Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, [O Lord,]
Take not thy holy spirit from me.
(Psalm 51:10-11, KJV)
O the human condition, the daily wear-and-tear on the body/mind/spirit, the pride and the shame of it all. Who hasn’t felt a need to freshen the outlook, to cleanse the inward self, to turn over a needed new leaf? Hence the universal resonance of this psalm text. For a number of years I had the opening line of this setting in my mind, and over the holiday break at the end of 2018 finally decided to write the rest of it out.
So nice to write something four-part, homophonic, and a cappella. I get so used to pieces taking forever to finish, when there are complex, quasi-improvisatory accompaniments to notate, or complex layers of counterpoint to structure. Probably the fastest I ever finished a piece!