Deck Thyself, my Soul, with Gladness
Instrumentation: Unison voices or Mixed voices in up to four parts & Organ.
Duration - 3:50
Text: Johann Franck (1649); tr. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)
Performance ready in one to two rehearsal
This piece is one in a series of familiar hymn tunes set with a contemporary harmonic palette, and presented so as to be performable by choirs of all levels with very little rehearsal time.
I always loved inner parts. Playing tenor Saxophone in high school band was a joy, because I was, without fail, playing the third of the chord. Singing tenor professionally for ten years in choirs of all shapes sizes and compositions means that I now remember hymn tunes not by their melodies, but in terms of tenor lines that stuck with me. Chances are, if the tenor line was boring, I wouldn't remember the hymn tune, let alone the text.
Crüger's hymn (with Bach's harmonization) is one of those tenor lines that have stuck with me. While not recreating the tenor line in this setting, I've taken the spirit of its meaty harmonic contribution and reharmonized this tune with the kind of surprises I would have loved to have sung during my career.