Celtic Chorale No. 1
Enjoy listening to Celtic Chorale No. 1 by Justus Parrotta. Commissioned for St. Columba's 2020 Columba Day, this newly-created organ composition is based on the well-loved hymn "St. Columba." Performed by Diane Heath on the Flentrop pipe organ. Learn more about our organ.
Celtic Chorale Number 1 by Justus Parrotta was commissioned for Columba Day 2020, and is based on the hymn tune St. Columba. Dr. Parrotta took his influence for the music from composers Tournemire and Langlais, as well as the three chorales of Franck. It is also inspired by the tradition of psalm variations popularized by Dutch organist composers from the early baroque era such as Sweelinck and van Noordt. Each of the six sections of Celtic Chorale give a musical portrayal of the six verses of The King of Love My Shepherd Is, a metrical setting of Psalm 23.
Verse one begins with melody on the Kromhoorn, combined with a high pitched stop to resemble a set of uilleann pipes, an Irish version of the bagpipe, and set against a drone to evoke a shepherd’s pipe. The second verse employs a series of rapid passages bringing out the line “Where streams of living waters flow.” Section three inverts the melody and then returns with the quick material to portray the soul going towards sin, and then God retrieving the sinner after repentance. Suddenly, the variant for the fourth verse enters in with a dark and pungent iteration of the melody that returns to the original melody decorated with Kreuzmotiv (Cross Motive) patterns highlighting the line “Thy Cross before to guide me.” Eventually, the organ builds up towards the end through the fifth and sixth verses emphasizing the line “Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise within thy house forever,” and the chorale closes with an ethereal bell-like coda.
For other special event information, contact: Diane Heath