A Suite of Hymns: Idumea


A Suite of Hymns: Idumea


two voices (or) two voices and cello

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  • Premiere: 21 June 2009 / The Church of St. Matthew & St. Timothy / The Phoenix Concerts / Seraphim (Gilda Lyons, Elaine Valby, voice; Robert La Rue, cello)
  • Instrumentation: two voices (or) two voices and cello
  • Duration: 2'
  • Text: Traditional

Program Note

Idumea Praetorius/Watts (16th/18th century)

Wayfaring Stranger traditional (19th century)

Angel Band Bradbury/Haskell (19th century)

In summer 2006, upon my arrival at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, I allowed myself the great indulgence of spending my first week in residence working through a stack of hymns with which I had been trying to spend time.  Some new to me, some old favorites, I sang through, read, copied and explored dozens of pieces, landing on a handful that have remained close since; these three are among those that have remained closest.   These arrangements are dedicated to the memory of Jeff Milano-Johnson, and to those whose lives he changed forever: family, friend, and wayfaring stranger.


Idumea (Am I Born to Die?)

Am I born to die,

To lay this body down?

Must my trembling spirit fly

Into a world unknown?

Wak'd by trumpets' sound,

I from my grave shall rise,

To see the Judge with his glory crowned,

And view the flaming skies.

My God, my life, my love,

To thee, to thee I call;

I cannot live if thou remove,

For thou art all in all.

How shall I leave the tomb?

With triumph or regret?

A fearful or joyful doom?

A curse or blessing meet?

text: Isaac Watts (Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707)

melody: Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)

arrangement: Gilda Lyons (2006)