American Scripture is a work composed as a reverent, timbrel ballad of sorts, to the early American sacred hymn. As a basis for the work’s construction, three well-known sacred hymns (of significant popularity in 19th Century America) are used, combined and manipulated throughout: 1) Be Thou My Vision, 2) Abide With Me, and 3) Now the Day is Over. Explicit quotations within the work, however, are few. Rather, materials from the known hymns are both fragmented and dissected, often placed in a kind of hybrid hymn-like musical context. The result, I hoped, would be a very slowly unfolding work of shifting colors, static motion, and quiet reverence.
American Scripture was commissioned by Dr. Damon Talley, the Shenandoah Symphonic Winds, and a consortium of 21 American collegiate wind ensembles.