Shining Sun was commissioned by the President of the University of Florida, Kent Fuchs, in memory of Paula Criser (1936-2019), a former first lady of the University. The piece is structured around two main ideas. First, in honor of Mrs. Criser’s favorite hymn, the tune of “Amazing Grace” can be found in fragments throughout. Both the opening two notes, traditionally sung on “A-maz-” are used to begin and end the piece. The other melodic figure used in fragment is the rapid alteration of the following notes of the main melody, traditionally sung on “-ing Grace.” This figure ultimately finds a further realization in the middle section of the piece where it is transformed into birdsong-like figures. This birdlike section represents the second main idea of the piece. Mrs. Criser enjoyed whistling birdsongs that she heard, and the middle section of the piece pays tribute to that. The title “Shining Sun” comes from a line from “Amazing Grace.” “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun…” Further, the title is a nod to the sunshine state and the University of Florida, where Mrs. Criser lived and served for many years.
Duration: About 6 minutes
Commission: Commissioned by Kent Fuchs, President of the University of Florida
Dedication: In memory of Paula Criser
Score available for purchase.
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