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World Premiere performance of

They Took Palm Branches

Performed April 17, 2011 by The Incarnate Word combined adult and youth choirs.


              MOTET                                         "They Took Palm Branches"                                 J. Scott Brubacher

The next day the great crowd that had come for the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, so they took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting: "Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: "Fear not, daughter of Zion, behold your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt" When Jesus entered Jerusalem all the city was moved, and asked, "Who is this?" The crowd replied, "This is the prophet, the prophet, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."

(John 12:12-15 / Matthew 21:10-11)

This performance features the world premiere of a new musical work, written for the Senior and Youth Choirs in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Music Series at Incarnate Word.

Composer J. Scott Brubacher from Toronto describes: "The choral anthem, They Took Palm Branches, is inspired, in part, by two melodies long associated with Palm Sunday, which I incorporate into the composition. First, I borrow a medieval chant tune, Pueri Hebrceorum, which was sung as a processional antiphon on Palm Sunday for centuries in the Western church. The Latin text associated with this plainchant melody describes the Hebrew children spreading branches and garments out on the path before the Lord as he enters Jerusalem. My composition begins with a complete statement of the plainchant melody (harmonized in the organ part) as a sort of procession, or introduction, to the rest of the piece. The music is unmetered, evoking a sense of mystery and timelessness. I intersperse the narrative choral statements with phrases of the plainchant tune in the organ. About halfway through the piece, my second inspiration appears: the 17th-century hymn tune, Winchester New, commonly sung to the Palm Sunday text, 'Ride on, ride on in majesty!'"

More info here >>