Prayers for a Feverish Planet

Meditation for Earth and Sky (2020) – Wendy Davis (United States)

Wendy Davis

Meditation for Earth and Sky builds on a modal variation of the first line of a common American hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth, heard in the first four measures. The hymn’s text begins, “For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies,” and was written by the English poet Folliott S. Pierpoint and published in 1864. While this text has been set to many tunes, the melody drawn from for this piece is the first line of the hymn tune Dix by the German composer Conrad Kocher. Kocher’s tune was published in 1838 and was set to Pierpoint’s text as early as 1884. Different treatments of the melody occur throughout the piece, with one precise quotation of it near its middle. Perhaps for listeners familiar with the hymn, these repetitions hearken its opening words during this short offering for the wellness of our planet.

Ann adds: Listen across all of the iterations of For the Beauty of the Earth to see how different composers utilized the existing hymn to create new works.

Wendy Davis

Wendy E. Davis is an amateur pianist and choral singer who also enjoys composing for solo instruments, small ensembles, voice, and choir. She especially welcomes the challenge of composing from a thematic, textual, or other non-musical prompt. She holds a Bachelors degree in Music Therapy from the University of Evansville and a Masters degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan. Recently retired, she worked as a reference librarian in the the Chicago suburbs for most of her career.