Spirit, Moving Over Chaos
David Ashley White

Composer David Ashley White
Text Patricia Blaze Clark
Voicing Chorus, oboe/C inst., percussion, opt. handbells, kybd.
Church Season Pentecost, General
Price $2.00 (U.S.)
Length 2' 40" Released 7/12
Catalog no. 405-633 Difficulty Mod. easy

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Description David Ashley White has composed a flexible, powerful anthem for Pentecost or general use. He creates a framework for simple improvisation to create a mystical performance.

Anthem text
Spirit, moving over chaos,
bringing light where there was none,
be to us a light, revealing
where the work is to be done.
Praise to God, among us dwelling,
praise the Spirit giving light.

Breath, instilling animation,
giving life, informing soul,
breathe into all our beings
life that makes the Body whole.
Praise to God, among us dwelling:
praise the Spirit giving life.

Power, Lifeforce, Inspiration,
blowing, breathing, brooding here,
call, enliven, and empower
for your work, both far and near.
Praise to God, among us dwelling,
praise the Spirit giving strength.

Wind, inflaming fearfilled bodies,
sending them to tell the News,
fire anew your church’s spirit,
show the path we ought to choose.
Praise to God, among us dwelling,
praise the Spirit giving fire.

--Patricia Blaze Clark,
© Gemini Press. All rights reserved.

Winner of the 2015 Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Composition!
The Raabe prize selection committee, headed by Dr. Zebulon Highben, included the following comments regarding Spirit, Moving Over Chaos:

“The committee found the piece to be well-crafted, compositionally interesting, creative and “fresh” (though that word is overused) while still growing out of the assembly’s song. To quote one committee member, this piece “…with its aleatory, Lydian/Mixolydian, hexatonic character, engages the music of our time, and its text…fits the poetry of our time too.
.....We appreciated the fact that despite the work’s musical complexity, it is based upon a unison vocal line. Theologically, this resonates with Bonhoeffer’s thoughts about the significance of unison singing (Life Together). Practically, this means that even small church choirs could potentially use this piece, and (theoretically) the tune could also be taught to the assembly. The committee was also pleased that Spirit, Moving Over Chaos adds to the Pentecost choral-liturgical repertoire, which is fairly scant compared to other major feasts.”

Review "Spirit, Moving Over Chaos is the most unusual of the pieces reviewed here for Pentecost. David Ashley White composed the melody in 2002 for use with a 1997 text by Patricia Clark. In recording the tune at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, the musicians improvised freely with various instruments creating an atmosphere surrounding the verses sung in unison. The current publication is a simple road map that makes performance suggestions, and the composer promotes liberal alteration and elaboration of the basic plan. As with several of the Pentecost pieces above, the melody favors the Lydian mode and rhythmic freedom. The score includes ideas for the aleatory use of keyboards, pitched percussion, bells, C instrument, and harp, both in interludes (marked “Transitions”) and as accompaniment to the unison singing. While a half-hearted performance may result in some “spirit-filled schlockiness,” a committed presentation could effectively set the tone at the beginning of a festival Eucharist or other service" --AAM Journal, March 2013



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