29 Feb 2024

Psalternatief: Psalm 1

Now this is delightful. I've often thought that the melodies of the Genevan Psalter, especially those in the Dorian and Phrygian modes, could easily lend themselves to jazz or blues treatment. Well, this one is in the Ionian mode (equivalent to our major scale), but our friends at Psalternatief in the Netherlands have posted what appears to be an improvised jazz arrangement for Psalm 1, and it works very nicely indeed. Gefeliciteerd, onze vrienden!

26 Feb 2024

Parker's Psalm 2

Earlier in the month, I posted about Archbishop Matthew's Parker largely forgotten metrical psalter of 1567, which included nine tunes by the incomparable English Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis. Here is a recording of most of Psalm 2 as set to Tallis' THIRD MODE MELODY or THIRD PSALM TUNE. The full text in pre-standard spelling follows the video. Note the internal rhymes in lines 1 and 3.

20 Feb 2024

Daily prayer

My latest contribution to Christian Courier is titled, Daily Prayer, subtitled, "Devotions as daily practice taken from ancient patterns." Here is an excerpt:

When I was in my early twenties, I visited the bookstore of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and purchased a copy of The Daily Office, edited by Herbert Lindemann and published by Concordia in 1965. A small volume, it nevertheless runs to nearly 700 pages and includes liturgies for morning and evening prayer organized according to the church calendar. This ancient practice, usually associated with monastic communities, was unfamiliar to me, but it transformed my prayer life. . . .

What impressed me most about the daily office was the generous use of the Psalms.

Read the rest of the article here.

8 Feb 2024

Matthew Parker's Psalter (1567)

Archbishop Matthew Parker (1504-1575) played a minor role in the development of English metrical psalmody during the Reformation era. He managed to survive Queen Mary's brief reign (1553-1558) and reluctantly accepted appointment by Queen Elizabeth to the See of Canterbury. While occupying this office, Parker presided over the convocation that developed the Thirty-Nine Articles, the principal confession of the Reformed English church.

In 1567, he published a Whole Psalter translated into English metre, which contayneth an hundreth and fifty Psalmes. The texts were set to eight tunes composed by the renowned Thomas Tallis (1505-1585). On the fate of Parker's texts, Timothy Duguid writes:

6 Feb 2024

Psalm 141, auf Deutsch

Our new friend Detlef Korsen has just posted a video of Genevan Psalm 141, which he sings while accompanying himself on guitar. Danke sehr, unser Freund. Sehr schön!

Incidentally, as I have pointed out before, the proper Genevan melody for this Psalm appears to borrow from the ancient hymn, Conditor Alme Siderum: