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Bethesda Evensong is a musical setting of the Evening Prayer Service for Choir, Organ and (optional) Strings and Percussion. The music was commissioned by the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea (Palm Beach, Florida) in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the church: 1889-1989.
Of particular interest in this work are the tropical and dramatic elements. In the courtyard of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, palm trees sway in the breeze and tap against the stone church. These tapping sounds are brought into the music as maracas shaking softly, or hands tapping. Rhythmic patterns often "sway" -- created by shifting or irregular meters. The result is an often-traditional musical language infused with tropical sound effects.
Magnificat is scored for Women's Voices, Mezzo-soprano Solo and Organ This is a highly rhythmical setting, inspired by the swaying of palm trees in the courtyard of the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church (see notes above). The general meter is 5/4, which is subdivided differently from measure to measure. However, the constantly flowing eighth-note patterns in the organ accompaniment help to guide the music forward smoothly.
Maracas may be added at the end.
Notes by the composer