As a means of decompressing from the endeavor of love of writing my biography of Emil Soderstrom, I took to writing short meditative pieces for string quartet. They are based upon traditional hymns and prayerful choruses which were used in The Salvation Army I knew and loved (now officially preempted by so-called "praise and worship" which, in my estimation amounts to neither). These little meditative pieces are not constructed to dazzle the critic or amaze the musical technocrat but simply to bless people and perhaps draw someone into seeking God's presence. I have been told that they achieve that. I hope you find God's presence. They are available on CDs for $8 each (S&H included).
Volume 1 - "Into My Heart"
1.Swing Low – adapted from Emil Soderstrom’s arrangement for the Central Brass Band Journal (c. 1960’s). Play it with a click!
2.St. Agnes – "Jesus, the very thought of Thee, with sweetness fills my breast; but sweeter far Thy face to see, and in Thy presence rest." Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153).
3."Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of life will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
4.Repton – John Greenleaf Whittier "America’s beloved Quaker poet" wrote a very long poem which begins: "Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways; reclothe us in a rightful mind; in purer lives Thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise. – Drop Thy still dews of quietness till all our strivings cease; take from our lives the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of Thy peace." This poem was written in protest to things similar to today’s so-called "praise and worship" movement. Study of the poem will be rewarded with a tranquil spirit. Listen with a click!
5. "I know a fount, where sins are washed away, I know a place where night is turned to day; burdens are lifted, blind eyes made to see; there’s a wonder-working power in the blood of Calvary." Salvation Army Songster Leader Oliver Cooke (1873-1945).
6. Steal Away, an unspecified setting by Emil Soderstrom, realized & arranged by Bob Getz.
7. Lloyd – "’Mid all the traffic of the ways, turmoils without, within, make in my heart a quiet place and come and dwell therein . . . Come occupy my silent place, and make Thy dwelling there! More grace is wrought in quietness than any is aware." John Oxenham (1852-1941). Listen with a click!
8. "Teach me how to love Thee, teach me how to pray, teach me how to serve Thee better day by day, teach me how to serve Thee better day by day." Such a simple song . . . such profound depth of meaning! It is a true tonic for a seeking soul.
9. "Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me; Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me." God is the Potter, we are His clay.
10. "All your anxieties, all your cares, bring to the mercy seat, leave them there. Never a burden He will not share. Never a friend like Jesus."
11. "Holy Spirit, Come, O Come, let Thy work in me be done. All that hinders shall be cast aside. Make me fit to be Thy dwelling."
12. "To be like Jesus! This hope possesses me, in every thought and deed, this is my aim my creed; To be like Jesus! This hope possesses me, His Spirit helping me, like Him I’ll be." Arranged for the most Christ-like person I’ve ever known, my Barbara.
13. "Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus, come in today, come in to stay . . . come into my heart Lord Jesus."
14. "Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see."
15. Pastorale from "Song of Israel" by Emil Soderstrom, arr. Bob Getz. Leoni – "The God of Abraham praise, who reigns enthroned above, Ancient of everlasting days and God of love. Jehova, great I AM, by earth and Heaven confessed, I bow and bless the sacred name forever blest."
Volume 2 - "Christ Is All"
1. Easter Hymn "Christ The Lord Is Risen . . . Alleluia!" This was written as a tribute to a dear friend, Herbert Howard, who faced a most terrifying death by "Mad Cow Disease" with faith and courage and who loved this hymn above all others.
2. "All my days and all my hours, all my will and all my powers, all the passion of my soul, not a fragment but the whole, shall be Thine, O Lord. Let it b so.
3. "Christ is all, yes, all in all, my Christ is all in all." This one began life as a band arrangement written at the request of my late friend, Mark Keeler. I hope his sould has found the peace he sought in music.
