This setting of “Sing We Now At Parting” was an improvisation I had used for years. When I finally started to compose for real, it was the first piece I wrote down.
This setting is interesting because the mood is quiet and meditative like a prelude. It can be appropriately be used as one, although I always find it a little humorous to use a closing hymn to open a meeting.
Quiet hymns can and should be used as both preludes and postludes. To quote Handbook II: “Quiet prelude and postlude music creates an atmosphere of worship that invites the Spirit into Church meetings. … Playing hymns can help members review gospel teachings in their minds.”
Note the very careful way that this section of the handbook is worded. This section does not forbid louder postludes, but there is a definite preference for quieter music with hymns being strongly recommended. To me, there is a good reason for this. Hymn texts are strongly associated with particular hymn tunes. The melody of a hymn tune often evokes the message of the hymn that is attached to. When we play hymns, we remind our fellow ward members of the message of the lyrics and not just the music itself.
I almost always start my postlude with a meditative piece. If the meeting has been particularly joyous I will, if dictated by the Spirit, play something a little louder or more vigorous. I’m really careful, however, to make sure that what I play does not detract from the main purpose of Sacrament Meeting, which is to worship the Lord and remember his atonement. Sacrament Meeting is not a place to show off.
Sing We Now At Parting — PDF
Download the audio here (Right-click and choose download).