The ‘Shepherd Psalm‘ needs no introduction or commentary here, so none is offered.
You may imagine this one to be irrevocably associated with Jessie Irving’s famous tune CRIMOND.
This week however, being the last Sunday of the month, we take advantage of the presence of a male voice quartet to do something different.
Remaining respectful both to the much-loved phrases of this psalm and to the spirit of Lent, we sing tranquillamente a setting in the beautiful Spanish language from Psalms for all seasons 23-I, written in 1975 by Ricardo Villarreal. The people’s refrain is as follows:
El Señor es mi pastor; nada me puede faltar / My shepherd is the Lord; nothing indeed shall I want.
This is sung in a minor key alternating with its dominant seventh. Listen, however, as the cantors slip down a tone into a major key for the verses, before modulating back to that minor for the refrain. Neat and effective. (Coincidentally, it’s similar to the attractive pattern I commented upon when we sang Show me which way to go a few weeks ago, though the changes come in a different sequence.)
But wait …
We don’t do things by halves; so we hope also to sing a second Spanish song from Argentina (TiS 723) later in the service as either meditation after the ministry of the word, or during communion.