This piece depicts the Life of David, king of Israel. However, it not only represents the great moments in David’s life, but also the bad. For example, the killing of the giant Goliath and becoming king of Israel are heard in the music near the beginning of the piece. However, later moments such as his affair to Bathsheba, the killing of Uriah the Hittite, and the loss of David’s son, Absalom are heard in calm, but un-peaceful passages.
One of David’s greatest weaknesses was his desire to see God with his own eyes as Moses and Noah had. The piece involves itself highly in this idea. A recurring dissonance of the minor 2nd and major 7th established how close David always was to God and yet how far he always was from him. At the very end of the music, we hear this dissonance resolved as David dies and is finally able to see God face to face.
David was known for his ability to make music and sing. He is attributed to writing or being associated with nearly all of the Psalms in the Bible. The tenor solo is to convey the spirit of David. The lyrics sung are the Hebrew text for selections of Psalm 40. Below are the lyrics in their verse form, as well as the English translation.
40:2 Qavvoh qivviythiy Adonay Vayyêth ‘êlay vayyishma' shav' âthiy
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
40:3 Vayya' alêniy mibbor shâ'onmithiyth hayyâvên vayyâqem 'al-sela' raghlay konên 'ashurây
He brought me up also out of the tumultuous pit, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock, He established my goings.
40:4 Vayyittên bephiy shiyr châdhâsh tehillâh lê’lohêynu yir'u rabbiymveyiyrâ'u veyibhthe-chu bayhvh
And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
40:16 Yâshommu 'Al-'êqebh boshtâm hâ'omeriym liy ‘he'âch, he'âch’
Let them be appalled by reason of their shame that they say unto to me, ‘Aha, aha.’
40:17 Yâsiysuveyismechu bekha kol-mebhaqsheykha yo'mru thâmiydh yighdal Adonay' ohabhêy teshu' âthekha
Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee; let such as love Thy salvation say continually: ‘The Lord be magnified.’
40:18 Va'aniy 'âniy ve'ebhyo 'adhonây yachashâbhliy 'ezrâthiy umephalthiy 'attâh 'elohay 'al-te'achar
But, as for me, that am poor and needy, the Lord will account it unto me. Thou art my help and my deliverer; O my God, tarry not.
David - Score & Parts (Hard Copy)
Brass Ensemble + Perc. & Tenor Solo
Picc. Trp. in B-Flat, 3 Trumpets in B-Flat, 4 Horns in F, 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Timp., 3 Perc., Piano, Tenor Solo
Score: 11 X 17
Parts: 10 X 13