Tone Poem –
The Shadow of The Cross
Cadet Dean Goffin – New Zeland
Arranged for solo piano by Robert Getz, 2006
Transcription dedicated to my brother, Jack Corbin Getz
Among Salvation Army composers one might argue who the march king would be, but there can be little doubt who would receive the accolades for meditative music. Sir Dean Goffin would lead the pack. The Light of The World, The Challenge of The Cross, The Compassionate Christ are but a few of his enduring masterworks in the genre. The subject of this writing is neither the greatest nor the least among them. The greatest is the one you are listening to at any given moment – which is so of just about all of his output.
This piece presented many unique challenges in the transcribing, but hopefully I have reduced them for the player and eliminated them for the meditative listener. This is introspective music. It is a very difficult piece to perform convincingly with brass band, its original medium – less so for piano.
The cruel opening motif becomes a binding signature of the piece as it repeats itself throughout the work. However, as it fades away the listener is captured by the phrase, “He died of a broken heart for me . . .” The hammering returns. “He died of a broken heart . . .” Episodic material distracts us for a time but eventually with one more interruptive reminder of the hammered horror of the cross we are led with astronomic inevitability into the song "Behold The Lamb of God" (SATB 330, SA Song Book 107 - Richard Jukes -1804-67).
Behold! behold the Lamb of God - on the cross, on the cross;
For us He sheds His precious blood - on the cross, on the cross.
O hear His all-important cry, why perish, blood-bought sinner, why?
Draw near and see your Savior die - on the cross, on the cross.
A more pressing and passionate but related episode brings us to a frenzy of pathos which is interspersed with flashbacks of “Behold! behold, the Lamb of God”. As this dies away we are led to an ethereal realm where eventually the chorus "On Calvary’s Brow" (SATB 39, SA Song Book 125 - William Fairhurst) is heard from within.
It was on the cross He shed His blood, it was there He was crucified;
But He rose again, and He lives in my heart where all is peace and perfect love.
The music tenderly leads us to the final text:
He died of a broken heart for me,
He died of a broken heart;
O wondrous love it was for me,
He died of a broken heart.
As the last two chords are played it is impossible to hear anything other than the affirmation of all that Jesus is “. . . for me . . .”
God bless you!