Crystal Ball, Sep-Nov ’19

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse.

Here are some brief suggestions for these few lovely spring months — or autumn for readers in the far north.

Note for South Woden members: with your Cantor and Webmaster absent, suggested choices are drawn largely from the readily available sources of ‘Together in Song’ and ‘Psalms for All Seasons’ (copies in the library). Our musical adviser has NCH and a folder of previous song sheets.

1 Sep. Ps 81:1,10-16. ‘Tis a great opportunity to try TiS 43, a nice Christopher Willcock chant. A repeated hemiola (2×3 or 3×2 ?) in the refrain is reminiscent of early music. The pointing for the verses, unusually, calls for a note change on just the last syllable; great to have such variation.

8 Sep. Ps. 139:1-6,13-18. “Where can I go from your spirit? If I take the wings of the morning… your hand shall lead me.” Such inspirational poetry is as precious gems. Try TiS 85 or 86. PFAS has several good options, including a responsorial at 139C and a lilting tune that needs some learning at 139E.

15 Sep. Ps 14. ‘Fools say in their hearts: “There is no God”.’ Slim pickings here:

  • Nothing in TiS
  • PFAS 14B is sound if not very inspiring
  • the refrain in The Emergent Psalter is good but will not be widely available. (Apply to Webmaster for the Dropbox cantor sheet.)
  • The simple but positive refrain in New Century calls for verses to be sung to any tone of choice from page 620.
  • Otherwise, grow your own, perhaps on verse 7!

22 Sep. Ps 79 (or 113). No setting in TiS; PFAS 79A offers Kumbayah, with a tone for chanted verses. An interesting idea, depending on the leader’s choice of readings, is the alternative Lectionary thread leading to Ps 113 and thus to TiS 70, a setting by Willcock, requiring a sight-reader for the verses.

29 Sep. Ps 91. TiS 49, a John Bell song, is an excellent choice for this week. The previous setting TiS 48 is also available.

A setting of Psalm 91 by Josquin dez Prez. Fine if you have 24 voices.

6 Oct. Ps 137 (or 37). The Lamentations readings are a link to some beautiful contemplative settings of these texts by Renaissance composers such as Victoria, White, Tallis and Palestrina. Quite enchanting. More practically for the small choir, however, TiS 85 is readily available. It also reminds us of the waters of Babylon in various settings, notably Bob Marley’s reggae version, and the Jewish tune in PFAS 137D.

13 Oct. Ps 66. Try PFAS 66A, ‘Cry out to God in joy all the earth.’ (Cantor sheet available.) TiS 36 is nice if a keen cantor is available. Nearly pentatonic, not quite, with a nice vibe.

The word of the Lord

20 Oct. Ps 119:97-104. The first of two readings coming up from this long psalm extolling the virtues of living by divine principles and received guidance — the ‘Law’. Some settings are not direct quotes of the Lectionary selection:

  • TiS 430 as a congregational hymn (not responsorial) would probably suffice
  • PFAS 119A is worth an airing as a good and little used song. 
  • PFAS 119H is an easy responsorial using the appointed verses set to a tone.

27 Oct. Ps 65. There’s an easy tuneful refrain in NCH (verses to a tone), but more accessible are:

  • TiS 35, a hymn which users of the old Scottish Psalter will remember.
  • PFAS 645C has an easy refrain, and the alternative in Spanish is even more enticing: “We give you thanks… for your are kind, you are love… “

3 Nov. Ps 119:137-144. See the entry for 20 Oct above. PFAS 119M presents this particular verse selection. Various other song sheets are salted away in our on-line library and folder.

10 Nov. Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21. TiS 89 is a hymn-style song. However, PFAS 145D is a nice easy responsorial setting.

17 Nov. If the Isaiah readings are chosen, no psalm will normally be sung. If the leader chooses the alternate reading in Malachi, then it will be Ps 98. In this case, TiS 57 is an easy choice, the verses being sung to the set double tone.

  • For SWUC: Another option is TiS 166 because it uses the opening invocation to sing a new song. Add paraphrased verses to the same tune as per the song sheet on Dropbox. Another sheet offers a 12-bar blues setting for the adventurous.
Detail of Psalm 46 (24 Nov) in the Luttrell Psalter, c. 1330. British Library MS 4213

24 Nov. Another week with no psalm in the primary readings. Alternate is Ps 46, for which TiS 28 is available albeit as a hymn, not responsorial. PFAS 46D is a good choice, with options from two good song-writers, Isaac Everett and John Bell.  The latter suggests a good refrain with an echo voice.




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