Psalms 130 and 23, 9 August 2015

Out of the depths
Out of the depths

Psalm 130 pops up again this Sunday, just 6 weeks after we listened to Sinead’s Out of the depths. We are going to repeat that same song — its beautiful simplicity sustains the message perfectly.

The visit by The Gospel Folk brings not only their inspiring songs but also the excuse to focus the gathering on music. This will include a segment of about ten minutes when we take the opportunity to reprise some of the psalms we have sung in the past, including those featured on previous TGF visits.

Another benefit of this sampling will be to taste of just a few of the many varied ways the psalms can be sung, ranging from classics to modern — and of course gospel.

Shepherd with the spice of life

So many styles, so much beautiful music: so little time, so few singers.

However, after the folk-song style of Out of the depths sung by Jo and backed by the Singers in the South, we leave Psalm 130 and pick another popular psalm, the well-known Shepherd Psalm as a vehicle to hear a variety of different styles, truly spice to our lives.

Seen recently at Pergamon in Turkey – complete with a black sheep

As a reference point, we hear first the opening lines of that familiar old setting, CRIMOND. Moving quickly along, the Singers will present another modern folk song, Meet me in the middle of the air by Australian singer song-writer Paul Kelly.

With references to Thessalonians as well as Psalm 23, the song demonstrates the value of a fresh take in the long-standing tradition of cross-over between secular and sacred. Again, we accompany a solo female voice with guitar and backing singers.

Music from the Iberian peninsula has influenced many cultures around the world, not least in South America where rhythm and feeling rule. Psalm 23 finds its way into Spanish in the lovely El Señor es mi pastor, from Psalms for all seasons.

If time and talent allow, we shall insert this or a short excerpt form a deeply sonorous chant from the Eastern Orthodox tradition before we enjoy a little gospel to finish off.

Regrettably, time will not allow us to fill some notable gaps:

  • we sang the blues a couple of years ago for a TGF visit; more …
  • remember Georg Phillip Telemann’s setting of Psalm 23, Der Herr ist meine Hirte, a trio for TTB. We sang this, together with El señor es mi pastor, in April; more…
  • and dozens more, Bach, Lassus, the Genevan Psalter in French and so on.

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