer which is adapted from Jim Cotter’s “Prayer at Night”. It is used here by kind permission from The Anglican Church of New Zealand, to whom all copyrights of the text belong.
In addition to being a composer, Chris McMurtry is the guitarist of the band Aireline and is also the Managing Director of the independent classical label Refinersfire, LLC. Though he writes for a wide range of ensembles, his compositions are generally written from the perspective of the electric guitar.