28 Aug 2015

Psalm 23 from the Genevan Psalter

This is my own arrangement and performance of Genevan Psalm 23:

26 Aug 2015

Genfi Zsoltár 42

Few things are more pleasurable than hearing an Hungarian choir sing from the Genevan Psalter. This is Psalm 42:

20 Aug 2015

Des Psaumes en français

I have just discovered these wonderful solo performances of the Genevan Psalms in French. I am posting five of these, with more to come.

Check out the Cantiques.fr website and youtube channel. Its approach to psalmody can be found here. According to its website, cantiques.fr is devoted to enriching church music in the protestant tradition.

19 Aug 2015

'Not unto us': Psalm 115

Performed by the Ensemble Claude Goudimel:

Psaume 35: Goudimel

Claude Goudimel's arrangement of Psalm 135 is very nicely performed by La Capella Reial de Catalunya, directed by Jordi Savall. It begins at 1.06 below.

18 Aug 2015

Psaume 138, par beaucoup des compositeurs

Here is an exquisite performance of Genevan Psalm 138 by the Ensemble Sweelinck de Genève, with arrangements by various composers:

7 Aug 2015

Psalms 121 and 8

Here are two more recently posted choral performances of the Genevan Psalter by Hungarian choirs.

The first is Kodály's haunting arrangement of Genevan Psalm 121, beautifully performed by the Református Kántus of Debrecen:

The second is a stirring and somewhat dissonant arrangement of Psalm 8 composed by German-Hungarian composer Zsolt Gárdonyi:

6 Aug 2015

Liturgical reform and the Psalter

Benedict Constable is not keen on what he sees as the violence done to the Catholic liturgy in the 1960s and '70s: The Omission of “Difficult” Psalms and the Spreading-Thin of the Psalter.
In addition to the unprecedented novelty of praying the Psalter over four weeks rather than in the course of a single week, there was the equally unprecedented novelty of skipping verses that had been deemed "difficult" or problematic for modern Christians.
No, yes and no. No, there is nothing novel about praying the Psalms on a monthly rather than a weekly basis. Already in the 16th century the Book of Common Prayer prescribed the singing or reciting of the Psalter over a 30-day period. This is a practice I have followed for quite some time now.

But, yes, the abridgement and censoring of the Psalms is definitely problematic. Whereas the 1962 Canadian BCP does this with reckless abandon, the 1985 Book of Alternative Services subsequently restored this lost integrity to the Psalter.

But once again, no, abridging the Psalms is hardly unprecedented. In the eastern churches the singing of a full psalm in the course of the liturgy was gradually replaced by an excerpt, or prokeimenon (προκείμενον), of the psalm. In the west this became known as the gradual. And even in the Reformed churches, where the congregation sings metrical psalmody, they are likely to sing only a few stanzas at a time, particularly if the Psalm is a lengthy one.

Nevertheless, Constable's basic point is well taken. Where the Psalter is abridged and where even the possibility of singing through it in its entirety has been withdrawn, the faith of the people is likely to degenerate into mere sentimentality.

5 Aug 2015

Kodály's 150

For thirty years I've been an aficionado of Zoltán Kodály's arrangements of the Genevan Psalms. Here is a lovely performance of his Psalm 150 posted as recently as April. Dénes Szabó conducts the choir.