Psalm 23, 17 April 2016

Still waters

Still waters

On Good Friday we noted that, in the midst of darkness of Psalm 22 (why have you forsaken me?), the restoration and peace in the next psalm was not far away. So here they are, those pastures green and cup overflowing of Psalm 23.

How sweet is resolution after a time of conflict, oppression or depression. The Psalter does not say ‘No pain, no gain’. This would be inconsistent with the concept of grace. But its songs often reflect on the coexistence of suffering and joy, and the power of divine love to transform one into the other, as we heard last week:

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. (Ps 23:4)

The Music

The popularity of Psalm 23 ensures its appearance several times in the cycle, thrice in year A alone. This is the fifth appearance in three years of this blog (see index). We shall revisit PFAS 23I, El Señor es mi pastor. A small men’s group leads the singing. Iris reads the mellifluous Spanish language selections.

This lovely song follows a familiar pattern in Ibero-Latino community music, switching between minor and major tonalities. Often it is the major and minor of one key, such as G and Gm; this one moves between G minor and Bb major, relative keys with the same key signature but different feel.

Shakespeare concertThe Bard

23 April is the 400th anniversary of the death of the great playwright William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare was around and writing when the Authorised or King James Version was prepared and published (1611, also the year when Tomás Luis Victoria died). Despite some speculation about the words ‘shake’ and ‘spear’ appearing in Psalm 46, there’s no known connection between the writings of Bard and Bible.

The purposes and intended audiences of William and David were quite different. How fortunate we are, though, to have two such rich contributions to our heritage, culture and literature.

Those who love Shakespeare may hear a concert performance of readings and songs by The Oriana Chorale at University House on Sunday 17th at 5pm.

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