The Lord’s Prayer Song – Orchestral Music for Soloist and Choir

The Lord’s Prayer – Music by Conrad Askland (ASCAP). © 1997. Orchestral music for soloist and choir.

The lyrics for my rendition of the Lord’s Prayer are from Matthew 6:9-13 which cover through “but deliver us from all evil.” As Wikipedia would have you know: “Other ancient authorities add, in some form, For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_Prayer

This was recorded around 1997 and includes live drums, bass, orchestral mock-up with piano, male tenor solo, full choir and high soprano operatic soloist. The choir was from Immanuel Baptist church in the California High Desert where I worked in the studio at the time with Road Records. The operatic soprano and male tenor soloist were both working with me at the studio on their own recording projects. I was fortunate back then that I would be working on so many album projects at the same time that I was often able to trade studio time with artists to perform on other projects.

I remember when composing this piece that I wanted the choir to echo the soloist vocal lines but with changing chords as the song unfolds. I still like that approach. Because the Lord’s Prayer is often performed with a more intimate feel, I wanted to go a different direction with a sense of grandeur and a little unexpected classical direction with the chords. I realize this approach is not to everyone’s taste.

When I hear the text of the Lord’s Prayer, this is how I hear it in my head. It is not passive and always easy to me. It has a bit of pathos, responsibility and trepidation to it; as if the light about to be seen is too bright for our eyes. Even as a child when I would hear the Lord’s Prayer recited in church, it would feel a little unsatisfying. I pictured Jesus saying the Lord’s Prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane. A commitment that had a context of resignation to a darkness to be confronted in short order. The Lord’s Prayer is normally said in a quiet safe space, but it is not lost on me that part of the reason for saying the prayer is to gain fortitude and strength to face head-on things that are to come. At least that’s how I see it used in our personal lives.

This video gives a little feeling of the flying overview I was seeing in my head when I originally wrote the piece. I kept the lyric animation very simple because of the content. Being too fancy with animations on this song would be “a little too clever by half”.

Changes I would make if I recorded this piece today. The orchestra mock-up is too strident in the high end. Back in 1997 the sample libraries I had access to were not nearly what they are today. It is too strong in the high end and should be supported better in the mid-range. I do still like the concept of combining drums and bass with the orchestra, but I would glue that together a little more in the rhythm section, maybe with an electric guitar on power chords and single low distorted notes. And bass trombones, this song definitely needs a few bass trombones when the big chord substitutions come in. The flute cascading falls should be reinforced with multiple flutes and added clarinet for a more “Disney” sound like orchestrator Danny Troob uses in the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack.

Originally this song was written for an alto vocal. When the tenor vocalist gave a shot at recording the vocal, I remember I enjoyed the unexpected sound of having the tenor sing so high on the lead vocal. But, it really should be an alto/mezzo vocal or the key should be changed to a more suitable tenor key.

One of my favorite vocal lines and chord structures in this piece happen on the lyrics “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” There is a building darkness in that section that then opens up to a more triumphant, optimistic and soaring lyric of “for thine is the kingdom, and the glory, forever and ever.” That section best represents my personal feeling of that section of text.

Every time I hear the high soprano operatic vocalist, I am reminded of the opening theme song for the original “Star Trek”. Lieutenant Uhura’s legacy lives on…

LYRICS

Our Father
Who art in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name

Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth
As it is
In heaven

Give us this day
Our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors

And lead us not
Into temptation
But deliver us
From all evil

For thine
Is the kingdom
And the power
And the glory
Forever
And ever
Amen

 

The Lord’s Prayer © 1997 Conrad Askland

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