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Radiant City: The Collected
Hymns, Carols, and Songs of
Thomas Pavlechko

Hymn collection

Composer Thomas Pavlechko
Released August 2002
Catalog no. 125-039 (Spiral-bound, 92 pp.)
Price $15.95 (U.S.)

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From the Foreword by Carl P. Daw, Jr.
"Above all, be assured that anyone who has not yet become acquainted with this composer has many delightful discoveries ahead."

Read Pavlechko's Introduction
Description
A collection of significant hymn tunes by Thomas Pavlechko, with texts for all times of the church year and for all times of worship. Extensive indexes and background on all the tunes are also provided.

Includes texts by Mary Louise Bringle, Herbert Brokering, Patricia B. Clark, John Core, Edith Sinclair Downing, Ruth Duck, Timothy Dudley-Smith, Frances W. Hellmers, Richard Leach, Joy F. Patterson, Rae E. Whitney, and several more.

Introduction
My first hymn tune, which was sketched at a picnic table after a backyard barbecue in August, 1982, set me on a journey of creativity, frustration, discovery, and joy.

Upon the advice of my first "hymn coach" Carl Daw, I attended the Hymnwriting Conference sponsored by The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in the summer of 1993. That experience yielded two tunes to texts by Joy Patterson, RADIANT CITY and NORTHLAND, which were my first tunes to appear in print, published by Hope Publishing Co. in 1994.

Colleagues and friends have since asked where the ideas for my hymn tunes originate. The hymn text writers represented in this collection are the major sources. These poet-theologians create such vivid images with their words, that often while reading their texts at the piano, the music comes in through my eyes and out through my hands, as if it had been there on the page all along. A few pitches derived from the name of a person or institution I wish to honor sometimes serve as primers to get a tune started, then off it goes, carried by the text. On the rare occasions when I write both text and tune, words and music present themselves at the same time, then I agonize over, and re-write the words for years! Hence, only two texts in this entire collection are mine.

Timing and circumstances of some compositional periods bear mentioning; for instance, practically the entire Advent-Christmas-Epiphany carol collection was completed during a busy Lenten season in 1998. And all the August, 2001, tunes were written at a dusty tarp-covered piano during a major home renovation, with plaster falling, air hammers pounding, saws screeching and hard rock playing on the carpenter team's radio.

My natural compositional process begins like popping corn, with the pitches coming one by one, increasing in frequency, then popping faster than I can write them. In the fine tuning and tweaking, they gradually slow, until only one note is changed, then another, then one last pop. As the music becomes aligned with itself and with the text, I realize that I am playing and singing the hymn with full accompaniment over and over in completed form. It is during this time that I perceive the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit, the Giver of creative art, as if she is saying "Well done!"

I give thanks to God for guiding our pens and bringing our collective work together.

Thomas Pavlechko
Memphis, Tennessee
June, 2002

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