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Hope Is the Harrowing

Composer David Ashley White
Text Richard Leach
SATB and keyboard
Topics Redemption, Hope, Promises, Thanksgiving
2' 10" Price $1.50 (U.S.) Released 5/95
Catalog no. 420-622 Difficulty Moderately easy

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"David Ashley White continues to grow in stature as a composer of richness produced through elegant simplicity. Hope is the harrowing is an ideal example; without ever leaving 3/4, he weaves a subtle, shifting rhythmic spell which I suspect is far more satisfying than a battery of more complex time signatures ever could be. This is a 'hymn anthem,' putting Richard Leach's four stanzas in the well-known triple form of unison tune, sensitive harmonization, and tune with descant. Part of my admiration for White is his ability to use this tired format with such fresh results; small choirs and choirs of only moderate ability will sound really good with this piece, and truly fine choirs will find in it a balm of blessing." -AAM Journal, September 1995

Comments from the Author, Richard Leach
"Hope is the harrowing, when promises have plowed the earth; broken, turned the heavy sod." These words come from the way fields are prepared for planting in the spring. A plow cuts the ground and turns it over, but it is still solid. Nothing can be planted until the soil has been cut fine by the harrow. This anthem uses a series of planting and growing images, beginning with God's promises as what does the plowing, and our hope as what does the harrowing, to speak of the back-and-forth between God's grace and our reception of it. The text concludes: "God of the promises, that plow the earth and plow the heart.... Let harvest come with joy."

Description This text rich in metaphor for the Christian life is set simply but well by White. He uses unison stanzas of the hymn, a contrasting thrid stanza, and final stanza with unison voices and descant. The poetry of the music matches that of the text. Moderately easy and easily rehearsed.

Hope is the harrowing,
when promises have plowed the earth,
broken, turned the heavy sod.
Hope is the harrowing,
to make soil welcome seed.

Hope is the hungering,
when promises have sown the earth,
scattered, hid the costly seed.
Hope is the hungering,
until the seed bears fruit.

Hope does the harvesting,
when promises have born their fruit,
full of joy as finest wine.
Hope does the harvesting,
what joy to taste and share!

God of the promises
that plow the earth and plow the heart,
turning sod and sowing seed,
God of the promises,
let harvest come with joy!

Richard Leach, 1993.
© 1994 Selah Publishing Co., Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15227. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Download a review copy of this anthem
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