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Crystal Ball Advent 2017

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

This ‘sticky’ post is intended for South Woden readers. Scroll down for weekly blog posts.

Subject to the choices of worship leaders, what is in store?

  • 12 Nov. Psalm 78. Listen to my teaching; see the post for this psalm published recently. Chorus meet early Sunday.
  • 19 Nov. PFAS 123A suggested – draw a copy of the blue book from the SWUC library. Webmaster is away this week and next; (Stephen leads)
  • 26 Nov. Psalm 100 (Bruce leads)
    • The Old 100th is the traditional approach, TiS59;
    • however the next song in TiS 60, for which sung verses are in the TiS music edition, is preferred.
    • There are many, many choices in the mix of cultural tastes in PFAS 100A to H in our library.
    • Some of the SATB setting by Josquin des Prez would be inspirational if singers are available. We sang it three yers ago!
  • 3 Dec. Advent begins with Psalm 80. PFAS 80A ‘Restore us again’ with word-sheet on Dropbox library would fill the bill nicely again. Verse singers volunteer please.
  • 10 Dec. Go direct to Psalm 85 and the SWUC Communion chant, adapted.
  • 17 Dec. We omit Psalm 126 in favour of a carols and readings service which appropriately includes the Magnificat, led by women and young people. Ladies please note the date.
  • 24 Dec. The Magnificat is the Lectionary song on this date. So;
    • repeat it, or
    • take up Psalm 126 from last week
    • Ps 89 is also set, for which TiS 46 by Christopher Willcock is the choice.
    • We’ll try for a male voice rendition of another Slavonic Orthodox chant, Psalm 126. Men, note the date.
  • The geese are getting fat. More anon…

Singers are needed on many occasions. Rehearsals are @5:00pm on the Saturday before, as usual.

Crystal Ball; Oct ’17 and Advent.

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

This ‘sticky’ post is intended for South Woden readers.

Scroll down for an important notice at the end of this post.

The year has flown and the Crystal Ball tells me that October is nearly here, which means Year B is coming down the track. So, subject to the choices of worship leaders, what is in store?

  • 1 Oct. We start with Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16, and TiS41. As we did on 10 Sep, all sing as a congregational antiphonal; the two sides sing alternating lines.
  • 8 Oct. Psalm 19 (‘Let the words of my mouth‘) comes up. TiS 7 is nice with a double tone. But habit prevails; we return to By the rivers of Babylon. Two verse cantors required.
  • 15 Oct. Psalm 106. A soloist leads us in PFAS 106A.
  • 22 OctPsalm 99:4 ‘O mighty God, lover of justice; it was you who created equity’  is the ‘long pole in the tent’ celebrating justice in the Psalter. It’s also the SWUC 50th anniversary. Party! Everett’s refrain in TEP is a good one but, since there are no verse tunes, we follow a local composition on that key verse 4.
  • 29 OctPsalm 90. The old favourite hymn O God our help in ages past, found at Together in Song 47 is an easy solution. The male voice quartet version of an Orthodox Slavonian chant is held over to next week.
  • 5 Nov. See above – an Orthodox chant. Could also to reprise the Psalm 107 setting in PFAS 107C (also in TEP) for three parts. It’s fun.
  • 12 Nov. Psalm 78. Maybe TiS 636, or revisit TiS 41 from 1 Oct.
  • 19 Nov. PFAS 123A suggested. Webmaster is away this week; leader required
  • 26 Nov. Old 100th, perhaps in TiS. Some of the SATB setting by Josquin des Prez if singers are available.
  • 3 Dec. Advent begins with Psalm 80. PFAS 80A would fill the bill.
  • 10 Dec. Go direct to Psalm 85 and the SWUC Communion chant, adapted.

Singers are needed on many occasions in October; we will recruit singers for Nov/Dec a little later. Rehearsals are @5:00pm on the Saturday before, as usual. Besides a chorus for refrains, we need:

  • Cantors for verses on 8, 15, 22 Oct. (REGISTER BELOW PLEASE)
  • All on deck for Anniversary 22 Oct.
  • Male voice group 22 and 29 Oct.

Vespers, 26 Aug 17

Vespers psalm settings by Victoria, Lassus and Rachmaninov have been mentioned several times on this blog – see for example Psalms 103, 104, 112, 116 and 127. Canberra area readers will be interested in an opportunity to hear some of the wonderful Rachmaninov All-Night Vigil (‘Vespers’) this Saturday.

Extracts from the Vespers will be performed in the extraordinary acoustic of the Fitters’ Workshop at 3 pm on Saturday 26 April 2017.

The Oriana Chorale presents haunting music of darkness and light in a program of music composers of northern European descent, curated by Music Director Peter Young. The woman with the alabaster box is one of two works by Arvo Pärt, famous for his shimmering and hypnotic choral effects.

Also included are works by three of the most interesting choral composers of today, Ola Gjeilo, Erik Esenvalds and Paul Mealor (the composer of a new piece for Prince William’s wedding).  Jazz fans will also be interested to hear evocative saxophone improvisations by prominent local musician and teacher John Mackey.

