Psalm 65, 27 Oct 13

Harvest celebrationWe don’t ‘do’ Thanksgiving as a holiday in this country. However, we have often in our autumnal season held a harvest festival of some sort, rejoicing in the rich produce of the land.

Here, it’s spring rather than the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, of course; but Psalm 65 set for this Sunday is full of this sense of happiness at the creation and its bounty.

Katherine Gorge

After a prayer for forgiveness, the song goes on to remark upon the wonders of our world – mountains, roaring seas, amazing dawns.

Then, delight at what is going on within that scene – the river of God is full of water, bounty, paths that overflow with plenty.

So what? David in this psalm concludes:

‘Let them shout for joy and sing.’

Several of our sources pick up this theme and this Sunday we use an easy but tuneful little antiphon from The Emergent Psalter by Isaac Everett:

The fields are clothed with grain; the hills are bursting with song.


Thanks to all singers last week; we fielded six fine male voices. We return to Psalm 119 in a fortnight, so we shall use the same tune, and voices, on 3 Nov

8 x 5
8 x 5 – click to enlarge

Also this week, by the way, The Tallis Scholars visit Canberra on their 40th anniversary tour. No psalms I imagine, but this is a must for your author, who has survived the challenges of a couple of Tallis Scholars Summer Schools in Sydney, led by founding director Peter Phillips.

Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), one of the masters of the Renaissance, wrote many fine pieces. One of his most celebrated is the 40-part Spem in alium (In no other I trust). Just the thing for a 40th!

In this demanding work for 8 choirs of five parts each, the choirs enter and leave the complex weave of tunes successively to create an impressive sound, sometimes one choir singing, sometimes (such as at bar 40 would you believe, or when we sing ‘Et omnia …’!) all together. Counting bars – essential.

(If you happen to be going to the United States this year, call in at the NY Met to see and hear a marvellous installation of this work emanating from 40 individual speakers. You can walk in and around the music, listening to one or more parts. I think it may be returning to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa next year where we saw it a few years ago.)

It will be a delight to sing with The Tallis Scholars on Friday 25th at Llewellyn Hall when Oriana Chorale accompanies the visitors for this impressive piece.


Another for your diary: remember The Resonants‘ concert coming up on 9 November, featuring some of our best musicians. It should be a great program, described on their web as:

‘… a variety of styles of music, from different periods and in different languages. Madrigals, spirituals, jazz, contemporary.’

Sounds great. Another must.

4 thoughts on “Psalm 65, 27 Oct 13

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