Lately, it seems that more and more, ideas for arrangements come to me as I am walking the river--a little phrase here and a little line there. Other times the music comes crashing down on me all at once, so much so that I have to hurry home to start scribbling down notes before I forget. This is one of those pieces.
Soon after the death of Joseph Smith, William W. Phelps penned the words, “Praise to the Man who communed with Jehovah.” His poem about Joseph would become a beloved hymn. In honor of Phelps’ Scottish heritage, the hymn uses the melody from the folk song Scotland the Brave.
For those familiar with the text, you will know that Phelps ends his chorus with “ . . . death cannot conquer the hero again.” But since I have never accepted the idea that death ever conquered the prophet Joseph in the first place, I just could not bring myself to include a note representing that last word ‘again.’ As I play this arrangement I always end the melody with this version of the words echoing in my head: "Death cannot conquer the hero!!!”
This one’s for you, Adam.
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