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Conversion of Saul, The
Composed by Z. Randall Stroope
Voicing: SSAATTBB a cappella
Catalog number: AMP 0530
ABOUT THE WORK
After the stoning of Stephen, Saul launched an all out persecution of the early Christian church and became legendary in his pursuit to exterminate all who "believed." But as Saul (also called Paul) later wrote, he was blinded by a light from heaven as he traveled to Damascus and was confronted by a voice that called out to him, saying "Saul, why do you persecute me?" This event has become known as "the conversion of Saul," as Saul turned from his murderous deeds and spent the remainder of his life as a Christian missionary. This musical work ("The Conversion of Saul") begins with a raucous depiction of death and destruction through highly accentuated rhythmic treatment and repeated agitation of the text. A pedal tone emerges in the middle of the piece, symbolizing the "one true light." This continuum of light brings Saul to his knees, and "commissions" him to a life of "turning hatred into love" and bringing compassion to those around him.
Caedite, vexate, ligate vinculis! Saul! Murder, harass, bind into chains! Saul! Vinculis, condemnate vexate! Chain, prosecute and harass!
recorded excerpt performed by The University of Nebraska Omaha Concert Choir
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