Daniel E. Johnson

Composer Alpha
Johnson, Daniel

According to some Byzantine local traditions, “Let my prayer arise” is to be sung in the fifth tone at all Wednesday and Friday Presanctified liturgies, but in the sixth tone in the first week, during Great Week, and anytime the Presanctified is served for a ranking commemoration. This harmonization is loosely based on the tone 6 version in the Greek chantbooks. The verses would be intoned either by the priest or by a chanter, with the full choir responding with the refrain.

“By the Waters of Babylon” is a text appointed to be sung at Matins on pre-Lenten Sundays, after the Polyeleos. Its text is taken from Psalm 136 (LXX) — the entire psalm is appointed to be sung in the sixth tone, with Alleluias after each verse.

Toward the end of the service of the Lesser Supplicatory Canon to the Mother of God (the Paraklesis service), “It is truly meet” is appointed to be sung. As it directly precedes the Megalynaria, it is sung to a very similar melody, in the plagal of the fourth tone (called the eighth tone in Slavic circles). I’ve harmonized this melody and set it in English. There’s no particular reason why this melody couldn’t be used in the context of the Divine Liturgy as well.

This is one of my own compositions dating from sometime around 2004 or so. Certain Ukrainians have told me it sounds Ukrainian.

Many thanks to Kevin Lawrence for editorial advice.

This is a composition of mine from around 2006 or so. It is a SSA trio of the exaposteilarion of Great and Holy Friday, in the Slavonic style, and using a translation from the Slavonic rather than the Greek (the Slavonic version interposes the word “wise,” for example). The hymn is appointed to be sung three times. Since the 19th century, it has been a common Russian practice that at least one of these repetitions should be done as a trio, hence the present version.

I’ve never heard of any parish actually performing this piece liturgically.