Threshold Words: A Cycle of Six Anthems is a setting of texts by poet John D. Thornburg, each of which reflects on a narrative from the Gospel of John. The work is intended either for concert performance as a complete cycle or as a set of individual anthems for use in connection with specific Scripture readings during worship services. Scoring is for SATB choir (with some baritone and soprano solo passages), string quartet, and organ. To provide variety of timbre, however, the full instrumental resources are used only in the outer movements; the second and fifth anthems feature organ and a solo instrument (cello and violin, respectively), the third organ only, and the fourth string quartet only. The choral writing in Threshold Words balances a quest for fresh, creative expression with sensitivity to the capabilities of a fine, but mostly amateur, parish music program. The instrumental writing presumes professional-level performers.
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