New Jersey Camp Meeting
A Bloomfield Sabbath
Composed by Paul Mack Somers (2005)
for Flute (doubling Piccolo) and Piano
Published by Maurice River Press
Includes score and flute/piccolo part
In 2005 my wife Janet was near completion of her M.A in flute performance at Montclair State University in New Jersey. For her second recital she had decided to do flute music by New Jersey composers. We had only found works from the 20th and 21st centuries even though we had searched for 19th century pieces.
So I decided to take two 19th century composers associated with New Jersey and combine them. The older was William Batchelder Bradbury (1816-1868), the composer of many still famous hymn-tunes, perhaps the best-known being Jesus Loves Me. Many of his tunes were popular in camp meetings. He lived in Montclair, NJ, and has a large monument in the Bloomfield Cemetery.
The more recent composer was Charles Ives (1874-1954), who for a year served as organist in Bloomfield’s Presbyterian Church on the Green, beginning the very day he graduated from Yale in 1898. He certainly knew the hymn-tunes of Bradbury.
Fragments of Bradbury tunes are heard against a sound wash similar to that often used by Ives. I imagine the spirits of Bradbury and Ives meeting and appearing in an Ivesian evocation.