America (My Country ‘Tis’ of Thee)
- Composer: Powell, Robert J.
AAM member Robert Powell is a prolific composer, writing for more than one publisher these days. The three pieces reviewed here are all short voluntaries, suitable for festive preludes or postludes. My personal favorite is America, which evokes the style of nineteenth-century German and American composers such as Mendelssohn or John Knowles Paine. The writing is, however, simpler and easier to play than the other popular pieces based on this tune by Thayer, Ives, Paine, Wesley, and others. A grand introduction leads to a fugue that culminates in a statement of the hymn tune. If you play patriotic music in church, you ought to purchase this. It would be perfect for the Sunday near the Forth of July or Memorial Day! Immortal, Invisible is more interesting than the average hymn-prelude since it is dominated by counterpoint rather than simple statements of the melody. I Come With Joy to Meet My Lord uses the tune DOVE OF PEACE rather than LAND OF REST as found in They Hymnal 1982. I was not familiar with this Southern Harmony tune, but it is quite charming. The 6/8 meter and spare texture create a light and unassuming piece. A solo Krummhorn is called for in the final section.
Brian P. Harlow, The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians