Psalm 148, 26 Dec 21

God gave creation a law that shall not pass away.’ (6)

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Praise God from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind

This popular psalm is in the middle of the final group of half a dozen songs of praise which bring the Psalter to a climax. In broadly imaginative evocation of all elements of the whole universe uniting together in praise of the creator, its poetic flights are a hallmark of the psalms. 

Psalm 148 echoes Psalms 96 to 98, mentioned in the previous post as set readings for Christmas.

The song is also incorporated into the canticle of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego whose story is in the book of Daniel. This scripture is also a source of the phrases ‘feet of clay’ and ‘writing on the wall’ from the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar.

In this psalm, the poet is intent on sweeping up the whole creation; the word ‘all’ is sprinkled liberally throughout:

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No psalm will be sung this Sunday at Woden Valley Uniting; but for those interested in further ideas — including wild cards like Yoda and some Russians — please see the main page on this song, Psalm 148: All together now.

Psalm 148:3. A trio from Laudate Dominum de coelis by Lassus. Another example of the use of three voices for verse three of the text.

Interesting recordings abound. Psalm 148 together with 150 was added as an additional note of praise at the end of the major work on the Penitentials by Lassus, Psalmi Davidis Poenitentiales.

Beautiful as it is, that opus is quite long. However, I was rather taken by a short setting by Schola cantorum Labacensis, apparently arranged and directed Slovenian organist and teacher Tone Potočnik in Ljubljana. His specialty is Gregorian chant but this short piece has an aura bestowed by some added minimal modern harmonies behind the ostensibly unison chant:

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