Combining classical chamber music with traditional folk elements, Wondrous Love features the original compositions of John Beall. During his career as a professional composer, Dr. Beall has drawn increasingly from the folk tunes, hymn tunes, fiddle melodies, and even visual settings of Appalachia. Inspiration for the music ranges from gospel music to the majestic mountain Spruce Knob, portrayed in Beall's second symphony. The pieces, performed by ensembles ranging from two to six in number, all draw upon Appalachian folksongs or southern hymn tunes as melodic material. Among the hymns represented are "Trust and Obey" and the beloved "Amazing Grace", as well as selections from the 1815 hymnbook Kentucky Harmony, and the Southern Harmony hymnbook from 1835.
John Beall studied composition at Baylor University with Charles Eakin and Richard Willis, and completed doctoral study at the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of Samuel Adler. In 1972 he received the Louis Lane Prize for his orchestral work, Lament for Those Lost in the War, and in 1973, the Howard Hanson Prize for his Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra. Since 1978, Dr. Beall has been Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence at West Virginia University. Summers since 1992 have been spent teaching at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. The composer's original syntheses of classical forms with the more familiar folk elements are included in this double CD set. The booklet accompanying these CDs offers notes by Penn State professor of piano Steven H. Smith, who dicusses concert notes and analyses of compositions.