The Falconer
Alfred V. Fedak

Composer Alfred V. Fedak
Text Richard Leach
Voicing SATB and organ
Topics Christian Life, Music
Price $2.25 (U.S.)
Length 3' 00" Released 6/96
Catalog no. 410-659
Mod. easy

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Description This text and anthem are remarkable and inspiring (and not insipid). It portrays the Christian life and our music as if it were a falcon and Christ the falconer, and beautifully portrays, in soaring words and music, how Christ is always waiting for us to come to him.

Anthem text
Rise, my song, and stretch your wings,
delight and need to trace.
Rise for those the gospel brings
to seek a singing place.
This will be our singing day,
word and tune will both be true.
Song, soar up, but not away
the falc'ner waits for you.

Rise, my song, and have no fear
of soaring wide and high.
Christ the falconer is near,
wherever you may fly.
See the human world below,
showing scars and beauty too.
In a closing circle go,
the falc'ner wait for you.

Soar, my song, with wings wide fanned,
delight and need to trace.
Come to Christ's uplifted hand,
and find a resting place.
One day soaring song shall see
everything made whole and new.
Day of gladness, come to be!
the falc'ner waits for you.

Text: Richard Leach, 1994.
©1996 Selah Publishing Co., Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15227. All rights reserved.

Comments from the Composer, Alfred V. Fedak
When I first encountered this text by Richard Leach, I was immediately drawn to it for three reasons. First, I knew of the Seagrave text on which Richard Leach's hymn was based, and was struck by how right it is to equate (at least at some level) one's soul with one's song. Secondly, I was moved by the text's word-pictures: for me the falcon soaring in ever tighter circles, and Christ as Falconer with uplifted arm, were compelling. Finally, Richard's words are so lyrical that they almost sing themselves. My tune is in a style reminiscent of English or early American folksong. In writing it, I tried to give the melody a shape which, like the text, conveys a sense of calm reassurance and inevitability of purpose. Since its composition, The Falconer has become one of my favorite musical offspring.

Comments from the Author, Richard Leach
This piece was inspired by "Rise, My Soul, and Stretch Thy Wings," a mid-18th century hymn poem by the Rev. Robert Seagrave. My sense was that we would enjoy singing about rising and stretching wings today, but that we would want to sing about renewing this world rather than leaving it behind, as Seagrave's words do. After changing the first line to "Rise, my song, and stretch your wings," there came these questions: What kind of wings would the song have, what sort of bird would it be? What would the song in flight see as it looked down? And, who might be looking up at the song and waiting for it to come home? Jesus is the falconer of the anthem's title.


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