Erik Meyer Named 2017 Raabe Prize Winner
In addition to St. John Passion, the selection committee gave honorable mention to two works, The Suffering Servant by Ryan Keebaugh and All Shall Be Amen by Thomas Keesecker.
Erik shared the following comments regarding St. John Passion:
When I began serving at St. Martin’s, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the congregation is very present during Holy Week. The St. John Passion was written to be sung liturgically on Good Friday. In a week where the choir is overworked, it was important that the setting not be too taxing. It was intentionally written to be similar to the Schütz passions, with the biblical text sung unaccompanied, whether evangelist, characters, or the crowd’s short turba choruses. Jesus gets his own chanting tone which outlines a different harmony, setting him apart from the other characters. The action is broken up with congregational singing of “Ah, Holy Jesus.” The work is easy enough for the average church choir to sing, and is intended to be used in a liturgical setting – the complete work is less than 30 minutes.
I have a deep love for the great historical passion settings, especially Bach’s St. Matthew, but they require large resources and lots of preparation. It is my hope that my setting of the St. John Passion is functional and accessible to most church choirs, while also being fitting, noble, and beautiful – part of the longstanding tradition of the musical passion.
The Raabe Prize is awarded every two years for a single musical work, published or unpublished and written within the last five years, that reflects a larger history of excellence on the part of the composer. While any sacred piece may be submitted, preference is given to those compositions which grow out of, but are not necessarily restricted to, the worshipping assembly of the baptized who gather around Word and Sacrament. Works that include the voice or voices are preferred over those for instruments alone. The composer need not be Lutheran. The $2,000 monetary award is shared equally by the winner and a musical or ecclesiastical organization chosen by the composer. See the Guidelines for Submission for additional information.