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54 minutes - 8 movement cantata for SATB (div) choir and 25 piece orchestra.

Performance options: Individual movements can be done as anthems. You could perform it with some individual instruments, organ, and piano. Given the right incentive (and enough time), I could generate an orchestra sound track, I imagine.

In this recording it is very easy to hear the choir. Go here for why.


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Prelude - I AM | Streaming mp3

The prelude starts with a quiet and mysterious oboe The choir calls gently: "O Lord, we praise you..". After the choir asks God to reveal himself, God stirs. The second half is God's response culminating with "If you should know me, then know my son." This is the point - to know God, we must know Jesus. The rest of the cantata is now prepared.

1. I Am the Bread of Life | Sample Score | Streaming mp3

A relatively easy to learn communion anthem. The chorus is lush and somewhat contrapuntal.

2. I Am the Light of the World | Streaming mp3

3. I Am the Gate for the Sheep | Streaming mp3

Uses "for we like sheep have gone astray" to portray us wandering from God. The tenors are Jesus calling us back "Come to me, my people". The contrapuntal ending is one of my favorites.

4. I Am the Good Shepherd | Streaming mp3

5. I Am the Resurrection and the Life | Streaming mp3

A great Easter anthem with brass. It includes a plaintive, slow section harkening back to Jesus' death on the cross, the saddness of which is then shattered by a solo trumpet and the proclamation "And on the third day...". Very powerful and exciting to sing.

6. I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life | Streaming mp3

The 5/8 section is addictive and the ending is one of my favorites. It is the closest to a Copeland harmony that I have.

7. I Am the True Vine | Streaming mp3

Composer Notes:

From the program notes:

I AM! is based on the seven “I Am” statements in the gospel of John. The prelude is based on Moses' first encounter with God at the burning bush in Exodus. The prelude is intended to allow non-Jews to understand the significance of Jesus addressing himself as “I Am”. For the Jews, Jesus was blaspheming, making himself equal to God.

I did not restrict myself to simply setting John's text. I wanted to understand what Jesus was saying and implying with each of the “I Am's”. As a result, each of the seven movements is based on one of these statements and brings in other Biblical texts and original lyrics to explain the infinite significance of each statement. Part of this was necessitated by the extreme brevity, non-musicality, or vagueness of John's text.

The “I Am!” theme is not always easily recognizable and is not employed in every movement. It is first heard in the prelude when God first says, “I AM!”

Two points especially significant:

The ending of “I Am the Way...” says that Jesus is life - the very spark that allows us to be living beings, sentient life forms in God's image.

The ending of “I Am the True Vine...” says: “The God of Love: the Great I Am!” This leads to an eighth “I Am” - “I Am Love!”