Over the past few years I have been slowly working on a hymns projects. Like really slowly. But there are a few songs that have been close to completion for quite some time. I am releasing these songs now in a free four song EP for Lent (the 40 day season of fasting, reflection, penitence, and devotion to God before Easter Sunday):
Holy Mercy EP
1. Schubert's Sanctus
2. Kyrie #1
3. The Glory of These 40 Days
4. Schubert's Sanctus (instrumental)
These are songs for the church and are meant to be sung congregationally, in personal devotion, or just enjoyed as entertainment. You can listen here through the music player, but I really recommend going to my Bandcamp page. Everyone who downloads the whole EP (which is itself free!) gets free lead sheets and vocal sheets for every song. You get the chords and melodies and words so you can play and sing them yourselves. That is the intention.
Back in seminary I became enamored with Franz Schubert's Deutsche Messe, a straightforward but glorious work. I found his "Sanctus" the most beautiful piece of all, one that to this day continually sticks in my head. In a church context I find this setting of the Sanctus works best in more penitential seasons such as Lent or Advent. This recording is the up-tempo version. One day I hope to release the lullaby version.
The recording of the Kyrie is my own setting and is one we have sung in my congregation for a few years now during Lent. It is labelled #1 only because it is the first setting of the Kyrie I have ever written. It is still the only one but maybe someday I will write another one. My intention in the music was to pivot between contrite/penitential postures and that of receiving God's grace through his act of forgiveness using the major and relative minor keys.
I love the German folk melody that accompanies "The Glory of These 40 Days," and am astounded with the fact that the lyrics are attributed to Gregory I from the 6th century. This is a sturdy hymn to me, one that I have a few different versions of in my head. This recording is more of the bluesy version. Hopefully the other versions will follow in the coming years. It's a simple recording, using only one guitar with a few overdubs. Congregationally, this song is best sung numerous times during Lent, as the different Lenten themed Scriptures and stories are read throughout the weeks. Hearing these stories helps us know the journey of those in Scripture is our journey as well and that God is with us through it all.
Finally, I end the EP with an instrumental version of the Sanctus.
As always with my recordings, these songs have been properly nor fully mixed and certainly not mastered. I hope they can be enjoyed anyway and be a blessing to others.
The EP will be free all throughout Lent, meaning until Easter 2014, the Sunday of all Sundays, the Eighth Day of Creation.