A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief (John Taylor)
This is likely the actual tune that John Taylor sang for Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail in 1844. It was uncovered by Taylor descendant Mark Taylor a few years ago. You can read about it here. My first setting is in the plain but lovely 19th century style that is common to our LDS hymnal. The second harmonization is a more musically complex one. A discussion of the history of this hymn can be read on my blog.
Come Nearer Unto Me
The Pirates of Penzance has been a favourite of mine since I sang the part of Samuel in grade 8. I had always thought “Ah, Leave Me Not To Pine” would make a great hymn, and years later I wrote words for my ward choir to sing.
I wanted to write a hymn that summarized some milestones of early church history. The result is ballad-like, each verse telling a story, and that means a longer-than-usual hymn, but I find it satisfying nonetheless. I felt the text was strong, but it took me three tries over four years to compose music I was satisfied with. It is meant to be reminiscent of a 19th century American folk hymn.
Savior, Redeemer of My Soul
Orson F. Whitney was an apostle in the early 20th century who had a vivid vision of Jesus in Gethsemane that changed his life. This hymn, written years later, reflects that remarkable experience and I had that in mind as I wrote this new setting.
What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?
Listening to the Tabernacle Choir sing at President Hinckley’s funeral in 2008, I thought I’d like to try writing a setting of my own. This is the second version I came up with, words by Gordon B. Hinkley.
When First the Glorious Plan Was Heard
My mission companion Bob Woolley will remember me discussing hymns with him and deciding there ought to be a hymn on the premortal life. I wrote this text shortly after my mission and tried several times to set it (one attempt became the Christmas carol below). This version is from the midst of my setting so many Orson Scott Card hymns.
When First 'Twas Heard That Christ Was Born
This Christmas carol was written when I was a graduate student, staying home with a sick baby. It won a Carol competition at Brock University. The recording is of my Chorale in 2000.