Crystal Ball: Advent and into 2020

As Year C closes, this post looks at the opening of Year A, Advent and through Epiphany to the start of Lent.

At South Woden, since we draw on limited resources, our musical attention for the set psalm each Sunday will have to pass over many tempting settings to focus on the options suggested below:

24 Nov 19, Psalm 46. This psalm is an alternative reading so may not be included. If so, then PFAS 46D by John Bell will go well. More>

1 Dec. Psalm 122. Advent and Year A begin, fittingly, with this Song of Ascent. It was clearly about a pilgrimage in ages past to enter the holy place at Jerusalem. (For more background, read the post on Psalm 122 here.) The setting in TiS is interesting and attractive, but a little daunting as a congregational song. I like the one by Everett in The Emergent Psalter, but PFAS 122D with call and response is also very good.

8 Dec. Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19. We will sing a simple tune used many times previously, including as a Communion Sunday chant, whence its name. Several other settings are salted away on Dropbox.

15 Dec 19. Psalm 146:5-10. The Magnificat may also be sung here, usually by a group of women and girls. Christmas is coming, and one can never tell whether the psalm will be replaced by a carol or a goose. However, if 146 appears, then there’s a setting using that same tune above.

22 Dec 19. Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19. We reprise a favourite in PFAS 80A, ‘Restore us again’, complete with echo voices which is fun for the choir. More on Ps. 80>

Christmas Day. Psalms 96, 97 and 98 are set. Let’s wait and see how the service will run.  More here>

29 Dec 19. Ps 148. A home-grown setting is available on Dropbox but TiS 94, being another singable tune from John Bell, is recommended. See blog here>

5 Jan 2020. Psalm 147:12-20. Combined service at St James. If asked: stay with the ‘Red Book’ and John Bell: TiS 92. More here>

12 Jan 20. Psalm 29. See this post>. Use the Taizé setting Dona nobis pacem. Alternatively, NCH has a simple refrain, while PFAS 29D offers more interesting harmonic structures in refrains by Martin Tel.

Antiphon for Psalm 39(40) in an early psalter. 14C. BL MS Arundel 83.

19 Jan 20. Psalm 40:1-11. Service at Yarralumla. If asked: TiS 23 or the more challenging PFAS 40A. See a recent post>

26 Jan 20. Psalm 27:1, 4-9 Willcock’s Do not be afraid, TiS 16, is a good choice if a soloist is available. Read a recent post on this psalm>

2 Feb 20. Psalm 15. If our male voices are in full strength, we shall roll out the African-American spiritual at PFAS 15C, I’m gonna live. Read more>

Men: note the date please!

9 Feb 20. Psalm 112:1-9 (10). TiS 69, Light rises in darkness. The congregation, after all these years of tuition in singing a text to a tone, will be delighted to take on the verses as well as refrain. More notes>

13 Feb 19. I am not alone in harping on the theme of JUSTICE in the psalms. The Song Company calls its first concert for 2020 ‘Cries of Justice‘, presenting beautiful settings of the psalms of David by Josquin des Prex, Benjamin Britten, Robert Parsons and others. 7pm in the Albert Hall.

16 Feb 20. Psalm 119:1-8. The thoughtful dual refrain structure by Isaac Everett in TEP might fit in well. Introductory notes to this psalm>

23 Mar 20. Psalm 2 or 99. The latter is preferred by this author purely because of the appearance in verse 4 of what in my view is the most important central message of the psalter:

O mighty God, lover of justice: it was you who created equity.

Sing the refrain from The Emergent Psalter.

Lent. 1 Mar 20. Psalm 32. Show me the way to go in The Emergent Psalter.

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