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American Hymnal arose not out of any religious fervor on my part but out of my love for the hymns I heard as a child back in Amsterdam New York. For the classical composer, these simple melodies invite endless variation and elaboration.

God of the Ages is best known for it’s dramatic introduction which features blaring trumpets in triad. By contrast Steal Away, a Civil War Negro spiritual, is a prayerful call for peace at a time when Americans were slaughtering each other by the thousands. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today is traditionally sung at Easter time in both Protestant and Catholic churches. Amazing Grace was popularized by American hippies in the 1960's but has its roots in the 18th (words) and 19th (music) centuries. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is distinctly American, both in its original music (John Brown’s Body) and its text (Julia Ward Howe). It went on to become the most popular of all Civil War songs.

We Remember was inspired by the events of September 11, 2001 but is dedicated to the victims of violence wherever they might be.

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American Hymnal - God of the Ages  •  Steal Away  •  Christ the Lord is Risen Today • Amazing Grace •  Battle Hymn of the Republic
We Remember - Largo

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Paul Breer's Musical Style