16 Feb 2011

February updates

Psalms Unplugged
  • I have just obtained a copy of the first English-language album by The Psalm Project, titled Psalms Unplugged, which was just released late last month. Here is the brief review I've posted on the discography page:
    This is a noteworthy recording rendering the Genevan Psalms in contemporary jazz style, employing a full array of instruments. The group generally sings in Dutch, but this is their first English-language album. With their unique treatments, they make the Genevan tunes sound as if they were composed the day before yesterday, although they do alter the melodies and rhythms somewhat to fit their purposes. For example, the well-known tune to Psalm 138 they effectively move from ionian to mixolydian mode, giving it nearly a Celtic flavour. In the hands of The Psalm Project, Psalm 150 takes on the flavour of a lively African-American gospel song. The results will likely win over even the classical music aficionado. Unlike many contemporary treatments of scripture songs, they do not restrict their efforts to psalms of praise, but are willing to tackle such lamentations as found in Psalm 22. Perhaps unsurprisingly they have not thus far touched the imprecatory psalms. Check out The Psalm Project's Dutch and English websites.

    CDs can be purchased in Europe: info@thepsalmproject.nl, in the United States: Calvin College Campus Store, and in Canada: psalms@newmaker.net.

    Here is a sample from the album:

  • I have just posted an unrhymed versification of Psalm 111, which I wrote last week. I did not have to arrange the tune, which is the same as that for Psalms 24, 62 and 95, which are already posted. Psalm 70 is forthcoming. I've come up with a text but I have yet to complete a harmonization of the melody.

  • I have received a copy of the "Authorized Provisional Version" of the Book of Praise of the Canadian Reformed Churches. I have not yet made a detailed comparison to the 1984 edition, but from what I've seen thus far, it looks to be superior. I will be posting a fuller review at some point. A few things immediately struck me that I will mention here. First, the volume has finally dropped the old second-person-singular pronoun and verb forms in addressing God, a usage that this federation of churches retained long after other English-speaking Christians had abandoned it. Second, Psalm 150 now has a reference to dancing, which the earlier edition had seen fit not to include. I will have other observations to make in the near future.