Benjamin Williams

Risen (2014)

Having worked alongside Kristen Johnson, soprano, for a few years now and Tanja Miric, guitar, this past year at Mississippi College, I had in the back of my mind that I’d like to at some point write something for both of them. Little did I realize that they would end up planning a joint recital for which I could write for both of them at the same time! As we brainstormed a bit together, it came up that it might be a good opportunity to compose a new setting of a classic hymn text. While there were many favorites to choose from, I settled on Wesley’s “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” given the proximity of the recital to Easter.

This setting uses the original text, including many verses which were unfamiliar to me that I had the pleasure of learning during this time. Given the great number of verses, I was concerned that the text may gradually blur together, so I broke it up into three movements. The first deals with the conflict between Christ and death that was ultimately won on our behalf. The slower second movement focuses on just one short verse that highlights the magnitude of our fallenness and His corresponding love. The piece ends with an exciting song of rejoicing and praise for His mighty work of triumph.

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