Crystal Ball, Sep-Nov 2021

While lockdown, quarantine and isolation continue, we gather by video conference on Sundays. The Psalms in the South leader and webmaster continues to provide the song of the day from home, but:

  • All musical members and participants are invited to review this list and volunteer to present the song of the week.
  • Music from sources other than Together in Song is welcome . Where nominated, music can be provided to volunteers
  • Contact me by phone, mail or Contact page for any assistance needed.

So here are abbreviated music suggestions with particular relevance to Woden Valley Uniting. To see more music or comments about a specific psalm, go to the relevant page via the Index of psalms by number in the menu. (Also linked in para headings below.)

5 Sep 21, Ps 125 (or 146). Psalms for All Seasons has a refrain by Bernadette Farrell that is is attractive and powerful (verses to a tone):

Shalom, shalom the peace of God be here.
Shalom, shalom, God's justice be ever near.

12 Sep, Ps 19 (or 116a). Given half a chance, I will always go with Bob Marley’s reggae version of ‘By the rivers of Babylon’. How does that get a look in? His chorus is the last verse of Psalm 19, that well-known prayer that preachers back in the day would employ before their sermon:

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Initial capital B from Beatus vir, Psalm 1. Manuscript from c. 1220 in the Swiss digitised collection, Zürich.

19 Sep, Ps 1 (or 54). After recent comments on the plethora of settings for some psalms like 51 and 130, both recent appearances, the pickings for this introductory poem are surprisingly limited.

However, there’s an easy pentatonic Thai melody in Together in Song 1. The version in Psalms for All Seasons 1C adds percussion, hence the illustration at left. Then again, the Thai tune probably will not sound like King David and his band ‘The Slingshots’.

A nice Spanish version appears in PFAS 1E. WVUC has a locally sourced responsorial setting ‘Happy are they’, which we may use together with a Gregorian psalm tone.

26 Sep, Psalm 124 (or 19). A setting in The New Century Hymnal may suit as we look to the old African-American tune, Guide my feet. Words of the psalm replace the original text.

3 Oct 21, Ps 26 (or 8). As an aside, the first song I turned up in my files, a hymn written by Haydn shown in the following extract, illustrates how language changes. Nothing alive is static. Flowers fade. TiS ignores this psalm so we turn to the responsorial PFAS 26A, Your love is before my eyes. Verses chanted to the tone provided.

Psalm 26 by Haydn. ‘Instinct’ in his day clearly meant infused or inspired.

Copies of Psalms for All Seasons are available from the WVUC library.

10 Oct, Ps 22:1-15 (or 90). We turn to a fine setting in Together in Song 9 by Christopher Willcock, My God why has thou forsaken me? Usually heard on Good Friday, this one suits the theme of lament for this Sunday in an online service from Weston Creek.

17 Oct, Ps 104:1-9 (or 91). Together in Song 65, ‘Send forth your spirit O God’, will be familiar to many groups, so will be a good choice. However, the verses are not those chosen in the Lectionary. Easy. Just add pointing to the text of the first nine verses to suit the double tone provided in the music edition.

  • At WVUC: Supporting the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we sing Psalm 41 (extracts) to a local tune. Refrain is the Paraguayan On the poor show your mercy, from PFAS 9 by Pablo Sosa arranged John Bell.

24 Oct, Ps 34:1-8 (or 126). We will use the refrain by Jane Marshall from The New Century Hymnal — Happy are those who take refuge in God. Rather than a simple tone, we adapt the words to the tune of the refrain.

31 Oct, Ps 146 (or 119A) A Taizé ‘Allelujah’ chorus from Psalms for All Seasons 146B.

7 Nov, Ps 127 (or 146). Few will be able to marshal the vocal resources to do justice to the lovely Nisi Dominus, Salmo di Visperas 9 (‘Unless the Lord’, Vespers psalm no 9, odd verses only) by Tomas Luis de Victoria. Fear not. Isaac Everett comes to the rescue with ‘Unless God builds a house’ in The Emergent Psalter. Piano music is a free download, but you will need to do something musically cool with the verses. Call me.

While we are in Spain with Victoria, listen to Spanish group La Columbina presenting this psalm. This recording demonstrates the pattern of chanted and choral alternating verses.

14 Nov, Ps 16. Not included in Together in Song, but PFAS16A is a nice hymn to the tune MAITLAND, perhaps known better as Precious Lord hold my hand. PFAS also has a responsorial setting at 16D but in the past we have preferred a slightly more lyrical home-grown tune, You show me the path:

21 Nov, Ps 132:1-12. All three settings in PFAS use familiar tunes and would suit most congregations. For the alternate psalm 93, the Gelineau setting in TiS 51 is available, if a little harder. Listen to William Byrd’s interpretation (verses 8 and 9) below.

28 Nov, Ps 25:1-10. And so again into Advent and Year C of the Lectionary. We have not sung any of Everett’s nice refrains for some time. Let’s turn to his The Emergent Psalter and sing Let me know your ways, for two voices with inclusive language.

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