While several of the vespers psalms are omitted on this occasion, the wonderful first psalm will open the Rachmaninov sector. The concert will provide an excellent and enjoyable idea of the sonority of the Orthodox tradition, ranging from meditative moments to the explosive last movement:

South Wodens may remember that some time ago a male-voice trio presented a much-trimmed version of Rachmaninov’s Psalm 103:

Crystal ball Aug-Sep 2017

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

This ‘sticky’ post is for the information of South Woden readers.

Warm the cold weather with a tuneful and harmonious setting of the chosen psalm on coming Sundays. Subject to the decisions of the worship leader of the day, here’s Plan A:

  • 6 Aug: We are going with the alternative reading, Psalm 145. While we have a local composition available, our choice at SW will be the refrain in New Century Hymnal, with nice chord progressions and the opportunity for singers to add harmony. 
  • 13 Aug. A men’s quintet introduced my setting for 105 in fine form last week. We enjoy this same song and the same capable singers on 13 Aug, with a slightly different selection of verses. It comes up again on 3 and 24 Sep.
  • 20 Aug. Psalm 133 is one of those short and sweet songs of ascent. “How good it is when people live together in peace!” We turn to PFAS for a Spanish song (Miren que bono) that just begs us to move to the rhythm.
  • 27 Aug. Psalm 124. Most books use verse 1, ‘My help is in the name of God’, as a refrain. This is very suitable but present plan is to follow previous practice and sing ‘Guide my feet while I walk this path‘ to capture the idea of the psalm.
  • 3 Sep. Reprise of Psalm 105 by our male voices.
  • 10 Sep. The Psalm 149 in our book, TiS 95, is an opportunity for a traditional antiphonal approach, alternating phrases sung by sections of the congregation.
  • 17 Sep. PFAS 114C is attractive. However, in deference to the Resonants’ concert on Saturday evening, the requisite rehearsal time is problematical. Instead we turn to a home-grown paraphrase on the theme of our responsibility for the environment. Tune of the refrain will be taken from TiS 65. Singers welcome to meet Sunday morning early.
  • 24 Sep. You won’t believe it, but 105 pops up again. Thanks to the enthusiastic gentlemen presenting Psalm 105 (four times!) in those rich a cappella harmonies.

Psalm 69

Sometimes themes and verses are repeated so often in the psalms that it’s hard to find new inspiration. In Psalm 69, we hear again the laments and prayers of someone who feels enmity, opposition, slander and loneliness, the while giving thanks for merciful love and safety in divine provision.

IMG_2346.JPGFresh, however, is imagery of sinking in swirling waters — ‘up to my neck, I sink in deep mire where there is no foothold’. Another new touch is in verse 21, quoted in all the gospel stories of the crucifixion:

They gave me gall to eat, vinegar to quench my thirst.

Save me O God by John Blow (1648-1708) nicely captures these fresh ideas using a four-part chorus, with a trio singing selected verses. Lassus wrote at least three settings for verses in Psalm 69, including a trio Deus tu scis using verse 6; on verse 13 Adversum me loquebantur à5; and another trio Exaudi me on verse 17.

Amongst the few contemporary settings available for this psalm, two in Psalms for All Seasons — with different authors but the same chord sequence — appear unremarkable but should respond well to sympathetic treatment. 69C has added attraction as coming from the pen of John Bell and Wild Goose.

I enjoy the sparse introduction to a song by Australian band The Sons of Korah released on their 2005 album Resurrection. You can hear a sample on their web-site. I note, by the way, that the band has a concert in Canberra next Saturday 10 September 2016 — all psalms!

Crystal Ball, June-July 2016

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia 

Best laid plans, bare of commentary on musical options and based on the leader choosing the first reading listed in the lectionary, are as follows:

5 June: PFAS 146B, with Taizé refrain and first tone.

12 June: PFAS 5B (or 5C if the right singers are available)

19 June: Psalms 42-43, use song-sheet on Dropbox library to either the NCH refrain (if you have that book) or any other simple tune. PFAS has several suitable tunes, such as 43C.

26 June: I have not had a chance to adapt the Winter Solstice (southern hemisphere) refrain we used last year to this year’s Psalm 77. Perhaps The Emergent Psalter‘s ‘I call to mind your deeds’ would suffice. PFAS 77C looks fun for a winter’s day.

The inattentive visitor looking up at the vaulted cathedral of Siena might step on this simple but beautiful marble unawares. A wondering Mary?

3 July: Psalm 30, You turned my lament into dancing on Dropbox. A ladies’ group sang this in fine form not long ago so why not reconvene and reprise?

10 July: PFAS 82B, social justice to the fore

17 July: PFAS 52B — I am like a green olive tree (v.8)

24 July: The Betty Pulkingham tune at Together in Song 45; or PFAS 85B, another Taizé refrain (Dona nobis pacem, not the one in our book TiS which could also be used) and nice song (best for a sight-reader). See earlier post on Psalm 85 for the SW home-grown song.

There are alternatives of course, a few hymns but very few responsorial songs in Together in Song for set psalms over this period save the one mentioned. The Emergent Psalter always offers a thoughtful and singable tune, but you need to make up your own tune or tone for the verses.

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