We welcome young composer Robert Strobel to HolySheetMusic!
Robert Strobel is a composer of a variety of mediums, including chamber works, art songs, choral works, and three pieces for orchestra. He currently is a doctoral composition student at Florida State University. He pursued a Master of Music in Composition at the University of Missouri until 2014. Before that, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Composition and Oboe Performance, Summa Cum Laude, and a Master of Music in Performance at the University of Northern Colorado. Commissions include arranging a fight song for Columbia College, a work for David Halen and string members of the St. Louis Symphony, performed at the Sheldon, a Sinquefield Scholarship Commission for String Quartet, and a Sinquefield commission for oboist Dan Willett, which was performed with the Esterhazy string quartet. He was also asked to write a work based on Bill Smith’s artwork “Graphyne,” performed at the World Chess Hall of Fame, which was made into a DVD. Some other honors include winning first prize in the FSU Force Majeure Woodwind Quintet Competition, and a winner in the 2014 Missouri Orchestra Composer’s Project. Often, he has found fulfillment writing music about his faith.
This setting of the lyrics, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” reflects the imagery of the simple, tranquil safety of abiding with the Savior. The setting begins blissfully in the key of F major; a syncopated accompaniment with a melody high in the right hand of the piano. The women are alone in the first part of the first verse. After the first verse, the accompaniment calms down, and the more subdued character of the men’s voices enter in Eb in the beginning of the second verse. The last verse ends a cappella with a short ending by the piano.
This arrangement of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” begins with an original setting of the hymn’s words, a cappella, indicating the message of courage and trust in the Savior contained in the first verse. The piano comes in on the last words of this section, and introduces the ideas associated with the next verse. Afterwards, the well-known melody to the hymn is used in the choir in unison, set in a way that reflects the struggles described in the second verse. The third and final verse returns to the setting of the words from the beginning of the work. The final verse discusses the aid of heaven, and the work ends hopefully.