Look Toward the East
Thomas Pavlechko

Composer Thomas Pavlechko
Text Baruch 4:36-5:5
Voicing SATB and keyboard
Topic Advent, Anniversaries, Easter, Palm Sunday
Length 2' 50" Price $1.95 (U.S.)
Released 8/04
Catalog no. 410-511
Difficulty Mod. difficult

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A beautiful and evocative setting of words from the apocryphal book of Baruch. Cast in ABA form, the declamatory outer sections frame several unmetered phrases in the style of Russian Orthodox chant. The work's timely message -- that of hope in God’s promises -- makes it appropriate for a wide range of occasions: Advent, All Saints', Palm Sunday, Easter, church anniversaries, and homecoming Sundays, to suggest just a few. This is a piece to sing again and again!

Look toward the east, O Jerusalem,
and see the joy that is coming to you from God.
Look, your children are coming, whom you sent away;
they are coming, gathered from east and west,
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing in the glory of God.

--Baruch 4:36-5:5



review copy

"Advent 2C always brings us back to the wonderful passage from Baruch 5, bidding us "look to the East." Thomas Pavlechko's luscious and dramatic setting is new to me, and I couldn't pass it up here. A chant-like opening phrase, in open fifths, leads to a gradually richer texture (with nicely deployed dissonances), and a very striking arrival at the "...glory of God." I know that the words 'divided men' strike dismay into many of us, but the divisi here--mostly confined to a central, chant-like section, and always doubled by the organ--are pretty manageable, especially if one omits the optional bottom C's and D(!). The piece could serve wonderfully in the liturgy as the actual proclamation of this prophecy, or make a lovely commentary on it in a more traditional role as an anthem. I'm also fantasizing about using it at the very beginning of an Advent or Christmas service." --AAM Journal, October 2006


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