Click to enlargeCleanse Me (trombone quartet)

Dr. J. Edwin Orr wrote the text "Search me, O God..." about Easter of 1936 in a small village in New Zealand. He was inspired to set his lyrics to the traditional Maori farewell song "Po atu rau..." This tune also became popular around the time of World War II as "Now is the Hour."

Most people hearing it today associated it with Orr's lyrics, a poem he entitled "Cleanse Me."

This arrangement is scored for four trombones: one soprano, two tenors and a bass. The bass trombone part is too high in spots for a tuba, too low for any other brass instrument. The soprano trombone (Bb slide trumpet) may be played on the much more common soprano valve trombone (Bb trumpet) if desired, and is presented transposed.

The first tenor trombone gets the melody for the first stanza, with the bass trombone, second tenor trombone, and soprano trombone entering in turn. The first trombone also carries the melody in the second stanza, finally handing it off to the soprano trombone for the third stanza. The arrangement was kept simple, to better frame the beautiful melody.

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Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word, and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord-- in me abide.

J. Edwin Orr

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MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



CLEANSE ME (Maori Melody) arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quartet consisting of one soprano trombone (slide trumpet), two tenor trombones, and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 209K, with a five-page score, four one-page parts, and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be just over three minutes.


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Last update: 5 June 2017