Joy in the Morning (1991)


1991|30 min
Texts from Job 38:7, Psalm 30:1-12, Psalm 120:1
Music by Dave Brubeck

I. In My Distress (orchestra)
II. Fugue based on Psalm 120 (chorus)
III. I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes (orchestra)
IV. Chorale: Psalm 121 (chorus)
V. Dance for Joy (orchestra)
VI. Chorus: Psalm 30 (chorus)

World Premiere: June 1, 1991, in Hartford, CT, by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Hartford Chorale; Michael Lankester, conductor.
Commissioned by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Dedicated to the University of Connecticut Health Center with special thanks and gratitude to Dr. Lawrence Cohen.

A Note from the Composer

by Dave Brubeck

Composing music has often acted as a form of meditation of prayer for me. It centers the mind, blocks distractions, and focuses energy. As I lay in my hospital bed the evening before my first angiogram in 1987, I began composing music based on the text of Psalm 30. Eventually I underwent a triple by-pass operation and experienced the mixed emotions of anxiety, fear, relief, and the joy of returning strength that are reflected in the settings of Psalms 120, 121, and 30. When I was in the hospital the significant thought in Psalm 30 was “What profit is there in my death, will the dust praise Thee, tell of Thy faithfulness?”

A few years later when the Hartford Symphony commissioned me to write a piece for chorus and orchestra to celebrate an anniversary of the Connecticut Health Center, I remembered Psalm 30, the piece I had started in anxious hours in the hospital. This was my opportunity to “tell of His faithfulness and to praise Him.” I titled the three-movement composition for chorus and orchestra Joy in the Morning quoting from Psalm 30, “Weeping may tarry for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.” I opened with the fugue “In my sorrow, O Lord, I cry to Thee” (Psalm 120), followed by Psalm 121, “I lift up mine eyes unto the hills whence cometh my help.” In the final movement, I expanded my original setting of Psalm 30, keeping my promise to extol Him. Because of my personal experience of both travail and triumph, in setting to music those three psalms, I gave thanks in the most natural way I knew. (July 2007)
© Dave Brubeck Music

Joy in the Morning may be performed 1) in its entirety with chorus and orchestra, 2) as a three-movement orchestral suite, 3) as a three-movement choral suite with orchestra or piano, or 4) as individual choral pieces with piano.

Choral movements are published individually by Alfred Music: Psalm 120 (28911), Psalm 121 (LG53058), and Psalm 30 (28912).

The orchestral suite has been recorded by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, conducting, on Into the Light: Symphonic Expressions of the Spirit. (Telarc CD 80462).