1 Nov 2013

Brother Down sings the psalms


In recent years there have been a number of efforts to reinterpret the Genevan Psalms, including that of the Dutch group, The Psalm Project. Just over two years ago, I wrote of a group called Brother Down, which has finally released its new album to coincide with yesterday's observance of Reformation Day. The album, titled Old Paths, New Feet, is available from the usual sources, including amazon, which permits listeners to sample the individual tracks.

I plan to review the album here and on my Genevan Psalter discography page, but I will give a few initial impressions now based on what I've seen and heard thus far. To begin with, one observer has characterized these renditions as "pub music style." Perhaps. Second, although most of the tunes are Genevan, two of them, namely, those for Psalms 63 and 103 are not. Psalm 63 is set to Thomas Tallis' haunting THIRD MODE MELODY, which formed the basis of Ralph Vaughan Williams' classic 1910 composition, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. Third, I find it somewhat curious that the performers opted for texts in Jacobean English, which does not exactly fit their style of music.

But, as I said, these are preliminary thoughts that I hope to flesh out after I've heard the album in its entirety.

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