In principio erat verbum
for 5-part choir
by Vaughan McAlley (2005)
In principio was composed in 2005. The words are from the Gospel of John 1:1-2, 14:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.
The first section depicts the near-eternity before† the Word is made flesh. The harmony is relatively static, and the two soprano parts sing a canon twelve bars apart. When the Word is made flesh, the texture and harmony change dramatically, and glory, grace and truth are depicted by a much livelier texture.
† Inasmuch as the idea of ‘before’ means anything before time has begun!