Psalm 104, 4 June 17

Here we have epic demonstrative poetry, the poet overcome by the glory and power of the creation — and the Creator. His or her feelings are quite infectious:

You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent, you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers. (Ps. 104:2-4)

The settings in The emergent psalter, Psalms for All Seasons and the New Century Hymnal are all suitable. No 65 from TiS may also suit but the versification may have to be modified to the lectionary rather than the selection in the book.

Apart from the rather staid selection shown at the head of this post — which will not feature in our top ten — a classic hair-raising setting by Rachmaninoff must be mentioned (see illustration). This is part of the All-Night Vigil, commonly known as the ‘Rach Vespers’. South Woden has enjoyed a simplified arrangement of this beautiful composition, in both English and Russian, sung by a male voice trio.

Hurdy-gurdyAnd just for interest, we have in years gone by used a Gregorian chant (no 8) for this psalm, again with different verses, to accompany a Hildegard song, complete with that marvellously atmospheric hurdy gurdy.

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