> Compline


The Songs

Prelude: A meditation on the sheer thrill of being in the presence of the Lord Almighty.  When I was working on the opening of this sequence, I imagined a person walking down the street outside a club.  The door is closed so all you can hear is the thump of the bass and some other muffled sounds.  But then the door swings open and...

Kyrie Eleison: I chose to use the "kyrie" as a song of confession.  My goal was to convey a "chant" feel in the melody and harmonies.

Gloria Patri: A jazz groove that turns into a little more of a Latin feel in the middle.  I got quite emotional at times when I was recording the narration!  Shirantha provided some wonderfully moody soprano ad libs and also recorded the horn break that I wrote.

I Cry Aloud: This song takes its lyrics from Psalm 3 and from Revelation 21. It expresses a longing for God's help mixed with an acknowledgement of God's responsiveness. "It Is Well With My Soul," the familiar hymn at the end of the track, was written by Horatio G. Spafford and Philip P. Bliss.

Come to Me: This is the "scripture reading" of the service.  The message is an amazing one.  Thanks be to God!

Wondrous Love: This is an old American Folk Hymn.  I absolutely love the violin solo played by my cousin, Sarah Arnold.  She was inspired by Itzhak Perlman's recordings for the "Hero" soundtrack.

The Lord's Prayer: This is a 12 bar blues progression that I came up with.  I think the blues style gives this well-known prayer a quality of soulful longing. 

Guide Us: The intention of this track is to end the service quietly, so I used the sound of two acoustic guitars as the only accompaniment.  The prayer at the beginning of this track can really make you stop and think: As I go to bed tonight, someone somewhere is still working.  Someone is weeping.  Someone is dying.  God is in control of all of that.  We don't have to be.  And yet what an awesome challenge just to be mindful of these "neighbors" of ours as we ask God to continue to guide and guard both us and them.

What is Compline?

St. Benedict is credited as being the first to set down specific guidelines for what is called the "divine office."  Eight times per day, the Benedictine monks were instructed to come together for prayer, reading of Scripture, etc.  The name "compline" was given to the last of these prayer services and is traditionally held at 9:00 p.m.

This service focuses on the completion of the day.  The participant is challenged to entrust God with his or her life as they prepare to go to bed.  We may go in peace, as a reading near the end puts it, because we have "seen the Savior."  The readings and structure of the service are taken from the Book of Common Prayer.

My goal in recording a Compline CD was to set everything to music, employing a mixture of forms.  You will hear a hint of jazz, Celtic, Americana, techno, and other styles.  I recorded almost all of it myself on a PC, using Cakewalk Sonar.  Some of the rhythm section parts were originally conceived using a program called Band in a Box.  Many of the sounds were recorded using a Roland RD-700 keyboard.  Some of the drums, ambient sounds, and arpeggios are pre-recorded "loops" that were added to the mix.  The running time of the CD is 29:28.


Bill Arnold: Vocals, Keyboard & Narration
Valerie Arnold: Narration
Shirantha Beddage: Saxophones
Sarah Arnold: Violin

Many of the vocals were recorded at Stardust Recording Studios.
The final mix was mastered by Chris Badami at Portrait Recording Studios.
The meditative looking dude on the cover of the CD is Bryan Arnold.

Additional Information

Still want to know more?  Please feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment on my blog.  I'd love to talk to you more about the CD, permission to use my songs and images, or about "live performances" of Compline.

Click here to view images that I created to go along with a performance of the music on this CD.