Special to The Explorer

Easter music at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church features the world premiere of a choral work by Tucson musician and composer Jay Vosk.

The piece, "Rise Up My Love," is based on a well-loved text from the Bible's Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs). "The text is rich in lyrical poetry and beautiful imagery of springtime and renewal," a release said.

It reads:

"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth;

The time of the singing of birds is come,

And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

Vosk scored his piece for women's chorus, violin and piano. St. Mark's women's ensemble, with Ilona Vukovic-Gay on violin and David Gay on piano, perform the piece during St. Mark's 11 a.m. service on Easter Sunday, April 4. A brass and organ prelude will begin at 10:45.

Vosk is a Tucson musician and music teacher who has been composing for about 45 years, sending much of his work out "on spec" before knowing who will want to perform it.

"The most challenging thing about being a composer is not writing the music," Vosk said. "It's getting it performed. I'm fortunate that David likes my work and chooses it for his choirs."

This is the second world premiere at St. Mark's of a piece composed by Vosk. In December, the church's Celtic Choir sang "And the Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb," based on a text from the Book of Isaiah.

In addition, Vosk's "Songs of Creation" for native flute and organ was performed at St. Mark's in 2007.

David Gay, St. Mark's music director, said the church is privileged to perform Vosk's compositions.

"One of the neat things about getting to do these pieces is they are so beautiful," Gay said. "Jay's choral works have a distinctive style that's very modern yet very accessible, very melodic. 'Rise Up My Love' has a really wistful feeling to it. It's almost dreamy."

Based on the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament, Vosk's works "bring alive the important stories and the important poetry of the church," Gay said.

The prelude to the Easter service will consist of music for brass quartet and organ by Gabrielli and Mendelssohn. In addition to the Vosk piece, music during the service will include "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" from Handel's "Messiah," sung by Kate Selby, and "Christ is Now Arisen," arranged by K. Lee Scott and sung by the church's Celtic Choir.

St. Mark's Presbyterian Church is a More Light church, which welcomes everyone. It is located at 3809 E. Third St., south of Speedway and just west of Alvernon Way.

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