Psalm 100; singing a new song

There are thousands of musical settings of the 150 poems in the Psalter. Some of them are just a simple refrain of a few notes or an antiphon using the simplest chant without harmony, ranging up to grand elaborate works that stand alone as pinnacles of musical invention. In the latter category, the Psalmi Davidis poenitentiales by Lassus, with a short motet for each verse in two to six voices, are described elsewhere in these pages.

Psalm 100, being a short and lively song of praise, features frequently in the lists, including that Genevan ‘Old Hundredth’, All people that on earth do dwell. A new innovative work based on Psalm 100 is about to delight audiences at the Canberra Girls’ Grammar School auditorium on Wednesday 4 April. This is Jubilate Deo by Dan Forest, the title being from the first verse:

Jubilate Deo, omnis terra; servite Domino in laetitia. Introite in conspectu ejus in exsultatione. / O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song.

Pss 100 and 23, Mandarin

The use of Latin in the text is hardly unusual. Such settings abound, particularly those from earlier years. However, this work samples languages and musical styles from around the world, as its seven movements interpret the five verses of this short but popular song of joy. Here are some of the other cultural connections:

Ve adthdor vador (from age to age, v.5) in Hebrew and Arabic

Ta cao chang (The sheep of his pasture, v.3) Mandarin Chinese

Ngokujabula (With great rejoicing, vs 1-3) Zulu

Bendecid su nombre (Bless his name, v.4) Spanish

Excerpt in Zulu from ‘Jubilate Deo’ by Dan Forest

Several singers from South Woden, members of The Resonants or The Oriana Chorale, will be in the large choir.

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