Behold the All

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A four-movement setting of Herb Brokering’s affirming text, an ecstatic outburst on the beauty and mystery of life, creation, faith and salvation. Level: Advanced.
For SATB and cello.

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Kallman Creates Publications, Composer Daniel Kallman Kallman Creates Publications

Poet Herbert Brokering’s text set by Daniel Kallman in four movements for SATB and cello.
Duration: 17’45”.

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Composer’s Notes

Text by Herbert Brokering

Listen to “Behold the All”

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Composer’s Notes

(program notes from premiere performance, April 24, 2010)

I met Herb Brokering in the mid-nineties through our mutual friend Jerry Evenrud who asked us to compose a hymn together for Minneapolis Central Lutheran’s 75th year celebration. I quickly came to cherish Herb’s creative gifts as a writer and his uniquely vibrant, spontaneous spirit as a collaborative artist and friend. Since then, we have worked together on two other hymns, an anthem for worship, and a musical on the theme of the parable of the prodigal son, entitled The Way Home.

Shortly after I visited Herb in hospice last fall, I contacted him to ask if he had any existing texts on the theme of “singing” which might be appropriate for the commission I had been offered by the National Lutheran Choir. When he passed away only two weeks later, I assumed that he had been unable to look through any of his poems in the time he had remaining. Imagine my astonishment when his daughter called to say that he had indeed written a text specifically for the commission, an extended and ecstatic outburst on the beauty and mystery of life, creation, faith and salvation. It is quite unlike anything else of Herb’s that I know – a magnificent capstone to his body of work and a gift to us all. The fact that he was facing his own death when creating this poem adds even greater meaning and poignancy to the hearing of it.

While composing the music, I have tried to enhance the uplifting nature of Herb’s thoughts. My choice of cello as the accompanying instrument seemed obvious in that it is often thought of as the instrument that “sings”. The soprano solos interspersed throughout are often representative of the mystery of God, while at other times they express the beauty and innocence of children.

Behold the All (text excerpt used for this musical setting)

by Herbert Brokering


Behold, behold
Behold, by light a filament of life is formed
Behold, by night the darkness of nothingness is dancing
Behold, the power
By power the rhythm of unlikeliness is leaping
Behold, the marvel, the majesty of infinity


Be as children
Graciously given
Arrows in a quiver
Turn and become
Be in fullness
With a ringing rhyme
By the mercy of song
By the beauty of sound
By the unity of singing
In the beginning was the Voice, the Word, with God, was God


Do you hear what these are singing?
Have you not heard
O infants, out of the mouth of nursing babes
You have prepared the laud of praise?
Your right hand established might beneath your foes
To still the unknown night, to silence the avenger’s vow
With the quiet of one crowning sound
With the willow’s whistle
A lark’s long, high trill
With mouthed words
Of humming bees
With preening birds
In love’s warm breeze
O light of laughter
Lift in perfect peace
O night of silence
Lilt over death or distance
To be given forth
Felt in a song
In quiet


So sing
Fold the unfurling hand as song, as sound, as singing
Resound in the beauty of rebirth
In the purity of humanity hallows the melody of living
For to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven
Truly, I say to you
Receive the wonder like a child and enter
In these arms where you are blessed
Under these hands your heavy heart will find rest
Be blessed, be blessing, be —

Copyright © 2009 Herbert Brokering

Additional information

Score/Part options

Vocal score (with piano reduction), Cello part