St. James Organist in the news

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Works by our organist, Robert Edward Smith, were recently reviewed by Tom Berryman, Massachusetts ACDA Repertoire and Standards Chair for Music in Worship (The American Choral Directors Association). Some excerpts follow but the review can be read in full at Robert’s website:

Robert’s piece, The Great Creator of the Worlds, has been performed at St. James by parishioners.

Repertoire Search: Consider Composer-Published Choral Music
We often rely on publishers to provide dependable reference points in our search for appropriate repertoire for our singers. The best publishers serve as arbiters of taste and quality, making our discovery work easier. Our sifting task, however, is more difficult with self-published composers. There is no editorial judgement from a publisher, only the chance invitation to “look at this” from the writer directly. Perhaps with the following reviews of self-published works by two current composers, you will be encouraged to look further at their writing for your own repertoire discovery. Paul Ayres and Robert Edward Smith are active, performing musicians and conductors. Both write more than church choral music. Both choose texts carefully and both write with the singer in mind. It’s well worth a look at their websites as you search for new music for your choirs.

Robert Edward Smith is a New England composer and performer, now living in Boston. He serves as the Composer in Residence at Trinity College Chapel in Hartford, CT. Please go to for more information and to view his commercially published as well as his self-published works. I have heard numbers of Robert Edward Smith’s orchestral and chamber works. It was especially satisfying for me to attend the Boston premiere of his chamber opera A Place of Beauty, based on the life of Isabella Stewart Gardner.

The Great Creator of the Worlds
SATB, a cappella
Original music
20 measures
Text: Epistle to Diognetus, 2nd Century, translated by F. Bland Tucker In English
The Epistle to Diognetus dates from the second century by an anonymous Christian apologist and (perhaps) a student of St. Paul. Robert Smith sets F. Bland Tucker’s translation of the original Greek text in a straightforward, syllabic, homo-rhythmic style. Occasional out-of-key chords bring harmonic interest to the overall C major tonality. The simplicity of the setting allows the singers to deliver this beautiful text in a clear and effective way. “The Great Creator of the Worlds” could be selected for performance during Advent.”