When I write musical arrangements, perhaps because I am using a pre-written melody, I feel that I am not really composing, but simply putting a puzzle together. And once I have completed a piece, I feel that every note is in the exact spot it should be in, and that it's not because I was inspired, but because I have solved a riddle. What amazes me, is that given the same tunes, other composer/arrangers will come up with something completely different! However, even knowing that, I feel extremely hesitant about writing popular and oft-arranged hymns.
O My Father is a particularly popular hymn, and I have played many different versions of it, all of them very good. When my father-in-law passed away earlier this week, and my husband Dave and I were asked to play O My Father for his funeral, I had no reason to write my own arrangement, but I felt strongly that I didn't want to play any of those arrangements for Ron, I wanted to play my own.
I can't say that I've ever suffered like a real artist often does to find material in the creative process, but never has an arrangement come so quickly to me--in spite of my general reluctance to tackle any well-loved hymn. You can interpret that in a couple of ways--that either I happen to work well under pressure, or that I had some help from above.
At any rate, I just hope that Ron would approve.
Here is the performance from Ron's funeral with my husband Dave on the piano:
O My Father