DEUS IBI EST FOR SOLO INSTRUMENT Available for Violin, Viola, or Cello
LEVEL: MEDIUM EASY Music by Christopher M. Lee (2005, rev. 2013) Duration: ca. 3.5 minutes
Deus ibi est by Christopher M. Lee was commissioned for a sunny California wedding in 2005, where it was premiered by the brother of the bride, an amateur violist, and appeared with, among other selections, a song by Elvis Presley. The composer recalls, “I wanted to write something accessible to both performer and listener, expressing wedding-day joy, and at the same time, something fresh and new.” The resulting work explores the Lydian mode, an effervescent musical scale, in fluid waves of melody that gradually rise and expand in a free-flowing exposition. Waxing phrases finally hit their stride in florid streams of notes that launch a soaring climax and soon subside. Presently, a short sequence of chords is revealed as the static refrain framing isolated strains of the principal melody, all of this creating a sort of “virtual duet” for the soloist and nostalgic close to the work.
In 2013, Lee revisited his original viola score to create adapted versions for violin and cello. The title refers to the 9th-century Latin hymn, “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est,” which can be translated, “Where charity and love prevail, there God is found.”