May the Road Rise to Meet You
May the road rise to meet you (from “Maytudes” – May 23, 2020)
Horn quartet version 1 commissioned by Robert Ward
Horn quartet version 2 commissioned by Thomas Beal
Horn and piano version commissioned by John Schreckengost
Horn and double bass version commissioned by Ellie Jenkins
Violin and piano version commissioned by Sally Stephenson
From “Maytudes” – a french horn etude project in consultation with Gail Williams, with one etude created every day during the month of May, 2020
from composer Jim Stephenson (from original Maytudes etude book):
I’ve always known that today’s Maytude would be about my father. Today would have been his 84th birthday. Hence the time signature.
I also knew that I would base it on this text from the Irish Blessing.
Even though Dad had founded and presided over a company steeped deeply in the electrical engineering field, his first and foremost love was always music.
As a “side job”, he was a church accompanist pretty much all of his life,
starting as a teenager, and continuing up until his stroke last year.
When I lived in Florida, he and Mom became “snowbirds”, and immediately joined a church there. They joined the choir, and he quickly became the accompanist because his talents for music-making and his giving spirit, were obvious.
The Irish blessing was often sung at that church, and I would often be there as a visiting trumpeter. It’s one of my fondest memories of that place.
Dad loved hymns and he loved those harmonies thatn one
might expect in a modern church hymn, hence the F ‘s that appear)
He would accompany them beautifully, always ever so musically.
When he died just last month, the funeral home asked me
to submit a prayer to be used on the prayer-cards they were to create. This one immediately jumped out as the obvious choice.
I just love the text.
And so I have created my own setting to go along with the words.
Once again, Dad is my inspiration. Happy 84th birthday, Dad.