HOUSTON, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The simple yet powerful eloquence of hymns, old and new, is at the heart of Here I Am: 10 Hymns for Orchestra, a stirring new CD by arranger Bernie Hatch. Released by Houston's Tierra Studios, the new disc presents orchestral versions of Christian staples such as "Let Us Break Bread Together" and "Just As I Am" along with contemporary originals to create an uplifting and beautiful listening experience. "Around the time I retired, the Lord kept telling me to write it," says Hatch, a Methodist minister's son with a long career behind him as a saxophonist, flutist, and composer/arranger. "Some songs I'd known for years, others I heard in church or found in the Methodist hymnal. One of them is my own composition. All of them were reharmonized -- I used my background from writing for the modern idiom to put forth what I was trying to say with the music for this album." Enter conductor Robert Linder, who assembled the CD's world-class players (from the Houston Symphony, the Houston Opera, and Theater Under the Stars), rehearsed them for several days, and completed the recording session -- at Zilkha Hall in Houston's new Hobby Center -- in a single day. Linder's distinguished career, with lengthy stints at organizations such as the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera (40 years), the Houston Civic Symphony (20 years), and Houston Baptist University, where he is currently Dean of Fine Arts (26 years), had prepared him for the challenge and pleasures of this project. "Bernie and I have known each other for many years, but hadn't seen each other in a very long time," says Linder. "When he called me to tell me about this project and see if I wanted to work on it, I agreed immediately and began to gather musicians. I was excited about the Mancini-type arrangements of these hymns, and I feel that the album provides a wonderful spiritual atmosphere -- both as background music and inspirational listening." Here I Am's program ranges from mid-19th-century songs by William Bradbury ("Sweet Hour of Prayer," "Just As I Am") to more modern offerings like "Here I Am, Lord," by the noted composer/liturgist Daniel Schutte. "Let Us Break Bread Together" was adapted from an African-American spiritual; "In the Garden" and "God Will Take Care of You" date from the early 20th century; and the album closer, "W.L.H.G.," is a Hatch original. Tierra Studios, which released Here I Am, is a state-of-the-art recording and mastering facility in Houston, near the Galleria. Other artists recently in Tierra Studios are Ken Gayle, Al Cofrin, and the producers of The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston. For more information or to schedule interviews, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
SOURCE Tierra Studios