program notes by composition > A > Amazing Grace (Ticheli)

Amazing Grace

arr. Frank Ticheli

Amazing Grace was written by John Newton (1725–1807), a slaveship captain who after years of transporting slaves across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World suddenly saw through divine grace the evilness of his acts. The arranger writes:

I wanted my setting to reflect the powerful simplicity of the words and melody—to be sincere, to be direct, to be honest—and not through the use of novel harmonies and clever tricks, but by traveling traditional paths in search of truth and authenticity. I believe that music has the power to take us to a place that words alone cannot. And so my own feelings about “Amazing Grace” reside in this setting itself. The harmony, texture, orchestration and form are inseparable, intertwined so as to be perceived as a single expressive entity.

Arranger Frank Ticheli (b. 1958) is a prominent contemporary composer of orchestral, choral, chamber and concert band works. He earned degrees from SMU and the University of Michigan. He teaches at USC in Los Angeles.

Last updated on March 25, 2014 by Palatine Concert Band