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Sheet Music: Score

The altar / words: George Herbert ; music: Becky Llewellyn.

by Becky Llewellyn (1989)


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As a composer it is an absolute delight when a group find your music independently and perform it. Syntony gave me one of my best ever 'accidental premieres' when they performed my 1989 work in 2001. They had found it in the AMC collection and had no idea that no one had sung it before. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship between us.

I became fascinated with the 17th century Puritan mystic priest, George Herbert who, like Hildegard did with words into music, put his faith into the shape of his poems to meditate on spiritual values. The Altar is a clever poem to look at, both the shape of a table, the Lord's Table, and the letter 'I'. It is a searingly personal cry for connection and redemption, focusing on our brokenness as individuals.

I tried to echo his technique of structure and choice of materials with music. A HEART ALONE called out to be individual voices, something not usually used in a capella choral writing. The Altar, although not explicitly about communion, addresses the great mystery and promise of Jesus' sacrifice in moving us into a relationship with our creator where each heart is not alone.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (5p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 4 mins

First performance 27 Oct 01. Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Flinders St, Adelaide Syntony

The Altar has been sung in combination with my two other George Herber-inspired works, The Church-floor and Carol of the Font. The cycle is known as 'Soul Architecture' as it features church fixtures as spiritual symbols that resonate.

Typeset edition.

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This work is also available in the following products:

CD: Syntony.


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