4. "Sweet Will Of God, still fold me closer . . . 'till I am wholly lost in Thee." This was a request from and dedicated to a dear Uncle, Herbert Hoskins, as he began his journey into Alzheimer's, where he would be "wholly lost in The lord, but not to Him. Thanks for that lesson uncle Herb!
5. "Come Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy praise" was written as a piano solo for a teacher of our children, Henrietta Van Meekeren. It is clear to the seasoned ear that I was thinking about my friend Emil Soderstrom as I wrote this. However, I did not strive to either use or not use his style, but I did strive not ape anything from his great band meditation on the same song (harder than you might imagine! Don't think of a pink elephant . . .)
6. "Thou Wilt Keep Him In Perfect Peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." May this peace be yours.
7. "My Desire To Be like Jesus, my desire to be like Him; His Spirit fill me, His love o'erwhehlm me, in word and deed, to be like Him". To this I tagged a little fragment of "I surrender all" to remind the listener that we cannot be even a little like Jesus without complete surrender of our will to Him. This began life as little piano solo dedicated to my Christ-like friend Bob Ferrantelli.
8. "Day By Day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here; trusting in my Father's wise bestlowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear." The refrain for the second verse seems to fit the first even better: "The protection of His child and treasure is a charge that on Himself He laid. 'As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,' this the pledge to me He made."
9. Richard Slater was a Salvation Army pioneer who penned my father’s favorite song. This arrangement is for Pop. "And is it so? A gift from me dost Thou, dear Lord, request? Then speak Thy will, whate'er it be; obeying, I am blest. I have not much to give Thee, Lord, for that great love which made Thee mine: I have not much to give Thee, Lord, but all I have is Thine. And dost Thou ask a gift from me: the talents I possess? Such as I have I give to Thee that others I may bless.“ To these words, I say “Amen”.
10. “My life must be Christ’s broken bread, my love, His outpoured wine, a cup o’erfilled, a table spread beneath His name and sign, that other souls, refreshed and fed, may share His life through mine.” Any words by the late Salvation Army poet General, Albert Orsborn, are soul-food.
11. “Take the name of Jesus with you, child of sorrow and of woe; it will joy and comfort give you, take it then where’er you go. Precious name, O how sweet! Hope of earth and joy of Heaven.” The late Colonel Douglas Norris showed more confidence in me than anyone when he told me he wanted me to be “The Erik Leidzen of the Central Territory”. I wrote this in the style of that great composer as a tribute to the good colonel.
12. “I must have the Saviour with me, for I dare not walk alone; I must feel His presence near me, and His arm around me thrown. Then my soul shall fear no ill; let him lead me where He will, I will go without a murmur, and His footsteps follow still.” My sister, Sharon, reminded me that this was a favorite of our parents, Brigadiers Robert and Nellie Getz, and of Mother’s parents who often sang it by the old upright piano .
13. “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!” It was with tenderness of heart that I wrote this and dedicated it to Dr. Billy Graham.
14. "When morning gilds the skies, My heart awakening cries: May Jesus Christ be praised!” This haunting arrangement is dedicated to my dear friend Commissioner Andrew Miller, “St. Andrew” – we shared the Essence.
15. “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know, it is well with my soul . . . It is well with my soul.” The last thing my family did with my sainted mother was to gather at her bedside and sing this together. Her damaged voice was never lovelier, even if struggling with this hymn.16. “God be with you till we meet again, by His counsels, guide, uphold you. With His sheep securely fold you: God be with you till we meet again.” This was first for brass band as a tribute to Irwin Fischer. The first phrase was the last ever spoken to me by Eric Ball, then, “and we shall!”
There are more, not in an album yet . . . they include:
FuguEwing This is a little fuge treatment on the tune Ewing. It treats each phrase as a new subject. It is but 1:20 but packed with music.
I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked This is a fantasia treatment of this beloved old song, which attempts to bring the words to life.
Teach Me How to Love Thee (II) This chorus means so much to me that I had to take a second pass at it.
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