In the Beginning
In The Beginning
An Oratorio in Three Parts
for 6 Soloists, Choir
Words selected from the
Old and New Testaments
and set to music by
2 Flutes, Oboe/Cor Anglais,
2 Horns, 2 Trumpets,
Violin I & II,
© Dorine Tolley 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this music may be reprinted or reproduced in any form, or by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information or retrieval system, without permission in writing from Dorine Tolley.
Printed by: Fineprint Music Printing & Typesetting, Australia / firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact and Orders: www. maclarenfoundation.net / email@example.com
Foreword to In the Beginning
Leon MacLaren (1910-1994) did not start composing until the age of sixty. Initially he pursued a successful career as a lawyer. He became interested in economics and philosophy during the years of the great depression in the 1930s. Moved by the suffering of people around him he founded The School of Economic Science to further the ideas and principles that he hoped would inspire and enrich their lives. He led the School, which had developed into a worldwide organization, until his death.
Music was a great interest to him from early on. He played Mozart on the piano at the age of five and later, as a student, he played the saxophone and clarinet in a jazz band, yet he never received formal musical training. It is thus all the more remarkable that later in life he felt the urge to compose. In his philosophy courses he always stressed the immense importance of sound as a basic element of the creation. To support this idea he taught the natural scale of the seven notes of the octave calling it The natural octave, which became the foundation of all his compositions.
Over a period of ten years Leon MacLaren wrote four major works and a number of songs. All his works were based on texts taken from the Bible and the Vedic scriptures. For him these scriptures were essential to a man’s understanding of himself and his development as a human being. By setting these words to music he hoped that those who played them and those who listened to them would be inspired by their meaning.
The present work In the Beginning is an Oratorio based on texts from the biblical books Psalms, St John, St Luke, Isaiah and Leviticus. This composition flowed from the words as if he heard a deeper meaning. He made the following remarks about this process: “One became very much aware that the words indicated some things which were not in fact in their sounds, and it was possible to set the music to that which was indicated and to know whether the music was faithful to it or not.”
As his personal assistant for over twenty years I was fortunate to see his compositions taking shape. In the Beginning was first performed by the School’s choir and orchestra in 1975 in the Camden Centre in London in the presence of the composer. At that time handwritten scores were used. When Leon MacLaren left me his compositions, I promised to have them printed and published. It is therefore a great delight to present this score as the first of a series. This is a homage to the memory of Leon MacLaren, to preserve his legacy in the hope that his music will continue to be played and listened to in the future.
Text of In The Beginning
Psalms 48 & 46
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the City of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. (48, i) There is a river the streams of which shall make glad the City of God. (46, iv) Tell the towers thereof. (48, xii) Mark well the ramparts.
(48, xiii) Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Sion. (48, ii) Tell the towers thereof. Mark well the ramparts, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the following generation. (48, xiii) For this God is our God for ever and ever. (48, xiv) For lo the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it and so they marvelled: they were troubled and hasted away. (48, iv-v) Fear took hold of them there and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. (48, vi-vii)
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Sion.
Great is the Lord.
St.John 1, i-xiii.
Choir: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him: and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Instruments: There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The same came for a witness to bear witness of the Light that all men through him might believe.
Choir: That was the true Light which lighteth ev’ry man that cometh into the world.
Bass soloist and choir: He was in the world and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God. Even to them that believe on His name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
St.John 1, xiv.
Choir: And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory; the glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
St. Luke 2, viii.
There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night.
Isaiah 53, vi
All we like (silly) sheep have gone astray.
St.John, 10, xi & vii
Bass soloist: I am the good shepherd; I am the door of the sheep.
(All we like (silly) sheep have gone astray)
St. John, 10, xi, vii & xxx.
Bass soloist & Choir: I am the good shepherd; I am the door of the sheep; I and my father are one. (All we like (silly) sheep have gone astray.)
St.Luke 2, ix-xi.
Instruments: (And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.)
Alto soloist: Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.
Isaiah, 59, xiv-xix.
Judgement is turn’d away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. And the Lord saw it, and it displeas’d him that there was no judgement. And he saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor.
Tenor, baritone & bass soloists: Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it. Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breast-plate, and an helmet of salvation on his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall raise a standard against him.
Isaiah, 60, i-iii.
2 sopranos & alto soloists: Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
Isaiah, 60, vi-ix.
Instruments: The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah: all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee; they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. Who are these that fly as (like) a cloud and as (the) doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel – because he hath glorified thee.
Isaiah, 60, iv-v.
Soloists: Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear and be enlargéd; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee (Repeat: Arise, shine, etc.)
Isaiah, 60, xi.
Choir: Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
Isaiah 59, xx.
Alto soloist & choir: And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.
Isaiah 25, vi-viii.
Choir: And in this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, (and) a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things, full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spreadover all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
Isaiah 59, xx-xxi.
Alto soloist & choir: And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my spirit that (which) is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
Isaiah 61, i-ii.
Choir: The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; soloists: he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (he hath sent me) to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God.
Leviticus 25, ix-xiii
Alto soloist: Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth(?) day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. & Choir (ladies); And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land (?) unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return ev’ry man unto his possesion and ye shall return ev’ry man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of the vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. Alto soloist: In the year of this jubilee shall ye return ev’ry man unto his possession.
Isaiah 61, ii-iii.
Soloists: (he hath sent me) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
Isaiah 61, x
as a (the) bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments and as a (the) bride adorneth herself with (her) jewels.
Isaiah 61, xi
(For) as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things (seed) that are (which is) sown in it to spring forth,
Isaiah 61, iii
that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 59, xx.
Alto soloist and choir: And the redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.
St.John 14, i-iii.
Choir: Let not your heart be troubléd: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Instruments: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and pepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.
St.John 14, xxvii
Bass soloist: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth (gives), give Iunto you.
St. John 14, xv-xviii.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father,
and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth (is) with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
St. John 13, xxxiv.
A new (this) commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another.
St.Luke 2, xii.
Alto soloist: And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapp’d in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
St.Luke 2, xiv.
Choir: Gloria in excelsis Deo; et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of goodwill.