1 hour / 10 movements / World Premiere in solo piano and chamber version at Kumho Art Hall on 7 NOv. 2008




Comfort, comfort my people

Chorale Fantasy for Piano



Shinuh Lee



Program Note


Since I wrote my orchestral piece 'Psalm20'(1994/96, revision 1998), messages in the bible were the most important element and theme in my works. Since then, I wrote many pieces that were inspired by various parts of the bible. These are 'Four biblical scenes'(2004) for clarinet and strings, Violin Fantasy No. 2 'Laudate Dominum'(2006), Windquintet No. 2 'Homage to Thomas'(2007), and till my recent work 'Lament'(2010) for clarinet and string quartet.

However, after my second windquintet, I found it was not so relevant and not enough in length to express such huge biblical messages and inspirations only in a piece or in a short duration, so I determined to write pieces for piano in series. This is also partly because I was considerably influenced by 'Vingt regards sur I'Enfant-Jesus' of Messiaen. The most amazing thing for me in this piece, was how Messiaen effectively connected his theological view with the music, expressing his catholic faith in it.

My Chorale Fantasy 'Comfort, comfort my people' therefore, takes the similar structure as 'Vingt regards sur I'Enfant-Jesus'. A chorale melody in 'Sinfonia' is the theme of the whole piece, and this is transformed in two different modal harmonies later, and it implies Sin. These three chorale melodies are linked to Bach chorale 'Christ lag in Todesbanden' that are used as a symbolic device for Redemption in the whole piece.

The first version for solo piano and ensemble was premiered in 2008 at Kumho Art Hall in Seoul by three pianists and performers, and the complete version for piano was premiered in 2009 at MoA(Museum of Art) of Seoul National University, by the pianist Jong Hwa Park with installation & light by Bae Jung Wan.

The title of each piece, I quoted from 'The Screwtape Letters' of C.S.Lewis, in order to more richly expand my musical ideas and expressions through vivid and flowing sentences of Lewis.






Comfort, comfort my people

Chorale Fantasy for Piano



# A brimfull living chalice of despair and horror and astonishment


"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know."

"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

-Romans 3:10-18



# Chorale: 'Lord, have mercy‘


"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined!"

-Isaiah 6:5



# Sinfonia


The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

-Isaiah 61:1-2



# In the long, dim labyrinth of reveries


For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.

-Romans 1:21-25



# Chorale: 'Lord, have mercy'


Go away, Lord; I am a sinful man!

-Luke 5:8

# Building up the finest amour around a man...

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.


-Romans 1:26-31


# The Cross of Christ


"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

-John 1:29



# Chorale: 'Christ, have mercy'

from J.S. Bach chorale

'Christ lag in Todesbanden'


Christ lag in Todesbanden

für unsre Sünd gegeben,

er ist wieder erstanden

und hat uns bracht das Leben;

des wir sollen fröhlich sein,

Gott loben und ihm dankbar sein

und singen halleluja!



# The regions where there is only life and therefore all that is not music is silence


Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!"


-Isaiah 40:1-9



# Finale


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