I Am the Vine
Alfred V. Fedak

Composer Alfred V. Fedak
Text Solemn Reproaches, John 15
Voicing SATB, organ, baritone solo
Topic Good Friday, Vine (God as)
Church seasons Holy Week, Lent
Price $2.25 (U.S.)
Length 6' 10" Released 3/17
Catalog no. 405-458
Difficulty Mod. easy MP3

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Anthem text
O my people, O my church,
what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me.
What could I have done
that I have not done?
I planted you, my chosen vineyard;
I made you the branches of my vine.
But you yielded only bitterness.
When I was thirsty
you gave me vinegar to drink.
And you pierced with a spear
the side of your Savior.

Holy God, Holy and mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us.

I am the Vine, you are the branches.
Apart from me you can bear no fruit.
I am the Vine, you are the branches.
Abide in me, and I will abide in you,
and you shall bear much fruit.

You are the Vine, we are the branches.
Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.
You are the Vine,
and we are the branches.
Abide in us as we will abide in you,
and we shall bear much fruit.

By this the Father is glorified,
so be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me,
so I love you.
Abide in my love.
Abide in my love.

Text from the Solemn Reproaches and John 15

review copy

Alfred V. Fedak has written one of his most moving anthems with this deeply powerful choral work that features a significant part for solo baritone. Beginning with a desolate text from the Solemn Reproaches ("O my people, O my church, what have I done to you?"), the music moves towards a litany of reconciliation ("Holy God, have mercy on us"), before finally blossoming into a lush treatment of the words of comfort from John 15 ("I am the vine, you are the branches.") The music ends affirmatively with an affirmation that "we will abide in love."

"Prolific composer Alfred Fedak successfully weds passages from the Solemn Reproaches and John 15 in a compelling anthem full of pathos. A solo baritone begins the work, intoning “O my people, O my Church, what have I done to you?” The singer continues to move through the Reproaches, sometimes in arioso and other times in quasi-recitative. When the full choir enters, it is with the text of the Trisagion. The solo baritone then re-enters with Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John, and the juxtaposition of Christ’s comforting words of connection and the disjointed lament of the Reproaches is subtly dramatic. The following choral passage synthesizes the opening of the Gospel excerpt with the first part of the Trisagion. The work ends with the baritone repeating the invitation to “abide in my love” and the choir simultaneously pledges “we will abide in thy love.” Neither solo nor choral parts are particularly demanding in any technical sense. The musical rhetoric is natural and even, and parts fall well into vocal ranges. The organ accompaniment is supportive without merely doubling voices. Ensembles of all sizes and skill levels would find this interesting setting useful in a variety of Lenten contexts." --AAM Journal, Jan. 2018


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