Beyond the Earth, Beyond the Sea
(2005, revised 2007)

Duration: approx. 8:30

This major work was written for Bandmaster Alan Losh and the 2005 East Midlands music school A-band (UK). I know Loshy from our time in the ISB together back in the nineties. He and the A-band were very patient with me as I simultaneously attended our three-year officer review and wrote this piece at the same time! I recall having to leave the building to get a phone signal and send the piece in installments. Still, Alan and the band were faithful and performed the piece at the end of the week!

Since that time I had an opportunity to hear it played in rehearsal by the ISB. That experience brought about a new and improved version in 2007.  

The piece is essentially a Tone Poem based on song 31 in the SA songbook: 


 Computer generated track

WAV Beyond the Earth, Beyond the Sea.mp3

 Sample score pages
(right-click to download or 
open in a new window)  

1. God speaks to us in bird and song,
In winds that drift the clouds along,
Above the din and toil of wrong,
A melody of love.

2. God speaks to us in far and near,
In peace of home and friends most dear,
From the dim past and present clear,
A melody of love. 
3. God speaks to us in darkest night,
By quiet ways through mornings bright,
When shadows fall with evening light,
A melody of love.

4. O Voice divine, speak thou to me.
Beyond the earth, beyond the sea,
First let me hear, then sing to thee
A melody of love.

Joseph Johnson (1848-1926)
SA Songbook 31 (Tune by Peter Ayling) 

The tune used in this work is by Peter Ayling from his own setting of the words entitled Melody of Love, published in the UK Salvation Army's New Songs for Young People in January 1975.  Here is an outline of the music:

Bar 1: The opening four-note motif [Eb-Bb-Ab-Eb] represents the sound of God's voice
Bar 7: The sound of evil: things that threaten man's hearing God’s voice
Bar 13: The sounds of good and evil fight for prominence in the world
Bar 16: The Fall; something goes wrong…humans can no longer hear God’s voice clearly

Movement I
Bar 21: Presentation of first verse of song
Bar 41: The joy of hearing God’s voice above all other things

Movement II
Bar 87: God may seem a long way off...
Bar 96: ...but He is recognisable in friends and family, in familiar things...
Bar 117: ...through our past memories and experiences, even through pain.
Bar 121: God’s voice brings hope for a brighter future.

Movement III
Bar 133: God will speak in darkest night, by quiet ways through mornings bright…
Bar 161: Even at the end of the day, when all else things stop, there is still God.

Movement IV 
Bar 176: Our longing and search for God brings us closer to Him.
Bar 207: Our prayer is “O voice divine, speak thou to me – beyond the earth, beyond the sea.”

The music then moves into an exciting finale in which the aforementioned themes and motifs of the piece are drawn together.  It concludes with the same four note motif as at the beginning - affirming that, whether we chose to listen to it or not, God's voice will always be there for He "was, and is and is to come."

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Copyright © 2011-2013 Martin Cordner