Based on themes and motives from the hymn "Lord, I'm Coming Home," this lovely work for euphonium and piano was commissioned by euphonium player Christian Folk to celebrate to the life of his grandmother, Virginia. The piano lays a purely accompanimental role to the long lyrical lines of the euphonium throughout.
Commissioned by euphonium player Christian Folk,
Coming Home takes its title from the hymn “Lord, I’m Coming Home” by William Kirkpatrick – a favorite of his grandmother, Virginia. Melodic motives from the hymn can be found throughout the piece, with one full statement toward the end.
Lord, I’m Coming Home by William J. Kirkpatrick (published 1892)
First verse: I’ve wandered far away from God,
Now I’m coming home;
The paths of sin too long I’ve trod,
Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home,
Nevermore to roam;
Open wide Thine arms of love,
Lord, I’m coming home.
The work divides into three major sections:
1. Fear & Anxiety
The unaccompanied euphonium at the beginning poignantly captures the feeling of being lost and alone. Even with the sparse interjections of the piano, those anxious feelings are still difficult to overcome. As this section unfolds, there is a sense that it will come to a climax, but the music quickly dies back down, smoothly transitioning into the next section.
2. Courage & Strength
Climbing fifths and quartal harmonies characterize this section, combined with a stronger statement of the thematic material from the opening of the piece. A grandiose climax is finally achieved before moving into the final (and longest) section of the piece.
3. Peace, Acceptance & Hope
Ascending figures in the piano create an ethereal backdrop for the only full statement of the hymn. You may also hear Christian’s grandmother’s name, Virginia, uttered as a serial musical figure. It eventually becomes a music box-like accompaniment in the upper register of the piano. Motives from the opening piano statements, combined with the falling-third “Coming Home” motive, help bring the work to a peaceful conclusion.
Christian Folk performed the world premiere of Coming Home with the composer as the accompanist at the South Carolina Music Educators In-Service Conference in Charleston, SC on February 2, 2012.