30 Nov 2023

New England Psalm Book, 1758

I recently heard from the Rev. Jeremy Bullen, of Wallace, Idaho, who alerted me to a website that he has posted devoted to the 1758 revision of the New England Psalm Book. The original Bay Psalm Book was published in 1640 and is generally regarded as the first English-language book printed in the Americas. This newer edition was the creation of the Rev. Thomas Prince (1687-1758), who pastored the Old South Church in Boston and was a supporter of the First Great Awakening of the 18th century. An archived version of this psalter can be found here as well.

Bullen has included a brief comparison of the two versions from Psalm 1:3, a list of metres, a list of possible tunes to match the metres, and metrical canticles from other parts of the Bible. In short, this is a psalter from which people can still sing, using the resources that he has provided. Thanks are due to Bullen for the work he has put into this website.

29 Nov 2023

Psalm 51: Sweelinck

Here is the Gesualdo Consort singing Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck's arrangement of Genevan Psalm 51:

21 Nov 2023

Everypsalm Psalter: a review

Here is a brief review of Jesse and Leah Roberts' Everypsalm Psalter, based on the complete digital version of the Psalter found here. I am assuming that the bound volume is identical to the pdf copy available for download. There are 250 pages in total covering all 150 Psalms, along with three indices: Psalms by Category, Psalms by Author, and Psalms by Theme/feel. Among the authors listed are included David, Asaph, Korah, Solomon, Moses, Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman the Ezrahite. The third index includes Psalms for Courage, Justice, Suffering, Gathered Worship, Rest, Dancing, and the Messiah.

16 Nov 2023

Everypsalm Psalter

Just over a year ago, I called readers' attention to a pandemic-era project of singing through all 150 Psalms with original music under the general title of Poor Bishop Hooper's Everypsalm project. This was the work of Jesse and Leah Roberts, whose YouTube channel can be found here.

Happily, in response to listeners' demands, they have now produced a bound copy of the Everypsalm Psalter, which is now available for purchase. I hope to review this collection soon. Stay tuned.

15 Nov 2023

Psalm 81 to 100's tune

A member of the Lovers of Metrical Psalmody Facebook group alerted us to this metrical psalm performed by the Robert Shaw Festival Singers: To God Our Strength. The text is a metrical version of Psalm 81 with music arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw, but, remarkably, it's sung (altogether too quickly) to the Genevan melody for Psalm 100. The recording was released in 1993.

Addendum: I have corrected one of the sentences above. Parker and Shaw arranged the music, but the text is from Henry Ainsworth's Psalter, from which the 17th-century community known to Americans as the Pilgrims sang. Here is the text of stanzas 1, 2, and 7:

To God our strength, shout joyfully;
To Jacob’s God shout triumphing.
Take up a psalm, and timbrel bring,
The pleasant harp with psaltery.
Blow up the trumpet at new‐moon:
In set time at day of our feast.
For it to Isr'el is an heast:
To Jacob’s God due to be doon.
Jehovah God of thee I am,
Which thee ascending up did guide
From land of Egypt. Open wide
Thy mouth, and I will fill the same.

A copy of the Ainsworth Psalter can be purchased here.

13 Nov 2023

Psalm 103: Korsen

One more Genevan Psalm auf Deutsch by the Rev. Detlef Korsen:

11 Nov 2023

Psalm 99: Bahasa Indonesia

Here is a group of Indonesian Christians singing Genevan Psalm 99 in their own language. The musical notation is fairly easy to read because it's based on numbers.

6 Nov 2023

Psalm 113 to its original tune?

Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura's thesis is controversial and definitely open to question, but it is intriguing to think that her theory may have enabled us to recover the original tunes to which the biblical Psalms were set. Here is a particularly lovely example:

Here is an account of Haïk-Vantoura's apparent discovery broadcast over NPR in 1986:

More of Michael Levi's reconstructions of the Psalms according to Haïk-Vantoura's reading can be found here.

3 Nov 2023

Psalm 100: Korsen

Here is one more psalm performed very nicely by the Rev. Detlef Korsen:

1 Nov 2023

Genfer Psalter: the Psalms in German

Ever since Ambrosius Lobwasser (1515-1585) first rendered the Genevan Psalms in German, speakers of that language have sung from this historic collection, although perhaps not in great numbers. In recent months, the Rev. Detlef Korsen has been posting videos of himself singing from the Genevan Psalter. Korsen is a pastor in the Evangelish-lutherische Landeskirche Hannovers in the greater Bremen area of northwest Germany. The texts are from several sources. Some of the Psalms he sings a cappella, and others he accompanies with guitar. The full collection of his videos can be found here. Here he is singing Psalm 3:

Take some time to visit his YouTube channel and explore his posted videos of the Psalms.