31 May 2023

The Lord is my Shepherd: Psalm 23

Then there is Howard Goodall's lovely musical rendition of the ever popular 23rd Psalm, which provided the theme music for the British television comedy series, The Vicar of Dibley. The text and music provide a stark contrast to the rather irreverent tone of the series.

30 May 2023

Codex Early Music Ensemble: Psalm 68

Here once again is the Codex Early Music Ensemble giving Psalm 68 another shot:

29 May 2023

Codex Early Music Ensemble: Psalm 62 and 47

I'm coming to like the Codex Early Music Ensemble's performances of the Hungarian Psalms. Here are 62 and 47:

26 May 2023

Psalms 81 and 68: genfi zsoltár

The Hungarians are always coming up with surprisingly different ways to sing the Psalms. Here is the Codex Early Music Ensemble singing Psalms 81 and 68 at a rather fast pace, altering the rhythm of the original melodies.

25 May 2023

Psalms 90 and 91: genfi zsoltár

This is an unusually haunting performance of Genevan Psalms 90 and 91 in Hungarian. János Pálúr is the organist, and Sára Tímár is the soloist. The recording was made on 16 June 2022 in the Fasori Reformed Church in Budapest.

24 May 2023

Psaume 97 en français

Here is a recently posted recording of Psalm 97 sung in French, which comes from an old monophonic vinyl record released in 1957.

19 May 2023

Psalm 72 (71): another coronation psalm

Our new King is descended through his late father from the modern kings of Greece of the Danish Glücksburg line. Thus it is most appropriate that Orthodox priests chanted Psalm 72 (71 by the Septuagint numbering) at his recent coronation.

Here are the opening verses in Greek:

Ὁ Θεὸς, τὸ κρίμα σου τῷ βασιλεῖ δὸς
καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ βασιλέως
κρίνειν τὸν λαόν σου ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ
καὶ τοὺς πτωχούς σου ἐν κρίσει.

And in English:

Give the king thy justice, O God,
and thy righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge thy people with righteousness,
and thy poor with justice!
A most appropriate psalm for the inauguration of a new ruler! God save the King!

Groen sang these psalms

In February I acquired a copy of the recently republished 1729 version of the Genevan Psalter. This version was adopted by the francophone churches of the Netherlands and differs from the original French text of 1562. A few days ago a friend reminded me that Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer (1801-1876), an early leader in the Dutch anti-revolutionary movement and a predecessor of Abraham Kuyper, attended the Walloon church in The Hague, under the pastorate of Jean Charles Isaac Secrétan (1798-1875). Thus it is quite likely that this is the version of the Psalter from which he sang while worshipping with that congregation.

The Walloon Churches in the Netherlands have their origins in the religious conflicts of the 16th and 17th centuries, when French-speaking refugees from the southern Netherlands (now Belgium) and France fled persecution in their homelands and settled in the largely protestant Dutch Republic in the north. There are far fewer Walloon congregations than in the past, and the remaining few form a special classis within the reunited Protestantse Kerk in Nederland.

16 May 2023

Make a Joyful Noise: coronation anthem

For the recent coronation of King Charles III, Andrew Lloyd Webber was commissioned to compose an anthem. Here it is below: a sung version of Psalm 98 from the venerable King James version of the Bible:

11 May 2023

An 18th-century Dutch psalter

I recently spent time with a friend who brought to our meeting an old Dutch-language edition of the Genevan Psalter published in 1776. The texts are the 1773 versifications commissioned by the Estates General of the United Netherlands, so they were still quite new when this volume was produced. Here are photographs of some of the pages. Note that the outer margins of the versified texts contain the prose text of the relevant psalm according to the Statenvertaling of 1637, a translation of the Bible approved by the Estates General which is analogous to our King James Version in English. Only the melody is included and is repeated for each stanza.

8 May 2023

Singing the Reformation 2016

I've recently come across the website for the Church Service Society, an organization founded in 1865 to renew worship in the Church of Scotland. This is the description of the Society's work from the page titled, History and Purpose

The Society published Euchologion in 1867, the first corporately produced service book available to the Kirk since John Knox’s Book of Common Order, and which continued through eleven editions up to 1924, until the Church itself (the main Presbyterian denominations reunited in 1929) took on the responsibility. Since then there has been increasing provision of worship resources in the Scottish churches. It might seem as if the vision of the founders had been amply fulfilled.